Israel Foreign Ministry on India, Georgia: “Terrorists Will Attack Wherever They See an Opportunity”
In a conference call Monday organized by The Israel Project (TIP), Paul Hirschson, an Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy spokesman, responded to a number of questions. In his opening remarks, he noted that two bombing attempts – one successful, one thwarted – had targeted cars of persons associated with the Israeli embassies in Tbilisi, Georgia and New Delhi, India.
In Georgia, the bomb was found and dismantled. In New Delhi, a bomb apparently attached to the rear of the car in which the Ambassador’s wife was driving, exploded. She and her driver were injured. The incidents occurred one day after the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s deputy leader.
According to Hirschson, a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the incidents are “traceable back to Iran.” Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman has commented that “Israeli diplomats have for some time been on the front line and exposed.” As reported in Ha’aretz, the FM said “Israel will not tolerate an attack on its officials abroad.” …The “attacks against Israeli embassies abroad… just means that the State of Israel and its citizens face a daily threat of terror, both physical and diplomatic.” He continued…”We know exactly who is responsible for the attack and who planned it, and we’re not going to take it lying down.”
Hirschson noted that Israeli diplomats have been maimed and killed in several past incidents.
A series of questions, largely from the international press, followed. The Daily News in India noted that this is the second attack in India, and asked if terrorists were deliberately choosing Jewish targets (in India) because of growing proximity between Israel and India. (India and Israel and India are celebrating 20 years of bilateral relations in 2012.)
Hirschson indicated that terrorists were simply “choosing targets where ever they have an opportunity.” He referred to several past incidents, noting the recent arrests in Thailand and Azerbaijan, and said he hoped the answer to the question is “No… Terrorists will attack wherever they see an opportunity.”
He stressed that “there have been very positive, constructive cooperation between Israel and the officials in both Georgia and New Delhi. Noting that Israel’s method of response “remains to be seen, the ministry spokesman said “we are unlikely to sit and twiddle our thumbs. We have every intention of defending ourselves – that is the primary obligation of any government.”
From New York, the question of whether the local Jewish community should be taking special precautions was raised. Said Hirschson, “Jewish communities around the world are aware of how they function and what they have to do from a security point of view. They make their own decisions.”