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Shabak Chief Avi Dichter: 'West Bank Security Fence Has Cut 90 % of Israeli Fatalities In Terror Attacks From Samaria!'

'If Security Fence Had Been Built Earlier, It Would Have Altered Israel's War On Terrorism'

'Greatest Failure Was Not Preventing Palestinian Assassination Of Cabinet Minister Rechavam Zeevi'

Security Fence

Soon about to retire, Shabak Security Chief Avi Dichter has given his final briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Dichter was widely praised by both right and left-wingers for doing an outstanding job in fighting the war against Palestinian terrorism. Opposition leader Tommy Lapid even chided Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for not extending Dichter's term for another year. He is to be replaced by his deputy Yuval Diskin.

Shabak Security Chief Avi Dichter

The West Bank security fence has already saved hundreds of Israeli lives from Palestinian suicide bombers!' That was the message from Shabak Security Service Chief Avi Dichter. He noted that 90% of the 480 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terror attacks that originated from Samaria, were killed before the fence was erected in that area. The fatality figure for Samaria has dropped to 10% since the fence was built. In other words, the fence has saved over 400 lives from Samaria attacks. Dichter went on to say the terrorists have exploited a gap where the fence has not been completed to murder the other 10 %. Over 1,000 Israelis, mostly civilians have been killed in Palestinian attacks and thousands maimed and injured since the Palestinian intifada began in September 2000.The Security Chief actually had to persuade Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to build the fence; Sharon was leery that it would be construed as delineating Israel's borders. Today, Dichter said the war on terrorism and the IDF's massive Defensive Shield Operation might have looked different if the security fence had been built in time.In other words, Israel would not have had to carry out large military counter-terror operations and other measures like the targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists who were planning the attacks.Last year, the International Court of Justice in The Hague handed down a highly controversial ruling criticizing Israel for building the security fence. The Court was acting on an instruction from the pro-Arab majority in the U.N. General Assembly and focused on Israel's erection of the security fence, ignoring the unprecedented wave of Palestinian suicide bombers who were walking into Israel and blowing up crowded Israeli buses and restaurants.

  • Greatest Failure: Looking back over his five-year term, Dichter said the Palestinian assassination of Cabinet Minister Rechavam Zeevi on Oct. 17th 2001 was perhaps his greatest failure. Dichter said the Shabak bore responsibility for Zeevi's safety but had failed to protect him when he was shot dead in an Israeli hotel in East Jerusalem. With his usual candor, the Security Chief said although this was at the height of the Palestinian terror campaign, Zeevi's murder was 'traumatic'.
  • Terror - Arab & Jewish: Dichter said if ten measures of terrorism were handed down from on high-the Arabs got nine and the Jews one. This he said also applied to how the Shabak allocates its resources. Ninety percent copes with Palestinian terrorism and ten percent with Jewish violence. He disclosed that since 2002, there have been no known Jewish terror attacks although there are still seven open cases of Palestinians who have been murdered possibly by Jewish terrorists. He rejected criticism from critics on the far right who charge there are two Shabaks; one is good because it fights Palestinian terrorism while the other is bad because it also goes after Jewish extremists or terrorists.
  • Leaks: The Security Chief said he would have liked to have been more open in his closed door briefings to both the Foreign Affairs Committee and the cabinet. This would things also easier for him in getting feedback. However, Dichter admitted there he was worried about leaks to the media that could endanger Shabak operations and agents. This did not apply to the more restricted super secret sub-committees.

Shabak Security Chief Dichter has made his farewells to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Clearly, some of them know far more than the Israeli public about Dichter's contribution in Israel's war against terrorism. Some of this will be disclosed in the years ahead; but his role in many top-secret operations will never be revealed. Dichter himself referred to the Mossad, Israel's sister intelligence agency that operates abroad. He said the Israeli public will never be told of the Mossad's successes. However, the citizens of Israel owe a huge debt to men such as Avi Dichter and the men and women in the Shabak and Mossad; it was not long ago that Palestinian suicide bombers were blowing apart Israeli children, women and men in the streets and inside buses. Today. Israelis are living differently and more and more foreign tourists are flocking to the country.

David Essing

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