Sunday, 2 November 2008

Israeli security chiefs fear assassination plot from radicals

Sunday, November 2nd 2008


JERUSALEM - Israeli security chiefs believe that extreme right-wing groups are planning a political assassination to push their battle to defend and expand settlements on the West Bank.

The grim warning came in a presentation to cabinet leaders Sunday as Israelis prepared to mark the 13th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

"The Shin Bet has identified a willingness in the extreme right to use arms to stop diplomatic processes by harming political leaders," Shin Bet Secret Service chief Yuval Diskin told ministers.

National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former army general, also said another political assassination was likely.

"In 1995, I said there would be a murder here, and today I am saying the same thing," Ben-Eliezer said.

Just weeks before he was gunned down in Tel Aviv, Rabin had dismissed Ben-Eliezer's fears by asking, "Would a Jew kill another Jew?"

"I told him, 'Yes,'" said Ben-Eliezer.

The warnings came after a weekend of violence at an illegal settlement in the West Bank where settlers clashed with Israeli police trying to evict them.

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter also said that settler violence was on the rise.

"Police have identified an increasing readiness among extremists to lash out against the army and police officers," said Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who will stay in office as caretaker prime minister until a general election in February, has condemned "wild people who behave in a way that threatens proper law and governance."

Elisheva Federman, whose illegal home near Hebron was destroyed early Sunday, accused the Israeli army and police of brutality.

"We will return and build it again," she vowed. "We will return at any cost, even if we have to live in a tent."

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