Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Terrorist act by Jewish extremist

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5 August 2005


The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today condemned and deplored yesterday's murderous attack by a Jewish extremist in the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram, which killed 4 innocent people and wounded many others. "This deranged and criminal terrorist act must be condemned and denounced in the strongest possible terms," said Mark Leibler AC, AIJAC National Chairman.

"Nothing can justify the deliberate murder of innocent civilians and AIJAC extends its sincere sympathy and condolences to the bereaved and injured," he added.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein stated, "While it remains very difficult to understand how anyone can commit such an unconscionable act against innocent people, it is now imperative that opponents of Israel's upcoming disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank tone down some of their rhetoric. While they have every right to legally protest and express their views on this historic decision, it seems quite likely that some of the overheated, apocalyptic and paranoid rhetoric by a minority of disengagement opponents contributed to sparking this horrific crime. Responsible opponents, both in Israel and abroad, will need to make a greater effort to watch their words very carefully, and condemn clearly and cast out from their midst anyone who even hints at justifying violence. In this respect, it was heartening to see the universally very strong condemnation in Israel of the Shfaram massacre, including by all the leaders of mainstream settler groups."

Dr. Rubenstein concluded, "AIJAC supports the disengagement process, which has been duly authorised by Israel's democratic institutions as a step designed to both improve Israel's security and bring her closer to an eventual peace with her neighbours. This abhorrent criminal act must not be allowed to derail disengagement. As part of the admittedly difficult and painful lead-up to disengagement, Israeli police and other security services will have to do everything possible to prevent further violence by monitoring and bringing the full force of the law to bear on extremists like the apparent perpetrator of this terrorist act, Eden Natan-Zada."

For further information please contact Mark Leibler on (03)-9229-9999, Dr Colin Rubenstein on 0418 339 721, or Tzvi Fleischer on (03)-9681-6660.

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