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Press Release – 31 January 2007

SZC Statement on Terror 31/01/07

The State Zionist Council of Victoria expresses its vehement condemnation of the terror attack by a Palestinian suicide bomber who specifically targeted, killed and injured Israeli citizens in the southern seaside resort of Eilat on Monday. We note with great sadness that these young victims of terror mark the killing of more than 1,129 Israelis by Palestinian violence and terrorism since September 2000.

On early Monday morning, the lives of 3 Israeli civilians were cut short in this shocking suicide bombing: Emil Almaliah, 32, married and father of a 4 year-old daughter and a 2 year-old son and Michael Ben-Sa’adon, 26, married and recently became the proud father of a baby boy, was murdered in the neighbourhood ‘Lehamim Bakery’ that he owned together with Almaliah. The third victim Israel Smuliah, also 26, settled in Israel from Peru and had started working at the bakery only a few days prior to the attack in order to supplement his income.

Dr Danny Lamm, President State Zionist Council of Victoria said, “It is ironic that only a couple of weeks ago Prime Minister Olmert extended a gesture of goodwill and cooperation to the Palestinian people by transferring $100 million dollars to Mahmoud Abbas’ authority, after having already eased checkpoints conditions. Yet today as Israeli buries these young victims of terror, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a branch of President Abbas’ Fatah party proudly celebrates its part in the attack; we struggle to make a distinction between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the elected Palestinian government who make no qualms about their dedication to the destruction of the State of Israel.”

“The motivation behind the attack which has been broadcast as part of a well-oiled terrorist public relations campaign is appalling and sickening: Israeli citizens are now being killed to deflect away from the fierce Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad, the other terrorist group who claimed responsibility for the attack, has posted a statement on its web site saying that it had engineered the bombing in an attempt to “focus Palestinians’ attention away from killing each other”. With reports
from Israel overnight that a senior Hamas member has been assassinated 24 hours after a so-called ceasefire was called, the question begs to be asked: How can Israel make peace with a people who are so divided and sustained by violence they cannot even keep peace amongst themselves ?”, Dr Lamm questioned.

It has become abundantly clear that it is not on President Abbas’ agenda to develop a peaceful coexistence with Israel. During a rally on January 11, in the context of urging Palestinians to end internal warfare, Abbas said, “Let a thousand flowers bloom and let our rifles, all our rifles, all our rifles, be aimed at the occupation.” He was not only fuelling the terrorist flames, but also once again signalled to Israel that he is completely insincere in his rejection of violence, and has demonstrated his commitment to undermining diplomatic efforts to resolve the differences between all parties to the conflict.

The State Zionist Council notes Israel’s policy of restraint even in the face of terror. As Israeli Foreign Minister Livni said to journalists in Jerusalem in response to the attack, “Israel has shown extraordinary restraint in order to give the Palestinians an opportunity to fight terror and stop the attacks. Unfortunately the Palestinians failed to stop them.”

Finally it is crucial to note that Monday’s terrorist attack was an infiltration via the Egyptian border, where an intricate series of tunnels have been created by terrorist networks that smuggle through both people and weaponry. Israel continuously finds itself alone on this terror front due to blatant Egyptian indifference. The last major infiltration from Gaza was the cross-border kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in which 2 of his fellow soldiers were killed. More than seven months have passed since the unprovoked abduction of Gilad Shalit on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza on June 25, 2006, and Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border on July 12, 2006. We appeal to the terrorists holding Gilad, Ehud and Eldad against their will and denying them the most basic of human rights as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, to release them immediately to their families and country, and call on the Australian and international community to put pressure on the terrorists
and their regimes to bring about their secure release.

For more information contact:

SZCV Executive Director, Ginette Searle 9272-5544

SZCV Information Chairperson Ian Samuel 0416-044881