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Dichter bids farewell to Def. Committee (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST.COM STAFF 05/04/05)Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1115173226594 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
After five years at the head of the committee, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Avi Dichter departed from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday.

In a warmly received speech to the committee, Dichter first noted what he viewed as his biggest failure of his term, which was failing to prevent the assassination of former tourism minister Rehavam Ze´evi, who was shot to death on October 17, 2001, at Jerusalem´s Hyatt Hotel.

He said the day of Ze´evi´s death was his most difficult day on the job. "It was tough, it was traumatic. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) was responsible for the minister´s security – and we failed," Dichter said.

Dichter also said that if depart the security fence had been completed, the number of Israeli casualties of terrorism could have been reduced. He recalled how when the fence was first proposed both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Vice Premier Shimon Peres were adamantly opposed to it – and now the fence has many more supporters than bricks.

Many terrorist attacks could have been thwarted had the fence been built in the beginning of the Intifada in 2000, Dichter stressed repeatedly.

Committee members across the political spectrum praised Dichter and hailed his impressive accomplishments and his contributions to the struggle against terrorism.

During his five year term, Dichter held a hard line which usually won out over the IDF and set the tone of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s policies toward the Palestinians.

It was Dichter who persuaded Sharon to change his mind and order the construction of the security fence. Dichter recommended containing Yasser Arafat rather than killing or deporting him. He pushed for targeted assassinations and his agents led the widespread arrests of fugitives and suicide bombers.

However, his critics had charged that Dichter ignored larger political consequences, focusing only on reducing terror.

Dichter was named by The Jerusalem Post as the "Man of the Year 2004." With Arieh O´Sullivan (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem Post 05/04/05)

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