Dichter bids farewell to Def. Committee (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST.COM STAFF 05/04/05)
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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
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
Many terrorist attacks could have been thwarted had the fence been
built in the beginning of the Intifada in 2000, Dichter stressed
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
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