Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Tuesday denied that IDF Intelligence Corps head Maj. Gen. Herzl (Herzi) Halevi told the Security Cabinet the Arab terror wave will expand if peace talks aren't launched with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Halevi appeared at the Security Cabinet on January 24 together with other senior Intelligence Corps officials to deliver the annual intelligence appraisal for 2016, before delivering it again Tuesday to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to Channel 10 reports on Monday night.
The report alleged that Halevi told the Cabinet a "diplomatic process" with the PA is the only way to stop the terror wave, as he claims the military has largely done all it can. If peace talks are not advanced, he stated additional forces will join the terror wave, including the Tanzim terror group, which is the "armed wing" of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
"I sat in many meetings that he (Halevi) took part in. I never heard him say something like that," Erdan told Army Radio on Tuesday, denying the reports.
"If something like that was said in a briefing for military correspondents, I think that's an infuriating statement because we remember the days of a diplomatic process, in which the attacks and the terror were much stronger."
Erdan's statement would appear to be a reference to the 1994 Oslo Accords, in which Israel supplied the newly created PA and its Security Forces with weapons. The Accords led to the 2000 Second Intifada or Oslo War, in which over 1,000 Israelis were murdered; PA officials later bragged that 70% of the attacks were conducted by PA Security Force members.
In the current wave as well a number of the terrorist attackers have been identified as PA policemen.
Erdan also spoke about returning the bodies of terrorists, a move he has generally opposed as a deterrence factor so as to avoid massive funerals encouraging more attacks.
"Since our last talk I think one or two bodies were returned. The reason no one heard about it is because the families agreed to cooperate with the police and hold a respectable funeral…not one with incitement or support for the act of terror that the terrorist conducted," he said.
"We have no interest in holding these bodies, rather (we do it) simply because we are in a wave of terror in which the glorification of the 'martyr' and the imitation by his friends is an integral part. We are not prepared for things like this to happen in funerals and possibly even bring about additional attacks."