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Posted: 10/18/2001 4:10:41 AM EDT
Israeli General Security Service (GSS) admits its lapse in failing to protect former Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi - see story at: [url]http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/10/18/News/News.36454.html[/url] [size=4][b]GSS admits lapse in protecting Ze'evi[/b][/size=4] By Arieh O'Sullivan JERUSALEM (October 18) - The General Security Service admitted it was fully responsible for protecting Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi and set up an internal investigation into his assassination. In a rare statement issued by GSS chief Avi Dichter, the agency promised to work relentlessly to apprehend Ze'evi's assassins. In the meantime, the agency placed all major political figures under heavier guard. The IDF also beefed up its protection of its senior officers. The GSS became more aware recently that Palestinians were intent on assassinating a senior Israeli figure, but the agency had no concrete intelligence concerning any particular target. "It has to be remembered, however, that personal protection is the last wall in security," said a GSS source. "There are other levels, like intelligence, that are also employed." Still, Ze'evi was certainly a high-profile target, since he was not only a member of the security cabinet and leader of a political party, but also a symbolic advocate of iron-fisted policies against the Palestinian Authority. Yesterday afternoon, Dichter appointed a committee of inquiry composed of senior GSS operational, intelligence and personal security officials. He said the inquiry would have the power to recommend necessary changes. "The GSS will draw the necessary lessons vis-a-vis personal security in order to prevent the recurrence of such a disaster; this is our duty," Dichter said in his statement. "The GSS will work day and night to apprehend the murderers and deal with them according to the utmost severity of the law; this is our duty and our promise," the statement continued. "We cannot console Yael and their children, except for the fact that the GSS is at their side during these difficult hours." The GSS inquiry was set up in coordination with Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein so as to facilitate the establishment of an external commission, if it should be so decided. Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau said the assassination investigation would have the highest priority of any investigation ever carried out in Israel. One of the questions it must address is whether the special GSS branch responsible for security for a select list of VIPs had taken proper action in view of the increased potential that Ze'evi would be targeted by assassins. The special GSS protection branch provides security for some 42 people. These include the prime minister and his family, all incumbent ministers, the present and former presidents, president of the Supreme Court, head of the opposition, Knesset committee chairman, mayor of Jerusalem, and former prime ministers, defense ministers and foreign ministers. - continued -
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 4:12:23 AM EDT
Some foreign ambassadors also receive protection, including those from Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan. The late Leah Rabin was also on the VIP list for protection. The list is flexible, as is the type of protection. For example, they do not all have bodyguards 24 hours a day, and protection changes with circumstances. Ze'evi was of course on the list, but was said to scorn personal bodyguards. While declining to relate specifically to Ze'evi, one GSS source said that any person who refuses to receive protection makes the agency's job that much more difficult. Ze'evi, a former major-general, had been briefed by the GSS, and the Jerusalem Hyatt Hotel, where he habitually stayed, was also given a security examination by the GSS. The Israel Police is responsible for the protection of Knesset members, while the IDF is responsible for guarding its commanders. Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz, as well as his deputy, Maj.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, both have bodyguards who received reinforcement yesterday. The VIP list was formalized following the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Because of budgetary and logistical constraints, the GSS sought to keep the list to a minimum, and it in essence comprises those whose death would threaten the existence of Israel's democracy, GSS officials said. The unit tries to allow the VIPs to live normal lives, but it has the authority to impose security restrictions. In fact, immediately after the assassination yesterday morning, they ordered the prime minister and all other members of his cabinet to remain at home until further notice. This restriction was lifted a few hours later. The GSS has beefed up, but not dramatically, the protection it is giving. Many VIPs were rebriefed on security measures they should take. Dichter himself is also under increased guard. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office issued a statement last night firmly backing Dichter, saying he has "full confidence and fully backs the head of the GSS and is convinced that the GSS will not only carry out the internal inquiry as this sort of incident requires, but will fully implement the lessons learned. "The General Security Service is a central and principle arm in the daily struggle against terrorism and we should not harm its capabilities to continue in this struggle," the statement added. Eric The(Gen.ZeeviWasADownToEarthGeneralWithHis'Boys')Hun[­>]:)]
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 4:21:57 AM EDT
Here's another article on the late Gen. Zeevi: [url]http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/10/18/News/News.36455.html[/url] [size=4][b]Ze'evi refused guards on principle, carried gun[/b][/size=4] By Miram Shaviv JERUSALEM (October 18) - Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi refused to accept protection from the security services as a matter of principle, his colleagues said yesterday. He believed that if there is a parent or a child who had to drive without defense in the territories, he also would be unprotected, his communications adviser Chagit Sachs said. According to MK Michael Kleiner (Herut) and other friends, Ze'evi still carried a pistol. Maybe he thought he was a target, Kleiner speculated. However, Sachs noted that there had been no threats on his life. He was a security man who protected himself his whole life, and was not scared, she said. MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) yesterday called on the General Security Service to suspend its investigation of the murder, and allow an external body to conduct the probe. When the foul-up is so obvious, a body that is clearly responsible for the disaster cannot investigate itself, he told The Jerusalem Post. Pines-Paz, who is the Knesset Law Committee chairman, recommended in a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that an investigation headed by a judge, or by Minister Without Portfolio Dan Meridor be appointed instead. Knesset House Committee chairman Yossi Katz said yesterday a decision had been made recently to reduce security for ministers, for financial reasons. "I'm sorry to say that I was only just recently told that a decision had been made to scale back security for ministers and for financial reasons, and because of the large number of ministers, the number of individuals assigned to accompany ministers was reduced," he said. "I want to stress that this information came to my attention without any connection to this shocking assassination. But there is no doubt that guarding ministers, MKs, and public figures is tantamount to guarding democracy, and any attack on a public figure is an attack on democracy. Especially after the Rabin murder, we should have learned the lesson." Ministers are given protection at the discretion of the GSS, or by their own request. Only the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and chief of staff automatically receive permanent guards. According to coalition chairman Ze'ev Boim, Ze'evi's decision to stay in the Hyatt Hotel - close to east Jerusalem - ever since it opened in the late 1980s was also a matter of conscience. He felt it was very important for people to visit that side of the city. The Hyatt, where Ze'evi was murdered, is one of four hotels in the capital which MKs who do not reside in Jerusalem use for overnight stays on work nights, at Knesset expense. - continued -
Link Posted: 10/18/2001 4:23:06 AM EDT
Boim used to stay in the hotel when he first joined the Knesset in 1996, but chose to switch to the Holiday Inn, which is closer to the Knesset building. "I didn't dare ask Rehavam to join me. I knew it was important for him to be there," Boim said. Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, by contrast, said he asked Gandhi several times to leave the hotel, but he wouldn't hear of it. Boim noted that Ze'evi's relations with the Hyatt staff, most of whom are Arabs from east Jerusalem, were excellent. He liked the hotel, he was used to it, Boim said. One of the few other MKs to stay there is Mohammed Darawshe of the Democratic Arab Party. They used to meet over breakfast, and even became personal friends, he added. The Knesset spokesman could not disclose how many MKs choose to stay at the Hyatt, but other MKs estimated the number as being in the single digits. The spokesman's office could also not say whether there are plans to stop MKs staying at the Hyatt. "I don't fear for my life more than anyone else in the State of Israel. I would like to envision myself as continuing to walk in Jerusalem without bodyguards, just like Gandhi did," Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau said yesterday during a meeting with Police Inspector-General Shlomo Aharonishky and head of police operations Cmdr. Danny Ronen in his office yesterday. Landau initiated the meeting with senior police officials and received an update on the police investigation and other steps police will take in the coming days following Ze'evi's murder yesterday. Landau cancelled a planned work visit to Russia and Ukraine that was scheduled next week. [b]Doesn't he sound like 'one of us'?[/b] Eric The(Saddened)Hun[>]:)]
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