Israeli opposition figures criticize Netanyahu for ‘cynical timing’ of assassination

In contrast, Gantz supported the strike as necessary for Israeli citizens’ security, which must remain “above politics.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Several opposition figures charged Tuesday that the assassination of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Monday night could be directly attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political troubles.

“Senior Islamic Jihad leaders like Abu Al Ata are dead men and the IDF’s long hand can reach every one of them, but I cannot help but feel that the security of the state and the order to harm the senior jihad officials have been cynically exploited and politically motivated,” said MK Omer Bar-Lev  of the Labor-Gesher alliance.

The Joint Arab List’s sole Jewish member, MK Ofer Kassif, spoke even more harshly, tweeting that “to save his skin, Netanyahu is reverting to the only thing he can do: kill, destroy and incite war.” His party’s leader, Ayman Odeh, attacked the prime minister on the social media site as well.

“A cynical man who lost two consecutive elections will leave only scorched earth in a desperate attempt to remain in office,” Odeh tweeted.

Their consensus ignored Tuesday morning’s statement by IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus, which made clear that the timing of the strike was strictly related to the opportunity to assassinate the top terrorist with as few civilian casualties as possible.

“Over the last week, we have been waiting for the opportune moment to conduct the surgical strike,” he said. Al Ata’s wife was the only other person killed and no one else was hurt when the IAF missile precisely hit the bedroom of their home in Gaza City.

The Israeli parliamentarians’ words were much of the same piece as that of a senior PIJ terrorist at Al Ata’s funeral.

“This return to assassinations by way of a major address — that of Baha Abu Al Ata, Abu Salim — is a message that we are carefully reading,” Khaled al-Batsh said in Gaza’s Omari Mosque. “By taking [this action] … the criminal Netanyahu would like to put his government back together and enjoy the backing of the majority there, once again at the expense of our blood.”

In contrast to others in the opposition, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who had been briefed on the mission ahead of time, supported the targeted killing of the terrorist.

“The political echelon and the IDF made the right decision tonight for the security of Israeli citizens and residents of the south,” he tweeted.

“Blue and white will back up any proper activity for the security of Israel and put the residents’ security above politics,” he added.

President Reuven Rivlin begged the politicos to stop slinging mud.

“We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning’s operations for a long time,” he said. “I know that they and the Israeli government that approved the operation, have Israel’s security, and only that, in their minds. This is no time for political squabbles, and those who do so bring no credit to themselves. It is the time to stop such statements immediately.”