The Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee today unanimously rejected allegations by the Washington Star that Premier Menachem Begin obstructed the investigation of the security service (Shin Bet) in the bombing at tacks against three West Bank mayors last June. Mayor Bassam Shaka of Nablus had both of his legs amputated as a result of the bomb attack and Mayor Karis Khallaf of Ramallah lost part of his left leg. An Israeli police sapper was seriously injured when he tried to dismantle a bomb intended for Mayor Ibrahim Tawil of El Bireh.
The head of the security service testified today before the Knesset committee and said that Begin had never interfered in the investigation but had, on the contrary, ordered a comprehensive investigation of the attacks, which the Premier had described as “crimes of the worst kind.”
The Shin Bet chief said he had told Begin that he wished to retire from his past after 30 years in the intelligence service, the last six as its chief, long before the attacks on the Arab mayors. He reiterated that his request for retirement had nothing whatever to do with the investigation into the bombings. Both government coalition and Labor Alignment opposition members in the committee said they were convinced by the Shin Bet chief’s explanation.
Begin, himself, declared through a spokesman last Friday, a day after the Washington Star article appeared claiming that the Shin Bet chief was resigning because Begin was obstructing the investigation, “From the day malicious people first began spreading their lies, never was a calumny so odious.”
Dan Pattir, Begin’s press advisor, characterized the Washington Star story, written by David Halevy, the paper’s co-respondent in Tel Aviv, as “a fabrication from beginning to end. It requires an examination of motives.” Halevy is active in Labor Party affairs.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.