Israeli Consul speaks on bombing: ‘We have the right to ourselves’
A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem killing one person, critically wounding 4 and hurting more than twenty others. Metro caught up with the Consul General of Israel in Philadelphia, Daniel Kutner, to get his reaction.
Kutner, a diplomat representing the state of Israel for more than 25 years ago, said, "This is a tragedy that will keep happening because the Palestinian Authority supports a culture that turns suicide bombers and terrorists into heroes."
While the media attention is focused on Japan and other parts of the Middle East, Kutner wanted to remind Metro readers that the Jerusalem bombing was not the only terrorist attack that Israeli citizens suffered this week. Kutner lamented, "Almost an entire family — two parents and three children with the youngest being three months old — was wiped out last Friday by one or two terrorists in Itamar."
He continued, "We left Gaza in a bid for peace. During our holiday (Purim) this weekend, Hamas fired from Gaza more than 60 mortar shells and artillery rockets into the communities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheva. Thank god nobody was hurt."
According to Kutner, the situation would have been even worse if "the Israeli navy had not intercepted this week the ship Victoria headed for Egypt loaded with sophisticated weapons from Syria and Iran for the Palestinian militants."
He hopes that "the world will support when the Israeli government takes measures to protect its citizens." Kutner stressed, "We (Israel) have the right to ourselves."
Kutner wants people to know that "Israel wants peace." The consul general said, "Israel wants to find a negotiated solution to the problem. I plead with the Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table to discuss our differences. "
He disputes recent media reports that characterize Israel as upset about the Democracy movement spreading across the Middle East. He said, "We are a pluralistic democracy. We are looking forward to other democracies in the Middle East. Democracies can better understand each other. There will be greater openness. Israel was naturally worried during the transition. We are concerned that the new Egyptian government will honor their peace treaty.
Kutner, who was born in Argentina and immigrated to Israel after high school, enjoys Center City Philadelphia, where the consular offices are. "Philadelphia is a warm, livable city. I like that you can walk everywhere are close to culture and great food. Israel is lucky to have such supportive friends here."
His hardest challenge as a diplomat is to get Philadelphians interested in Israeli culture. Kutner raves about Israeli music and the visual arts."