Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israeli officials dismissed Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's call to stop terror attacks ahead of Israeli elections as a Hamas leader said the Palestinian police and PA have helped to carry out terror attacks.
Two terrorist infiltrations over the weekend left two Israelis dead and six others wounded two days after Arafat appealed to his people to exercise restraint and rejected "all acts of violence that target Palestinian and Israeli civilians."
"As the Israeli election date is getting closer, we appeal to all our people to practice self restraint...and not allow themselves to be dragged along by the Israeli escalations and provocations," Arafat was quoted as saying in a cabinet statement
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Monday that he believed that there was a direct connection between the current wave of terror attacks and Israel's upcoming elections, scheduled for January 28.
Mofaz also said there was no reason why Israel should trust in Arafat's call or intention to stop terror attacks.
"We don't need to attach any importance to what [Arafat] says because he never intended to do the things he said to us - ending the terror and his desire to co-exist," Mofaz said in a radio interview in Hebrew.
"It's impossible to believe him. And all the time he continues as the leader of the Palestinians there is no chance for progress. He is acting today as a stumbling block to all positive progress," Mofaz said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet on Sunday that Arafat's declaration proved what Israel has maintained for the last two years - that he is well able to control the terrorism and use it when he wills.
"Before the elections, it is OK to commit murder," Sharon was quoted as saying in a cabinet statement.
"Close to the election date, it's better not to. After the elections, it's OK to continue. Here, we clearly see Yasser Arafat's true face, which is so well known to us," Sharon added.
Just hours after the cabinet meeting, two Israelis were killed on Sunday evening in two separate infiltrations, one into the Israeli Moshav of Gadish and a second near the Israeli-Egyptian border.
Eli Biton, 48, a father of four was gunned down as by two Palestinian gunman who had entered the northern Israeli farming community of Gadish, near the West Bank, as he drove in his car.
Israeli border police ran over one of the terrorists in a jeep, killing him and the second was killed in a long gun battle with Israeli forces. Five Israeli security personnel were lightly to moderately wounded in the exchanges.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. It was the third infiltration of a northern Israeli community in the last few months.
The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the double suicide bombing last Sunday in Tel Aviv, in which 23 people were killed, made it clear that it had not carried out the attack in light of Arafat's call to halt attacks.
Along the Israeli-Egyptian border, two armed infiltrators fired on an Israeli patrol, setting off a gun battle. Troops pursued the terrorists, during which time Michael Kazakov, 34, a reservist was killed and another soldier lightly injured, before the terrorists were killed.
The two were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and a number of ammunition magazines. It is still not clear whether the two were Palestinians and what their organizational affiliation was, an army spokesman said on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Palestinian terrorists fired three Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip, which landed in Israel. One of them landed just 70 meters from a school, where an eight-year-old boy was playing in the yard.
The funerals of two Palestinian youths, aged 14 and 19, killed in a failed Israeli helicopter attack were held in the Gaza Strip on Monday.
According to Palestinian reports, an Israeli helicopter fired several missiles at a car carrying two Hamas fugitives. The two managed to escape unharmed, but the two youths, who were riding their bicycles nearby were killed.
Two Palestinian armed with tens of grenades attacked a civilian bus in the Gaza Strip on Monday. The two terrorists threw grenades at the bus, disabling it. As soldiers arrived they identified two armed Palestinians running toward the bus and fired at them, killing them, an army spokesman said.
In a separate incident near Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian who ran a roadblock heading towards Hebron at high speed.
The soldiers fired warning shots and when he did not stop fired at the car, lightly injuring the man, an army spokesman said. The man was evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital, he said. No weapons were found in his car.
Hamas helped by PA
Hamas Cleric Sheikh Yassin said in an interview on a Muslim website, posted on Friday, that suicide bombings help to unify the Palestinian people and that Palestinian police have acted as accomplices helping Hamas to carry out terror attacks.
"Suicide attacks and Jihad reinforce national unity in the ranks," Yassin was quoted as saying by the Alskifa website. "Proof of this can be seen from the fact that all factions commit such attacks."
"The Palestinian Police force has, several times, aided fighters to perpetrate their actions, although also occasionally arresting them briefly in compliance with orders 'from above.' We have become used to this situation," Yassin said, according to a translation provided on the Israeli army's website.
According to Yassin, the PA is under enormous Israeli and American pressure to stop terror attacks but the PA supports Jihad and suicide bombings, even though it asks Hamas to stop the attacks.
Hamas, he said, has agreed to one or two week ceasefires in the past but completely stopping terror attacks would "definitely be rejected."
Yassin said the purpose of Hamas attending talks in Cairo over the last weeks was "to consolidate national unity, not to wave the white flag of surrender at the Jewish enemy."
Egyptian officials have been meetings with the heads of various Palestinian factions in Cairo for the last two months in order to try to bring about a ceasefire ahead of possible a U.S.-led offensive on Iraq.