Israel Orders Officials Not To Speak To Media About Bombings

Jerusalem Post | July 8 2005

Comment: An obvious desperare attempt to prevent any more damaging leaks about the fact that Netanyahu got the warning not to leave his hotel room.

The Prime Minister's Office instructed Israeli officials not to give interviews to the foreign media Thursday on the London bombings.

After 9/11, Israel made some effort on international TV to impress upon the world that global terror and terror against Israelis were a common cause.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Finance Minister Binyamin Netanhayu conveyed similar messages, but only to the Hebrew-language media.

In the international arena this time the message was the following: "It's not a story with anything to do with Israel. It's a story of international terrorism in Britain and therefore we should be quiet," according to a government source.

The source indicated that part of the reason for such circumspection stemmed from the high level of "speculation" concerning the attacks. He specifically referred to a report that came out soon after Thursday's bombings that Israel had received advance warning of the attacks, pointing to the "danger that this kind of report can bring to Israel."

The Foreign Ministry, and Israeli embassy officials at the highest levels, totally rejected the report.

What one source did note, however, was that Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a call from British police soon after the first explosion, but before the full extent of the attacks was known, because it had occurred by the site of a conference at which he was to speak and for which he was about to depart. After the call from the police to his security staff, Netanyahu stayed put.

One Jewish official suggested that the "conspiracy theory" about Israel's prior warning lasted all day, despite immediate official denials, because a dispute still rages about whether Israeli officials tipped off British intelligence before the Israeli Embassy was bombed in 1994.

Others made a connection with the empty 9/11 rumor that Jews had received a warning to vacate the World Trade Center before the hijacked airplanes hit.

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