Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a press conference on September 11,
2001, at a time when he did not hold a political position, and announced that he
had predicted attacks on the World Trade Center six years before they had taken
Netanyahu distributed to the reporters copies of pages of his 1995
book, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International
“After an interlude of several years in which the vigil
against terrorism was relaxed, new forces of domestic and international terror
have emerged,” Netanyahu wrote in the book’s prelude. “Chief among them are the
various strains of militant Islam, which likewise see their ultimate destiny as
leading to a final confrontation with the Great Satan, the United
Later in the book, Netanyahu suggested that the Iranians might
use militants loyal to them in the West to plant a nuclear bomb in the basement
of the World Trade Center.
“This may sound incredible or beyond the realm
of possibility,” Netanyahu wrote.
“Unfortunately, it is not. Anyone
familiar with the warped fanaticism and increasing technical proficiency of
Islamic militants cannot rule it out as a growing danger.”
predicted at the September 11, 2001, press conference that the day would be a
turning point in the history of the United States, similar to the 1941 Pearl
He used the press conference to attack plans for the West
Bank security fence, saying that Israel could not build a fence taller than the
American writer Daniel Pipes criticized Netanyahu in a 2009
article for claiming to have predicted the September 11 attacks.
nuclear bombing of the twin towers would have rendered all of New York City
uninhabitable for generations,” he wrote. “The two airliners on 9/11 brought
down the World Trade Center and destroyed nearby buildings, but otherwise New
York City remains very much inhabited and alive today, a dynamic world
Noting more recent claims by Netanyahu that he had predicted
“militant Islam bringing down the World Trade Center,” Pipes’s verdict was that
Netanyahu did not predict 9/11.
“The discrepancy between the actual text
of the 1995 book and recent claims reveals something small but troubling about
Netanyahu’s character, reminding me of the politician who served unsuccessfully
as prime minister in the 1990s rather than an older and wiser ‘new Bibi,’” Pipes
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