If no distinction is made between the deliberate killing of children by
terrorists and the unintentional strikes on civilians during a military action
against terrorism – then the terrorists win, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
said Wednesday in a further assault on comments made earlier by EU foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Netanyahu’s comments came before a meeting
with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, who arrived in Israel earlier in the
day to take part in the funerals of the four French Jews killed in the terrorist
attack in Toulouse.
While Netanyahu did not mention Ashton by name, it
was clear what he had in mind when he expressed his appreciation for the clear
line President Nicolas Sarkozy and the French government took against the
“I believe that the struggle against terrorism requires
greater clarity,” he said. “Terrorism is a systematic and deliberate attack on
civilians, a deliberate attack against children.
There is a substantial
difference between such deliberate attacks against civilians and children, and
unintentional strikes against civilians that are part of legitimate actions to
Ashton triggered a wave of Israeli criticism Monday
when she lumped together the Toulouse attack with the death of children in
Netanyahu also said it was necessary to fight “extraordinary
propaganda against Israel and Jews everywhere, against innocents, which leads
these people to perpetrate such barbaric acts.”
Before the funeral, Juppé
met with President Shimon Peres and declared France’s commitment to fighting all
manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism.
Racism, anti-Semitism and
terrorism run counter to the French credo of liberty, equality and fraternity,
and France will continue to use all energies at its disposal to stamp them out,
The French foreign minister said he had come to Israel to
demonstrate solidarity with the people of Israel, who regard the murdered
children as their children. In fact, he said, “their blood is that of both our
France and Israel have a strong and deep relationship, he
continued. They may not always see eye-to-eye, but on central issues – such as
the humanitarian values of human dignity and the war against terrorism – they
are of one accord.
Israel’s safety and security is of great importance to
France and his country will always defend Israel’s right to it, Juppé said,
noting that “the president and prime minister had mobilized all the necessary
forces to bring the [terrorist] barbarian to justice.”
specifically to the tragedy which had brought him to Israel, he said, “There is
Peres said that Juppé’s participation in the funerals
was a profound expression of the strength of the relationship between Israel and
Israel stands in the frontlines of seeking peace and combating
terrorism, said Peres, adding that “children are our greatest treasures and we
must do everything to guarantee their safety.”
Peres commended the
measures taken by France against Iran and terrorist organizations, and declared
that the world must join forces against terrorist threats.