The terrorists who struck in Brussels, like those who attacked in Paris, San Bernardino, Istanbul, the Ivory Coast and in daily attacks in Israel, have no “resolvable grievances,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday.
“It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels, or Istanbul or California, or even the West Bank. That won’t satisfy their grievances. Because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination,” Netanyahu said in a live address from his Jerusalem office to the AIPAC conference in Washington.
The terrorists’ basic demand “is that we should simply disappear,” he said, adding “that’s not going to happen. The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together. That’s how we’ll defeat terrorism – with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.”
Netanyahu called the series of attacks around the world “one continuous assault on all of us.”
US President Barack Obama condemned the attacks on his last day in Cuba, and phoned his Belgian counterpart, Prime Minister Charles Michel, with condolences.
“This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism,” Obama said in a speech from Havana. “We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible.”
On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton, the presumed presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, recommitted herself to the battle against Islamic State, and emphasized the need to fight them online, where “radical jihadists,” as she characterized them, are successfully operating and coordinating in dark and encrypted web spaces.
She said the attack was a reminder of the importance and relevance of the NATO alliance – headquartered in Brussels – as Europe and the US together fight Islamist organizations.
Donald J. Trump, front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, called for the US to divest from NATO on Monday.
Reacting to the news out of Brussels, Trump said with confidence: “This is going to happen in the United States."
“They’re coming in by the thousands and just watch what happens – I’m a pretty good prognosticator – just watch what happens over the years. It won’t be pretty,” he said.
Trump also took the opportunity to renew his call for expanded torture laws.
“Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine,” Trump said. “If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding.
You have to get the information from these people.”
Back in Israel, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “This is a Third World War against our common values. Terrorism must unite Western countries to unite for a determined, creative and uncompromising fight against its origins, funders and operators.”
Western culture is under attack from extremist Islamic terrorism, which is relentless and indiscriminate, Ya’alon added, saying security forces and intelligence agencies from free world states must join forces.
“If this war is not dealt with using the right tools at all levels, it will continue to strike and spread destruction,” he added.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon reached out to his Belgian counterpart Bénédicte Frankinet on Tuesday to “share in the deep sorrow of the people of Belgium.”
“Our citizens know all too well the pain and the loss that terrorism inflicts on families and communities and we wish you better days ahead,” Danon wrote in his letter to the Belgian UN ambassador. “Terrorism does not differentiate between Turks and Americans or between Europeans and Israelis. Now is the time to stand together and unite in a joint battle to eradicate international terrorism.”
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in a statement the attacks prove that terrorism knows no borders and is fueled by “a blind hatred to harm and destroy western culture and replace it with extreme Islam.”
Katz said a global front must be set up to fight this phenomenon, and that Israel has much to contribute to this struggle.
He also said stricter measures, such as the law he is pushing to enable the deportation of the families of terrorists, need to be adopted to act as a deterrence to prevent future attacks.
Meanwhile, Science, Technology and Space Minister Ophir Akunis, after sending his condolences to the Belgian people, said: “Many in Europe preferred to busy themselves with the folly of condemning Israel, labeling products and boycotts,” while all the while, he said in a Facebook post, “thousands of extremists Islamic terrorist cells sprouted up right under their noses.”
Some underestimated the threat, were in denial and mocked those who tried to give a warning, he added. “Unfortunately, reality hit hard and cut short the lives of dozens of innocent people.”
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni said the free world, including Israel, must now work together with the moderate Islamic world against extremist Islamic terrorism. “There is no compromise with them, and against them force must be used. Each nation must take a side in this struggle,” she said.
Livni added, however, that it was forbidden to allow fear and hate to dominate the conversation and “harm the very values for which we are fighting.”
Israel is battling both Islamic religious terrorism, which is unsolvable, as well as a terrorism that is connected to the nationalist struggle with the Palestinians.
“Each threat has its answer, and the role of the leadership now is to prevent the national conflict from turning into a religious one,” she said.Yaakov Lappin and Danielle Ziri contributed to this report.