Netanyahu calls Obama to congratulate him on Pakistan raid

Top Israeli politicians praise US on historic victory; Peres: "World will be better without bin Laden."

May 2, 2011 21:52
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu open mouth 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Yin Dongxun)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and other top Israeli politicians, congratulated the United States Monday on its historic victory in assassinating Osama bin Laden.

In the evening, Netanyahu spoke personally on the telephone with US President Barack Obama to tell him bin Laden’s elimination sent an important message regarding American determination to fight terror. Obama thanked Netanyahu for the call, and said the US is committed to eradicating terror.

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Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, heard of Bin Laden’s death from US officials before Obama made a public announcement at 11:35 p.m. on Sunday, US time.

Just over an hour later, Netanyahu sent out a congratulatory note to the media. He followed it with a video-taped message on YouTube in both Hebrew and English.

“This is a historic day for the United States of America, and for all the countries engaged in the battle against terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “I want to congratulate President Obama and the American people. I want to congratulate America’s soldiers and its intelligence personnel for a truly outstanding achievement.

“It took 10 years to track Osama bin Laden down. It took 10 years to bring a measure of justice to his victims. But the battle against terror is long and relentless and resolute. This is a day of victory, victory for justice, for freedom and for our common civilization,” Netanyahu added.

News of bin Laden’s death came as Israel commemorated the Nazi murder of six million Jews during World War Two.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony outside of Vilna, Lithuania – where thousands of Jews were killed – Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that bin Laden’s assassination “makes clear the ethical imperative of doing justice to the murderers. Existing threats against the State of Israel should be seen as a warning to the world of freedom.”

In Jerusalem, President Shimon Peres said that bin Laden had reached a just end.

“He killed thousands and thousands of people – people who were totally innocent – and he would have continued to kill,” Peres said. “He tried to murder people, to murder nations, including the State of Israel, and he reached his end. We should not fall victim to the belief that [terrorists] are immune ... they are weak, they are wrong and they are foolish. The world will become a better world without him.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman praised the US and Barack Obama for carrying out the successful mission that killed the al-Qaida leader.

“I praise the US for completing the mission that lasted 10 years,” he said. “They never gave up, they continued on the hunt for the most dangerous man in the world,” the foreign minister said during an interview with Army Radio.

Lieberman pointed out that it is very significant that it happened on Holocaust Memorial Day.

He added that even though bin Laden was based in Afghanistan, his death holds great operational significance.

“Bin Laden was the spiritual leader of the terror organization, but he was also the operational leader behind many terror attacks,” Lieberman said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “This is an important achievement for the US war on global terror. The US showed perseverance and operational daring on this mission.”

“We have proven once again that the war on terror – common to all the leading democracies of the world – will be decided through a far-reaching, shared effort, that has not come to an end.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said the assassination of bin Laden represented “a change in the equation of the free world’s struggle, led by the US, against terror.”

“Israel is a partner to the free world’s values and the fight against terror, and the struggle to preserve those values... and praises the American people for this monumental achievement,” she added.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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