Minister Yisrael Katz speaking at ICT.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN/ICT)
“The prime minister must demand from President Trump that he freeze, change or cancel the Iran nuclear deal,” Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Monday at the IDC Herzliya International Institute for Counter-Terrorism conference.
“The lesson from North Korea,” Katz continued, “is that talks and compromise, in place of taking a stark position, with dictators who act openly and clandestinely to obtain nuclear abilities will in the end lead to crossing the threshold and to changing the rules of the game.”
The world needs “to obligate Iran to sign a new agreement which will never allow it to advance to a nuclear weapon, as President Trump promised,” Katz added.
Regarding Iranian intervention in Syria, Katz said “the prime minister must not let the US off of involvement in fashioning the future of Syria and in fulfilling an effective role in guarding over the national security interests of Israel... and not to, in practice, cede the field to Iran.”
Not to be outdone, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, at the same conference, railed against Iran as the source of nearly all terrorism in the region and threats to Israeli security. He listed Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah as groups that could not survive without financial support from Iran.
While recognizing that Iran, as a Shi’ite state, does not sponsor all Sunni terrorist groups, he said Iran does make exceptions for Hamas and even occasionally had worked with al-Qaida.
More importantly, he said Iran is the only state that has the mix of being a state sponsor of terrorism with real long-term planning, staying power, being close to obtaining nuclear weapons and a growing presence throughout the region.
He also lamented that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s budget had grown by 40%, which means more trouble for the region in the future.
Later at the conference, a variety of foreign officials addressed other terrorist threats. London Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland said that after recent terrorist attacks in England, the country brought large military forces onto the streets and streamlined arrests in a range of areas.
Both he and UK Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations Mark Rowley explained how England is using new legislation and new levels of cooperation between police and security agencies to adjust to homegrown lone-wolf terrorism.
Rowley said that the West still has a long way to go to fully monitor and try to preempt lone-wolf attacks locally, online and globally.
He explained that in two-thirds of the cases of those planning attacks in the UK, a family member or friend had noticed something was off, but had not reported it. The UK official said that overcoming this cultural challenge is key.
Issuing a challenge to Facebook, he recognized an earlier statement by a Facebook official about getting tough on removing terrorist propaganda, and also issued a challenge that he hopes Facebook will follow through on that commitment.
Top French counterterrorism official in the Foreign Ministry Eric Danon noted that France has a new intelligence service in the prisons to preempt radicalization of prisoners, as part of a range of new tools to fight homegrown terrorism.
He said that with 17 out of 51 terrorist attacks this year against Western countries occurring in France, it had been hit harder than any other Western country, and is fighting back accordingly.
He continued that counterterrorism professionals have started to ask psychiatrists to warn them about patients who might pose a danger in the future.
France, he said, has recently gone so far as to intervene in Islamic practice, including closing certain Salafi mosques and removing certain extremist imams.
France also has passed a new law permitting the government to more aggressively block and remove terrorist online content as well as prosecute those who post such content.