Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with France, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night, as he called on the civilized world to unite to defeat the plague of global terrorism.
“An attack on any one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us,” Netanyahu said during a special press conference he held in Jerusalem just one day after at least 130 people were killed in a series of simultaneous terrorist attacks in Paris.
“Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians. It can never be justified,” he said. “Terrorism must always be condemned. It must always be fought. Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause. As I’ve said for many years, militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization and our values.
“All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism,” he added.
He said Israel’s security and intelligence forces had passed information to their counterparts in France and other European countries and are prepared to assist them further in any way possible. Israel has asked France for increased security around Jewish institutions, Netanyahu said, as he urged French Jews to follow instructions issued by French security forces.
“Every Jew, whether he chooses to or not, knows that he has a home in Israel,” Netanyahu said.
He added that he is certain that Jews who live in France know that the French government is working to combat both the scourge of terrorism and attacks against Jews.
The Paris attacks, along with terrorist activities in the Sinai desert and the downing of a Russian airliner, raise questions as to whether or nor the civilized world is prepared to unit against militant Islamic terrorism and terrorist groups such as Islamic State, Netanyahu said.
The intention of these groups is very clear and the civilized world must be equally intent on combating them, he said.
“I have called for this for many years,” Netanyahu added, drawing a connection between the Paris attacks and the killing of Ya’akov and Netanel Litman in the South Hebron Hills on Friday.
“You can’t fight terrorism selectively,” Netanyahu said. “You can’t say these are the good terrorists and these are the bad terrorists. All terrorists are bad."
“Just as we have condemned murderous acts around the world, so too I expected condemnation to be issued against the murders that occurred yesterday, of Yaakov and Natanel Litman,” he noted. “We are standing on the front lines [of the battle] against terrorism, that is increasingly being transformed from Palestinian nationalistic terrorism to Islamic terrorism,” Netanyahu said.
He explained that it is this Islamic terrorism that is spreading throughout the region and the world.
“I expect [international] support for Israel when it fights terrorism,” he said, “just as Israel supports France and other countries,” Netanyahu said.
President Reuven Rivlin said Saturday night he is “shocked and pained by the murderous terrorist attacks yesterday, in the heart of Paris. On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send my sincere condolences to the French people and to the families who lost their loved ones. The State of Israel stands alongside you in your uncompromising struggle against terrorism.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent condolences in the name of the Knesset, and said “the terrorist attacks must be a wake-up call to all countries in the free world and their leaders. Wake up and declare, once and for all, an all-out war on extremist Muslim terrorism, before the entire West turns into the scene of a bloody terrorist attack.”
Edelstein sent a letter of condolences to his counterparts at the French National Assembly and Senate.
The Knesset will be lit in the colors of the French flag, and Israeli flags will be lowered to half-mast in solidarity with France.
Culture Minister Miri Regev pointed out that the EU removed Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations and said that, “In the eyes of Europeans, the murderous terrorist attacks in Israel and the massacre of innocent people are a legitimate struggle... [but] France said they would act to put Hamas back on the black list.
“France didn’t know that in less than a year it would bleed and hurt as we do from the day we were founded, but it apparently did know that the threat of Muslim terrorism is not only on Israel, but on the whole world,” she added, offering condolences to the families of those killed.
Regev expressed hope that the blood of the victims was not shed in vain and that the world will fight radical Islam around the world.
“Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, it is the solution,” she said.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said his heart is with the French people.
“France is a proud nation and an old friend of Israel, and our hearts are with them on these days, and we will help them in any way they need. As a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, I can say our cooperation with the French is closer than most Israelis know, and we will continue to work together to fight terrorism that threatens all of us,” he added.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said, “When we look at Europe of today, which is busy labeling settlement products when the Middle East is on fire in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and other places, we understand the problem.
“The problem is that there is no political willpower or determination by the Europeans to deal with reality,” he stated.
“Without strong leadership willing to go all the way, we cannot expect a real change in the results of the struggle against radical Islam.”
Liberman also called for European Jews to make aliya.
The Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem Development Authority announced Saturday night that at midnight they will illuminate the capital’s Old City walls from IDF Square to the Tower of David with the colors of the French flag.
In a statement, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the terrorist attack that took at least 129 lives in Paris on Friday, and expressed solidarity with the people of France.
“Today the entire world understands what we have been experiencing in Israel and Jerusalem in recent decades – murderous terror fueled by hate and a death mission against innocent civilians in the West,” he said. “We must unite together against all forms of terrorism.”Daniel K. Eisenbud contributed to this report.
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