Bennett at JPost conference: West can only effectively fight ISIS with ground troops

Education Minister speaks at Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, vowing to fight Israeli withdrawal from territory and the formation of a Palestinian state.

November 18, 2015 12:05
3 minute read.

Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference: Education Minister Naftali Bennett

Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference: Education Minister Naftali Bennett


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The West must be more committed to fighting the Islamic State if it wants to win the war, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference Wednesday, urging it to follow Israel’s example from Operation Defensive Shield, launched in 2002, during the second intifada.

“The country was confused and the government seemed paralyzed and helpless,” he recounted. “Experts said there was no military way to destroy terrorism... only a political solution.

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They said if we gave up enough land, there would be quiet.
Bennett: "Terror is not born out of despair

“They were wrong,” Bennett stated. “The Israeli government proved that terrorism can be defeated.”

The education minister said he wants to share that knowledge of how to defeat terrorism, with the world.

Bennett described how Israel managed to reduce the number of Israeli casualties from terrorism by 80 percent within weeks and eventually curbed almost all suicide bombings by sending troops into Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

“We went house to house, door to door to fight terrorist suspects... We captured terrorists at 3 a.m. at home so they wouldn’t blow up a cafe in Jerusalem or a bus in Tel Aviv at 3 p.m.,” he said.

Western intervention in Syria, thus far, is “not a real war. There’s no real commitment. It’s one step forward and two steps back,” he lamented.

“There is a decision that hasn’t been made yet and needs to be made: The next step is ground troops,” Bennett declared.

According to the education minister, “drones and tough words just won’t cut it... The world needs to go on the offensive. Israel 2002 is the model for how terrorism can be defeated.”

Bennett also took issue with those who say terrorists are acting out of desperation.

“Terrorism is born out of hope, the hope to take over Jerusalem, Paris and the rest of the world and turn it into a grand caliphate,” he posited.

As for the Security Cabinet’s decision to ban the Islamic Movement northern branch, Bennett explained that it is not a move against Israeli Arabs or Muslims and that it only targets a small group that incites against Israel. He pointed out that the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, which cooperates with the state, was not banned.

“Our policy is to warmly embrace the majority of Israeli Arabs and be tough on those who incite against us,” he stated, mentioning action he took to encourage integration, such as founding employment centers for Arabs and instituting Hebrew lessons from kindergarten in Arab schools.

Bennett said the current wave of Palestinian terrorism was sparked by incitement from the likes of Islamic Movement northern branch leader Sheik Raed Salah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who falsely claimed Israel seeks to destroy Al-Aksa Mosque.

The minister said terrorism must be fought and not rewarded.

“I will do everything possible to stop unilateral withdrawal and to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state smack in the middle of Israel,” he declared.

Bennett posited that a Palestinian state would be a failed one, mentioning Middle Eastern countries that have devolved into chaos in recent years.

“I have no doubt a Palestinian state would be taken over by Hamas and become a launchpad for rockets,” he said.

The minister presented his plan to annex Jewish settlements in Area C, saying of the Palestinians: “We don’t want to govern them. We don’t want to take their taxes or run their hospitals.”

He concluded by expressing optimism about Israel’s future.

“In this huge Islamic storm, Israel is a lighthouse that pierces the clouds,” he said.

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