Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Israel is being attacked by the same forces attacking Europe, and just as Israel stands with Europe, so too Europe must stand with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
The prime minister, speaking following a meeting with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Börge Brende, said that Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Paris “clearly demonstrates the disdain of radical Islam for the values we hold dear. We cherish freedom and tolerance; they worship tyranny and terror.
And through this terror they seek to impose a new dark age on humanity.”
Netanyahu said the terrorists were “part of a global movement and this necessitates a global response. I believe that with the strength of our resolve and the unity of our action, we can defeat this threat to our common civilization. And what the battle against terror requires is courage, clarity and consistency.”
PM Benjamin Netanyahu met with Norwegian FM Børge Brende
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said in an Israel Radio interview that precisely that type of determination has been missing up until now in France and elsewhere in Europe in the battle against terrorism.
The French in the past tried to delude themselves regarding the true nature of threat, saying “maybe it was only sporadic incidents, maybe it is only anti-Semitism, maybe it is only against the Jews,” Hanegbi said.
The French at times tried to understand the terrorists’ motivations, and at other times tried to downplay the terrorists’ ties to Islam, he said. The sheer brutality of Wednesday’s attack, especially the murder of the policeman on the sidewalk, will compel the French government to “look at the reality square in the face” and realize there is a serious danger at their gates, he continued.
Hanegbi predicted that France will be forced, as the US was after the September 11, 2001, attacks, to empower the security establishment with tools to effectively deal with the threats.
“France must deal with the threat coming from within,” he said. Hanegbi added that Israel, unfortunately, has quite a wealth of experience dealing with terrorism, and that “anyone who cooperates with a country as experienced [in dealing with terrorism] as Israel, only benefits.”
Israel has the capability to help France a lot more than the French have requested in the past, he said. Now, France “will have an interest in being helped by anyone who can help them, including Israel.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, meanwhile, took the Paris attack and used it to prove a point regarding domestic Israeli policies.
If there was an important lesson to be learned from the attack, he said, it is that extremist movements must be dealt with early, and that there are only small legal and semantic differences separating those organizations from terrorist groups.
Those who demonstrate tolerance toward those organizations will ultimately pay a high price in blood, as well as in threats to the very democracies that allow those organizations to work, Liberman said.
Israel’s lesson, he said, must be not to tarry and to stop the activities of Raed Salah and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Liberman said Salah’s organization was an inseparable link in the chain of terrorist organizations that includes Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaida and Islamic State. He said the organization “shares exactly the same values of the perpetrators of the massacre in Paris and its intolerance of criticism and of anything inconsistent with its extreme worldview.”
The northern branch is a threat to Israeli democracy and the country’s citizens, and it needs to be outlawed, Liberman said.
Netanyahu on Thursday sent a condolence letter to President François Hollande, saying that the attack on France “is an attack on us all. Free people everywhere must unite to confront radical Islamist terrorism and to protect ourselves against this threat to our common civilization.”
The Israeli people “stand with the people of France at this difficult time,” Netanyahu said.