Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday put forth a robust defense of Israel’s diplomatic positions and called on the world to “draw a clear distinction between civilization and the agents of death.”
Speaking at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, she opened by telling the story of “Sara Tehiya Litman, a 20-year-old from Otniel” who “was supposed to get married yesterday.” Shaked recounted with rising emotion how a terrorist killed Litman’s father, Yaakov, and brother Netanel, and that “Sara’s wedding was postponed. A celebration gave way to a funeral.”
The justice minister tied the terrorist attack into last weekend’s terrorist attacks in France, which largely overshadowed the terrorist attack in Israel.
Despite being overlooked, Israel understands “the pain and sorrow of France, our cherished ally,” she said.
Shaked: "This war is not limited to France. It is not a local conflict but a global war"
Quoting French President Francois Hollande’s declaration of war against “a jihadist army,” she said that “the war is not limited to France. That’s not a local conflict but a global war.”
She continued, “The attacks in Paris are just the latest episode in the sequence of terrorist attacks – stretching from Beersheba, Kiryat Arba, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – in which dark forces threaten civilization.”
Remarking about the scope of the threat, Shaked stated, “Those attacks are motivated by one hatred seeking to hurt those who believe or pray differently.
Christians, Muslims, Jews and other believers and nonbelievers are all a fair target for radical Islamists.”
Moving from terrorism generally to Iran, Shaked said it was a mistake for the West to think “Iran is not a problem but a solution. They argue that Iran may contribute to the fighting against ISIS.”
Rather, Iran “is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism.
Though ISIS is Sunni, Shi’a terrorism may be just as detrimental.”
Addressing the West’s belief that Iran’s current leadership is more moderate, Shaked argued: “It is unfortunate that some in the international community are deceived by Iran President Hassan Rouhani’s soft tone.”
She stated that removing sanctions on Iran would immediately spark a conventional weapons arms race, with an unconventional one starting when the deal expires in 10 years.
Shaked called on diplomats “to realize that Israel is the only source of stability in the Middle East. Now is the time to recalibrate national and international doctrines to face reality.”
Striking a tone of unity, she declared that “the order of the day is to unite in our commitment not to let terrorism win! Terrorism will not determine our destiny; it will not deprive us of freedom, security and hope.“ Then Shaked turned her criticism on the EU.
“Sometimes the international community perceives Israel as the problem. A recent regrettable example is the European Union decision to label products made in Israeli settlements,” she said.
She dismissed the impact of the labeling as of only “symbolic significance” but still called it inconsistent and said: “This decision shames the European Union.”
Shifting to advice-giver, she suggested the EU “should seek a positive, constructive role rather than get distracted by unhelpful symbolic measures which give energy to terrorism.”
The EU was not the only one to feel the brunt of Shaked’s criticism. She also slammed “biased reporting” which she called “unjust.”
Further, she called out “the many NGOs which operate in Israel but are funded by other nations and seek to undermine Israeli policy.”
She questioned whether England or Spain would tolerate outside countries encouraging breakaway and insurgent groups that have caused them trouble.
“Peace is the outcome of mutual recognition of sovereignty and the right to live in freedom and security” and “will be achieved not by international pressure but through direct negotiations between the parties,” she said.
Citing Hamas’s covenant, Shaked declared, “Make no mistake: Israel’s struggle against terrorism did not start in 1967 and will not end with a decision to retreat to the 1967 borders.”
Sounding a determined note, she said some “are committed to fighting us, not until we give away land but until we leave this land. And this will never happen.”
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