Foreign Minister Avigdor Libeman speaks at the INSS 8th Annual Ineternational Conference, February 17, 2015.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday joined former basketball star Charles Barkley in praising Jordan’s King Abdullah for killing two terrorists after Islamic State burned to death a Jordanian pilot.
Liberman told the annual Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv that Israel must change the way it deals with terrorism. He pledged that his Yisrael Beytenu Party – after the upcoming election – would initiate a law calling for the death penalty for terrorists.
The foreign minister slammed Israel’s policy toward terrorist organizations over the decades, saying that instead of “building an iron wall,” it has –through a series of prisoner releases – both given the terrorist organizations hope and strengthened them.
“We have released thousands of terrorists over the last number of decades, terrorists responsible for some of the worst attacks,” he said. “That is simply the wrong message.
It is a message that encourages terrorism and that creates more and more terrorists.”
Liberman said that Israel’s decision late last month not to react to Hezbollah’s killing of two soldiers and wounding seven others on Har Dov was the wrong message.
“Israel cannot not respond to the killing of soldiers and the wounding of others,” he said.
“And I see how King Abdullah responded to the burning of the Jordanian pilot,” by executing the next day two convicted terrorists on death row, and bombing Islamic State positions inside Syria.
Barkley, in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Monday, also referred to Abdullah’s response, saying that because of that response, the Jordanian king is one of the persons living today he would most like to meet.
“I think his actions when they burned that kid alive, I thought his actions were heroic,” Barkley said. “He was like, ‘No, you cannot do that to my people.’ I wish President Obama was like that sometimes.
I do. I think that is the way we have to treat ISIS. We can’t keep thinking it will go away. I thought it was heroic what Abdullah did.”
Liberman also praised Egypt’s reaction – it bombed Islamic State targets in Libya – following that organization’s brutal murder and mass beheading this week of 21 kidnapped Egyptian Copts.
Liberman said the gap between what Israel preaches regarding how to deal with terrorists and what it actually does “is not healthy.”
He repeated his criticism of the government’s decision not to go for a decisive victory over Hamas during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the third round of fighting with Hamas following the military operations in 2008-2009 and 2012. He said that a fourth round is inevitable, and that in order to fend off a fifth one Israel must register a knockout blow during the next round of fighting.
Liberman listed terrorism, not Iran, as the world’s greatest challenge, and charted the growth of terrorist organizations from being small, ideology- driven cells to super-armed organizations that, like Islamic State, now control territory more than twice the size of Israel.
One such organization, Hezbollah, has an arsenal larger than most NATO states, he noted. Like a nightmarish Hollywood movie, he said that the next stage is for these organizations to get non-conventional weapons, such as biological or chemical weapons, or even a “dirty” radioactive device.
Liberman said that the terrorist organizations pose an acute danger to the world, because, unlike the Cold War standoff between the former Soviet Union and the US, they are not rational.
“They preach jihad, suicide, killing as many civilians as possible,” he said. “That is their substance: they live to die.”
Liberman said that this phenomenon must be defeated.
“It is the same as the Nazi regime, which was not a rational regime, but was motivated by crazy ideology, a crazy world view, and they were willing to destroy the whole world,” he said. “We are today facing a different version of the same thing.”