Katsav: World must do more to fight international terrorism

The international community is not doing enough to fight and defeat international terrorism, President Moshe Katsav has charged. Katsav was hosting a reception on Monday for members of the Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University who are in Israel to mark the university's jubilee year. No one can differentiate between terrorism in the Middle East and international terrorism, said Katsav, who added that the world must now stand united to fight international terrorism with the determination and the cooperation of world leaders. While Israel was willing to recognize the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state, said Katsav, the Palestinian government denied Israel's right to exist. Convinced that the policy of the Palestinian government is not the policy of the Palestinian people, Katsav said: "I separate the government from the people. I believe that the majority of the Palestinian people want to make real and permanent peace with Israel." Peace did not depend on political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, he clarified, but on who would win on the Palestinian side. If Hamas remained in power, then chances of peace are unlikely, he said. But if Mahmoud Abass and his colleagues regained power, negotiations could resume, Katsav said. Katsav said Iran posed an even greater threat to peace than Hamas, and that Iran had created a situation which was worse than the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. A totalitarian regime, cooperating with international terrorism and trying to achieve nuclear power, was a great danger not only to Israel, said Katsav, but to stability and peace in Europe and in moderate Arab countries. He regretted that the constructive elements in the Muslim world "are afraid to raise their voices against radicalism and extremism." Of Tel Aviv University, which, with a student population of 27,000 is now the largest university in Israel, Katsav said that the influence of TAU on all spheres of development in Israel was phenomenal. The university's alumni are well represented in government ministries and institutions, he observed, and the university's outreach program had brought in students from peripheral communities and enabled them to realize their potential. "We're proud that Israel is one of the most advanced countries in scientific and technological research and TAU is part of that," said Katsav.