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BELGIAN SOLDIERS patrol outside European Commission headquarters in Brussels as police searched the area following the Paris terror attacks in mid-November that claimed the lives of 130 people.(Photo by: REUTERS)
United against terrorism
The fight against international terrorism is a historical battle but also a moral battle.
Nice. Munich. Istanbul. Tel Aviv. Orlando. Brussels. Paris. The names of the cities become seared in our memory. The places may change, but the tactics are the same. Cruelty, barbarity and inhumanity are words that come to mind in the savage murder of innocent civilians. There can be no excuses for terrorism, no posturing, no ifs, ands or buts. There must be only complete and unequivocal condemnation.

Unfortunately, we in Israel have become all too used to terrorism.

And all too often in the past, we found that the international community loses its voice when it comes to terrorism in Israel. But there must be no double standards. We must understand that only if we are united will we win. Not just governments, but also people.

There must be zero tolerance for terrorism everywhere, anywhere, and via shared intelligence and counter-terrorism, we must take our fight to the terrorists before they attack us.

We must understand that the most basic human right is the right to life. At the same time, education, respect, and recognition of the other are fundamentals to victory. That is why our battle against terrorism is necessarily two-pronged and must be fought with equal vigor on both fronts. But terrorist groups have no such words in their lexicon.

They preach hate, violence and murder. We must recognize, too, that incitement breeds violence.

The recent declaration by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he will be taking the UK to court over the 1917 Balfour Declaration only strengthens the extremist camp and legitimizes terrorism against Israel.

This is all the more troubling and revealing when it comes from someone the international community dubs a “moderate” leader. What message is that sending to the “extremists”? As if on key, Abbas’ own Fatah party subsequently boasted that one of its main achievements was “killing 11,000 Israelis.”

This demagogic and malevolent claim, which was made in Arabic on one of the party’s official Facebook pages, brought back troubling memories of the late Yasser Arafat’s treacherous double-speak, almost simultaneously talking about peace in the international English press while urging jihad in the Arabic media.

“Study the past if you would define the future,” Confucius once said. Indeed, over the past decade many analysts and historians including the renowned Middle East expert Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not so much a territorial conflict over land, but rather as an existential conflict over Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state in the Middle East.

As a mother of two young children, and a government minister, no one would like to see peace more than I do. I don’t want my children, when they come of age, to have to fight anymore. But the reality we live in, and 68 years of existence of the State of Israel have shown that this conflict is very deep, and will take time to resolve – as will the fight against the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism worldwide.

The fight against international terrorism is a historical battle but also a moral battle.

There can be no capitulation to barbarism.

The writer is minister for social equality and a member of the Likud Party.
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