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 Thursday.
Netanyahu, speaking following a meeting with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge 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.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi 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.
Hanegbi said 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.”
He said that the French at times tried to understand the terrorists motivations, and at other times tried to downplay their ties to Islam. The sheer brutality of Wednesday 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 said.
Hanegbi predicted that France will be forced, like 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 deal of experience dealing with terrorism, and that “anyone who cooperates with a county as experienced [in dealing with terrorism] as Israel, only benefits.”
He said that Israel has the capability to help France a lot more than the French have requested in the past. Now, he said, 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, he said, will ultimately pay a high price in blood, as well as in threats to their very democracies that allows those organizations to work.
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 the 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 world view.”
Liberman said the the northern branch is a threat to Israeli democracy and the country’s citizens, and that it needed to be outlawed.