PM Netanyahu, discussing recent regional developments, continues to stress the equation between all terror groups while warning of the Iranian nuclear threat.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated Sunday what has become his axiom regarding international terrorism: “ISIS and Hamas and al-Qaeda and al-Nusra and Boko Haram and Hezbollah, supported by Iran – they’re branches of the same poisonous tree. It’s the same ideology with minor nuances.”
“What’s the great difference between ISIS (the Islamic State) and Hamas? The great difference, supposedly, between ISIS and Hamas is that those, the former lop heads off and the others shoot people in the head.”
Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s 14th International Conference in Herzliyah on Thursday, Netanyahu reiterated his equation of all terror groups, regardless of who they terrorized: “All present a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the world and to our common civilization.”
“I believe that the battle against these groups is indivisible and it’s important not to let any of these groups succeed anywhere because if they gain ground somewhere, they gain ground everywhere,” said Netanyahu.
Goal of Radical Islam: Return to Medievalism
He warned of their ultimate goal: “If they were to succeed, they would return humanity to a primitive early medievalism… primitive early medievalism where women are treated as cattle, as property, and gays are stoned and minorities persecuted if they’re left alive at all.”
Netanyahu embraced the US attempt to form a broad coalition against international terrorism. “These groups must be fought, they must be rolled back and they must ultimately be defeated. That’s why Israel fully supports President Obama’s call for united actions against ISIS. All civilized countries should stand together in the fight against radical terrorism that sweeps across the Middle East, sweeps across the world. And we are playing our part in this continued effort. Some of the things are known; some things are less known. We have always viewed it as our common battle for our common future.”
He believes this new coalition may bring to a shift in the Arab world’s attitude towards Israel: “Now the fight against Islamist terrorism has created new alliances in the Middle East…as a result of this, they’re reevaluating their relationship with Israel and they understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace.”
Islamic State and Iran: ‘Two Sides of the Same Coin’
Netanyahu voiced Israel’s’ fear that the fight against IS will cause the fight against Iran’s nuclear race to be overshadowed: “I think it’s crucial not to let the fight against Sunni extremism make us forget the danger of Shiite extremism. They are two sides of the same coin. We don’t have to strengthen one to weaken the other. My policy is: Weaken both. And most importantly, don’t allow any of them to get weapons of mass destruction…What would happen if the terrorist regime in Iran will have weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons? They control themselves today. They’ve put up a good front. But they have tremendous, tremendous ambitions. And those ambitions would be unleashed once they have nuclear weapons in their capacity. They must not have it.”
Ultimate Historical Lesson: Self-Defense
Netanyahu stated his support of international alliance, but concluded with the ultimate historical lesson: “You have to be able to protect yourself and if there’s one change that has been brought about in the history of the Jewish people since the establishment of the Jewish state, it’s our ability to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against any foe. That was and remains the basis of our policy.”
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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