Netanyahu urges anti-terror unity after Brussels attacks, affirms 2-state support

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen.

( Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference through a live video address on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged “unity” in the fight to defeat global terrorism amid the unfolding news of that morning’s coordinated terror attacks that killed about 30 people in Brussels.

“This is one continuous assault on all of us,” Netanyahu said. “In all these cases, the terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It’s not as if we can offer them Brussels, or Istanbul, or even the West Bank…because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should basically disappear. Well my friends, that’s not going to happen. The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together. That’s how we’ll defeat terrorism, with political unity and moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.”

Calling Israel an “island of liberty” in a sea of instability, Netanyahu said the Jewish state should be “a great cause of liberty that unites Americans” rather than dividing them. 

The prime minister said there are two “contradictory trends,” one negative and the other positive, developing with regard to Israel. On the one hand, he said, delegations from various nations are coming to Israel to learn about security, intelligence capabilities, and technology, while Israel has diplomatic relations with an all-time high 161 countries. On the other hand, Netanyahu lamented that Israel is “slandered like no other country on Earth” at the United Nations and is permanently scheduled for condemnation at the U.N. Human Rights Council, while nations like Iran, Syria, and North Korea are not subjected to the same treatment.

Only the U.N., Netanyahu said, would seek to impose an Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement on Israel while the Palestinians “stab their way to a state.” Netanyahu said he hopes the U.S. maintains “its longstanding position to reject such a U.N. resolution” on Palestinian statehood, and that he was glad to hear presidential candidates from both parties “reaffirm this principle” in their AIPAC conference speeches—that peace will only come through direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Netanyahu affirmed his own commitment to “two states, for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state finally recognizes the Jewish state.”

“I know there’s some skepticism about my views on this,” acknowledged the prime minister. He continued, “Here’s the acid test: I’m ready to begin such negotiations immediately, without preconditions. Anytime, anywhere. That’s a fact. But [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas is not ready to do so. That’s also a fact. There’s political will here, in Jerusalem, there’s no political will there, in Ramallah.” 

In recent years, Abbas “has refused to talk to me, even for a minute,” Netanyahu said. The PA president’s incitement to violence “has deadly consequences,” he added, proceeding to show the crowd a video of the daily PA pledge of allegiance for youths, which included statements such as “take along a rock at night.”

“I am confident over time that the trend of embracing Israel will overcome the trend of maligning Israel,” Netanyahu said, “because ultimately, freedom beats tyranny, and ultimately, when vigorously defended, truth beats lies.”

Posted on March 22, 2016 .