Netanyahu: Militant states behind attacks

by Megh Duwadi | 11/5/01 6:00am

Manchester, NH -- Militant Islamic state sponsors were at the root of the current terrorist threat facing America and its allies according to Binyamin Netanyahu, former Israeli prime minister.

"If you take away state support, the whole scaffolding for international terrorism will collapse," he told an audience at Saint Anselm College in Manchester on Friday.

He blamed Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, along with the Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat's "dictatorship," for being "at the base of the destruction." He alleged that these governments provide terrorist organizations with money, intelligence and embassy access.

Comparing the actions of militant Islamists to those of communists and Nazis, he said, "Each of us is a target today."

"The only way [the terrorists'] mad fantasy will be achieved will be the destruction of the United States," which terrorist organizations view as "the great Satan," he said.

He said the current wave of terrorism stems from "the replacement of monarchies with fervent Islamic radicals to drive the western presence out of the Middle East."

According to Netanyahu, these radicals "want to reverse the past 1,000 years," and so they have progressively aimed their aggression against Israel and its allies.

As he rallied support for the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign, Netanyahu received multiple standing ovations. One came when he stated, "We have the power to destroy them -- now we must show the will."

He continued, "You can only win internationally if you have moral clarity. Stick to the mission -- don't worry about the coalition."

Netanyahu acknowledged that the majority of the world's Muslim population does not support terrorist actions.

The former prime minister expressed vehement opposition to the creation of a unilateral Palestinian state, especially in light of the current international crisis.

"If you create a new terrorist state, led by Arafat, if would be another link in a chain of terrorism," he said. "The U.S. should say, 'We're not going to sacrifice our allies to their whims.' We must tell Arafat to surrender the terrorists or surrender power."

Netanyahu decried what he called the "moral obfuscation" of Arafat's "poisonous propaganda" and drew similarities between the Palestinian leader and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

The speech was presented as a "town meeting," where he was introduced by New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith. The leaders were received with great enthusiasm and a standing ovation by students, visitors and the media.

Netanyahu spent his youth in the United States and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After being elected leader of Israel's Likud Party in 1993, opposing peace agreements negotiated by then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, he served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999.

Following a marked rise in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in Israel, Netanyahu's popularity rose as citizens grew to appreciate his hard-line approach of few compromises and increased security. This won him the votes needed to win a heated election against Rabin's successor, Shimon Peres.

Having gained little ground in the peace process during his term, Netanyahu was defeated resoundingly by Labor Party centrist Ehud Barak in 1999. In the weeks following the Sept. 11 attacks, he has traveled to the United States and Great Britain to speak on issues of national security.

"Nothing justifies terrorism -- nothing," he concluded. "If you stick to the mission, you will win this war."