Accessibility links

Breaking News

Netanyahu: US Could Also Face Suicide Bombers - 2002-04-10

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the United States and the international community for pressuring Israel to end its military actions against Palestinian terrorists. Mr. Netanyahu says Israel deserves more support in its war on terrorism.

In his remarks in Washington, and earlier in New York, Mr. Netanyahu said he wanted to remind the United States about the objectives of the wider global war on terror.

Referring to U.S. pressure on Israel to stop military actions in Palestinian territories, he said the Bush administration is running the risk of losing the war on terrorism by abandoning its principles.

"I am concerned that when it comes to terror directed against Israel, the moral and strategic clarity that is so crucial for victory, is being lost," said Mr. Netanyahu. "I am concerned that the imperative of defeating terror everywhere is being ignored when the main engine of Palestinian terror is allowed to remain intact."

Focusing on suicide bombings, Mr. Netanyahu warned that if the practice is not stopped now, the United States and other countries could find themselves facing similar and even more devastating attacks.

"If a democracy like Israel that is attacked by these human bombs coming from Arafat's terror factories, if this continues, then it is just a question of time before these human bombs will reach the coffee shops, restaurants, pizzerias and discos of the United States and of the Western world," said Mr. Netanyahu. "And it is just a question of a little more time before these human bombs will come with suitcase devices of mass death that will make September 11 seem pale by comparison."

Mr. Netanyahu, who is expected to make another political run for prime minister, accused Mr. Arafat of destroying the Oslo peace accords "tearing them up and soaking them in Jewish blood." A political process, he added, could only begin after Palestinian terrorism is destroyed.

The former Israeli prime minister says Mr. Arafat should be expelled. And he says Israel must continue to search for and destroy Palestinian terror cells, and eventually must wall off Palestinian territories to ensure that suicide bombers and other terrorists cannot stage more attacks.

A Palestinian spokesman immediately condemned Mr. Netanyahu's remarks. In comments to CNN, Hassan Abdel Rahman, the chief PLO representative in the United States, compared the suggestion to the former apartheid system in South Africa.

As Mr. Netanyahu was speaking, Secretary of State Colin Powell was making his way to the Middle East where he will begin a new round of U.S. mediation efforts.

Speaking in Madrid, Mr. Powell said his mission was not in the least bit jeopardized. He said he intends to meet Mr. Arafat and hopes there will be no difficulties in arranging the meeting.