Has Benjamin Netanyahu gone bananas? I don’t mean this as an aberration, like a politician who loses his marbles during a particular crisis. No, it was when I read the Israeli Prime Minister’s response to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, that I realised he just might be a bit insane. Ban referred to “the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians… especially young people” since an increase in attacks on Israelis began last October.
What Ban was saying was the truth, that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half-century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process”. And he spoke of how “oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation…”
Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s recent statements about Muslims, saying Israel “respects all religions” as he faced calls to call off an upcoming visit by the Republican front-runner.
Benjamin Netanyahu issued his statement late Wednesday, hours after it was announced that Trump will be visiting Israel at the end of the month.
“The state of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens,” the statement said. “At the same time, Israel is fighting against militant Islam that targets Muslims, Christians and Jews alike and threatens the entire world.”
I’m not going to tell you what is the mixture of air power, ground power and other means to fight these people,” he said, in answer to the question whether ground troops needed to be committed by the West. “I am saying that you’re not going to change them, you will not win them over, you’ll not pacify them.”
“Militant Islam must be identified, condemned and fought,” he declared. “The only way to defeat this is the way Nazism was defeated; first, you defeat then you de-Nazify. That’s the order. That’s the priority. And it must be now a common agenda to defeat the forces of militant Islam and not to compromise with this.”