'War on terrorism' may
not be enough
By Tim Williams
Daily Cougar Staff
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu called upon the United States to expand its war on terrorism
to include regimes in
Arab states like Iran and Syria in a Sunday
speech at Houston's Congregation Emanu El.
"Terrorists have to reside in sovereign
states," Netanyahu said. "They have to have a place that's safe, where
they can hatch plans and
The former leader of Israel's Likud Party
identified Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan's Taliban, "Yasser Arafat's dictatorship
(in Palestine)," Syria
and Yemen as regimes that offer such safe
havens to terrorists.
"Syria has (terrorist organizations') offices
with nameplates on them," he said.
Comparing suicidal terrorists to Japanese
pilots attacking U.S. ships late in World War II, he said, "If you want
to go after the kamikaze
pilot, you have to go after the carrier."
Netanyahu was elected prime minister in
1996 with just a 1 percent winning margin in a divided Israeli parliament.
His election followed
the assassination of opposing Labor Party
leader Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli law student opposed to the Rabin's policies
with the Palestinian Authority.
A controversial figure in a wary America,
Netanyahu's visit garnered a large police presence and required audience
members to pass
through metal detectors.
Terrorists compose a small faction of the
vast Muslim population, but they have a strong will to remove all Western
what they consider to be the core territories
of Islam, Netanyahu said.
"They have a bloodlust not only for the
enemy -- they produce and glorify hordes willing to die for their effort,"
The terrorists are successful in carrying
out attacks against the United States by placing individuals here, he said.
"When you have this kind of structure,
you don't need intercontinental ballistic missiles," he said.
The post-Sept. 11 period is a watershed
for Western opinion toward all terrorists and the states that sponsor them,
"We have the power but not the will to
destroy the terrorists," he said. "Unless we have moral clarity, we lose.
"The terrorists' main weapon is confusion,"
he said. In the case of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, it
was a result of
neighboring Arab states attacking Israel.
"They offer the result of their aggression as cause for further attacks."
The next attack may change history, he
"Does anyone doubt that if they had nuclear
weapons, they would use them?" he asked rhetorically.
Netanyahu's speech was preceded by acoustic
renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" and Israel's national anthem,
Attendees continued singing nationalistic
folk songs from both countries after the half-hour speech ended. The duality
reflected many singers' allegiance to
two countries that now find themselves at odds over how to classify a multitude
and countries that could be perceived
as having legitimate or illegitimate grievances against Israel.
"We cannot negotiate with terrorists,"
Houston computer specialist Syd Waldman, who attended the speech, said
Administration efforts to push for advancement
in the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations. The United States and Israel
will have to
unite against terrorists or be destroyed,
After Netanyahu's speech, Jewish Federation
of Greater Houston President Esther Polland made an appeal for attendees
toward the purchase of bulletproof vests
for Israeli school children.
"We cannot be at ground-zero in New York
or Israel, but we can support and rebuild Israel with financial contributions,"
Jewish American support is more important
now because Israelis believe U.S. support in general is flagging, she said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston
and the Consulate of Israel sponsored Netanyahu's visit.