Netanyahu on defeating terrorism
Former Israeli leader: Islamic militants will use nukes if they possibly can

In an interview with Brit Hume on the Fox News Channel Wednesday, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained what will be required of the United States to effectively counter the threat of further Islamic terrorist attacks on the American mainland.

© 2001 Fox News Channel

HUME: Many of us have been wondering how these terrorist attacks could have been planned and implemented without any warning. Well, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted something very close to this could happen in his 1995 book, "Fighting Terrorism," subtitled "How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists."

He wrote of the terrorist networks – quote – "Such groups nullify
, in large measure, the need to have air power or intercontinental missiles as delivery systems. For an Islamic nuclear payload, they will be the delivery system. In the worst of such scenarios," he added, "the consequences could not be a car bomb, but a nuclear bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center." Benjamin Netanyahu joins us now live from Jerusalem.

Mr. Netanyahu, thank you very much for joining us.

Obviously, this was not a nuclear bomb in the basement, but it destroyed the World Trade Center just as certainly as if it were. Give us, if you will, your thoughts about these terrorist networks … how the United States should regard them and what kind of action the United States should take?

NETANYAHU: Well, I think first that I have to say that, if any people in the world can identify with the horror and grief of the people of the United States, it's the people of Israel.

We've been on the frontline fighting this terrorism for many years. But now the forces of militant Islamic terror have struck in the heart of the free world. And that's precisely what we have here. We have here a battle between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny, between the forces of democracy and the forces of terrorism.

It is not accidental. Arafat can shed crocodile tears and donate his blood. He's been shedding innocent blood – including innocent American blood – for decades. And he's been sponsoring these kindergarten suicide bombers.

HUME: You don't think Yasser Arafat is behind these attacks, do you?

NETANYAHU: I think what we have – and you alluded to this – is a network of terror. There is an empire of terror. There are chiefdoms. Arafat has his own chiefdoms. Bin Laden has his own chiefdom. The Hezbollah in Lebanon have their chiefdom. There is Hamas and Islamic Jihad working under Arafat's chiefdom.

And they enjoy the support and sponsorship in close cooperation with such sovereign states as Iraq and Iran, havens in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern regimes. They work together, both in ma
terial support and of course political support. We saw that in Durban the other day.

I think that what is important is this: Bin Laden or whoever committed this is not floating in the air. He comes back to the Middle East. He is not suspended in space. He comes back to the territory of this terror empire.

So I think what is required right now is for the United States not merely to seek out the specific perpetrator here, but to go and dismantle the entire evil empire of terrorism, because, if we don't, what I wrote in 1995, while it didn't come to fruition in precisely the way – they didn't plant a nuclear bomb in the twin towers – they used a 350-ton conventional bomb.

But these regimes that are part of this terror network are developing now nuclear weapons. If we don't dismantle this terror network in time, the regimes and the organizations that have absolutely no inhibition in destroying the United States and its allies. Then what we will see is that one day their mad fantasy will bring about not tens of thousands or even 20,000 victims in the United States, but hundreds of thousands or millions.

They are after our civilization. We must summon the forces of civilization and the force and the power to act against them now, when we have the power and when we still have the time to do so.

HUME: Mr. Netanyahu, there will be those who will say, that, well, of course Benjamin Netanyahu will react that way, because, after all, it is Israel that is really at the heart, and America's support of Israel that is really the cause of all this.

He and other Israelis will be worried that America might withdraw its support for Israel, so of course he will portray this as a war that is a war on the United States. How do you react to that argument?

NETANYAHU: Well, that's a common misperception.

These militant Islamics don't hate America because of Israel. It's the other way around. They hate Israel because of America. They see us – by the way, correctly – as an outpost of common values, our common values of f
reedom. They hate that freedom. They hate our way of life. They hate our respect for individual rights, our ideas of free choice, our free society, our free press.

They think all of that is Satanic. It has to be disposed of. They call you the big Satan. We're only the little Satan. Now, they could destroy the little Satan, but it doesn't get the world dominion that they want. They want to destroy America in their mad fantasies, or at the very least, to bring it to its knees. That's why they are going to attack you again and again and again.

And mind you, have no mistake about it. Can you doubt for a second, anyone that is hearing this right now, that if they had a nuclear bomb, they would drop it? Well, they are working and developing it. And what we have to do is, we've just received, all of us, a hellish wake-up call, a wake-up call from Hell. It's an enormous price to pay for such a wake-up call.

And there is a terrible tragedy here. I cannot tell you – I probably have some friends there. All of us, without friends, we still see that these are people who are part of us. But we must know that something must come out of this. We must understand that if we do not act now, if we do not say that terror is beyond the pale, it is a crime against humanity, we will not only go against the terrorists themselves, but against any regime that gives them safe haven, that harbors them, precisely what we must do.

We must put it beyond the pale and act very resolutely to dismantle the regimes and dismantle their deadly weapons before it is too late.

The terrorists today have the will to destroy us, but they don't have the power. We have the power to eradicate them, but we must now show that we have the will. This is a test of time. And, you know, when I see the rejoicing, the dancing on the roofs in Gaza and Ramallah and the other Palestinian areas, and the dancing on the roofs in Baghdad and Beirut, then I know where these people are.

But I also know that the people who grieve in Israel and in Britain and in
Madrid and throughout Western Europe and in other parts of the world that are grieving now with the United States, I know that there is a coalition that can be summoned just as it was 50 years ago to defeat another fanatic ideology, Nazism. And it's time that the United States act. It will act, I have no doubt.

I have confidence in the leadership of the United States. I have confidence in the people of the United States. And we all stand together. And we will win this together.

HUME: Mr. Netanyahu, let me just ask you this question. What kind of life, what kind of footing, what sort of atmosphere needs to be created in the United States to bring about the kind of action you're talking about?

Despite this, I think many Americans think we are basically at peace in the world and that life needs to be restored to normal. What does life have to be like? And what kind of effort are you talking about, on what scale?

NETANYAHU: I think the scale is less than the one that I just talked about, because the forces of terror do not have something even approaching the power that Nazi Germany had. They have the same mad designs.

So what is required is a military and political effort to galvanize the entire democracies. You have shown in various recent conflicts in the last decade, whether in the Balkans or in the Middle East and elsewhere, that you have the wherewithal, you have enormous, enormous military power.

And what you have to understand is that you would now have enormous backing and goodwill both in the United States itself and its well-wishers and allies around the world. I think it can be done. I think, specifically, how one does it is not, I think, the domain of this conversation. I'm sure the leaders of the United States are thinking very carefully about it.

I would say that, though, that we would be remiss if we do not dismantle the terrorist centers right now, because if we leave them around, they will come back. And they will come back with greater power. They typically misunderstand and unde
rappreciate the resolve of free societies. But amid the smoking ruins of the twin towers, you could see the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty holding that torch of liberty very proudly and very high.

It's that flame of liberty that these people want to extinguish. But it is the United States holding that torch with its allies who can wipe out these terrorists. And we must do nothing short of it. We must wipe them out or they will wipe us out.