Kerry in Jerusalem: Israel has ‘obligation’ to defend itself

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry both stressed their country’s shared goal in the fight on global Islamic terrorism.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday morning in Jerusalem to discuss the recent wave of global Islamic terrorism, which has struck at Israel as well.

“There can be no peace when we have an onslaught of terror – not here or not anywhere else in the world, which is experiencing this same assault by militant Islamists and the forces of terror,” Netanyahu stated.

“Israel is fighting these forces every hour. We are fighting them directly against the terrorists themselves; we’re fighting also against the sources of incitement,” he added, while urging the “entire international community” to support Israel in this effort.

“It’s not only our battle, it’s everyone’s battle. It’s the battle of civilization against barbarism,” the Israeli premier stressed.

Kerry expressed his pleasure to be back in Israel after over of year, though he comes “at a time that, as the Prime Minister has just said, is very troubled.”

“Clearly, no people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, with knives or scissors or cars. And it is very clear to us that the terrorism, these acts of terrorism which have been taking place, deserve the condemnation that they are receiving and today I expressed my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation,” Kerry declared.

“Israel has every right in the world to defend itself. It has an obligation to defend itself. And it will and it is. Our thoughts and prayers are with innocent people who have been hurt in this process,” said Kerry, while mentioning IDF soldier Ziv Mizrahi, who was murdered in a terror attack on Monday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who were wounded, their families. Regrettably, several Americans have also been killed in the course of these past weeks, and just yesterday I talked to the family of Ezra Schwartz from Massachusetts, a young man who came here out of high school, ready to go to college, excited about his future, and yesterday his family was sitting shiva and I talked to them and heard their feelings, the feelings of any parent for the loss of a child.”

The Focus – Global Islamic Terror

Kerry said he was in Israel to discuss “ways that we can work together, all of us – the international community – to push back against terrorism, to push back against senseless violence and to find a way forward, to restore calm and to begin to provide the opportunities that most reasonable people in every part of the world are seeking for themselves and for their families.”

French soldiers patrol the streets of Paris in wake of the ISIS attacks. (AP/Peter Dejong, File)

French soldiers patrol the streets of Paris in wake of the ISIS attacks. (AP/Peter Dejong, File)

Israel has reportedly become a primary source of information on the global Islamic terror organizations, and specifically the Islamic State (ISIS), in wake of the West’s intelligence agencies failure to contend with the wave of terror which has hit several European countries.

“We all have an interest, needless to say, in working together against this spasm of violence that is interrupting too much of the daily life of too many nations,” said Kerry.

A State Department official stated ahead of Kerry’s visit that he was coming to Israel to discuss the war on global terror, and not to jump-start the stalled diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Kerry himself conceded he was coming without the ambitious agenda of past visits and was primarily focused on stemming the violence. He said he was traveling to Israel and the PA without any “highfalutin, grandiose, hidden agenda.” Instead, he was seeking steps “that could calm things down a little bit so people aren’t living in absolute, daily terror.”

Kerry told reporters traveling with him in the Middle East that the US was prepared to re-engage in a serious peace effort, and said “we have ideas for how things could proceed.”

“But this street violence doesn’t provide any leader with a framework within which they can look their people in the eye and say, ‘There’s a reason to be sitting down and talking about this or that,'” he added. “People aren’t in the mood for concessions. They’re in the mood for being tough.”

While addressing the United Nations on Monday, PA head Mahmoud Abbas said that negotiations with Israel were a waste of time.

Kerry is scheduled to meet with President Reuven Rivlin later on Tuesday before heading to Ramallah to meet with Abbas.

AP contributed to this report.