Israel is sharing intelligence about Islamic State and other terrorist groups with its allies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday in his first public comments on the massive terror attacks that rocked Paris on Friday night.
“Israel possesses intelligence; we aren’t a marginal player in this field, and the information we have we share with France and with other relevant countries, not just since yesterday,” he said. “This is an important part of cooperation against the terrorism of IS and the terrorism of radical Islam in general.”
Israel cooperates with other countries in “various ways,” the prime minister said, adding that he could not elaborate in public.
Addressing reporters in his Jerusalem office a day after multiple terror attacks in the French capital killed at least 129 people, Netanyahu said Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder” with France in the battle against Islamist terrorism.
“I’ve instructed Israel’s security and intelligence forces to assist their French counterparts and their counterparts from other European countries in every way possible,” he said.
He has also ordered tightened security at Israeli missions and Jewish sites that might be potential targets.
Asked whether Israel needs to worry about IS striking next on its soil, given that the events in Paris showed the group is capable of staging a massive attack in the heart of Europe, Netanyahu acknowledged that IS has recently stepped up its terrorist activities, including the downing of a Russian plane over Sinai. While there is no question about terrorist groups’ intentions, which are evident, he said it was not yet clear whether the rest of the world was finally willing to fight them.
Terrorism can’t be fought selectively, the prime minister said. He expected those who condemn the attacks in Paris to also denounce attacks against Israelis, he explained.
“It’s impossible to say there are bad terrorists and good terrorists. All terrorists are bad,” he said, referring specifically to an attack Friday that killed Ya’akov and Netanel Litman south of Hebron.
Netanyahu spoke with Noa Litman, Ya’akov’s widow and Netanel’s mother, over the phone on Saturday evening.
“Terrorism is the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians. It can never be justified. Terrorism must always be condemned. It must always be fought,” Netanyahu said.
“Innocent people in Paris, like those in London, Madrid, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem, are the victims of militant Islamic terrorism, not its cause. As I’ve said for many years, militant Islamic terrorism attacks our societies because it wants to destroy our civilization and our values.”
The prime minister called on the civilized world to “unite to defeat the plague of worldwide terrorism.”
“An attack on any one of us should be seen as an attack on all of us. All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism.”