Olmert says foreign governments should get out of political comfort zone for effective war on terror; former PM also slams Netanyahu’s foreign policy moves.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticized PM Benjamin Netanyahu‘s foreign policy as well as Western nations, for their inability to fight terrorism effectively, and offered his solutions to this failure.
Olmert addressed the Israeli government’s role in the war on terror during a national security conference on Tuesday, organized by the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute.
“One of the problems in the war on terror is not the knowledge or technology, but the readiness of governments to invest in the war on terror for political reasons,” he said. “I heard what the Shin Bet chief said about terrorists’ use of technology. This technology also allows those combating terrorism to fight, and that encourages us to develop new tools.”
‘Get out of political comfort zone’
Olmert blamed Western nations for lack of cooperation against terrorism. “The origin of terrorism is within Islam,” he said. “To fight terrorism, we need a judicial resolution that allows for the fight.”
“Governments must get over the political convenience and adjust themselves to reality,” he said. “Perhaps it would have been possible to prevent the attack on the Twin Towers if they would have looked into the places where it wasn’t politically comfortable to look. Those terrorists were educated in the US. We must decide what we want.”
The former PM also hinted that the responsibility for Israel‘s political standing lies upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shoulders.
“The Goldstone Report came out a year after (I left office),” he said. “If there was a policy of peace in Israel, we wouldn’t have had the problems that occurred with Goldstone. I had an agreement with the UN that if the investigation takes place, it will not be published before Israel reads it. What happened later, I don’t know. I wasn’t prime minister.”
Olmert also slammed Israel’s current leadership over its testimony before the flotilla raid commission of inquiry.
“I recently heard that the political leadership is only responsible for approving the operation, and is not responsible for its technical details,” he said. “I’m telling you: There never was a defense minister who was unfamiliar with the technical details of an operation before approving it. Whoever said otherwise was not telling the truth, to put it mildly.”
‘Dialogue will end terrorism’
Olmert suggested that improving the dialogue with the Palestinians will allow Israel to get a better grasp on terrorism.
“The reason that terrorism in the West Bank is almost nonexistent, compared to Gaza, where they are armed, is because of our presence there, but also because there is a political leadership that is committed to dialogue and the war on terror. It doesn’t allow for terrorism. What happens in Judea and Samaria isproof that the Palestinians are building serious infrastructure and taking responsibility. It is a positive sign of a better political future.”
He also said Israel must work on its relations with any nation willing to join it in the fight.
“We must maintain close ties with the nations that want to fight terrorism even though they disagree with us,” he said. “At times you wouldn’t believe the nations that are in touch with us. Sometimes this connection is passive, and sometimes it goes against politics, but they are in touch with us and the security forces.”
“The reasons for terrorism are fantasies and hatred,” he concluded. “I believe that quality of life has an effect on terrorism. When I was in charge, we made efforts to change the reality in the West Bank, and also win legitimacy when we fought terrorism.”