Israel

INTERVIEW
Netanyahu Says Arafat Regime Must Be Removed

By Pat Robertson



After one of the bloodiest weekends of terror in the history of Israel, many are calling the post-attack Palestinian response a moment of truth, a time when Yasser Arafatís true colors will be seen. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBN that Arafat is a seasoned terrorist who has been playing games all along, and his regime must be removed from power.


PAT ROBERTSON: Joining us from New York is the former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. So good to have you back with us on The 700 Club.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Good to be with you.

ROBERTSON: It is a tragic moment. Yasser Arafat has been warned by President Bush to bring the killers to justice. Do you think he can do it?

NETANYAHU: He can, but I doubt he will. He will probably make some show of rounding up a few dozen people, putting them in what I call the revolving door so they come in and out of detention as fast, you know, in one rapid move. I don't think he's done anything serious, I donít think heís going to do anything serious. We have to tell him what you told the Taliban in Afghanistan ó surrender terrorism or surrender power. They didn't surrender terrorism and you threw them out of power. I think Arafat has to understand that will be the fate of his terrorist regime. He has literally hours, or should have only a few hours to crush the terrorist organizations, both those that he harbors and those that he operates directly under his own command. And if he does it, fine. If he doesn't do it, I think that regime will have to go.

ROBERTSON: What is the alternative if he does go. And do you think the Sharon government has the willpower to take him out. And if you do, who do you remove him, do you kill him or arrest him or what?

NETANYAHU: Iím not talking about him directly, but I think the equation Iím giving you is Afghanistan. I think what you are doing in Afghanistan is you are not looking for the Al Qaeda fighters, you are not going cave by cave looking for them. What you are doing is you are going after the regime that keeps bin Laden's operation possible. So in fact, this is the right policy because once the Taliban terrorist regime collapses, Al Qaeda and bin Laden falls in your lap. And I think that's what we have to do. We cannot go out against every Islamic Jihad fighter, after every Hamas fighter, after every of those terrorists. We have to go against the regime, against the terrorist regime of Arafat that makes their work possible. And once we do that, then the rest will fall in place.

ROBERTSON: You mentioned Saturday night on CNN a particular quote from the press that is controlled by Arafat about the New York City bombing. Could you tell us what they said in Arabic?

NETANYAHU: On the day the two suicide planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, Arafat's mouthpiece, his official mouthpiece ó mind you, all of the Palestinian newspapers are his mouthpieces because it is a dictatorship, but this is his official mouthpiece. This is what it said on behalf of Arafat, it said: the suicide bombers are the salt of the earth, they are the engines of history, they are the most honorable men among us. This is what Arafat is telling his own people in Arabic, and it is very different from what he and his henchmen say in their doublespeak to the West. To the West they speak of peace and they condemn terrorism. In the Middle East they practice terrorism and they glorify the suicide bombers.

† It is time to tell Arafat, the jig is up, you can't play the game any more. Youíve got a very short time to crush the terrorists and change the message of war to one of reconciliation ó the message you broadcast to your people. If you do, you can continue. If you don't, out you go. My feeling is that he doesn't do it. You may ask me, what will happen afterwards? Do you really care what happens after the Taliban goes? Yeah, you care, but itís not really that important because you know, whatever government comes into Afghanistan after the Taliban, you know that for many, many years to come, there won't be a single terrorist action against the United States from that country. Because whoever rules that country will know not to tread on the United States, not to attack you. Similarly whoever comes after Arafat would know if they want to live and govern next to Israel then they better stop terrorism against Israel. I think that is the most important thing. When you are fighting an evil like terrorism, just like we fought the evil of nazism 60 years ago, we didnít say, "Gee, what will happen after Hitler goes down?" You said, "We have to crush and defeat this evil." And that's the kind of attitude we should have now vis-?vis the evil of terrorism whether in Afghanistan or in Arafatistan.

ROBERTSON: And has the population of Israel and the government prepared to take the steps necessary to remove the government of Arafat from the Palestinian area?

NETANYAHU: To give him the message surrender terrorism or surrender power, and act if he doesnít stop the terrorism. Yes, I think there is a growing public mood that is emerging and people are realizing that Arafat either because he won't stop terrorism ó some think he canít, I think he can but will not do it ó either way, he's not a peace partner. We will not have peace as long as there is a combination of bin Laden and Taliban there. And Arafat is different from bin Laden and the Taliban only in one sense ó he is much more seasoned terrorist. He knows how to hoodwink the West and some people in Israel. He has figured that out, he has to talk peace and donate blood for the victims of terror in the United States. This is a day after his official newspaper glorified the suicide bombing. This after a summer in which he had suicide kindergarten camps, Pat, suicide kindergarten camps! They take 3-year-old Palestinian children and prepare the next generation of suicide bombers by brainwashing these kids. This is what Arafat is really like. I think that more and more people in Israel are coming to this conclusion, as long as this mentality and this regime governs the Palestinians, we will not have the peace we pray for.

ROBERTSON: I appreciate your time, you are always so insightful. And I hope some of your countrymen share your point of view because something has got to be done right now. We stand with Israel on this and I thank you for the insight.

NETANYAHU: Thank you, Pat, and thank you for your consistent support for Israel.

ROBERTSON: Itís there. Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel, and with clear insight of what needs to be done.


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