Netanyahu: Israel to help NATO anti-terror fight with intel

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was ready to share intelligence with NATO to help fight Islamist terrorism, as he met with ambassadors from alliance nations ahead of a summit.

Netanyahu condemned the weekend massacre in Orlando in the United States, last week's assault by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and a list of other attacks as resulting from "the same evil."

"Two days ago, a terrorist walked into a nightclub in Orlando and murdered nearly 50 innocent people, men and women," Netanyahu said in an address to the ambassadors before a closed-door meeting. "These people were doing nothing wrong. They were dancing with friends and enjoying music with loved ones. The terrorist murdered them because he was driven by intolerance to the LGBT community and driven by hatred for freedom and diversity."

"Now, days before that, a terrorist walked into a café in Tel Aviv and murdered four civilians," he continued. "They too did nothing wrong. They were drinking coffee and enjoying the celebration of birthdays.

"Paris, Brussels, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bali, Mumbai, New York, San Bernardino and now Orlando and so many other cities have been struck by the same evil. Terror knows no bounds, and that is why our cooperation in the battle against terrorism must know no bounds as well," Netanyahu added.

"One day ISIS kills gays, the next day Yazidis, and then Jews, Muslims and Christians," he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State jihadist group.

Netanyahu said "we stand ready to help NATO in this collective struggle. We are prepared to share our intelligence and our experience to help in this common effort."

Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr, who was at the meeting, echoed Netanyahu's sentiment, saying there was never any justification for terrorism.

Condemning the "scourge of terrorism, Vahr added: "Again last week it showed its ugly head in Israel robbing four innocent people of their lives and injuring many more. Allow me, Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of the whole NATO family to again condemn in the strongest terms these acts of terrorism.

"There is no justification for terrorism. Period. And that is true whether it happens in Paris, which again last night was the scene of a despicable act of terror, in Tel Aviv or in Orlando. And if I may address our US colleague for a moment, we all share your grief and your outrage at the horrific massacre in Orlando."

Vahr also conveyed a message to Israel from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who praised Israel as "a very important partner for NATO."

"Like the nations of the alliance, Israel is an open democratic society," Stoltenberg added. "Today our nations face greater, more complex threats than for many years. It is right that those countries that share common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law work together for the good of us all.

"Israel has for many years been an active member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue. The only security forum that brings together NATO allies with Israel and Arab countries.

"And last month, NATO and Israel went further, agreeing to establish an Israeli mission at NATO. Having a mission will help us to take our political and practical cooperation to a higher level. NATO and Israel are natural partners, and I, the Secretary General, very much hope and look forward to an even closer relationship in the years ahead."

NATO will hold a summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 and Tuesday's meeting in Jerusalem was meant to discuss issues related to the meeting.

Israel said last month it would upgrade its ties with the 28-member military alliance by opening a permanent mission to its Brussels headquarters.  

Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was working to open the office as soon as possible.

Israel already participates in military exercises with NATO members other than Turkey, notably the United States.

US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told journalists on the sidelines of Tuesday's meeting that ongoing joint training and intelligence sharing from Israel was "certainly relevant to the threats that come out of this region."

"We're quite encouraged by what's possible between Israel and NATO in the months ahead," Shapiro said.

With ISIS and other jihadist organizations operating in neighboring Syria, the fight against Islamic terrorism represents a key area of cooperation for Israel and Western nations.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213622

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