Israeli politicians on Saturday compared a series of deadly attacks in Paris that left at least 129 civilians dead to Palestinian acts of violence.
Extending his sympathy to the families of the victims, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “stands shoulder-to-shoulder with France in this common battle against militant Islamic terrorism.”
He added that “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 Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the deadly Paris attacks, which were carried out in multiple locations across the French capital.
Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev used the attacks to criticize the European Union for removing Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations in December last year, while she praised France for fighting the decision.
“France didn’t know that in less than a year it would bleed and hurt as we do from the day we were founded, but it apparently did know that the threat of Muslim terror is not only on Israel, but on the whole world,” Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post quoted her.
She reportedly said that the victims in Paris had not died in vain, as the world would continue to fight radical Islam, adding: “Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, it is the solution.”
Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Yisrael Beytenu party, reportedly said: “When we look at Europe of today, which is busy labeling settlement products when the Middle East is on fire in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and other places, we understand the problem.”
“The problem is that there is no political willpower or determination by the Europeans to deal with reality,” he said, blaming a lack of “strong leadership” in the “struggle against radical Islam.”
Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, expressed his sympathy, and said that the Paris attacks were aimed at “the values of freedom and democracy that we cherish about and fight for.”
The Israeli leaders’ comments followed a tumultuous month and a half in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory that has seen mass demonstrations and a string of small-scale attacks. At least 83 Palestinians and 15 Israelis have been killed since the beginning of October.
While Israel has blamed the unrest on religious incitement through social media, Palestinians have pointed to the nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory, no prospect of a political solution, and a deep sense of frustration and despair.
In January, Netanyahu likened a series of deadly attacks in Paris, including that on the offices of French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, to rockets fired by Hamas out of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas later said in a statement that it condemned “the desperate attempts by … Netanyahu to make a connection between our movement and the resistance of our people on the one hand and global terrorism on the other.”
On Saturday, a range of Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, expressed their sympathy and solidarity with France following the latest deadly attacks.
– Read more: Israeli Leaders Liken Paris Attacks to Palestinian Violence – Maan