Tuesday morning’s deadly terrorist attacks in Belgium are part of the same string of violence that has touched California, Turkey and Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
“The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks in Israel — this is one continuous assault on all of us,” Netanyahu told American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual policy conference via video feed.
“Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear. Well my friends, that’s not going to happen.”
Netanyahu’s comments came hours after a series of blasts in Brussels killed at least 34 people and injured more than 100. The explosions at an airport terminal and a subway stop steps from the European Commission's headquarters rocked Belgium’s capital and served as a dark reminder that public spaces even deep within the heart of Europe are vulnerable to violent attacks.
No organization has yet to take credit for the Tuesday bombings in Brussels, but the attacks came days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in last year’s deadly massacre in Paris, for which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has taken credit.
“The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday morning. “That’s how we'll defeat terrorism: with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.”
At AIPAC, Netanyahu tied the string of violence to a spike in Palestinian stabbing attacks that have rocked Israel in recent months.
Palestinian children are being “taught to hate,” he said, while showing a video depicting extremist anti-Israeli rhetoric and calls to arms.
“This is sick,” Netanyahu said. “It’s inexcusable.”
Netanyahu’s remarks were broadcast to the Verizon Center in downtown Washington via satellite from Israel. He chose not to attend in person after scheduling conflicts prevented a meeting with President Obama, who is currently on a historic trip to Cuba.
The cancellation of Netanyahu’s trip was seen as the latest sign of friction between Netanyahu and Obama, who have had tense relations throughout their time in office.
The relationship hit a new low in the last year following Obama’s controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. Netanyahu strongly opposed the agreement, which he said would only embolden Iran.
But on Tuesday, the Israeli prime minister attempted to move beyond the issue.
“I believe that both those who supported the nuclear deal and those who opposed it can, at the very least, work together to stop Iran’s aggression and terror,” he said, giving a laundry list of Iranian offenses against Israel.
“I believe that Israel faces a future of promise,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that when we stand together, all of us, we can overcome all the challenges facing us.”