Netanyahu said that Islam tried, upon its founding, to conquer Christian Europe, but failed and was pushed back to Northern Africa. Another attempt hundreds of years later was similarly repelled. "For the last few centuries," Netanyahu continued, "we thought that religious wars were over - but suddenly, now, we see a third attempt by Islam. In 1979, two seminal events occurred, both of which continue to have a strong effect even now. One is the victory by Islamic mujaheedin in Afghanistan over Soviet forces, leading to the formation of Al-Qaeda, and then, shortly afterwards, the formation of the terrorist Islamic Republic of Iran. Some thought then that the Ayatollahs of Iran would become more moderate, but of course this did not happen, and now Iran's nuclear program and missiles threaten the entire world.
"Since then, more recently, two more important events have happened. One is the formation of another fundamentalist Islamic republic, in Afghanistan, with the Taliban, leading to 9/11; if they had had nuclear weapons, New York and Washington would not be around any more. The other event that occurred was with Israel's help: the formation of a Hamas regime in the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas entity is a daughter state of Iran, with the same policies, and talks openly of its goal of destroying Israel, using its code words of 'Right of Return' and 'continued resistance' - namely, terrorism. Israel is their first stop on the road to world conquest.
"We therefore face a danger of worldwide proportions - and yet there are those who feel that Hamas is not a strategic danger. [The reference is to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of the Kadima party, running against Netanyahu and Amir Peretz of Labor for Prime Minister - ed.] All the experts say the opposite... yet there are those who think that the solution to this malignant growth is to do nothing, or else to give them more land.
"What was the result of the recent Disengagement? Shimon Peres once told me that the Arabs would build day camps for peace in Gaza - and he believed this. Yet this is not quite what happened. Over 400 Kassams have been fired from Gaza, and soldiers in nearby Zikim go to sleep in fear of the rain of rockets they face. One would expect a normal government to learn the lessons and not repeat the same mistakes - but no, this leadership wants to give even more land away - 95% of Yesha (Judea and Samaria)! Right here in this building [the Regency Hotel in eastern Jerusalem] would become Hamas-land according to them. But it's obvious that this will not satisfy the lion; instead, as Israel Zangwill once said, 'bad things have to be cut off and nipped in the bud.'
"It's still possible to stop Hamas - by standing firm in all of the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert, and by moving the wall in the west to the east, away from Ben Gurion Airport and away from Route 433. We also need to constantly and unceasingly pressure the international community not to support Hamas in any way or form. If humanitarian assistance must be given, then it must be done through channels other than the official Hamas regime. We must concentrate mostly on the United States and on public opinion there - Jews, Christians, Congressmen and other leaders - and ensure that no funding reaches Hamas. And of course - we have to make sure that we here in Israel do not fund Hamas! No one will defend us or make our claims for us if we do not do so ourselves!"
Netanyahu said he was aware that many people who agree with him are still hesitating how to vote because of what he did as Finance Minister. To this, he explained at length that when he took over the Finance Ministry, he found an "empty pit" in terms of pensions, the country's banking system on the verge of near-collpase, and other calamitous economic problems. "I could have done nothing," he said, "and then no one would have been angry with me. But instead, I knew that I had to do something to save the country from collapse - and so we took painful measures..."
Netanyahu exhorted his audience to vote for the Likud in next week's audience, "as only the Likud will be able to stand up to the threat of Hamas. I believe firmly that Hamas can be stopped, and only we can do it. Don't fall prey to voting for parties who might transfer their allegiance to a Kadima-led government of the left."
In response to a Christian man of faith from Canada who encouraged the audience, in English, to realize that G-d is with the Jews, Netanyahu responded, "There are some Prime Ministerial candidates [again, the reference is to Olmert - ed.] who have said, 'We are tired of fighting, we are tired of defeating our enemies.' The only thing worse than a people who loses faith in its leaders are leaders who lose faith in their people."
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