Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advocated the use of "disproportionate force" against the terror from Gaza in his speech before the 5th annual Jerusalem Conference Wednesday. Netanyahu called the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement that it had been a success, "a kind of total disengagement from reality."

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"Deterrence comes before action," he explained. "Deterrence comes from inside. You project it. And it's always projected from the leadership to the other side." Netanyahu explained that the enemy learns what Israel will "stomach, what Israel will tolerate, and what Israel will find intolerable." Former Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that the continued rockets on Israeli towns is something that Israel simply cannot tole

'Deterrence comes from inside. You project it.'

rate. He added, "I acted accordingly when there was such a challenge about two weeks before I left office… we responded with disproportional force."

Deterrence and disproportional response

"What is being done now is a war of attrition," Netanyahu explained. "They attack us – we attack them. They rocket us, we send a helicopter that (…) kills two, three, five of their operatives. What we are doing is gradually habituating the other side to the ability that they will engage in the daily bloodletting and terrorizing of our cities, and they will suffer a certain price. That cannot continue.

"The very nature of deterrence is the disproportional response," he said. "You up the ante. Israel has an enormous amount of ability and force that it can use to up the ante in various ways. But the main thing is to understand that you have to get out from a pattern of attrition to a policy of deterrence. That's what I would change in Sderot overnight."

Shas giving Olmert 'iron bridge'

Netanyahu posed a question to the leaders of the Shas hareidi-Sephardic party: "You are part of

"The argument that 'we shall wait until there is a signed document' means that there will be a fait accompli"

this government, but you are not part of its policies. You say that you want Jerusalem united, that you do not want to give up our patrimony, that you don't want to put every part of our city at risk… Why are you sitting in this government? Why are you still in it? Why are you providing Mr. Olmert with an iron bridge from which he can carve up Jerusalem?"

"I have as yet received no answer," Netanyahu said, and elaborated: "The argument that 'we shall wait until there is a signed document' means that there will be a fait accompli, that there will be facts created that will be presented to us, and then we'll have to work our way back from an international commitment undertaken by a serving Israeli government."

Netanyahu took credit for predicting the twin tower attacks in a book he wrote in 1995, six years before the 9/11 disaster. There was no reaction at the time, Netanyahu said.

Binyamin Netanyahu: deterrence, not attrition.

A Mecca for terrorism

Netanyahu noted that the Jerusalem Conference was the proper place to explain that a pullout from Jerusalem will not promote peace – but the opposite. "If we walk out, then they come in," he said. "Militant Islam comes into Jerusalem, Jerusalem becomes, forgive the expression, a Mecca for all the world's terrorists." He warned that if Israel leaves Jerusalem, the Islamists will attack a symbol "of the West's symbolic religious power, the nexus of Judeo–Christianity... unleashing a global religious war." He did not spell out just what target he thought the Islamists would strike in Jerusalem, if they could.

He noted that Israeli pullouts from Lebanon and Gaza led to the creation of terror bases in both of those places. He said the present government appears to be determined to make the same mistake a third time, in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu listed the steps that Israel should take. These included:

He did not spell out just what target he thought the Islamists would strike in Jerusalem, if they could.

1. neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat

2. we should not build Iranian bases on our doorstep, referring to the Islamic strongholds in Lebanon and Gaza

3. we have to ensure that Jerusalem remains united in our hands

4. keep security in our hands

Economic progress with PA

The fifth point in the agenda Netanyahu listed was making "economic progress" with the PA. Economic progress, he said, is not a substitute for political negotiations and does not jettison it, he explained, in an attempt to allay the concerns of those who favor negotiation with the PA. Citing conflicts in other places, such as Northern Ireland and Cyprus, Netanyahu said that economic advancement could provide the background for eventual progress on political questions as well.

Jerusalem Conference chairman Robert Rechnitz with Netanyahu.

We will not sever our ties with PA," Netanyahu said, "we will simply put them to the test." Netanyahu said that while Israel would continue to fight terror until the PA could begin doing so, it would pursue joint economic projects with the PA.

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'They're carving up Jerusalem'

The former prime minister added: "There's a profound statement in American English. It says, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' It's not broke… don't fix it! Because what you could unleash is something that we do not even imagine. Not peace. If you want the peace of Jerusalem – keep Jerusalem united under Israel. But if you want to break that peace, not only locally but internationally, amid the three great faiths, then proceed with what apparently is being done right now, which is to break our sovereignty in Jerusalem. That this is happening I have no doubt."

Netanyahu said he did not believe Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's denials regarding the negotiations over Jerusalem. "If it looks like a duck, it walks like a duck – they are carving up Jerusalem," he said.

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