Livni: Anti-ISIS Front Impossible Without Renewed Peace Talks With Palestinians

Justice Minister took part in a meeting convened by Netanyahu to discuss the threat of ISIS infiltration into Israel and the West Bank.

AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting Wednesday on the threat of infiltration by Islamic State militants into Israel and the West Bank, a senior official in Jerusalem said.

The discussion included legal and security-related measures that can be employed against Islamic State supporters among Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank.

Participants in the meeting included Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and senior security officials. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon did not attend as he is on a visit to Azerbaijan.

During the meeting, "several steps to increase law enforcement against identifying with the Islamic terror organizations in the region were discussed," said the senior official.

Livni said later on Wednesday that she intends to introduce a bill that would allow prosecution of any Israeli member of Islamic State.

"The law would allow the state to try any Israeli citizen who is a member of an armed terrorist organization with an extreme Islamic ideology, because that's what must be done to defend Israel from terrorism," she said during an event organized by her Hatnua party. "Terrorism will not be allowed in."

Livni added however that "strong legislation and harsh words against ISIS are good, but not enough. Because anyone who is threatened by ISIS must also provide a solution."

According to Livni, one of the solutions is to renew peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, in order to create a strong axis with Arab states which have also come under the threat of the group. "Without peace talk we can't create such an alliance," she said. "Peace talks would help us fight terrorism that is threatening everyone. Those who don't want to solve this conflict are the ones who will lead us in the end to a bloody battle with beheaders."

The meeting was held hours before U.S. President Barack Obama's speech to the nation, in which he is expected to outline the strategy against Islamic State and discuss the international coalition which is currently being assembled. National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz will meet with senior officials at the White House and the State Department in Washington on Wednesday, and will be briefed on the main points of Obama's speech.
 
Last Wednesday, Ya'alon declared Islamic State an "unauthorized organization", laying the legal groundwork for the possibility that Israel might discover Islamic State cells within its borders or in the West Bank. The decision was supported by the Shin Bet. Ya'alon justified his decision by the need to "protect state security, public welfare and public order."

The move is a proactive step enabling Israel to halt the transfer of funds to any local groups affiliated with Islamic State and take legal action against its members or operatives.