Benjamin Netanyahu: Confront ISIS ‘poison’ tree before it grows

The world needs to confront ISIS before it gets too big, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in an exclusive interview with CBC News.

Israeli prime minister likens Hamas to Islamic State militants in Iraq

Exclusive: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Mideast perils

9 years ago
Duration 13:49
Evan Solomon discusses IDF's downing of a Syrian plane and the ISIS threat

The world needs to confront ISIS before it gets too big, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CBC News.

Speaking to Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Netanyahu said he fears the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will continue to grow if it isn't confronted. 

But the decision on whether to put combat troops on the ground to fight ISIS will have to come from "those leading this effort." 

"I think we feared these various offshoots of militant Islam, these various branches of these poison trees appearing everywhere. They appear in Africa, they appear in the Middle East certainly, they appear in Asia, in Europe, and in North America. And it's just about every part of the world, so I think it's better to confront it when it's small rather than wait to confront it when it's too big," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu drew parallels between ISIS and the Palestinian organization Hamas, which he called a "tyranny" that executes "anybody who disagrees with them," attempting to link the fight with ISIS to Israel's struggle with Hamas.

"Like ISIS. Hamas is ISIS. ISIS is Hamas. In that sense they're identical, so I think the peace requires that we confront the ISIS of the world, we confront Hamas, and make peace with those who are willing to confront it with us."

Netanyahu said the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, Hamas, ISIS and al-Qaeda all have small theological differences, but are "part and parcel of the same militant Islamic scourge."

"Their individual differences are minuscule and unimportant. But the fact that they use the same tactics: murdering civilians, hiding behind civilians, using their own people as human shields, executing their own people.… This is the same warped system. We fought them, you fight them now. Let's fight them together."

Syrian fighter jet: 'We shot it down'

Netanyahu also said he doesn't believe the war in Syria has widened to include Israel, despite the fact the Israeli military shot down a Syrian fighter jet early Tuesday.

The plane was shot down over the Golan Heights, marking the first time in decades that Israel had downed a piloted Syrian plane.

"Our air defences are designed to intercept any intrusion of our airspace by enemy fighter aircraft, and we had such a penetration. It may have been accidental. We shot it down‎," Netanyahu told ​Solomon. 

The Israeli military said a "Syrian aircraft infiltrated into Israeli air space" in the morning hours and that the military "intercepted the aircraft in mid-flight, using the Patriot air defence system."

The military would not say what type of aircraft was downed and said the circumstances of the incident were "unclear."

Also Tuesday in Israel, Israeli special forces stormed a West Bank hideout and killed two Palestinians suspected in the June abduction and slaying of three Israeli teenagers, a gruesome attack that had triggered a chain of events that led to the war in Gaza this summer.

The deaths of the two suspects, identified by the Israeli military as well-known Hamas militants, ended one of the largest manhunts conducted by the Israeli security forces.

Reuters reported the Palestinian delegation to Gaza ceasefire talks in Cairo decided to continue the negotiations despite the killing.

The interview with Netanyahu will air on CBC News Network's Power & Politics at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.

With files from The Associated Press


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