JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces on Sunday as a triumph for Washington and its allies in their “war on terror.”
“This is a resounding triumph for justice, freedom and the values shared by all democratic nations fighting shoulder to shoulder in determination against terrorism,” Netanyahu said in a statement early on Monday.
He later spoke to U.S. President Barack Obama in a phone conversation, a statement from Netanyahu’s office said, and “praised the United States on behalf of Israeli citizens for the successful mission and the killing of Osama bin Laden.”
The statement said Netanyahu told Obama the action “sent a message of the United States’s determination to fight terrorism.” It added that “Obama thanked Netanyahu and clarified the United States’s commitment to the war on terror.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel, which has cast its own struggle with Palestinian and Lebanese militants as an extension of the U.S.-led campaign against al Qaeda worldwide, gained from bin Laden’s death.
“Al Qaeda has ceaselessly tried to penetrate Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank),” he told Israel’s Army Radio, referring to the Palestinian territories. “His interception has operational significance for us, too.”
Israel did not contribute to the American commando raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan, and was informed of it half an hour before U.S. President Barack Obama made his official announcement on Sunday night, Lieberman said.
President Shimon Peres, Israel’s elder statesman and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said bin Laden had “met his end at the gallows.” Peres described the death as a lesson about the self-destructiveness of violent extremism.
”Look at all of the murderers, all of those dictators and terrorists. They end up murdering themselves -- the real verdict of history, which to my regret takes a lot of time and exacts a lot of victims,“ he told Israel Radio.”
Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Andrew Roche