- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2001

Israel is cooperating fully with U.S. intelligence efforts to prevent and punish terrorism but is willing to remain in the background if America's Arab allies join an anti-terror campaign, Israeli Ambassador David Ivry said yesterday.
Mr. Ivry spoke as an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire teetered on the edge of collapse as violence left several dead on both sides.
The former Israeli air force chief said that it's time to follow Israel's example and tighten airline security to prevent more terrorist attacks.
Even punishing Osama bin Laden and others who sent hijackers who killed 5,000 people on Sept. 11 in New York and Washington won't bring security to the Western world without a preventive action plan.
Mr. Ivry, speaking to editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday, also said that the United States, Israel and the West are in a "cultural war" with militant Muslims.
"People ask why people hate us," said Mr. Ivry.
"It is a cultural war."
"The United States is a flag representing Westernized culture" and that's why the attacks took place, he said.
While some Muslims want to compromise with the Western world, hard-liners in Iran and other countries want to put up high walls to keep out aspects of Western culture they consider offensive to their interpretation of Islam, he said.
"We should respect them" if they wish to live apart, he said. "We have to find a way not to threaten their culture. We try sometimes to force them to adopt our ways."
Mr. Ivry said that the Israeli-Palestinian battles of the past 12 months were not the reason the Sept. 11 attacks took place. They had been planned for years long before the peace process fell apart.
Mr. Ivry also criticized those who said, before the Sept. 11 attack, that Palestinian suicide bombers who killed scores of Israeli civilians in recent months were a form of "acceptable terror."
"There is no acceptable terror you can't surrender to terror."
Mr. Ivry rejected news reports yesterday that Israel had given advance warning of the terrorist attacks last week to U.S. officials but they were ignored.
"We didn't give any special warning of this kind of event," he said. "We share all kinds of warnings but did not see the use of airplanes as bombs. This has not been in the imagination of anyone. This is madness."
Mr. Ivry said that recent cease-fire efforts by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are an outgrowth of the New York attacks.
Mr. Arafat saw that the uprising was no longer on the front page of newspapers and he decided to act against violence, he said.
The United States has pushed both sides to establish a cease-fire as Washington tries to enlist Arab and other Muslim states in an anti-terrorism campaign aimed at punishing bin Laden and others.

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