Peres: West needs to ‘redirect’ young ISIS terrorists

If the Islamic State is on the rise and threatening the West, said former President Shimon Peres, then the West had only itself to blame – for not helping to lead young terrorists away from terror.

Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv Monday, Peres said that “we must realize that the only way to battle terror is not by killing terrorists, but to destroy the reasons for terror. We must ask ourselves why young men and women join terror groups.”

The reason they do, Peres said in answer to his own query, is because they are getting the wrong “message” from the West. “We must tell these young people that they cannot save the world by carrying out terror attacks. They can only change the world through knowledge, and investment. We must invest more in universities than in armies.”

By educating potential terrorists to provide them with skills that will help them advance in life, the West can help make terrorism less attractive, he said. Western countries, who have the money and knowledge, need to step up and provide those opportunities to these youths, he added.

Peres also discussed Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority. Peres said that he was not a fan of the current Palestinian leadership. “I speak about leadership, not leaders. We have to judge leaders by their actions, not their words. The leaders on both sides have complaints against each other.

Nevertheless, he repeated his oft-repeated phrase that “you have to make peace with enemies,” not friends, and insisted that “true leaders on both sides” must “step up to the plate” and negotiate with each other sincerely.