The Honorable MK Yair Lapid, Chairman, Yesh Atid Party and Member of the Knesset; Former Minister of Finance, Israel
The session was part of the ICT's 16th World Summit on Counter-Terrorism: "Unpuzzling Terrorism". Fighting terrorism is not a regular war, as this fight is taking place in our mind, more than in the physical place where the terrorist attack occurred. As such, in fighting terrorism we should pay attention to the civil arena, banks, media, the legal system, the political system and NGOs. The UN cannot be the correct arena to fight terrorism as long as it cannot overcome the objections by the Muslim and non-democratic countries. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a new international body that will fight terrorism in the civil arena.
MK Lapid claimed that one must differentiate between the fight against terror at the scene of the attack, the military arena, and the fight that must be conducted in the civil arena, in banks, the media, the judicial system, NGOs, the political sphere, etc. Terrorism wages a war in our minds, it enters our homes via the media.
Lapid argued that states do not have a clear-cut policy regarding what can and cannot be broadcast in the media. This is true for Israel, but also true for most countries in the world. Politicians avoid dealing with the issue of terrorism, they analyze the situation through a security-oriented lens, rather than making use of the political means at their disposal. An example of this is the idea that a terror organization may have a political wing (e.g. Hezbollah) with which political discussions may be held.
The United Nations, as an international organization, suffers from a lack of ability to take care of the issues at hand, mostly due to the resistance from Muslim countries and non-democratic states.
International cooperation is very successful when it comes to intelligence sharing and operational capabilities. However, Lapid concluded, there is a need for cooperation in other arenas as well, including the formation of international legislation in regards to online incitement. The correct solution would be an international apparatus which would work to counter terrorism in the civil arena, such as the G-8 or G-20 states.