Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Europeans now seeing link between terror in Jerusalem and Berlin

Via The Jewish Chronicle (by Anshel Pfeffer):
The point Netanyahu has been making for years may finally be hitting home. 
From a security point of view, there was very little out of the ordinary in the ramming attack on Sunday in which four IDF officers were killed and 13 wounded.  
The assailant, East Jerusalem resident Fadi al-Qanbar, drove his lorry into a group of soldiers who had just arrived at the Armon Hanetziv Promenade for an educational tour of the city. He had time to put the vehicle into reverse, in an attempt to hit more people, before a number of soldiers and one civilian shot him dead in the cabin.  
This was the worst terror attack in Jerusalem for over a year, but it was far from unique. Just like dozens of attacks in Jerusalem over the past 15 months, this was a resident of the city, acting on his volition, without any active support from a terror organisation, using whatever means he had against a convenient target.  
As Police Commissioner Ronny Alsheich said after arriving at the scene: “You don’t need more that two to three seconds to find a terrorist target.”  
What Commissioner Alsheich did not add, although he knows it very well, was that very little than can be done to prevent such attacks, save cutting off Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighbourhoods from the rest of the city. (...) 
While in the past many Western governments were somewhat hesitant to condemn Palestinian attacks against IDF soldiers across the Green Line (technically, Sunday’s attack took place in what was once no-man’s land between Israel and Jordanian-occupied East Jerusalem), this time there was a chorus of unequivocal solidarity with Israel. Even the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek tweeted, “again we condemn another despicable act of terrorism today in Jerusalem”, although he later deleted it.  
In Germany’s capital, the Brandenburg Gate was lit up on Monday night with the colours of Israel’s flag, which was also flying over city halls in Paris and Rotterdam.  
This time at least, the Western world seems to agree with Mr Netanyahu that they are all facing the same threat. It is too early to say whether this is a trend, but we can speculate on the reasons. The visual similarities between the ramming attacks in Nice, Berlin and Jerusalem probably played a part. The near-identical images of a lorry, its windshield pockmarked with bullet-holes amid the chaos and casualties, probably played a role.  
There is a growing realisation in some quarters of Europe that there are at least some links between what Israelis have been facing for decades and what Europeans are facing are now.  
There may also be at least some connection between the increasing solidarity with Israel and the changing international landscape in the era of Mr Trump where, for better or for worse, the Israel-Palestine conflict is likely to be much lower on the list of Western diplomatic priorities. 
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