Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Europeans loved scorning Israel's efforts to address terror but now war has irrevocably arrived in their cities

It's the first time I have read such a remarkable editorial in a European media.  It has to be said that, because there is so much fear of terrorists 'in our midst"  and of terrorism becoming irrevocably "part of everyday life" that lately criticism of Israel has been rather muted.  Things are indeed changing.

Terrorism in our midst
Jan Fleischhauer writes on Spiegel Online: The Terror in Our Cities 

Israel is the first democracy to have extensive experience with Islamist terrorism. Before recent attacks on our own soil, Europeans loved nothing better than scorning the Jewish state's efforts to address terror. In the future, we may need to turn to the Israelis for advice. 

The new Greek finance minister once called the West Bank security fence, built by Israel to protect its people from terrorist attacks, a "concrete monster." The barrier is always a key issue when critics of the Jewish state launch into their tirades. But the jump from outrage over the wall to sympathy for terrorism is a small one. In comments made on radio in 2005, left-wing superstar Giannis Varoufakis said we shouldn't be surprised when Palestinians strap on explosives belts. It's the kind of thing people say whose only experience with terror are occasional blowups with the spouse at home.

But perhaps we will soon be viewing things differently in Europe. Thus far, we have told ourselves that jihad is only a problem for countries that are less thoughtful or accommodating in their treatment of their Muslim minorities. Now, though, the war has irrevocably arrived in our cities.

The shots fired in Copenhagen provide sad confirmation that the attacks in Paris were only the beginning. We will soon come to recognize that there is a major difference between reading about a religious attack in the news or having to assume that you are at risk of becoming a victim yourself just because you attend the wrong event or visit the wrong café.

The Enemy Is Now in Our Midst
It has always been an open question how European democracies would defend themselves if the kind of Islamist terror Israeli society faces becomes part of everyday life.

In the two years prior to the erection of the controversial border installations, Israeli authorities counted 89 attacks, with 305 deaths and 4,942 injuries -- a significant number for a country with a population of just over 8 million. The number of casualties only began to fall after the construction of the wall. It's a success story that has never been viewed as such outside of the embattled country itself.

In Germany, we won't be able to build walls through our major cities in order to protect ourselves. The enemy we are dealing with doesn't live on the other side of the desert, it lives in our midst. We are left to rely on the acumen of people who have been trained to detect evil before it is too late.  Unfortunately, we are poorly equipped for the task. More.

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