Europe is not really serious about fighting terror, Israel is

What are the reasons Europe finds it so hard to fight terror?

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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld ,

Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld


EU experts warn that the shrinking of the ISIS territories may lead to this terrorist organization promoting more terrorist attacks in Europe. Al Qaeda terrorist affiliates and other terrorist organizations may also initiate such attacks. On top of that, there may be private terrorist initiatives by Muslims unaffiliated to any terrorist organization.

The European Union and its member countries are developing programs to better identify potential terrorists, increase information sharing, deradicalize returning jihadists, preventing additional radicalization and so on. Europeans crave greater security and expect that the EU play a role in this area while in essence this issue is dependent on the competence of the European member countries.  

As Israel has a people’s army, most citizens have soldiers or former soldiers in their family.  Israelis know far better than Europeans that fighting terrorism is also to a large extent a state of mind. Israelis are intimately familiar with murderous Palestinian and other Arab behavior for decades.
This mental attitude hardly exists among European populations. That is not only because the aforementioned characteristics of Israel are absent in Europe. Even a superficial observer can notice a variety of signals by European governments which make the creation of an effective anti-terrorist mindset among their populations unlikely.

Iran, a major terrorist state promotes among others, the destruction of another member of the United Nations, Israel. Its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei reiterates this to Iranians and the world. The annual Al Quds day symbolizes this. In June, this year’s march took place in Tehran with hundreds of thousands of participants. Some carried pictures of President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These were captioned “Death to the Devil Triangle”. 


Israel has learned the hard way that acting against terrorism has to be as efficient as possible.
Nevertheless, in June, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, was received not only by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, but also by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Around the same time, Al Quds day was held in Berlin. In that city, a Tunisian terrorist Anis Anri murdered 12 and wounded 49 last December. Al Quds day also took place in London, where Hezbollah flags were shown. In London alone, two lethal terrorist attacks by Muslims have occurred since the beginning of this year. Afterwards, a seemingly retaliation motivated attack took place against the Finsbury Mosque by a white terrorist. In the Netherlands, a Hamas front organization arranged a European conference in Rotterdam. A silent protest demonstration against this conference was forbidden.  

A second problematic issue in Europe is that border policies are not very strict. The outside borders of the EU Schengen area have been poorly guarded for many years. The massive influx of refugees is just one of its results. It has become known that the Dutch police has been concealing data about a huge number of crimes committed by immigrants, some of whom have already been refused asylum.

Yet another issue which underlines the lack of government seriousness is the existence of ‘no go areas’ sometimes also called ‘specially vulnerable areas.’ These are neighborhoods in a number of countries where the police are unable to maintain law and order. Even Sweden, the most welcoming country to refugees, mainly Muslims, has suffered terror attacks. Anna Nelberg Dennis, the vice chair of the Swedish Police Union stated that in “socially vulnerable areas, gangs have created parallel societies where they take the law into their own hands." She added that the gangs “believe that police shouldn't be there because they rule the area. This is something that the police can't solve themselves.” 

Major hindrances to creating a mental attitude to fight terrorism concern far more fundamental issues. Europeans wish to protect privacy and other civil rights. The battle against terrorism by necessity means reducing these. After Muslim terrorists murdered 130 people in and around Paris in November 2015, a national state of emergency was created which gave the police additional search and arrest powers. President Emmanuel Macron wants to end the state of emergency and include some of its measures in ordinary law. This has led to protests from magistrates and human rights groups. 

After this year’s terror attacks in the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May said that she intended to change human rights laws to tackle terrorism. The opposition Labour party countered that it would not back the changes. 

As most mortal terror attacks in the EU are committed by Muslims, there is a major issue which seems to be taboo: an in depth assessment of Muslims in Europe and the role of Islam on the continent. Among the many issues to investigate there is the question of which parts of Islam are incompatible with European values, however diluted these are. It is not difficult to prove that dangerous elements exist in both the attitude and behavior of parts of European Muslim communities.

Israel has learned the hard way that acting against terrorism has to be as efficient as possible. To put it brutally: additional Europeans - and we do not how many - will have to be killed or injured for that continent's governments and people to approach the same level of security awareness as Israel.

A recent document by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs shows, there is still much Europe has to learn from Israel. It is titled Lessons from Israel’s Response to Terrorism.






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