On Friday, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on behalf of eight other European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Sweden), stating that: "Together with a group of eight like-minded countries, the Netherlands shares its deep concern about the raids of six Palestinian civil society organizations by Israel on 18 August."
Troubled? Excellent, they probably have something to hide.
What's all the fuss about?
Last year, Defense Minister Benny Gantz decided to outlaw a number of "Palestinian social organizations", including: "Al-Haq", "Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees", "Defense for Children International - Palestine", "Bisan", "ADDAMEER" and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. This is on the grounds that these organizations operate under the cover of the "Popular Front" terror organization, and its mission, in the territories of Judea and Samaria as well as abroad: "The organizations operate under the guise of carrying out humanitarian activities to promote the goals of the Popular Front terrorist organization, to strengthen the organization and recruit activists, and also assist in raising funds for the terrorist organization using a variety of counterfeiting methods and deceit. The organizations are controlled by the Popular Front; employ Popular Front activists in management and field positions and work to hide their affiliation out of fear of the security agencies in Israel and in the countries where the organizations raise donations for their activities."
As part of the fight against terrorism, with an emphasis on the "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine" organization, the Minister of Defense confirmed on Wednesday his October 2021 declaration of the organizations as terrorist organizations, making the declaration permanent according to Israeli law. Last Thursday, according to a statement from the IDF Spokesperson, the IDF and Israel Border Police soldiers closed seven institutions that work for the "Popular Front" terrorist organization and its branches, after apparently more than enough evidence and incriminating intelligence information had been accumulated. The forces confiscated property that included documents, electronic equipment and computers, and sealed the entrances to the offices.
Criticism of the Defense Minister's decision regarding those organizations began a year ago and was voiced by the United States and a number of European countries that apparently did not do enough to stop the institutions' connection to the terrorist organization. Now that the initiative has finally been taken and the terror offices have been closed, indignation has surfaced on the part of "do-gooders" in Israel and abroad.
Who is more upset, at what, and why?
Are European countries, members of NATO, troubled by a raid on a handful of Arab associations in the Palestinian Authority, which are hostile to the State of Israel in the Land of Israel?
In Israel there were probably those who felt troubled by the activity of those terrorist institutions, no less than those pious European countries who are troubled by the fact that the Israeli security forces are doing their job faithfully. After all, those countries have not really expressed support in recent years for activity designed to protect the citizens of Israel, but their voice was clearly heard when they often supported votes against it, anti-Israeli activity in their territory and funding the activity of entities that harm and endanger Jewish lives in the Land of Israel under the guise of allegedly dubious Arab associations. We hope that the truth about those institutions will be revealed quickly and with them the alleged involvement of the Europeans.
It would be better if each of the troubled countries started to take care of its very existence, its security and safety in its own domain. It is recommended to those leaders of dormant countries, where from time to time the alleged "anti-Semitic gene" awakens in them, to wake up, understand, take an example and implement even today the Israeli method of taking down institutions and organizations that work against the essence of the State and society. It would have been better if they had acted quickly "in their Europe" against those extremist Islamic movements and associations, which were based on their land and operate unhindered under the guise of social organizations apparently seeking peace and brotherhood.
The statement of the Europeans is puzzling with regard to the hidden meanings behind it and the reason they are genuinely troubled.
The first question that deserves to be investigated is whether this is a message indicating the concern of those countries about exposing their improper involvement in what is happening within our borders. Lest their knowing support directly or indirectly to a terrorist organization and its affiliates be exposed? After all, if this is not done knowingly, then it stems from their stupidity and/or their hatred of Israel – they can chose which.
A second question deals with the extent and depth of the takeover and influence of radical Islamic elements on the institutions of government and leadership in those (soon to be former) European-Christian countries, where the proportion of Muslims in the population has increased significantly in the last decade. Did the announcement come out under pressure/extortion/takeover by those alleged Islamic elements?
A third question, which complements the second to some extent, deals with the rate of increase in the influence of anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi elements in those countries, where alarming phenomena are increasing that have the potential to endanger the safety of their citizens and their Jewish residents first and foremost.
A final question, or, more accurately, a bunch of required questions that are familiar to every Israeli and begin with the well-known sentence accompanied by a waving of the wrist: "Why - what happened?" - Does the war in Ukraine no longer bother you? The situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia – is it forgotten? Turkey's war in Syria, its attacks and oppression of the Kurds, its opposition to the addition of Finland and Sweden to the NATO alliance in which it is itself a violent member with a "finger in every pie", does it not touch your cold and alienated hearts? Have you come to terms with the takeover by extreme Islam in Europe and the increase in the number of acts of violence and serious crime on the part of graduates of ISIS and other fundamentalist Muslim organizations? Are you satisfied with the economic-social situation in your countries completely flooded with refugees?
Summary and recommendation
It is proper for the Israeli government to make public and in a variety of languages, of course after the examination of the materials and the investigation, the findings of the raid on the offices of the "innocent" Arab organizations. In this way, hopefully, the involvement of the hypocritical countries will be exposed, whether in their direct or indirect support in activities that harm the security of the State of Israel and its citizens.
It is already appropriate to summon the ambassadors of those pious countries and make them look into the mirror; to calm their fears and anxieties regarding Israel and to raise their level of concern regarding the security of their own countries, while issuing an official statement along the lines of: "The government of Israel is troubled by the increase in anti-Semitism in European countries and by the takeover by radical Islamic elements, under the guise of social and charitable organizations, of the European state, in a way that affects the attitude to Jews and the State of Israel. The government of Israel is troubled by the involvement of those countries in Israel's internal security affairs while their own security is being undermined and deteriorating in a manner without precedent since the middle of the last century. The government of Israel is prepared to help those countries whose internal security situation causes deep concern, to deal with the processes of radicalization and the threat of radical Islam that is growing at home."
Col. (Res.) Tal Braun is a Member of IDSF and a strategic consultant.