Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Israelization of London

The Wall Street Journal's lead editorial on Friday was excellent. Some highlights:
As the second attack in as many weeks, it means the Israelization of the war on terror may now be upon Britain and, sooner or later perhaps, Europe and America, too.
By "Israelization," we refer to the steady stream of bus, cafe, grocery, mall and street bombings to which Israeli civilians have been wantonly subjected these past several years.
The key question then becomes - how does one dry up this stream? Prime Minister Blair gave the first part of the answer in a news conference after the July 21st bombings:
"The people who are responsible for terrorist attacks are the terrorists."
Until the world recognizes the causes behind terrorist attacks, it will be powerless to stop them. It is not poverty that causes terrorism; it is not hopelessness that causes terrorism; it is not hunger, economic policies, "occupation", or any other pathetic excuse people come up with for the terrorists. It is a simple desire to kill, to hate, to scare, and to destroy the lives of those who disagree with one's views, or those who do not "deserve" to live on this world; those who are "less important" than the terrorists themselves. The terrorists recognize that they are not powerful enough to fight the rest of the world head-on, so they resort to terrorist acts which are designed to completely disrupt society as we know it. The Wall Street Journal points out:
Even so, the effects of Palestinian-style terror are in many ways more devastating. No place feels safe; ordinary living becomes vastly more difficult; security costs to government and businesses are massive. And the killing adds up: In a country as small as Israel, nearly everyone had a personal connection to one of the 1,000 Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks over the past five years.
But the Journal also points out the next step in stopping the attacks, which sounds simple but requires much work and reason.
Yet "Israelization" also means the methods Israelis have refined over the years to contain the terrorist threat. Throughout the course of the intifada, these methods came in for high-minded criticism as being violations of civil and international law. But as Australian Prime Minister John Howard observed at a press conference in London yesterday with British counterpart Tony Blair, many of the laws currently on the books in the West amount to "19th-century legal responses" to a 21st-century threat.
Chief among Israel's innovations--since adopted by the Bush Administration--has been to treat terrorism as something different from criminal behavior, and to respond to it as something more than a law-enforcement problem. In some instances, this has led to actions that make civil libertarians uneasy, particularly the round-up and imprisonment of hundreds of Palestinians deemed security risks, although this has been key to reducing the number of terror attacks by more than 90%.
As is often said, "Not all Muslims are terrorists. But all terrorists are Muslims." A law professor who taught me this spring explains this quite succintly:
"It is not so much that all Muslims are terrorists, or would commit terrorist acts. Most would prefer to stay as far away from them as possible. But the overwhelming percentage of them are sympathetic to the terrorists, and that is the problem with them. They don't realize that this is bad for them, too."
If the majority of Muslims would speak out against the attacks, and would do their best to contain and hand in the terrorists, to fight their ideals and messages, and to teach their children that these ideologies are wrong and immoral, then everything would be much simpler. Arrests could be made, terror attacks averted, and the sick-minded ideologies of the terrorists would die away - whether figuratively or literally.

But as this is not the case, or a rarity at best, the world must work in a systematic way to uproot terror. This includes mass arrests to contain would be bombers; extensive profiling to restrict the travel of terrorists; the freedom of security forces to err on the side of caution; and the holding of suspects for indefinite periods of time in order to ensure that attacks do not occur. The Israelization of London, and possibly the rest of the world, has already begun on the side of the terrorists. It is about time the world wakes up and Israelizes back.

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