Monday, 5 December 2016

HN: EU must learn from USA, Israel in fighting terrorism

ČTK |
24 March 2016

Prague, March 23 (CTK) - Europe should stop criticising the USA and Israel for their anti-terrorist measures and start taking lessons from these two countries, former Czech ambassador in Israel, Tomas Pojar, writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Wednesday in reaction to Tuesday bomb attacks in Brussels.

For nearly a quarter of a century, Europe believed that its security is guaranteed and that it does not have to pay any special attention to the safety of its citizens. The Brussels attacks prove the opposite and they will be followed by further tests, Pojar writes.

Most of the attacks can be prevented, but not all of them. The threats can be lowered by investments into the army, police and intelligence services. The elimination of planned attacks is the result of the work of the armed forces and the elimination of many terrorist cells is the result of international cooperation and information exchange, Pojar writes.

The EU has been criticising the United States for gathering too much information, but in critical moments the EU asks the Americans to share their information with it. The first phone calls of Brussels secret services after the Tuesday attacks were to the USA. Europe should be less hypocritical and more realistic, Pojar says.

The motives, capabilities and plans of the enemies, the militant Islamists, need to be thoroughly examined, he writes.

Israel has been defending its democracy and freedom for nearly 70 years and its society is regularly tested by terror attacks. Despite high investments in its defence, police and secret services, Israel has remained a country of freedom and prosperity, Pojar writes.

He says Brussels has been criticising Israel for several decades: the EU institutions, the Belgian government and the immigrant suburbs voice similar views in this respect.

It would be advisable to start learning from Israel rather than keep patronising Israel and giving it advice on how to deal with terrorism. The Israelis know well that they alone and no one else are responsible for their own security, Pojar writes.

Czech security analyst Matyas Zrno writes in HN that the Islamic world prefers conspiracy theories and its inhabitants always know whom to blame, the USA and sometimes Israel.

In Afghanistan, Taliban members believed that NATO is fighting a war in order to turn Muslims into Christians, while the Afghans opposing the Taliban believed that the Americans had a secret pact with the Taliban and were deliberately prolonging the fighting to justify their military presence, Zrno writes.

If anybody said the situation might be just what it seems to be, the Afghans absolutely rejected such a possibility, he says.

After the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015, the Saudi government newspaper al-Watan claimed that secret services that do not hesitate to sacrifice their fellow citizens were behind the formation of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, pointing to Western countries and Syria, Zrno writes.

In mosques from Indonesia to Morocco, one can hear the explanation that terrorist attacks were committed by the enemies of Islam (the West) in order to harm Islam, Zrno writes.

Egyptian daily al-Watan wrote that the West created Satan (Islamic State), but Satan got out of control and the West had to pay a price for destroying its creation now, Zrno says.

According to another theory, Israel is behind the Paris attacks and it committed them in retaliation for the French vote in support of Palestine in the United Nations, Zrno says.

Conspiracy theories are so widespread in the Islamic world that it is practically impossible to fight them. It may not be politically correct, but the Arab thinking is simply different, Zrno concludes.

Terrorism is an easy way of causing panic and spreading fear and hatred and it is impossible to completely protect modern society against terror threats, Czech MEP Ludek Niedermayer (TOP 09) writes in HN.

Countries may minimise the risks, with reasonable impacts on the everyday lives of the people. This is what the Americans have done after the 9/11 attacks using modern technology and they seem to be successful, Niedermayer writes.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to push through such measures. There are two obstacles that limit the defence capabilities of Europe: countries are against common solutions because they do not want to give up part of their sovereignty, and individuals do not want to give up their rights, he writes.

Due to this, data on who entered European territory and who left it are not available. A conflict between strict protectors of personnel data and those promoting security interests blocks such trivial instruments such as information exchange about flight passengers, Niedermayer writes.

It is hard to find a solution because limits need to be redefined and balance between Europe and national sovereignty and personal freedom and higher security must be found, he says, mentioning the use of security cameras, ownership of rifles.

Terrorists attacked the heart of the EU and they hope it would stop beating or be at least injured and paralysed, Petr Kolar, former Czech ambassador to Washington and Moscow, writes in HN.

The only answer to this is a joint defence of the ideas of freedom and tolerance and promotion of humanism and democracy in the world. Proponents of the hateful militant Islamist ideology must be liquidated everywhere and allies must be sought among Muslims who distance themselves from barbarism and fanaticism pervertedly excused by religious motives, Kolar writes.

Coordination and alliances with democratic countries outside the EU and NATO should be reinforced, Kolar says, mentioning Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and partners in Latin America as such allies.

"We should cooperate with all who share our values or at least understand what is at stake. We should prove that we are united and capable of not only defence but also attack," he writes.

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