Bombs, terror, devastation, rhetoric.
World leaders feel compelled to speak out after devastating terror attacks, as they should. They offer words of consolation, of commiseration, of comfort, of confusion and of warning.
After the London bombings Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke out requesting, even ordering, his Ministers not to make any parallels between the terror in London and terror in Israel. The prime minister went so far as to suggest that the terror perpetrated in London was different from the terror Israelis are fighting.
At the same time, almost at the same moment, Palestinian Minister and familiar spokesperson to the West, Saeb Erekat, warned Israel not to use the London bombing as political fodder.
Tony Blair, on the other hand, said that the terror that ripped through his capital city is certainly connected to the situation in the Middle East.
And George Bush was quick to pronounce that all terror, especially Islamic terror, including nuclear terror, threatens the very essence of Western democracy and freedom.
Shame on you Ariel Sharon.
Certainly there are differences between the London terror attacks, the first Islamic terrorist attacks in this city, and the attacks regularly suffered by Israelis at the hands of Palestinians. But certainly, the similarities outweigh the differences. Certainly, deadly attacks perpetrated by terrorists who hate Westerners purely for being Westerners are of the same cloth as those who terrorize Israelis simply for being Israeli and Western. Certainly, you should know that, you should know it in your bones Mr. Prime Minister, you should feel it in your heart.
Mr. Sharon, what about this similarity:
The London attack was directed against innocent citizens going about their daily lives, on their way to work, to school, beginning their day. Attacks on Israel are aimed at innocent citizens going about their daily lives, at malls, eating pizza, in discos, riding buses.
Mr. Sharon, you minimize the horror of all attacks against innocents, diminish the honor due all who fight against these attacks, by creating divides when, in death and destruction, they are all equal.
There are Universals of Terror:
The goal of the terrorist is to terrify citizens and have them change routine, to bully governments and have them change policy.
The overall objective of the Islamic terrorist is to attack at the heart of Western life and thought in order to shake the resolve of the West.
To the terrorist mind there is no difference between Jew and Christian, there are believers and non-believers, that is all.
The purpose of terror is to garner support and power throughout the Muslim and Arab world in order to attack more Western capitals and more Western citizens and to strike more and more fear into the hearts of non-believers with impunity.
There is no such thing as "local considerations" when in comes to terror, terrorists choose their target so as to make the biggest bang, to resonate the loudest, to reverberate worldwide.
For Prime Minister Sharon to think that terror in downtown London is disconnected from terror in central Jerusalem is to make a mistake that I can only call political myopia. Yes the terrorists chose to strike the British capital, but it was not just London, it was all of England and all of Europe and the entire West that came under attack. And Israel too.
For the Israeli prime minister to be so naive as to place short term political gain with the Palestinians above the greater goal of fighting terror, to buy into Palestinian rhetoric, is truly frightening.
Are there differences? Surely there are. But not in the hearts and minds and belief of the terrorists. They wait to see which pieces of their terrorist puzzle fall into place where. And then the bombs detonate.
When planning an attack in Europe or the United States, the terrorists have a larger map to choose from than they do in the small country of Israel, but the plan remains the same. They plan for example, attacks in London, Istanbul, Madrid, Casablanca, New York and Bali. They wait for all the pieces to fit into place in one of their choice locations. And then boom.
Terrorists pick their targets. They plan their targets. But then, like much in life, they need luck to make it happen effectively. This time, the terrorists were very lucky. Too lucky.