Terrorism cannot be “terrorism”

Tel Aviv – the strong, courageous, and cheerful secular house of Israel – was struck to the heart, and it is wonderful to see how, after the massacre, the city goes back to life, work, and children heading to school. Sarona is right in front of the Kiria, full soldiers mixed with families, children, youngsters.

Soldiers boys and girls carry that big weapon dangling from their shoulders with unconcerned genetic anti-militarism – but they are proud that those weapon they will have to use professionally to defend themselves and their people, and they know how to do it. The Ministry of Defense is right there, with all its antennas projecting the ears to East, and sometime, like this, to no avail.

The flowerbeds, the decorum of the shop windows, and the rich menù of the cafés, show great care taken in defining the brand-new neighborhood. The area that once was home to mostly military shack-offices, is now polished with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, sports shops.

The two terrorists approached the scene of the attack like the Paris terrorists at Bataclan, seeking the massacre. They had no kefiah around their neck, but a real disguise – suit, jacket, shirt… In the café, they ordered a sweet, and then started shooting bullets and hatred against the people being seated at the tables next to theirs, against people who live, think, dress, have fun, believe in a different way.

This is how Ben Ari was slaughtered. A Coca Cola manager, aged 42, he was sitting at Benedict café with his wife, who has been hospitalized and is undergoing surgery, and two children. Along with him, other people lost their life: an important scholar, Dr. Michael Feige, sociologist and anthropologist at the University of Negev, left a wife and two children; Mila Mishaev, 32 years old, who used to support her mother, father and three sisters, working for the social services; Ilana Naveh, 39 years old, who leaves her 4 children just because she went to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Innocent people, just like the Bataclan french, but this time Israeli, Jews.

The Palestinians in Ramallah and Gaza hailed the massacre with repulsive behaviors, distributing candies and shouting for joy in the streets and on social networks. The hashtag “Ramadan operation”, “Carlo bullet” (the name of the rifle), and even “We broke the (Ramadan) fast by killing them” went viral. Salma al-Jamal, a noted Palestinian presenter at Al Jazeera, wrote on Twitter: “The Ramadan operation is the best response to all the nonsense about peace processes”. And Hamas promised: “This is the first Ramadan surprise to Israel”.

In these very days, ISIS addressed all Western infidels with threats of attacks, death, and blood for the month of Ramadan. Moreover, we know that a summit between ISIS men from Sinai and Hamas’ officials took place last week in Gaza.

It is unsure whether the terrorists were triggered by this meeting, but the area they come from Hevron is the most connected to Hamas, and one of them, Khaled Mechamara, has already been identified as a man of Hamas who pursued his university studies in Jordan.

The Tel Aviv attack is not an ordinary one and the experts are wondering about what to do. The measures already standing are serious and well implemented, and it is painful that new and harder provisions will have to be adopted and that that the permission for the Palestinians to visit relatives in Israel, in honor of Ramadan, had to be canceled.

The fact is that facing terrorism, which was lately showing signs of decline, has always been for Israel a time of great responsibility coupled with moderation. But it is also something that Israel has always to face alone, and this puts responsibilities on the western interlocutors of the Jewish state, because such a solitude de facto emboldens terrorists to renew their attacks.

While Paris and Istanbul can at least count on the solidarity of the international community, Jerusalem is abandoned by everybody: as if it were still possible to believe that these attacks are not prompted by the intention to destroy Israel and make its territory part of the Islamic Umma, but by the hope of “Two states for two people”.

A total indifference or even something worse has been, evening at the time the thousands of murders of the second Intifada, the answer to terrorism against the Jewish people, whereas the latter is regarded with a spirit of opportunism and with unconfessed interests disguised of doubts about the real nature of the Palestinian attacks against innocent mothers sitting in a coffee shop.

Yesterday the CNN headlines spoke of “terrorists” using the quotation marks, and almost all other networks (including BBC) described the attack as a mere “shooting”, and not as terrorism. The French people, the Turk, the British… any other nation victim of terrorism should shout in horror hearing this, but the silence remains deafening.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale ( 10 June, 2016)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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