The Magnometer War

The world has yet to learn to draw conclusions from past events that reflect on the future, and how to avoid repeating mistakes that caused the most momentous political events in our world. Despite the tension in that was felt in Europe, primarily in the Balkans in 1914 – the world could not prevent the First World War, and not only was the outbreak of the war received with total surprise – but although its catastrophic results and huge number of casualties shocked the world, in no way did it prevent the events of the Second World War.

The Jewish people who experienced the terrible holocaust of WW2, events that left their historic mark on its life as a nation as well as on the entire world, did not understand the hints thrown out by the Nazis and their cronies during the years preceding the war, that could have helped responding, defending and rescuing as many potential victims as possible before the Nazis’ final solution.

The establishment of the State of Israel, the world’s recognition of Israel, and even the negotiation attempts with the Palestinian Authority to try and normalize the relationship in a way that allows for living side by side – none of these taught us lessons from the past, and the system is unable to apply these outcomes to the future.

But more than anything – the awareness that radical Islam, supported by respected Islamic countries throughout the world, is striving for a religious war and religious occupation, and is attempting to dominate world leadership in increasingly larger parts of the world. The tensions between Islam and the people of South-East Asia are expanding. Even China feels the Islamic awakening. Expressions of religious extremism in a country like Malaysia or religious radicalization in tolerant Indonesia have gradually been changing and affecting the world, and Tayyip Erdoğan – the man who sees himself as the future leader of the Muslim world – is leading a dangerous radicalization process in the Middle East and encouraging Muslim refugees into Europe. It seems that the Western world is not sufficiently aware of the dangers of this behavior in any possible area.

The world’s bitter experience during recent decades has proved that it does not learn and does not draw the right conclusions – not from religious radicalization and not from the Shiite threat among terror organizations and countries throughout the world. The sated Western world tries to surround itself with various protection measures, but does nothing to cope with the real dangers that threaten it and increase incessantly.

Islamic immigration waves, were a consequence of the Arab Spring that overthrew Gaddafi in Libya and opened the gates to Europe through Lampedusa Island, allowing thousands of refugees a day into Europe from the Maghreb, and the other Arab Spring, part of which was initiated by Turkey that encouraged the civil war in Syria and flooded Europe with refugees from the north, through Turkey and the Greek Islands. These have not stopped for a minute since the ‘Arab Spring’, which was supported by the former American president and received Turkey’s uncompromising backing, the results of which we growingly experience today, as the borders of many countries become war zones, and various areas are rife with terror and crimes against humanity. More than anything, it is clear that the world has not internalized the terrible danger from these countries. In the early 1970s, Palestinian terror organizations started hijacking planes and attacking airports all over the world. This form of terror, called ‘airborne terrorism’, changed the maps of the world. Airports became fortified targets, and more and more attacks were directed at them, mostly by Islamic terrorists. The world reacted by fortifying airports, placing bomb detecting devices at the entrances, arming airport guards, and putting millions of passengers throughout the world in the position of hostages – subject to long queues, personal humiliation and checks that go through their shoes and belts. Instead of fighting the terrorists and their supporters, the key effort has been to find means that can prevent the terrorists from continuing to wreak havoc, and this perpetuates the unbearable situation of millions of travelers all over the world, who bow their heads and accept this as their inevitable fate.

It did not help Israel when it warned about the dangers of terrorism from her own experience with the terror that has been perpetrated for a hundred years since the 1920s by Arab terrorism. This terror, which has impaired the fabric of the life of citizens in Israel, did not at first seem threatening to citizens of the world. Only when this terror extended to European capitals and other countries – the world suddenly realized that the terror was aimed at everyone. And once again, the war on terror is by convergence, building defenses, and looking the other way in hope that the cloudy wave will pass and life will return to normal.

The struggle over Al-Aqsa is not about holiness. It is a fight to use religion for terror, and to turn terror into a religious war, thus legitimizing terror, and allowing it to recruit new terrorists on an ideological basis and a religious basis.

Removing the magnometers from the security zones of the Temple Mount is a mockery of human intelligence, in hope that the world does not see that refusing inspection of armed men in public places where acts of murder and terror are committed is not a religious war, but an attempt to block terror and extremists. Any surrender in this struggle will eventually cause nothing but radicalization and deterioration in the near and far future.

There is no room for compromise where protection is concerned. Some countries forbid covering one’s face and head such as with the hijab. This is not a war on religion, but a Sisyphean struggle to prevent terror, and also there – attempts are made to turn it into a religious war. The magnometer war emphasizes the fact that the entire world must unite against terror, against terrorists, and against terror supporters – whether countries and governments such as Iran and Turkey, and whether by support of terrorist and religious organizations that make religion into a battering ram against the future and the wellbeing of tomorrow’s world.

Those who justify removing the magnometers from the Temple Mount must be true to their convictions and remove the magnometers from airports as well, so as to avoid offending Muslims. It is impossible to wage a war on uncompromising terror with one’s hands tied behind one’s back. Winston Churchill, on the eve of WW2, told his predecessor, the appeaser Neville Chamberlain, after he had signed the Munich Agreement, “Britain was given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Today’s world is no less fragile that it was before both world wars. Extremists and terrorists are united and supported by various stakeholders. The struggle for terror is accompanied by a struggle to influence world leaders, and the magnometer has become a symbol used by radicals against our attempts to stop Jihadists that endanger the safety of humanity. There is no compromise in the war against terror. Compromise is surrender. Surrender is the gateway to additional disasters and additional terror, and this – the world cannot afford.

Following is a random, non-comprehensive, list of airborne Islamic terror events, which were the basis for global change in aviation:

Date Terror org. Airline Results
23/7/1968 PFLP* El Al Hostages were held for weeks; PM Levi Eshkol finally freed terrorists for their exchange
Dec. 1968 PFLP El Al Attacks on planes in Athens resulted in one death and two injured
Feb. 1969 PFLP El Al Attack of plane in Zurich; co-pilot killed and Captain injured
29/8/1969 PFLP TWA Two Israeli passengers were held for 44 days
21/2//1970 PFLP Swissair Bomb planted in mailbag resulted in plane crash; 47 dead
Feb. 1970 PFLP Austrian Airlines Explosion on board; the plane managed to land
Sep. 1970 PFLP TWA, Swissair, Pan Am. Attempt to hijack El Al plane Two planes were hijacked to Jordan, passengers removed, and planes blown up. 3 days later another hijacking; led to an extensive operation by Jordan against Palestinian organizations (‘Black September’)
Feb. 1972 PFLP El Al Explosion on flight from Rome to Tel Aviv, plane managed to land
8/5/1972 Black September Sabena Hostages released by IDF commando unit at Lod airport
30/5/1972 PFLP & Japanese Red Army Lod (Ben Gurion) airport Three Japanese terrorists opened fire and threw grenades in the terminal, murdering 24 people.
Oct. 1972 PFLP Lufthansa Release of the three remaining terrorists from the Munich Olympics massacre.
July 1973 PFLP & Japanese Red Army Japanese airliner, above Holland Demanded release of Kozo Okamoto, surviving terrorist of the 1972 Lod massacre; finally released passengers, blew up the plane, and disappeared in Libya
Nov. 1973 Abu Nidal (through the Arab Nationalistic Youth for the Liberation of Palestine) KLM Passengers released in Dubai after negotiations
Dec. 1973 Purportedly related to the PLO Pan Am, Lufthansa Attack in the Rome airport, total death toll 34 passengers; hijackers released the hostages in Kuwait after a few stops, and were taken under PLO custody.
Sep. 1974 Abu Nidal TWA Plane exploded; 88 dead
26/6/1976 PFLP & Bader Meinhof AIR France Operation Entebbe: hostage rescue by IDF commandos
Oct. 1977 PFLP Lufthansa Terrorists flew the plane to Somalia; German special forces released all hostages and killed all terrorists but one
Sept. 1983 Abu Nidal Gulf Air Bomb; 117 killed
23/11/1985 Abu Nidal Egypt Air Hijacked to Malta; unsuccessful rescue attempt by Egyptian army; 58 dead
5/9/1986 Abu Nidal Pan Am Karachi; ended with 20 dead

* PFLP = Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
Related Topics
Related Posts