Editor’s Notes: The bombers within

By David Horovitz July 15, 2005

While there have been a number of instances of Israeli Arabs assisting Palestinian terrorists, the central role played by four British Muslims in four coordinated suicide bombings in their own capital far outstrips the most heinous terror roles of Israeli Arabs here since 2000

First it was maybe one suicide bomber, the one on the double-decker bus. Then it was none, with the bombs said to have been detonated so near-simultaneously as to have precluded a human factor, leaving only the possibility of ultra-sophisticated timers. But now British police are certain that all four of July 7′s London blasts were carried out by suicide-bombers.

This murderous quartet were the first suicide-bombers ever to strike in the British Isles. And that horrific precedent is the unremarkable one.

The truly world-changing precedent is that this time – in contrast to 9/11 and Madrid – long-time citizens of a Western country have brought Islamic terrorism to their own nation. It was Britons who blew up Britain on 7/7.

When you look at this from the Israeli-Palestinian perspective you begin to appreciate the gravity of what is a new Islamic extremist nadir and why, in one central aspect, it poses still more of a challenge to Britain than Palestinian attackers have to 140-times bombed Israel.

Sympathize with all, part or none of their grievances, but Israeli Arabs generally perceive themselves as the victims of acute injustices – in everything from the under- funding of their local councils and schools to the security forces’ fatal preparedness to resort to live fire against them in the riots of late September-early October 2000. Furthermore, in the bloody conflict between the country in which they live and the people with whom they identify, they instinctively support their own Palestinian cousins’ struggle for independent statehood, they endorse the Palestinian claim to sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and they are often inclined to accept central aspects of the self-exculpating Palestinian narrative about who is to blame for the terrible loss of life here over the past five years.

Yet while there have been a number of instances of Israeli Arabs assisting Palestinian terrorists – and one case, too, of an Israeli Arab suicide bomber – the central role played by four British Muslims in four coordinated suicide bombings in their own capital far outstrips the most heinous terror roles of Israeli Arabs here since 2000.

The nature of this new terrorist dimension takes some absorbing. Even in the foul and delusional mind-set that would seek to legitimize terrorism on the basis of grievance, what outrage can even the most extreme UK Muslim possibly seek to invoke as justification for the willful, indiscriminate murder of his own countrymen, the very people who have welcomed him into their home?

BRITAIN HAD better not reel dazedly for too long.

Suicide bombers, once dispatched, are almost impossible to stop. Only the resort to a massive security barrier has proved significant in thwarting a high proportion of the suicide bombers targeting Israel, and it has worked only because the bombers have come from without – because Israeli Arabs have generally eschewed terrorism. No physical barrier can save Britain from the bombers within.

It may reflect utter, uncomprehending shock. Alternatively, it may stem from a conviction that the London blasts were a one-off catastrophe. But the stoicism Britons have displayed in the immediate aftermath of the bombs that tore through their capital faces only the first of what, it must be reasonably feared, will be many terrorist tests. These bombers made no attempt to hide their identities. They wanted their fellow British Muslims to know who they were and what they had done. They hoped to be perceived as martyrs… and to inspire others to follow them.

In so threatening a climate, the farcical tales of known hatemongers being afforded asylum in the UK, of imams peddling incitement in mosques where British authorities dare not penetrate for fear of offending religious sensibilities, of extremist groupings monitored but not smashed by security chiefs who feel they lack the necessary legal backing – these tales aren’t wryly amusing anymore. Dozens of people are dead, hundreds have been injured, and those Britons prepared to view their surroundings clear- sightedly must recognize that their society has fundamentally changed before its leaders’ complacent eyes.

The appeasers and apologists who, in the immediate aftermath of 7/7, sneered that Prime Minister Tony Blair, by supporting the ouster of terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, had brought the terror war down on Britain’s head will doubtless be unmoved even by the astounding discovery that British citizens, rather than overseas imports, were responsible.

But to have any chance of preventing a recurrence – and a far worse one, at that – of bombings that shatter the most deeply held assumptions about the fundamental decency and humanity of British citizens, Blair and his colleagues must urgently reconcile themselves to the fact of a vicious enemy in their own midst. And they must take steps, now, to counter that enemy – first by understanding and then by neutralizing the extremist ideologues and their adherents who have abused Britain’s freedoms.

For even the nightmare scenarios, it turns out, were not nightmarish enough.

***

THREE DAYS. That’s how long police believe it would take them to remove 8,400 people from their homes if they went in hard, if those people were the enemy.

But they are not the enemy. They are fellow citizens of the state of Israel. And in the Southern District police command, charged with persuading the Jews of Gaza to leave their settlements behind, disengagement is widely regarded as the toughest mission the force has ever been asked to carry out.

Ehud Olmert, the vice prime minister and staunch advocate of disengagement, suggested to me in an interview a few days ago that the pullout would take no more than two weeks. The police don’t proffer timetables. It will take as long as it takes.

When they knock on the settlers’ doors, the cops will introduce themselves by name and tell the residents they’ve been sent to carry out the policy of the State of Israel and that they hope force won’t be required. If the family to be evicted is eating, if the males are at the synagogue, the cops will tell them to complete their meal, to wait for the services to finish. They’ll be patient, albeit not infinitely so.

If passions run high and both cops and settlers emerge crying, well, that will be fine. It’s bloodshed, not tears, the police want to avoid.

The Southern Command is more accustomed to tasks like fighting crime in Beersheba (down 35 percent in the past year), thwarting Beduin seizures of state land and gearing up for the repercussions of possible legalized gambling in Eilat. They expect opposition from the subjects of their Gaza mission, but not vicious resistance from a population characterized by an exceptionally low crime rate.

Those who do depart only when the police arrive will be asked to come out with just the few bits and bobs they can carry – with the rest of their possessions to be sent on afterwards. They will also, if the law is implemented to the letter, lose a substantial proportion of the compensation they could have had if they’d moved voluntarily.

The Gaza settlers know all this. They know the financial cost of waiting till the very end. But while police believe many families will, however reluctantly, go along with them when the knock comes on the door, there’s a psychological barrier they may prove simply unable to clear until that last moment.

When you have invested so much of yourself, when you have hoped for so long that the worst-case scenario will not become reality, when you know who will be replacing you and how they will celebrate, it’s not easy, however financially advantageous, to voluntarily abandon your home.

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