Already this last year of the Presidency of Barack Obama there has been a dozen terrorist attacks which have been verified as such. In one mere twelve hour stretch in September the American people found out it may not be safe to go shopping in a mall in Minnesota, go running a five kilometer not so fun run in New Jersey or walk window-shopping on the streets of New York City without risk of terrorism striking and potentially injuring or taking one’s most precious life. The United States has faced car bombings, remote detonated bombings, suicide bombings and shooting sprees where the attacker was only stopped when shot dead by an armed citizen or law enforcement officer. All of these terrorist styled attacks were first perfected against Israel where initially they received minimal notice by the Western World media as it was just Israel. Often any reporting on such terror attacks in Israel were covered in such a manner that it appeared as if the Israelis had shot the terrorist who then retaliated with his bombing, shooting or whatever attack as the title was often Palestinian shot by Israeli Defense Force or Palestinian Killed by Israeli Police or other misleading phrasing. As such attacks spread to Europe and across other Middle East and North African Arab nations where their Christian, Kurdish, Hindu or Buddhist minorities were often the targets with some attacks were Sunni-Shia violence and these made the reporting even in Israel more accurate. Now that attacks have spread to the United States the reporting has become stark noted by the insistence after each attack initially the authorities deny any possible tie to terrorism and warning against jumping to any conclusions that Muslims were at all involved in the attacks. Eventually the reality brakes through and the terrorist ties were obvious to the most casual of observers from the start and are finally admitted.
The lag time between attacks being perpetrated in Israel and their coming to the United States has thus far been measured in years if not decades granting Americans a reprieve from the more recent types of attacks used in Israel. Apparently this lag time has been shortened considerably with the terror attack at Ohio State University. The car ramming and following stabbing spree until shot by law enforcement officer November 28th brought that lag time down to the slimmest of measure as such are only the most recent of attacks even in Israel. This is not good news for Americans as there are no safe spaces from car rammings and stabbing attacks making everyone almost everywhere potentially under threat. The last couple of years in Israel had seen numerous car rammings which were all part of what was informally referred to as the Stabbing Intifada which has tailed off but not really completely come to an end. We all pray here in Israel, as you do in the United States, that this will be the only time you suffer from such an assault on your persons and communal safety; but we all know the unfortunate reality. Once a new form of terror attack is used it will continue until mitigating means are found for defeating such attacks. Here in Israel train stations and bus stops now have thick five centimeter diameter, cement filled posts a embedded deep into the pavement protecting the people from vehicle rammings. Stabbing attacks are only avoided through vigilance and a communal reaction making the attacker into the hunted as through mutual defense we are all safer.
Recently, though largely uncovered by Western media, Israel suffered yet another massive terror assault upon the entire nation through forest fires largely set by Arab arsonists. Neighboring nations, including Croatia, Greece, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, Russia and Turkey, responded with firefighting manpower and equipment for which we are grateful. The United States sent its “Supertanker” which is the largest firefighting aircraft in the world. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a coalition of eight fire trucks and 40 firefighters which were used largely in Judea and Samaria as nowhere was immune from the horrors. In the single week during the final days before the rains came but whipped by the high winds accompanying seasonal weather changes Israel suffered one-thousand-seven-hundred-seventy-three separate fires which consumed approximately thirty-two-thousand acres with most located in the Haifa region. In some cases fires were set and once the fire-stations responded fires were set at the station houses themselves. Despite over a hundred people suffered injuries there were no fatalities this season. Over five-hundred homes were completely destroyed while tens of thousands were evacuated at some points. As of last counting there have been over thirty arrests of arsonists all of whom have proven to be Arab terrorists. Apart from the horrific damage to the parks and some neighborhoods the next most distressing reality of this past arson season was the repeated lack of coverage in the Western media once again the reality of “it’s only Israel” coming through loud and clear. There were no Israeli lives lost and, just as important if not more so, no terrorist arsonists shot resisting arrest or in the act of setting fires. Had a single arsonist been shot or otherwise injured, the cries of using disproportional and unnecessary force would have echoed from Rome to San Francisco and from Athens to Chicago and all stops inbetween. Instead, with lack of recriminations to be aired against Israel, the wave of arson was met with deafening silence.
The recent car ramming and stabbing attack does pose as a warning shot before the bow on the streets of America as it signaled a closing in the delay time between introduction of a newer terror wave in Israel and its application in the United States. We have already witnessed the use of ramming in Europe with the van being driven through a Nantes, France crowded market injuring almost a dozen and killing one victim plus the absolutely horrific Nice, France assault where a van filled with grenades and weapons was driven through a crowded 14th of July Bastille Day celebration killing eighty-four people, which included several children. The short delay from the wide use in Israel of car and vehicle rammings and stabbing attacks to their use across Europe and then to the United States bodes a troubling future for all three. Other places across Europe and Canada suffering ramming terror attacks have been but not limited to Glasgow International Airport attack in Scotland; Dijon, France; plus another attack with the Saint Jean sur Richelieu attack which occurred in Quebec, Canada on October 20, 2014. Now with the Ohio State University attack the United States has suffered its second vehicle ramming, the other being the SUV attack at the University of North Carolina. Then there were the greatest and most horrific rammings of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center Towers, Pentagon and the foiled attack which was brought down by the heroes of that day, the passengers on Flight 93 southeast of Pittsburgh.
The fear now should be from arson attacks, especially those set upwind a relatively short distance from built-up areas such as apartment complexes, business parks and housing developments. Also vulnerable would be deserted areas within some of America’s cities where a fire could be sparked that would then threaten downtown areas where urban renewal borders deserted areas yet to be rejuvenated. There should be some research performed to determine if previous fires may have been started as a form of terrorist attack as such arson attacks often target not only forest and scrublands but also target close-by developed regions. Israel has faced these firestorm attacks twice yearly, the spring winds and the fall winds which provide the necessary impetus for the use of directional winds to fan flames towards their real target, people. One can only pray that through vigilance and the formal fire-watch systems in place in the United States Park Systems stems any arson and other fires before they can rise and threaten people’s lives and property. Sufficient damage occurs already and needs little boost from intentional arson fires set with damage of people and structures as their actual target. Then there were the recent fires in Tennessee which are still being investigated by authorities.
But with the coming of the new administration of President Trump there will be a new attitude towards terrorist attacks and how they are treated by the FBI, Justice Department and other enforcement agencies within the government. No longer will the initial reports be that there is absolutely no indication that what appears to have been a terrorist attack actually is a terror attack. Rather any caution shown will still recognize that terror is always a potential cause and if it looks like terror, feels like terror and sounds like terror, then there will be the recognized likelihood that terror was a possibility. Under President Trump there is not to be the candy-coating of reality and the American people will be trusted with being given truth, often unvarnished truth as they will finally be seen and treated as grown-ups who can handle the truth. There will be no condescending hierarchy who claim that the American people cannot handle the truth and that only they, the elite have the capability to handle the truth and thus they claim they stand on the wall deciding what you deserve to know and what you must be protected against. We will have to wait and see which Americans are capable of handling the unvarnished, unsoftened, straight truth and which Americans will be demanding safe-spaces placed and trigger warnings with their newscasts. With a more open and honest evaluation of reality and the inclusion of the American people in the decision process by having an open debate, the United States will likely return taking their place as a leader of the free world. It will likely make most Americans pleased to be treated as the adults they presumably are, and we pray we have not misjudged our friends across the waves. It will be wonderful to have an ally back.
Beyond the Cusp