Monday, August 01, 2016

Living Normal Lives In A Terror Background

"There were times when we were afraid to stop our cars at a red light next to a bus."
"We live with terrorism. But we are not fearful. It is part of our daily routine."
"We had tractors [being driven into innocent Israeli bystanders to extract maximum physical damage]! One of them flipped over a bus with its bucket [2014 Palestinian attack]."
Ami Zini, 49, Jerusalem boutique owner

"I look around; I don't go to crowded places I don't have to."
"[It has been that way] forever. [People to some extent become accustomed to terrorist acts but] something always remains."
Inbal Berner, 37, Israeli school librarian
Since November of 2015, Israel has suffered through no fewer than 32 vehicle attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. France, the country that has so far undergone more terrorist attacks than elsewhere in Europe, has had far fewer such attacks; admittedly extremely deadly ones. The nation that has been on high alert for the past six months with additional military and police standing guard, has been unable to prevent those attacks.

French President Francois Hollande French President Francois Hollande gestures after a televised interview following the Bastille Day Parade in Paris, Thursday, July 14, 2016 at the Elysee Palace. (Francois Mori, Pool/AP Photo)

The very day following a statement by French President Francois Hollande that the state of emergency would be lifted, the horrendously deadly Nice truck attack took place when 84 people died and over 300 were injured, and he was forced to backtrack to another six months of emergency status, which may yet, given ongoing circumstances, continue to be prolonged.

French police take part in an anti-terrorism exercise in Lyon (07 June 2016)
EPA - Between 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers have been deployed to protective sensitive sites in France

In 2011, an Arab Israeli drove a truck at speed down a street in Tel Aviv for 1.5 kilometers leading to one death and 17 injured. Not to compare in deadly outcome with the Nice attack, the third mass killing in France in an 18-month period. The French have been advised by their prime minister that they "must live with terrorism". They must, because the forces of fanatical Islam have deemed that to be so for the French whom they accuse of 'treachery'.

France's military involvement in North Africa and the Middle East against jihadi groups and the singular Islamic State has identified it as an enemy of Islamist jihad whose population must be made to suffer for the poor choices of their government in seeking to combat terror. The European nation with the largest immigrant demographic of Muslims now must learn to live with the fact that among that demographic in the banlieus simmering with resentment there will be those who will not hesitate to strike.

They are incited by the readily accessible public relations machinery of the Islamic State with its slick videos of ghastly atrocities appealing to the psychopathic fanatics within rigid Islam whose totalitarian vision of Islamic conquest has become the fuel to the flame of jihad. France has been one of the most strident critics of Israel's response to attacks by Palestinians, interpreting the force brought to bear to intercept and halt attacks as excessive because Palestinians die in the act of killing Israelis.

City Hall in Tel Aviv was lit with the colors of the French flag on Friday to honor the victims of the attack in Nice. Credit Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Israel responds by offering its condolences and its heartfelt sympathy for the anguish and fear that has assailed French citizens, not yet inured to the constant presence of the undercurrent of knowledge haunting their everyday lives that somewhere, soon, yet another deadly assault is due to take place with the loss of innocent life. Israelis have grown accustomed to the wearying concern that if left to weigh will make life unbearable, so they continue to live with the determination that terror will not defeat those who have been exposed to it time and again.

It is as though a timeless shared memory has lodged within the subconsciousness of Jews throughout history, a people that has constantly been outside the social norms, viewed as outsiders, despised and oppressed, the only ethnic group which in modern history was slated for mass extermination which nearly succeeded. And which, after the Holocaust, showed the world that survivors reclaimed their lives, never succumbing to vengeance, simply bearing the message of 'never again'.

Now it is Islam that promises to annihilate all those who slough off the message of surrender to Islam representing the only corridor to life, even while Muslims themselves are being slaughtered in huge numbers by their fundamentalist co-religionists. Israelis have the patience to submit instead to having bags checked, stepping through metal detectors for security at train and bus stations, shopping malls and movie houses.

The surcharge levied at cafes and restaurants for additional guards to be present at cafes and restaurants was paid without demur by a public understanding very well that with adequate precautions they could be assured that some level of normal life could be maintained. Psychological studies have concluded that people in Israel habituated to threats are capable of making adjustments to their daily lives, adapting by using dark humour to mock the random threats looming on the horizon.

A survey of 458 people discovered that 55 percent had altered their normal routines. In the process less time was spent outside their homes. Fewer long trips were planned using public transportation. Major public events require tens of thousands of people gathering to celebrate to be defended by police spending preparatory weeks in advance on the gathering of intelligence relevant to ensuring adequate protection is in place, while eliminating potential threats to the public.

In doing so, attention is given to neighbourhoods or population groups considered security risks leading to a network of local informers identifying suspicious or unusual activities Even this tried-and-true method of intelligence gathering has its limits, since asking neighbours to inform on their neighbours represents an assault on social trust, creating a possible dent in civil liberties assurances.
Arming oneself against danger is no easy task.

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