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    Norway Against 'Israeli Way': Open Society More Important Than Combating Terror

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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)
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    Now that Daesh is on the back foot in both Syria and Iraq, the threat of terrorism in Europe has been pushed even higher. According to Israeli experts, familiar with terrorism, Europe may prevent attacks with consolidated efforts. Norwegian experts retort that preserving an open society is more important than making security the paramount value.

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    Israel has lived with terrorist attacks for decades and learned to adapt and overcome, which is why Europe has a lot to learn from it, Israeli experts ventured, commenting on the recent spate of brutal terrorist attacks, including those in Paris, Brussels, Nice and Berlin.

    "The recent terrorist attacks have spurred European countries to shape up and become more vigilant, but unfortunately Europe is still too poorly equipped to prevent such actions," Israeli terrorism expert Ely Karmon said, as quoted by Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

    According to Professor Simon Perry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, it will take a long time before Europeans understand the high price of safety and get used to the idea that it is necessary to relinquish certain individual freedoms to increase security.

    First and foremost, Europe must set aside enough resources to successfully fight terrorism. In France and Belgium, counterterrorism work was significantly stepped up after the terrorist attacks, but Karmon pointed out that it will take a long time before the reinforcements are fully trained and operational.

    Furthermore, civilians must to a much greater extent engage in the fight against terrorism. According to the Israeli expert, people need to become more vigilant and not hesitate to report anything suspicious. After the Ma'alot Massacre in 1974, which claimed 25 hostages' lives, the volunteer Civil Guard, known as Mash'az, was formed to assist the police in daily work, such as blocking roads or staffing checkpoints when security is raised.

    According to the Israeli terrorism experts, local police should be armed with weapons loaded with live ammo in order to be able to shoot dead a terrorist on the spot. In France, local police do not carry firearms and had therefore no opportunity to shoot the driver who in an unhinged way mowed down 86 people along the waterfront in Nice.

    Whereas intelligence cooperation between countries must be drastically improved, individual countries must step up data exchange between various competent bodies dealing with terrorism-related issues. For instance, police must be notified by the penitentiary system, if inmates are found to have become radicalized. Needless to say, the surveillance system itself must be intensified.

    The recent trend of vehicular attacks poses a particular threat to urban communities, since it is always difficult to protect a large crowd, whereas deploying substantial police forces is undesirable, as people should be allowed to enjoy themselves without being watched by police or paramilitaries. According to the Israeli experts, physical barriers must be established, and personnel performing car checks in a discreet manner must be present.

    "The most important thing though is to stop terrorist attacks before they happen. With a terrorist sitting inside a truck, it's hard to stop him, especially if it is a crowded area," Karmon said.

    However, Karmon's Norwegian colleagues were far from impressed with the proposed measures. According to Tore Bjørgo, the head of the Center for Extremism Research at the University of Oslo (UiO), the Israeli way of combating terrorism does not suit Europe, with its desire to maintain an open society.

    "Do we want an Israeli-styled society where everything rotates around the terrorist threat? Sure, the terrorist threat has increased in Europe, but it is still a far cry from a conflict zone such as in Israel, where people live under the constant threat of terror," Tore Bjørgo said, calling an overprotective society "not a pleasant place to live in."

    According to Bjørgo, Norway, which in 2011 experienced violent terrorist attacks by Anders Behring Breivik, has already takes strides to protect itself, yet proved unable to completely eradicate the threat.

    "We have made headway with safeguards, but we cannot ban everything. Besides, displaced terrorists can always take to the streets instead. Moreover, the most malicious methods are always something new. Therefore, it's like to protecting oneself against a past war," Bjørgo argued.

    Topic:
    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

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    terrorism threat, Daesh, Europe, Israel, Scandinavia, Norway
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