"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.
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 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."
"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.