Former UK Officials: To Combat, Cope With Islamist Terrorism, Britain Must Emulate Israel
As it seeks to mitigate terrorist threats at home, the United Kingdom should emulate Israel, two prominent ex-British officials said on Thursday.
In a Telegraph op-ed, former prime minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble — a Nobel Peace Prize laureate — and Robert Quick, a former London Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner in charge of counter-terrorism, wrote, “Israel is on the frontline of the West’s confrontation with Islamist terrorism and a crucial ally. One thing is clear: its expertise will help save European lives and act as a welcome guide in navigating the difficult moral, legal and tactical terrain ahead. Britain’s spirit in previous conflicts bodes well for this great country matching Israel in resolve to overcome the murderous hatred we now face.”
To combat terrorism, Trimble and Quick stated, “[W]e must also cooperate closely with those who share our values and can help us build our capabilities. One country fits this bill better than most — no democratic nation has endured Islamist terrorism to the extent that Israel has.”
“Given the slanders against Israel — which emanate not least from the same Islamist propagandists residing here in the United Kingdom who hate the West and this country also — it is perhaps surprising to some that we found Israel to be a beacon of hope in this fight on a recent fact-finding visit,” they continued.
The Jewish state, Trimble and Quick noted, has “learnt from bitter experience and become extraordinarily resilient, coping with stresses until recently unimaginable to European policymakers, while flourishing as an economically successful democratic nation.”
Trimble and Quick went on to detail why Israel, in their view, has been so effective in coping with terrorism. One reason, they said, is its “intelligence prowess.”
“Intelligence must remain a priority for investment,” they wrote. “Furthermore, Israel’s governance of the interagency process, so crucial to success, appears to offer a model with strong political and judicial oversight relevant to other democracies.”
They also praised Israeli resilience, writing, “We were impressed with stipulations in Israeli emergency response — truly road tested in the most horrific manner — that focus on both achieving this in the immediate vicinity of an attack within a few mere hours, and ensuring that no other part of national civic life is unnecessarily affected. Contrast this with several major European cities having been in complete lockdown over the summer.”
Trimble and Quick concluded by calling for cooperation with Israel to fight online incitement. “The evidence is incontrovertible that social media provided the medium to fuel both the rise of Islamic State as well as the recent terror wave against Israel,” they wrote. “The social media superpowers, websites we enjoy using every day, simply cannot continue to ignore their responsibilities in this regard.”
Concerns are high in the UK these days regarding potential ISIS attacks, particularly as the terrorist group faces military setbacks in strongholds in Iraq and Syria.