When I read this article in the afternoon I shrugged my shoulders. I do not believe for a moment that the Mohammed cartoons affair, the London and Madrid bombings raised awareness among Europeans regarding the dangers of a Muslim intifadah, Islamist terror etc. Let me give you two/three reasons for my skepticism:
- too many European leaders and opinion makers continue to bend over backwards to apologize whenever even one Muslim claims to be offended by this or that ( please notice that I am not encouraging insulting other people's religions, but as long as someone is insulted by a stupid drawing and not by his co-religionists' numerous, hideous crimes I consider him/her a hypocrite and do not take his sensitivity serious );
- In less than a month Londoners will remember the bombings in which 54 people were murdered. Still, until today the city's mayor has failed to condemn suicide terrorism as such, Also, a major British teacher union decided to boycott Israel even though it never ever would consider condemning any terrorist act or regime, or the crimes committed by Arab militias in Darfur. Sorry, but those are no signs that the British 'understand' Islamist terror or are more aware of its dangers. Maybe one could say that the British are not European, though.
Anyway, even if we assume that ambassador Eran was right, I am afraid that no European will understand the killing of several civilians, including at least two children, on a Gaza beach by IDF artillery early this evening. This incident definitely will not 'increase sympathy' for Israel among Europeans. You can explain away and gloss over wounded or even dead civilians when a person like Zarqawi or Jamal Abu Samhadana is eliminated ( although it is always hard to 'sell' or justify killed civilians as - what an ugly and brutal term - collateral damage ). Also, I understand and in a way agree with the Sderot resident who this week on television said that not the people of Sderot should be shaking with fear ( because of the Qassam rockets ) but the people of Gaza. Yet a civilized nation cannot afford itself blunders - or I would almost say criminal mistakes - such as this Gaza beach shelling. Let's be cynical and say that hopefully the world is too busy with the opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2006 to pay attention to this fiasco.