Police at the scene where shots were fired during a police search of a house in the suburb of Forest near Brussels, Belgium, March 15, 2016..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
European countries must sacrifice some rights in order to improve security and save lives, an Israeli expert on radical Islam told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“I have been to the Brussels airport many times in the past year, and it lacks security just like most other European airports, Dina Lisnyansky, an Islamic terrorism consultant from Bar-Ilan University, said.
“Nothing has changed since the Paris attack and Brussels airport is just as insecure as Charles de Gaulle,” she said.
Lisnyansky also teaches at the Hebrew University and is a co-founder of the Petah Tikva-based Israeli Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She has been consulted by French officials.
She explained that European legislation is a major barrier to improving security, since personal freedoms and rights are held to such a high degree that they impede security measures.
For example, Lisnyansky said, EU security forces cannot carry out background checks on airline passengers before a flight such as Israel does, as it would be illegal.
In France, there is a new awareness about the threat and legislators have started moving, she added. To really boost security in Europe, she said, surveillance and other measures would need to target potential threats.
“I really like that Europe is a strong supporter of personal freedoms, but on these terms it is impossible to continue.
People are being killed,” continued the Israeli expert.
“I know France is profiling now without talking about it. They are trying to understand how Israeli airport security works.
“We don’t only profile, and most people are not even aware about Israel’s other tools,” she said.
Regarding the Brussels airport she commented, “You have a lot of radicals there even in the waiting hall.”
Belgium has large numbers of fundamentalist Salafists who stand out since they seek to return to the ways of original Islam and the time of the prophet Muhammad.
“Of course a terrorist is not going to dress like a Salafist when carrying out an attack,” which means you can’t simply depend on profiling, said Lisnyansky.
She added that European airports tend not to create an outer circle of surveillance as all Israeli and American airports do. In Israel, but not in the US, this includes checking cars entering the area.
Security cooperation between EU countries and Israel is not new, but has become more intense, she noted. The cooperation is not only on the governmental level, but there are also private consultants.
Asked if the attacks and threat in Europe are making Europeans more sympathetic to Israel within the context of the conflict with the Palestinians, she said no, since they see it as separate from the global jihad. However, Lisnyansky emphasizes that Palestinian attacks against Israel should in fact be viewed as part of the global jihad.
“Right now EU airports and cities are exposed and a target for Islamic radicals,” she said