Does the lone wolf exist? Or is he/she a franchise of a terrorist organization? What are the origins of this new terrorist wave? What are the challenges of it? How can we fight the new Terrorism?
All these questions were discussed last Thursday at the conference called “The challenges of the lone wolf terrorist wave” organized by the ICT Herzliya and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel.
Many ambassadors came to this event and experts were talking about this important and sadly very current topic that is challenging not only Israel but also other countries around the world.
I would like to sum up some of the outcomes, that I found interesting.
Before the discussion session started, few speakers had a chance to give an overview. Dr. Michael Borchard, Director of KAS in Israel, was questioning whether the lone wolf really exists, as he doesn’t in the nature. These wolfs are kind of a franchises of various terrorist organizations. These groups don’t prepare the terrorists, but use their attacks to support their hate propaganda and to inspire others. The lone wolfs also want to raise public attention, even if they have to pay it with their lives. Michael thinks, that this terror will stop, when the terrorists loose public support. He clarified that there is obviously no excuse for terror, but Israel can do something to decrease it. For example improve conditions in East Jerusalem. Other speakers that evening made similar statements. He concluded that Germany was very lucky so far, that they didn’t experience terror lately, but the threat exists, also in Europe. That’s why it is so important to stand together and to fight together against any kind of terrorism.
The next speaker was Prof. Boaz Ganor, Founder of the ICT. He gave a well-structured overview about who are these lone wolfs and what are the differences between them and terrorist groups. He claimed, it is easier to fight these groups, because they plan and organize attacks, which can be disturbed by secret services at any point during the planning. The lone wolfs on the other hand, commit in many cases spontaneous acts with various methods. Many terrorist organizations are using the lone wolfs attacks to incite and inspire their supporters. Interestingly, the online newspaper in English published by the Al Qaeda is called “Inspire”.
Prof. Boaz Ganor also spoke about the different motivations the terrorists have. Finally he drove parallels between the Palestinians and the Muslim Immigrants in Europe, who in the second generation both feel unintegrated and disappointed.
The keynote speaker was Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information Gilad Erdan. He also talked about the motivations of terrorists. He claimed, that Abbas is boycotting the peace negotiations. His main concern was the security gap, because most attacks by lone wolf are spontaneous. Some of their acts can be predicted by what they write on Facebook. But how can you catch them and know when they will carry out the attack? He also explained how the terrorists get inspired through Facebook and how Facebook refuses to close pages that call for violence against Jews. Only when there are many complains, they do it.
Finally, some experts from secret services and a diplomat were discussing problems and solutions. They stated that there is a political issue, because the Palestinians don’t feel represented by Abbas anymore and he doesn’t have any solution for them either. The problem with misleading education came up few times. The lone wolf’s environment teaches hate.
One expert claimed, the worst is still ahead of us and not behind. And even if the political reasons disappear, there are religious and social reasons to continue terrorism, as long as there is support by the surrounding. His final statement was that we are running a marathon without knowing where the stadium is.
Pretty pessimistic outlook, but I guess very realistic. Have a great week everyone and stay save!