Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is France's Problem With Mali Comparable To Israel's Problem With Gaza?

The Times of Israel reports on Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor's comparison of France's attack on Mali with Gaza:

"France’s foreign minister said this month that his country was fighting to prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist enclave ‘at the doorstep of France and Europe.’ If Mali is on France’s doorstep, Gaza is in Israel’s living room,” Ron Prosor said at the UN Security Council’s monthly open debate on the Middle East.

“Make no mistakes: France’s principled stand should be commended. We only ask that France and all the countries who are supporting its principled stand today, support Israel tomorrow when we fight Islamic terrorism on our borders.”

It is not as if this is the first time that a country in the West has found itself having to deal with Islamist terrorists: Great Britain, Spain and of course the US have dealt with terrorist attacks.

In this case though, France is not under direct threat, but rather is responding to a request from the president of Mali to help deal with the al Qaeda-linked groups there.

France is framing this as a threat that extends beyond Mali, and like Prosor, Netanyahu is not denying the comparison:

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support for Paris’s intervention in the African nation, during which French warplanes conducted air strikes against Islamist rebels, linked to al-Qaeda, in the country’s north.

“While there are countries for which the threat of terrorism is thousands of kilometers away from the homes of their citizens, we in Israel are familiar with the threat of global terrorism from up close,” Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande. “For us it is only a few hundred meters away from our homes.”

Read the whole thing.

Whether its intervention in Mali will make France any more amenable to Israel's operations against terrorist attacks by Hamas in Gaza is an open question. However, as the Islamist Spring manifests itself with increasing and brazen attacks by Islamist terrorist attacks, there may yet be a begrudging appreciation of what Israel has to deal with.

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