Following the heinous terrorist suicide bombing attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, comments of condolences and support were issued throughout the rest of Wednesday and into Thursday, as one must choose the words carefully and not rush out such statements which required time leaving some remarks to come the following day. Commenting on the attack itself, the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, told local media that the authorities in Bulgaria held a meeting last month with representatives of the Israeli Mossad but that they did not warn the Bulgarians against a possible attack. He was further quoted while visiting the scene of the bombing commenting that his country had taken every precaution to protect the lives of the victims of the attack. He added that there are good relations between Bulgaria and Israel, and that his country would have acted seriously had it been warned of a possible attack. So, are we to understand that before any Israelis go on vacation outside of Israel, especially if they are traveling as a group on a planned tour, that the Mossad needs to perform a full security sweep and be given sufficient time to research for any possibilities of a terror attack and without such warning being issued by the Israeli Mossad, no country can be expected to take any steps to prevent terrorist attacks upon Israelis visiting their country? This is preposterous and a simple case of laying the blame on the victims and skirting any responsibility. It is also a rather disgusting response.
The sympathies expressed for the victims of this horrid slaughtering of innocents by the purveyors of terrorism were, while commendable, missing one important reference, the mention that this was an act of terrorism. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a condemnation through his spokesperson and despite his claim of condemning the attack “in the strongest possible terms,” he omitted any reference to it being an act of terrorism, referring only to the deadly “bombing” of Israelis. This stands in stark contrast to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon statement two weeks ago on the bombing of the Christian Churches in Kenya where he rightly spoke of “terrorist” attacks … saying the perpetrators “must be held to account.”
Next up is the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who was quoted by Reuters as saying, “The United States will stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.” They further quoted his observation that the attack was “completely outrageous.” President Obama was later quoted commenting while speaking at a gathering of activists in Florida where he said that the attack was “barbaric” and added, “I want everybody here to know under my administration, we haven't just preserved the unbreakable bond with Israel, we have strengthened it.” The term that is once again obvious due to its omission is any reference to terror, terrorists or terrorism. President Obama later telephoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and expressed his condolences for the deaths of Israelis.
And then there is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, the Lady Catherine Ashton. She was quoted to have said, “I was appalled to hear of this afternoon’s apparent terrorist attack on Israeli tourists arriving in Bulgaria. I am deeply shocked by the scenes at Burgas airport, where what should have been the beginning of a happy holiday ended in murder. I send my condolences to the families of all those killed. Many more have been injured. We wish them a speedy recovery. The EU utterly condemns all acts of terrorism, wherever they take place. The terrorists who planned and carried out this attack must be brought to justice.” To her credit she did finally manage to refer to terror definitively in her final sentence after original reference to this calamity as, “apparent terrorist attack” earlier in her statement. The earlier qualified reference which allowed for some doubt as to whether this was terrorism takes a good deal away from the later reference to terrorists and exposes the Lady Ashton’s well established disdain for Israel and Israelis.
The worst and by far most offensive reaction to the terrorist bombing of the Israeli group’s tour bus is attributed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. Ms. Pillay has been known to be one of the first to express her opinion on a wide range of incidents including her 2010 rush to condemn Israel over the Mavi Marmara Flotilla confrontation where she omitted no term of condemnation in her berating the needless slaughter of innocent protesters. But on this day where a terrorist suicide bomber murdered seven people and injured thirty more, three in serious condition, Ms. Pillay had no comment. This was an actual attack upon honestly innocent vacationers which included children, teenagers and young couples among those murdered or injured, unlike the terrorists who were engaged in martyrdom operations planned to capture and/or murder Israeli IDF security personnel engaged in enforcement of a legal, United Nations and universally recognized maritime blockade when they suffered their fate. Ms. Pillay has added yet one more disgraceful action, or lack of action, by her silence in the face of this act of blatant terrorism which she has given her own personal affirmation through her shameful silence.
Lastly we have the comments from the United Nations Security Council who apparently had not received the memo not to mention terror, terrorists or terrorism or any reference to suicide bombing when referring to the attack on the Israelis in Bulgaria. To their credit, the Security Council of the United Nations statement read, “Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, no matter the motives for them, where, when and by whom they are carried out. The perpetrators and organizers, as well as those who finance such reprehensible acts of terrorism must be brought to justice.”
One final note on a related but separate issue, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department have gathered a conference of nations to discuss the many facets of terrorism and the methods which can be utilized to fight both the commission and the financing of terror in order to prevent further acts and their consequences. This gathering has been titled as the Global Counter-terrorism Forum’s High-Level Conference on Victims of Terrorism and began on July 9 in Madrid. The gathering had an interesting collection of countries who, according to much of the publicity for the “Global Counter-terrorism Forum”, were victims suffering from terror and terrorism and all associated difficulties. The member states came from two distinct groups and the entire conference was co-chaired by the United States and Turkey. The first group were the eleven member nations of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The other members are, usually referred to as the remaining members as they do not neatly fit into any group other than not members from the OIC; Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. The European Union also has a seat and the United Nations is “a close partner of and participant in the Global Counter-terrorism Forum and its activities.” There is one country that is most conspicuous by its absence from this little get-together, Israel. Fortunately rumors have surfaced naming the country which spearheaded the exclusion of Israel, Turkey. Turkey made the exclusion of Israel a condition for their participation and the State Department graciously and eagerly agreed that Israel had no place in such an important and vital conference and would likely not contribute much in the way of substance. We have our suspicions that at least another dozen of those attending countries either heartily agreed or felt no loss at the exclusion if Israel from the Global Counter-terrorism Forum.
Beyond the Cusp