(JTA) — A state-owned newspaper in Austria published an op-ed arguing that the cause of jihadist terrorism in Europe is not comparable with “expressions of desperate resistance” by Palestinians against Israelis.
The op-ed titled The “Islamist Terrorism” by journalist Liza Ulitzka appeared last week in the Wiener Zeitung daily, which is owned by the office of Austria’s federal chancellor, followed numerous expressions of solidarity with Israel in Western Europe following the slaying of four soldiers in Jerusalem on Jan. 8.
The European Union condemned the incident harshly, and local authorities in Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam authorized the displaying of the Israeli flag on monuments as a sign of solidarity with Israel in Germany’s case, and with the victims in France and the Netherlands.
The unprecedented gestures followed the proliferation of terrorist attacks in Europe since 2012 using methods long employed by Palestinian terrorists, including stabbings, car ramming and suicide bombings. Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long argued for an evenhanded approach to terrorist attacks against Israel and other Western nations.
But “attacks in Europe and Israel have nothing in common politically, even if many would so much like to believe they do,” Ulitzka wrote.
“The assassin” in Jerusalem “was a Palestinian and attacked Israeli soldiers, not civilians like in Berlin and Nice. And even if the victims of attacks in Israel often are civilians, all these acts are ultimately an expression of desperate resistance to the Israeli occupiers who have killed and harassed the Palestinian population in Gaza and West Jordan for decades,” she added.
In an interview with JTA last week, Austrian State Secretary Muna Duzdar said she regarded the attacks in Jerusalem as terrorist attacks. Duzdar, whose parents are both Palestinian emigres, said she viewed the attacks in Israel as part and parcel of terrorist activities elsewhere in the world, including Germany.
Following the attacks in Europe, “now we’re having the situation that we have daily terrorist attacks. I wake up and there’s an attack in Israel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Germany. No country is left unaffected. And it might be that someone who was affected himself has a better understanding of this,” she said.
“This attack targeted human beings, and as far as I understand it was a jihadist who did that, whose intention was to attack people,” she said.
In her op-ed, however, Ulitzka argued that by equating Palestinian terrorism with jihadist terrorism in Europe is to “both completely deny the history of the states of Israel and Palestine as well as the cause of Islamic terrorism arising from contexts such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq.”