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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Machsom Watch wants to encourage airline terror

I'm back in Jerusalem for a few days now.

Some of you may recall that around the time I traveled to the US in August, I did a couple of stories about airport and airline security and how Israel looks for terrorists, while the US, Canada and other countries look for things. Well, if the moonbat organization Machsom Watch gets its way, Israeli airport security may also be conducting random searches for gel deodorant and shaving cream instead profiling for terrorists.

Machsom Watch, a group of moonbat women that harasses Israeli soldiers looking for terrorists at checkpoints throughout Judea and Samaria is upset that Arabs have been getting 'special attention' at the check-in lines at Ben Gurion Airport.
Together with the New Israel Fund [a group that bills itself as "safeguarding civil and human rights, bridging social and economic gaps, and fostering tolerance and religious pluralism," and which is actually the fund-raising arm for every moonbat organization in Israel. CiJ], the group sent a joint letter Monday to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and the head of the Israel Airport Authority, Gaby Ofir, in which they declared their desire to supervise security checks and offered to coach airport staff as to appropriate behavior.

On December 4, 2006, the Arab Association for Human Rights and the Center Against Racism, both affiliated with the NIF, published a report on security checks at the airport. The report came after many complaints were sent to the office by Arab citizens about demeaning experiences during the checks. They were a victim of discriminatory behavior by security officials based solely on their outer appearance, accent, or place of residence, they said.

The report concluded that Arabs are treated differently than Jewish passengers.
And to this I can only say "no kidding."

From the moment you enter Ben Gurion Airport (literally - from the checkpoint when you get off the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway at the main entrance), they are filtering out the Arabs for special scrutiny. When you drive up to the security barrier at the entrance to the airport, all the guard wants is to hear you speak enough Hebrew (or some other language) to make sure that you don't have an Arabic accent.

When you get to the line for security, Israeli Jews go the right, tourists go in a different line, and Arabs go in a third line. There are lovely hostesses who 'suggest' which line you should use after they see your passport and ticket. Israeli Jews generally (but not always, in my experience) have their bags x-rayed. Tourists will have their bags x-rayed. Arabs will have every item removed from their bags, and if necessary will have their bags taken to a separate room, taken apart, and searched for false bottoms. Given the number of Israeli Jews who have committed terror attacks, the number of tourists who have committed terror attacks and the number of Arabs who have committed terror attacks, the approach is entirely justified. Everyone here knows that a 9/11-type attack originating out of here, God forbid, would not only be a tragedy - it would be the end of Israel's tourist economy.
When asked to comment on the rising number of complaints received by passengers, an airport authority spokesperson said to the Post "the security instructions come from the state, which has nothing to do with the airport authorities directly. Moreover, we have to comply with each country's individual line of security procedures."

The spokesperson, who preferred to remain anonymous, reassured that the airport authorities "work closely with a section in the security department dealing exclusively with passengers from minority groups, coach the security checking officials on their behavior and provide a large amount of material about this delicate matter."
The security at Ben Gurion is the best of any airport in the world. We flew out of London-Heathrow last night. We walked right into the airport unmolested from the Underground, and walked halfway across the departures concourse of Terminal 1 before we started seeing police armed with machine guns (who were apparently only there because of El Al - that was the only counter they seemed to be watching). A terrorist could, God forbid, have walked onto the concourse and started shooting people, and tens might have been killed - including collateral damage from the police machine guns. You won't see any machine guns when you go to check in at Ben Gurion - they've done most of their screening before you ever get to the check-in lines.

We were questioned by El Al's security before we checked our bags. Then we had to go take off our shoes for the Brits. (The El Al passengers were in a separate line - it's not clear to me why).
Machsom Watch is expecting to meet with airport authorities and come to an arrangement in which they will be able to send volunteers to supervise the check themselves.
If I were the airport authorities, I would tell them that if they don't like it, no one is forcing them to fly. I'd rather be safe than sorry, thank you.

Israel is still haunted by the story of Anne Murphy and Nezar Hindawi. And with good reason:
On April 17 1986, a pregnant young woman, Anne Murphy, a white, Catholic girl from Dublin, presented herself at London-Heathrow’s Gate 23 for that morning’s El Al flight to Tel Aviv to meet the parents of her fiancé, a Palestinian.

She had cleared the airport’s own security check-in procedures, but to El Al’s security staff something didn’t appear right. A search of her hand luggage revealed 42 grams of semtex and a detonator, hidden in a calculator.

The explosives had been planted by her boyfriend, Nezar Hindawi, a terrorist with links to the Libyan government. The U.K government broke off diplomatic relations with Syria following revelations of official complicity in Hindawi’s plot to blow up the El Al airliner and he was sentenced to 45 years in jail.


Back in 1986 Murphy passed through initial screening but, a series of questions alerted the security checkers of El Al that all was not well with the heavily pregnant Murphy.

When El Al security learned she had a Muslim boyfriend not traveling with her, they scrutinized her luggage. Eventually, they emptied it, weighed it, discovered that the weight was incorrect and found the bomb.
Israel cannot afford any mistakes in airline security. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it. We cannot afford to be politically correct like Machsom Watch. Let's hope that the father and husband of two of their prominent members - Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert - is deposed as Prime Minister before there's ever a meeting with the Airports Authority.



At 2:21 PM, Blogger Michael said...

I traveled to the States recently, and it seemed to me (as an untutored neohpyte on the subject), that Israeli airport security was far more professional. It was also far more subtle.

I got the impression that the obvious things (x-ray machines for bags, quick searches of handluggage, metal detector screenings of male passengers) were done for the benefit of the tourists, while the real security was done behind the scenes.

US security struck me as a bit amateurish: look at everything except the people. I saw a guy in a kafiyeh walk through airport security in Detroit with getting a second glance from the guards.

No wonder I feel safer in Israel.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not recommend that all members of Machson Watch, regardless of race, religion, color or creed, be placed in the Arab/greater security line; that way we can assure MW that BG extra special security, with the cherry on top, is not limited to Arabs; as an extra measure, we could also throw in members of peace(?) now, and a few other lefty groups. Is it apartheid if we provide for extra security for moonbats; perhaps one could argue that they require extra security because they are from another planet.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

Carl, I wrote a small post on this too this morning. What is ironic, is that Machsom Watch is open to women only. They freely discriminate as to who they allow into their own group, but get in a sweat when airport security discriminates in order to ensure everyone's safety (including the Arabs that fly!)


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