Open Borders Increasingly Seen as High Security Risk
A mass stabbing attack in France just days after the horrific Hamas massacres in Israel, a terrorist shooting in Belgium on Oct. 13 that claimed two lives, and a firebomb attack on a Berlin shul last week have European governments scrambling to change open border policies that have allowed terrorists to infiltrate their countries.
Open door policies, a lynchpin of liberal governments in the European Union as well as in the United States, are slowly being revamped across Europe as officials call for member states to expel migrants and “asylum-seekers” who are deemed a security risk, reported AFP.
This marks a drastic shift from permissive policies of the past that turned a blind eye to the likelihood of terrorists and criminals joining the flood of migrants surging across European borders.
The current efforts to tighten borders signifies a harsh awakening; the realization that open borders without adequate surveillance and information-sharing between governments to screen out criminal elements has vastly undermined security in European lands.
Exacerbating the looming crisis is the absence of a functioning “repatriation” system through which European officials can deport individuals and their native countries will accept them back.
Speaking after an emergency meeting in Luxembourg, Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson said that new legislation expediting “the return of people considered a security risk is a priority in the wake of the latest attacks, and is expected to be finalized this year.”
“It is absolutely a necessity that we make sure that the European Union is safe from terrorist threats,” Johansson told a press conference. “People who pose a security risk to the European Union need to be much, much more quickly returned to the country of origin.”
The deadly attacks in Belgium and France, both perpetrated by non-Europeans of the Islamic faith, have served as a “wake-up call,” in the migration commissioner’s words. They focused attention on the EU’s deficient asylum rules, leading Belgium’s justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, to step down a few days after the shootings in Brussels.
In that incident, the 45-year-old Tunisian gunman who killed two Swedish football fans in the Belgian capital was staying there illegally after his asylum request had been denied. Discovered after a manhunt, he was shot dead by police.
As for the 20-year-old, Russian-born man accused of stabbing to death a teacher and critically wounding three others in northern France, he was known before the attack to be a security risk but “couldn’t be legally expelled” under current lenient legislation, a government spokesman in France said.
The AFP article stressed that the European Commission is in talks with Morocco, Egypt and other countries with some of the highest numbers of migrants, to work out financial incentives for these governments to curb migration to European shores, similar to a recent pact made with Tunisia.
Johansson told reporters that the pact with Tunisia, in which the government received a generous aid package in return for halting migrant crossings, was already bringing results. “More than 600 departures from Tunisia had been intercepted in the past month, reducing the number of crossings by 80 percent,” she told the press conference.
She also noted that progress had been made with a number of other countries outside Europe, including Iraq, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Senegal, inducing them to take back their nationals in exchange for “financial aid packages.”
Germany and France Pushing for Border Reforms
France and Germany are among the countries pushing hardest for an overhaul of the EU’s migration policies that would facilitate quicker deportations of foreigners with criminal records. New regulations would also make it mandatory for EU countries to immediately take back citizens of their own found to be a security risk.
Since elected in 2021, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced his attention to ditch the liberal refugee policies that marked the lengthy Angela Merkel era and crack down on asylum seekers.
More than one million Ukrainians have arrived in Germany since the start of Russia’s war in their homeland. In an AP interview, Scholz is quoted as saying that “too many are coming. We must finally deport on a large scale those who have no right to stay in Germany. We must deport more and faster.”
Following the attacks in Brussels and France and the firebombing in Berlin, Scholz announced a plan to introduce tighter controls on all nine of Germany’s borders. Until that could be done, temporary restrictions were implemented immediately at the Polish, Czech and Swiss borders.
Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks in Germany
The attack on the shul on October 18 was carried out in the predawn hours by two terrorists who have not yet been caught, an AP article said. Molotov cocktails hurled at the building missed it by a few inches, crashing into the sidewalk as the assailants fled. The incident prompted authorities to provide increased security for Jewish institutions.
According to the Federal Association of Research and Information on Anti-Semitism (RIAS), anti-Semitic incidents which have long been on the rise in Germany have spiked in the last two weeks.
From October 7 to 15, RIAS documented 202 anti-Semitic “incidents” compared with just 59 during the same week in 2022.
In the days following Hamas’ massacre of over 1400 Israelis, mass pro-Palestinian rallies were held across Germany, with protestors raging over Israel’s counterattacks in Gaza, shouting anti-Semitic epithets and clashing with police. Multiple Jewish residences and institutions were smeared with graffiti.
Although the rallies avoided violence for the most part, the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel chanting and rhetoric were seen by many as unlawful incitement.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” chanted many in the crowd as a ring of riot police closed in on them. Berlin public prosecutors say the slogan is a call for the eradication of Israel, and have moved to make its public declaration a criminal offense.
Rallies have been banned in the German capital until at least October 30. In London and Paris, similar ordinances were passed banning pro-Hamas rallies, but activists ignored the ban and staged protests nonetheless.
Germany has the third-largest Jewish community in Europe, after France and Britain, with a Jewish population of 100,000.
Massive Pro-Israel Rally
In Berlin this past Sunday, up to 20,000 people gathered in a massive rally in front of the Brandenburg Gate declaring support for Israel and protesting anti-Semitism, reported the German daily DW. Many carried Israeli flags and posters bearing photos of Israeli hostages.
The rally featured representatives from a broad coalition of organizations; the German-Israeli community; most major German political parties; Protestant and Catholic churches; the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and the German Trade Unions.
“It is unbearable that Jews are living in fear again today… in our country of all places,” said German President Walter Steinmeier as the rally got underway. “Every single attack on Jews, on Jewish institutions, is a disgrace for Germany. Every single attack fills me with shame and anger.”
Addressing the gathering, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was “deeply outraged by the way in which anti-Semitic hatred has been breaking out since that fateful October 7, on the internet, in social media around the world, and shamefully also here in Germany. Here in Germany, of all places.”
Scholz’s remarks echoed sentiments he expressed during a visit to Israel on October 17, intended to illustrate Berlin’s solidarity. “Germany’s history and our responsibility arising from the Holocaust make it our duty to stand up for the existence and security of the State of Israel,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.
Daniel Botmann, of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said voicing solidarity was not sufficient. “We’re asking for more than declarations of intent and expressions of solidarity. We’re demanding action.”
Relatives of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas as well as Israeli ambassador Don Prosor spoke to the gathering. Addressing criticism within Germany over Israel’s ongoing counterattacks in Gaza, Ambassador Prosor said, “We must now eliminate the entire infrastructure of terror in Gaza — and when we do that, I really don’t want to hear any more ‘yes, but’. This time we have to go all the way.”
Republican Lawmakers: Deport Foreign Pro-Hamas Students
In the United States, concerns about pro-Hamas support in the wake of the bloody massacres in Israel have prompted 19 Republican lawmakers to call for pro-Hamas student visa holders who have celebrated or endorsed terrorism to be deported, Fox News reported.
Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. –both members of the Anti-Woke Caucus –have spearheaded a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expressing concern about reports of pro-Hamas demonstrations.
“We write to request information regarding the potentially unlawful presence on U.S. soil of non-immigrant foreign nationals who have endorsed terrorist activity,” the legislators wrote.
“On Sunday, October 8, 2023, one day after over 1,300 mostly civilian Israelis were murdered by Hamas terrorists, a pro-Hamas student group displayed a poster featuring an image of a paraglider that resembles the kind used by terrorists to descend upon a music festival in Israel, where they assaulted young women, took hostages, and murdered more than 260 civilians.”
“The same day,” the letter went on, “at George Washington University in Washington D.C., dozens of students rallied in support of Palestinian violence. In New York City’s Times Square, Democratic Socialists of America members and allies demonstrated in support of Hamas. They shouted slogans including ‘smash the settler Zionist state.’
“According to one account, some demonstrators ‘held up the number seven on their hands [to indicate the number, in hundreds, of Israelis who had so far been confirmed murdered] while making throat-slitting gestures,’ the Banks-Duncan letter elaborated.
In addition to these reprehensible actions, the letter detailed statements by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at Tufts University, who praised Hamas terrorists as “liberation fighters.” By their murderous attack on Israeli civilians, these “freedom fighters” had shown “the creativity necessary to take back stolen land.”
In another appalling example of students celebrating the Hamas massacres, the SJP chapter at Swarthmore University praised Hamas terrorists for having “valiantly confronted the imperial apparatus” of Israel, and honored the Hamas terrorists who died during the assault as “martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for liberation.”
Reps. Banks and Duncan note that those holding student visas can be disqualified, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, from visa eligibility if they endorse or espouse terror activity.
Student visa holders encouraging violence against civilians would appear to meet the definition of ‘endorses or espouses terrorist activity,” and these individuals are not welcome here,” the letter asserts. “Similarly, praising mass murder as ‘creative’ or ‘valiant’ and glorifying the perpetrators of such atrocities as ‘martyrs’ are clear endorsements of terrorism and terrorist organizations.”
“In the interests of national security,” the lawmakers wrote, “the individuals in question should immediately have their visa revoked and face expedited deportation proceedings.”
Sen. Bob Menendez: ‘There is No Moral Equivalency’
As Israel readies itself for a brutal confrontation in booby-trapped tunnels under Gaza city with terrorists armed to the teeth, dozens of House Democrats have urged President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to pressure Israel “to adhere to the laws of international warfare.”
In sharp contrast to a mindset that seeks to impose one-sided humanitarian obligations on Israel in its war with barbarians, a Senate address last week by Sen Bob Menendez, D-NJ, came as a welcome voice of sanity.
The Senator, a longtime supporter of Israel, called on Congress to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with the Jewish state as it defends itself against Hamas. His address, slightly condensed, follows below.
Seared Into Our Collective Conscience
“Mr. President, scenes of Hamas’ barbaric atrocities are seared into our collective conscience,” the senator began. “Israelis slaughtered by marauding thugs. Shot in the back in broad daylight. People butchered. Even infants murdered in cold blood.
“Mr. President, the world is watching. In the face of unspeakable evil, we must not mince words or waver in our resolve. Every single one of us in this chamber has a moral responsibility to speak out as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel and her people.
“I’ve been staunchly devoted to this cause for 31 years in Congress. Why? Because the bond between our nations is sacrosanct. The U.S.-Israel relationship has stood the test of time because of three fundamental facts:
“One, that the United States is strong when Israel is strong. Two, the Jewish people deserve to live in peace and security in the land of their ancestors, going back to the times of Abraham and Sarah. And three, that Israel has a right to defend herself from the existential threats that surround her.
“This last point deserves special attention, especially as some seek to equate the two sides in the conflict.
“To me, there is no moral equivalency. We cannot ‘both sides’ the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Not when one is a democracy that guarantees freedom of religion and the other is a designated terrorist group hell-bent on killing Jews and destroying the Israeli people.
“We cannot ‘both sides’ the conflict when, for decades, one side has shouldered the heavy costs of war, terrorism, and unjustified boycotts—and the other has diverted humanitarian aid toward weapons designed to kill as many as possible.
“And we cannot ‘both sides’ the conflict in light of the steps taken by Israel to limit civilian casualties.
“What nation but Israel actively takes steps to warn of impending attacks? None. No other nation drops leaflets and makes phone calls to alert residents when they are in danger. Only Israel waits to begin its military offensives — even when it means losing the element of surprise and putting it at a tactical disadvantage.
“Compare that to the barbaric steps taken by Hamas.
“When Israel voluntarily and unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, did Hamas moderate its actions? Did it take the opportunity to build peace and create prosperity for the Palestinian people? No.
“Instead, it instigated war and continued to terrorize and kill Israelis.
“It fired tens of thousands of rockets into population centers, indiscriminately raining terror down on civilians. Not only did it brazenly commit these war crimes, it did so while using its own residents as human shields.
“So, to those who seek moral equivalence between the two sides, I ask you: Who fires rockets out of someone’s home? Hamas. Who uses schools and hospitals as launching sites for deadly missiles? Hamas. Who uses mosques as weapons depots? Hamas.
“Moreover, who denies Palestinians the right to leave Northern Gaza, trapping them to use as human shields? Hamas.
“In the past, when Israel has opened up economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas has used the goodwill to lull Israel into a false sense of security. And after misleading Israel into thinking that it cared about the economic well-being of Palestinians, Hamas bought itself time to train and prepare for one of the most heinous terrorist attacks in Israel’s history.
“So, make no mistake, the difference between Israel and Hamas is the difference between a civilized society and barbarism.
“If there is suffering to be found in Gaza, it is a direct result of Hamas’ actions. Hamas does not care if Palestinians go without food, shelter, or electricity. It only cares about sowing chaos and fomenting violence in pursuit of its stated goal — the destruction of the State of Israel.
Plea to Replenish Iron Dome for Israel
“For the sake of Israel and for the sake of the Palestinian people Hamas must be eradicated from the face of the earth,” Senator Menendez urged the Senate. “Today in this chamber, let us expose Hamas for what it is. Let us reject the trap that they have set and stand with our ally, Israel, in the wake of abhorrent attacks.
“Let us recommit to the principles we share with Israel as we support her in her hour of need. Let us call out Holocaust deniers who deny Israel’s legitimacy.
“And above all, let us do the work we were elected to do — passing a bipartisan funding package to replenish the Iron Dome.
“This is not a moment to hesitate. This is a clarion call.
“Will we stand up to terrorists and be there for our staunchest allies when they need us?
Freedom-loving people must answer this call and meet the moment at hand.
“Israel is the field of hope on which fear can be vanquished, the island of refuge that can stand firm no matter how stormy the sea of history turns. And that’s why we must always keep it safe, and always keep it free.
“May we find the courage — and the political will to do so — in the days and weeks ahead.”