False Flag Attack in Tunisia?
"some groups have raised concerns in recent months over an apparent rise in anti-Semitic language in Tunisia."
Yediot Ahronoth, April 27, 2013
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Yet, dollars have the same color, regardless who pays the bill. Tunis was glad to host Israeli tourists during one weekend of the year. The site of the synagogue is on an island, the tourists arrive in charter flights, and are not allowed access to the mainland. Everybody was happy. At its peak, 8,000 Jews visited the site before the 2001 attacks on New York. Afterwards, the numbers dropped.
On April 11, 2002, a truck loaded with explosives detonated close to the synagogue, during the pilgrimage, and over 20 people were killed. Unsurprisingly, Al-Qaeda was blamed. Unsurprisingly, none of the victims was Israeli.
In 2011, the numbers of pilgrims diminished almost to zero due to the Arab Spring. Most people outside the Middle East ignore that spring is the sand storms season; Arab Spring is a name with a horrendous omen.
In 2012, the Israeli National Security Council travel warnings for the summer recommended Israeli citizens to avoid visiting Tunisia; pilgrims were scarce.
2013, An Odd Year
This year, Israel and related Jewish organizations released various odd comments about Tunisia.
In the first week of March, Tunisia's Jewish community placed an official complaint over anti-Semitic slogans chanted at a protest demanding the imposition of sharia, the Islamic law, in the country. There is a little community of 1,500 Jews still living in the country, out of the more than 100,000 that lived there until 1967; they left after the Six Days War. The same source claims that similar incidents took place in January during a visit by Palestinian Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and in February during the visit of an Egyptian cleric.
In mid February, Israeli Foreign Ministry had instructed Israel's representatives abroad to ask the international community to pressure Tunisian government officials to safeguard the North African country's Jewish community, heritage and property. "There appears to be an increase in anti-Semitic statements among local religious clerics and cases of public incitement against Jews," stated a report written by Gideon Bachar, Head of the Foreign Ministry's Department for Combating Anti-Semitism.
The reports on the pilgrimage taking place at the time this article was written look equally sinister. This year, there is an increase in the number of pilgrims. The organizers expect one thousand visitors. More than a dozen army trucks were stationed near the synagogue, with police checkpoints set up around the nearby Jewish neighborhoods and on the road linking the airport to the tourist zone.
"Thank God this year is as it should be, not like in the last two years. I came then, but out of solidarity. There were no real festivities. There are police this year, it's great. There are a good dozen at the entrance to the Hara (Jewish neighborhood). My cousin has even come from Israel," said Meyer Sabbagh, 63, who left Djerba for Paris after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
Yet, the Hebrew newspaper was openly negative, stressing out "Islamist militants have staged numerous attacks since Ben Ali fled, most notably on the US embassy in Tunis last September which left four assailants dead," "For all the hope and the extra security, however, some groups have raised concerns..." and "A minorities support group in March accused the judiciary of failing to prosecute individuals inciting hatred, including Ahmed S'hili, an imam who called openly for a "divine genocide" of the Jews in a sermon late last year."
This is odd, considering that the Tunisian authorities have created what security services call "a sterile area" encompassing everything between the airport and the synagogue. Israeli pilgrims would be isolated. What can go wrong? Is Israel planning a new "Al-Qaeda attack?"Are the charter flight the target? Until next Monday, we will know.
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