Yesterday, December 30 2006, Spain suffered a new terrorist attack by ETA, a follow up to their usual practice of destruction, terror and killings. This time it’s been in Madrid, as several times in the past, and for the third time in the airport, this time using the shiny new Terminal 4 building as a stage.
At the very least, ETA is reminding all of us that giving up violence and weapons is not in their plans. They continue to attack and kill since some 40 years ago, despite declaring in the last 9 months a “pemanent cease fire”.
Spain’s prime minister, JosÃ© Luis RodrÃguez Zapatero, initiated a negotiation process with ETA after their announcement of the “cease fire”, because he understood ETA’s statement to hold a cease fire to be an indication of their willingness to renounce violence, and without violence you can negotiate with terrorists (according to RodrÃguez Zapatero).
However, despite what this prime minister believes, since the cease fire announcement in March 22, 2006, the terrorist violence has not stopped:
- March 24, 2006: ETA declares a “permanent cease fire” (their words).
- April 2006: ETA recruits set a shop on fire in BaraÃ±ain (in Navarra, an autonomous region in Spain which ETA claims must join the Basque Country in an independent state).
- May 2006: The Spanish Interior Minister deems it clear that sufficient proof exist to believe ETA’s cease fire is complete and true.
- Summer of 2006: ETA continues to extort Basque and Navarre businesses (ETA does not stop its terrorist blackmailing activity, to continue funding itself).
- October 2006: ETA steals 300 guns in France (ETA continues to equip itself with weapons)
- Between October and December 2006: A myriad of damage to ATMs and political party buildings, by the pro-ETA street terrorists.
- November 2006: ETA recruits burn two policemen alive in Bilbao. They survived.
- December 2006: ETA sets a public bus on fire (with people inside) and sets a privately-owned truck (someone’s way of living) on fire in Azpeitia (GuipÃºzcoa, in the Basque Country).
- December 2006: Police uncover a new explosive-hiding hole of ETA (ETA continues to equip itself with weapons)
- December 2006: ETA plants and explodes a bomb in Madrid airport. As of today, two people are missing and there are several people wounded.
In summary, there was no such “cease fire“, but only cheap propaganda used by ETA and by Primer Minister RodrÃguez Zapatero in the name of Spain, to justify negotiations among both of them.
In other words: A terrorist band (ETA) has managed, by means of terror attacks and killings, to make the Spanish Government of JosÃ© Luis RodrÃguez Zapatero sit down to discuss the band’s requests in exchange (supposedly) for ETA putting down their weapons for good. There’s only one name for this: capitulation on the part of the Government.
Putting an end to criminal activity cannot be done in exchange for the State yielding to the criminal. Criminals must abide by the law, as do the rest of citizens.
Any potential political objectives sought by the criminal can be the object of negotiation, but only within the legal framework agreed upon by all citizens: the democratic system. However this is exactly the opposite of ETA’s path of action. ETA tells us again and again they will not lay down their weapons, extortion or the killings as negotiation instruments.
Therefore, trading the end of violence for political objectives is simply unacceptable, for it would legitimize the terrorists’ strategy: explode a bomb, and they will listen to you and negotiate. When these or other criminals wishes something new, it is very easy: go around bombing public places and begin a new negotiation with the State. Why would the State surrender only before one and not the other?
Terrorist activity must be fought exclusively with the law, implementing the law. Spain is based on the Rule of Law for a reason. But Prime Minister JosÃ© LuÃs RodrÃguez Zapatero is driving the country flying over the Rule of Law, using alternative routes which will only lead us to problems in the future, not to mention the fact that the State will remain surrendered before the demands of the terrorist or criminal of the day.
This Spanish Prime Minister must drop his current anti-terrorism policy and initiate a new one, based on the strict implementation of the law, prosecuting terrorism with all means available through the Rule of Law:
- Eliminate the financing and weapons supply structure of ETA.
- Eliminate the ideological roots of hatred that feed this terrorism, through proper education policies, ensuring that parallel educational systems cannot exist as they do today, producing generations of citizens educated with terrorism in mind.
- Guarantee freedom of speech for all citizens, eliminating the existing threats imposed by terrorists on those who do think think like them.
- Initiate a penal reform, to do away with the embarrassing softening of punishments enjoyed by jailed terrorists today: Penalties should be served strictly in full, with no possibility of reduction or softening.
Any other way to end terrorism, such as the shoddy strategy of RodrÃguez Zapatero, is a huge mistake.