Reactions by foreign officials to bin Laden’s death run an interesting gamut:
In Yemen, a member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula described bin Laden’s death as a “catastrophe,” Agence-France Presse reported.
“At first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it,” the member said.
I’d totally agree with that opinion. It’s an unmitigated catastrophe for terrorists.
In Yemen one official, who declined to be named, welcomed the announcement and described it to to CNN as “a truly historic moment,” adding: “We welcome the news…millions of people will sleep in peace tonight.”
Those statements provide a stark contrast between the terrorists’ perspectives and those who’ve been oppressed by the jihadists. I can’t find a halfway point between those opinions.
In Kenya, families of victims of the al Qaeda attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998 were quietly celebrating, said CNN’s David McKenzie. Charles Muriuki, who was 15 when his mother was killed by the blast, told McKenzie: “Finally the day has come, justice will always prevail.”
It’s important that we not forget that there were hundreds of victims of terrorism long before 9/11. Mr. Muriuki’s reaction is an apt reminder of that.
In Israel, the news dominated television and radio coverage on Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion normally devoted to somber programming that reflects on the deaths of millions of Jews. CNN’s Phil Black, reporting from Jerusalem, said Israelis there had expressed a sense of satisfaction that bin Laden had finally been captured.
“The reaction from Israel is: ‘It’s about time. This has taken far too long,’” Black said. He added that Israeli leaders would be monitoring reaction from the Palestinian territories to bin Laden’s death.
That’s a sobering perspective from Israel. It isn’t difficult to forget that they deal daily with the possibility of another terrorist attack. Each day is marked with reminders that this might be their last day on Earth.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaction is quite appropriate:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces on Sunday as a triumph for Washington and its allies in their “war on terror”.
“This is a resounding triumph for justice, freedom and the values shared by all democratic nations fighting shoulder to shoulder in determination against terrorism,” Netanyahu said in a statement early on Monday.
Shimon Peres’ reaction is captivating:
President Shimon Peres, Israel’s elder statesman and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said Bin Laden had “met his end at the gallows”. Peres described the death as a lesson about the self-destructiveness of violent extremism.
“Look at all of the murderers, all of those dictators and terrorists. They end up murdering themselves, the real verdict of history, which to my regret takes a lot a time and exacts a lot of victims,” he told Israel Radio.
I’ll put this succinctly: Good riddance. I just wish I could’ve been the one pulling the trigger.