Let us not put El Al passengers at risk

Something which looks like a letter to the National Post (via Smuggy) has been making the rounds of a few weblogs. It concerns David Collenette’s plans to investigate the feasibility of future El Al flights to Toronto should a terror threat remain:

That wannabe terrorists in Toronto could be planning to shoot down a civilian aircraft is disturbing news indeed. But just as disturbing was Mr. Collenette’s weak-kneed response — a case study of exactly how not to respond to threats of terrorism. Instead of questioning the future of El Al’s presence in Toronto, the Minister should have expressed his resolve to eradicate any threat.

Certainly, if the threat is real then all leads should be followed and investigated. However, until the threat disappears it would be irresponsible to allow subsequent flights to land at the Toronto airport. Doing so would be placing the passengers of El Al flights, not to mention people on the ground, in jeopardy. In a perfect world, we could eradicate this threat in an instant. Unfortunately, investigations take time.

The threat to El Al flights is not like the Los Angeles airport incident which the letter mentions — that could have been avoided through better airport security. This threat may not even come from within the airport itself; it could come from anywhere along the landing or takeoff path of an El Al flight.

Despite what some people may believe, acting with temporary precaution does not mean that the terrorists have won. The terrorists win when they successfully kill people or cause damage, thereby increasing fear. Rest assured that if El Al flights are temporarily diverted from Toronto, terrorists will not be jumping up and down and cheering. They will, however, be jubilant if they successfully down an El Al flight over Toronto simply because we did not take precautions.

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