Terrorism strikes Paris, the heart of cultural Europe, and Europeans awaken from a very dangerous sleep. What happened in Paris shows that European Union governments have failed their policy against the jihad; they have maintained a low level of alert, but mostly, they have left the initiative to the terrorists.

As explained by Boaz Ganor, founder and executive director of the Institute for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya (Tel Aviv), security forces must always keep the advantage and be one step ahead of terrorist organizations. Such was not the case in Paris.

The Charlie Hebdo shooters, two Algerian brothers who had declared their membership in ISIS, lived quietly in the suburbs of Paris, traveled in airplanes, and published movies and video clips of themselves singing rap music. Their profile and purpose were known not only to major U.S. intelligence agencies, but to the Algerian government and even the Italian secret service.

And yet they managed to succeed in this attack. It is clear that Europe has an obvious lack of organization, and Europeans must understand that, to combat terrorism, they must give up something. Many joint projects aimed at fighting international terrorism, promoted by the United States or Israel, have failed because certain European democracies were reluctant to commit to what they perceived as an abridgment of their citizens’ freedom.

For example, D’Amato’s proposed law (Senator Alfonse Marcello “Al” D’Amato, from New York) concerning the boycott of the countries involved in terrorism was rejected by many European countries that judged it an illiberal measure. After the Paris attack, only a few leaders (especially those of nationalist parties) have had the courage to discuss the Schengen Treaty on individuals’ free circulation. A possible suspension of the treaty immediately stirred up opposition from the French, followed by Germany and Italy.

To defeat terrorism—as argued professor Boaz Ganor—it is necessary to conduct a war that must be fought on multi-dimensional levels: military, economic, psychological, and legal. The real challenge is to win on all levels.

Sure, the peace march in Paris was a noble gesture from many states. However, the absence of President Obama, and the misunderstanding on the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, gave a sign, once again, that Europe is not able to really join in a common ideal—aside from economic trade.

Rome in the line of fire