First Israel, then New York, Madrid and

It began in Israel, but now it’s everywhere — the dazed, bloody victims, sitting on the edge of the explosion, being aided by emergency personnel.

Compare a photo from the train bombings in Madrid to any image from a suicide bus-bombing in Israel. The déjà vu is unnerving.

When suicide bombings first occurred in Israel, the world reacted with horror, but also with an underlying sense of “It can’t happen here.”

Some critics lashed out at Israel, claiming that the country had brought the bombings on itself through its treatment of the Palestinians. Those critics were probably sitting in the comfort of their terror-free cities around the world.

It’s hard to imagine anybody having the nerve to make these kinds of criticisms of Israel anymore. Not when planes fall out of the sky and melt skyscrapers in New York. Or bombs rip apart a busy morning commuter train in Madrid.

Yet there are many who continue say, “Yes, the bombings are terrible, but …,” blaming Western imperialism — as if there could be any justification for the horrors of 3/11, 9/11 or the continual recurrence of attacks in Israel.

International terrorism existed long before the Iraq war. And it will take an international effort to end it. But until that time, increasingly horrific acts — and rising death tolls — seem to be in the cards, as Palestinian terrorists, al-Qaida and other groups meld their malicious agendas.

Three days after Madrid, there was a suicide bombing in Ashdod, Israel. Unfortunately, attacks in the Jewish state are so frequent that they hardly register on the world radar screen. But we overlook the Ashdod tragedy at our own peril. The target was a chemical plant that, if hit, could have released a toxic cloud over the city, resulting in calamities that could have dwarfed the Madrid tragedy.

However, the media hasn’t made the necessary connections between Madrid and Ashdod, and the fact is that an international terrorist network that honed its deadly skills in the Mideast is now implementing them around the world.

Perhaps if the world had begun the war on terror when it started in Israel years ago, if countries had taken Israeli suffering more seriously, we could have reduced the carnage that fills our newspapers and TV screens.

Like it or not, terrorists do not respect borders — they are attacking Western civilization, democracy and the right of human beings to live in peace. And the world will never be able to respond to such attacks until leaders come together to safeguard not just their own people but all the world’s human resources.