The tragic end to the kidnapping of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah has elicited a number of responses from the government.
An intensive military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is being considered along with a continued crackdown in areas in the West Bank where Hamas is known to operate or receive funds. This would send a clear message to Hamas that no differentiation will be made among its various activities, whether they are political or “military.” Rather, the terrorist organization as a whole must be held responsible for any act of violence carried out by a person or group that identifies with Hamas’s goals, clearly stated in its charter.
It hardly matters that the two Hamas terrorists Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme, who went missing hours before the June 12 kidnapping, murdered the three boys without a specific order from the organization’s leadership. They carried out their ugly act with the full knowledge that what they did reflects Hamas’s spirit.
Implementing the death penalty against terrorists convicted of murder is another option being weighed. Not necessarily a deterrent, instituting a death penalty for terrorist murderers would be a moral statement. The State of Israel would be upholding an ethical principle: Anyone who commits murder and justifies it in the name of religion – in this case a violent and reactionary form of political Islam that is responsible for most of the suffering in the region – deserves to be obliterated.
Regardless of the steps Israel takes in response to the kidnapping, however, it is yet another reminder that swathes of Palestinian society continue to be irreconcilably committed to Israel’s destruction and are willing to condone the most despicable acts of violence, even if by doing they doom to oblivion any chances for national self-determination.
From its inception, the Palestinian national movement has chosen time and again violence over compromise, a strategy that has consistently failed and brought ruin upon Palestinians.
It began with the 1929 Hebron massacre, which left 67 Jews dead, including a dozen women and three children under the age of five. It continued with a series of riots launched by Palestinians between 1936 and 1939 that resulted in the deaths of several hundred Jews. Ultimately, however, the Palestinians suffered from the results of their own actions. The aggressive response of British Mandatory forces resulted in the death, wounding, imprisonment or exile of more than 10 percent of male Palestinians aged 20 to 60. While the Palestinians emerged from the riots severely weakened, pre-state Zionist militias such as the Hagana received crucial support from the British Mandate.
This set the stage for the next Palestinian debacle: the rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the misguided decision to launch a military offensive against the fledgling Jewish state. The result was aptly called the “Nakba,” or disaster, by the Palestinians and it was entirely their own doing because they chose violence over compromise.
Palestinian political choices after the Six Day War resulted in additional defeats. Yasser Arafat’s return to terrorism after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David talks yielded similarly disastrous results. So did Palestinians’ decision in the 2006 Palestinian Authority legislative election to vote Hamas into power. Dozens of suicide bombings and shootings, thousands of Kassam rockets have yielded no benefits for Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the Jewish state has continued to flourish and grow and develop in leaps and bounds. It has produced amazing people such as Naftali, Gil-Ad, Eyal and their families and it will produce many more.
While Palestinians focus their energies on destruction and victimization, Israel has became one of the most innovative economies in the world, producing technologies in every field from medicine and computers to agriculture.
There is nothing we can do to stop the Palestinians from choosing, time and again, violence over compromise, destruction over construction, and we should not deceive ourselves that we can.
All we can do is mourn the terrible loss of Naftali, Gil- Ad and Eyal, and continue with the amazing project of Zionism. This is our revenge and our way of honoring the memory of the three boys. This is our mission.