With an upswing in violent terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians and
soldiers throughout Judea and Samaria over the past several months, one of the
most oft-asked questions posed by commentators has been, “are we witnessing the
beginning of a so-called ‘third intifada?” On one hand, while OC Central Command
Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon admitted to Channel 2 this past March that the IDF has
identified trends of escalation, he did stop short of referring to the violence
as a “third intifada.” However, at the same time, just last week a senior IDF
officer told Army Radio his sources indicate that the Palestinian Authority will
likely choose to launch another “intifada” should US-brokered efforts aiming to
jump-start negotiations between Israel and the PA flounder.
the officer added that soldiers are training to deal with a variety of potential
scenarios involving drawn-out rounds of violence.
Regardless of the
classification of the current situation, the fact of the matter is, the daily
attempts to scare, harm, and yes, to kill Jewish commuters, whether the weapons
of choice are rocks, firebombs, knives, or guns, by Arabs throughout the PA must
be dealt with swiftly and effectively.
Despite the general blackout
regarding these incidents in the mainstream media both locally and
internationally, the fact is that the threat is real, and the government must
act now to squelch the violence. The first step that needs to be taken is for
the political echelon to untie the hands of the IDF soldiers who are risking
their lives day in and day out confronting these thugs.
several soldiers in full riot gear while they were catching their breath near
the northern entrance to Efrat, where daily rock throwing and firebomb incidents
have become the norm, the soldiers expressed frustration that they don’t have a
green light from their commanders to effectively deal with the situation. These
highly motivated troops have no lust for blood, but rather a simple desire to
prevent their fellow Israelis from getting hurt.
According to the
soldiers the possible scenarios in which they have permission to use live fire
against the attacking Arabs is so restricted it has become a daily game of cat
and mouse, where the IDF’s main response is only to fire tear gas all day long
in attempts to disperse the mobs.
However, the situation might hopefully
soon change with an increase in pressure by the soldiers and the residents of
the communities themselves, insisting that enough is enough.
IsraelNationalNews.com a special Knesset session was held last week after
complaints were received from exasperated reserve duty soldiers claiming that
the current doctrine calling for restrained responses to the violence was only
exacerbating the problem. At the session MKs representing a variety of parties
agreed with the reservists, urging the government to crack down on the
In addition, while it was reported in this newspaper that Economy
and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett intends to submit a plan to the Defense
Ministry calling for new regulations governing when the IDF and residents of
Judea and Samaria are able to open fire to defend themselves, no changes have
been implemented to date.
Also, while Deputy Defense Minister Danny
Danon, during a solidarity visit to Beit El last week, said that the army had
his full backing to do whatever was necessary to stop the attacks, security on
the ground hasn’t improved.
Without tangible changes, residents of Judea
and Samaria are becoming frustrated.
Demonstrations were held this past
Friday outside PA Arab villages that are sources of the attacks, near Beit El,
Kedumim, and in Gush Etzion, calling on the government to allow the IDF to use
the necessary force thwart the terror.
And despite yet another round of
shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Ramallah by US Secretary of State John
Kerry, who has already been to Israel four times since assuming his position in
February, (if only he would spend this much time focusing on the Syrian civil
war, which has claimed over 80,000 lives) it would seem that despite his
seemingly good intentions, all he is really doing here is clogging
An incident which proves the true sentiments our “peace partner”
neighbors occurred last week in the PA Area B village of Beit Omar, just south
of the Gush Etzion Junction. There, fluttering in the wind, hung from an
electrical pole for all Route 60 commuters to see, someone decided to fly a red
Nazi flag, complete with white-and-black Swastika embroidery.
which was captured and disseminated by the Tazpit News Agency, was shocking for
many, but based on the daily incitement against Jews coming out of the PA
official media outlets and institutions, I would say that the flag is par for
So call the situation what you want, “escalation,” “third
intifada,” or perhaps most appropriately “war of terror” – regardless of what
term is used, community email lists and social media pages in Judea and Samaria
are being flooded with comments and questions from concerned residents trying to
decide whether or not it’s time to once again rock-proof, or maybe even
bullet-proof, their vehicles.
The bottom line is that the situation is
unacceptable. It’s one which our leaders must prioritize and deal with, before
even one more citizen of our country gets hurt.
The writer is a media
expert, freelance journalist and host of Reality Bytes Radio on