Call it what you want, the terror must stop

View from the Hills: Leaders must prioritize dealing with upswing in violent attacks targeting Israeli civilians, soldier.

May 28, 2013 22:04
4 minute read.
Palestinian uses sling to throw rocks at IDF near Deir Jarir in the West Bank, May 17, 2013.

Palestinian uses slig to throw rocks 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)


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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.

Therefore, 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.

Speaking to 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.

According to 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 terror.

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 traffic.

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.

The image, 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 the course.

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

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