It took a major wave of terrorism to spread to the country’s center for Israelis to awaken from their slumber.
The deaths of “only” four fellow citizens in sporadic violence earlier this month left too many outwardly unperturbed; a dynamic that plays out regularly when a handful of Gaza rockets terrorize southern communities, rather than rain down in large numbers on heavily populated areas.
In fact, unless Israel finds herself on the brink of disaster, emotional paralysis pervades society, an attitude of ostensible apathy that unwittingly assimilates quickly the murder of a Jew or two as part of normality.
Undoubtedly a defense mechanism adopted to cope with years of rampant Palestinian terror, it is nonetheless a defect of the mind and soul which needs to be eradicated.
It is time to call upon an Israeli intellectual and spiritual revival; for, if real change is ever going to come, it will come directly from the people. If the violence is ever going to end, it will be because Israelis coalesce around the moral imperative to uphold the sanctity of Jewish life.
Every single one.
Indeed, it has become abundantly clear that our political class has no plan of reaction in this regard – and thus no ability – to guide the country toward a more internally secure future.
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Neither the Right nor the Left has any answers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s course of action is to recycle failed policies, including expediting the demolition of terrorists’ homes (which will be rebuilt using salaries paid by the Palestinian Authority to those jailed), expanding administrative detentions of rioters (who will then become more radicalized while incarcerated without trial) and banning those engaged in incitement from the Old City and the Temple Mount (essentially, closing down vast swaths of Jerusalem as well as the entire al-Aksa compound).
Disconcertingly, Netanyahu is concurrently re-exploring the tried and tested track of negotiations, calling on the illegitimate leader of the PA to pretty please talk with him, the grand effect of which over the past two-plus decades has been the extraction of Israeli concessions in exchange for more terrorism.
In other words, Netanyahu’s proposed solution to the ongoing wave of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank will lead deeper into the current morass.
While the Right attempts to apply a Band-Aid to a gaping wound, the Left would pour acid on it. Incredibly, the latter’s grand ideas have not changed one iota since the Oslo Accords were signed.
We must be serious about making peace, the Left implores. But with whom exactly? The same Mahmoud Abbas that rejected leftist premier Ehud Olmert’s fully comprehensive peace deal in 2008? The same Abbas who would pursue war crimes claims against Israel at the ICC rather than sit down at a table across from Netanyahu? The same Abbas who fans the flames of violence by stating the Temple Mount should be devoid of “dirty” Jews? The same Abbas who encouraged the latest wave of terrorism by spewing lies, hatred and bile at the UN General Assembly while denying any Jewish connection to the land of Israel? Or perhaps the Abbas who heads the Fatah party, whose military wing took responsibility for the recent murder of Na’ama and Eitam Henkin in front of their four children? Yes, that Abbas, we are told over and over again; a man of “peace” who oppresses his own people and then redirects reprisals against innocent Israelis.
The Left can rail all it wants against the “occupation” (perhaps the “apartheid” wall should be dismantled to allow suicide bombers again to freely roam the streets of Tel Aviv?) or the “settlements” (an enterprise introduced by Labor governments); but reality – the Left’s implacable adversary – dictates that the IDF remain in the territories over the long-term and that half a million Jews will never be uprooted from their homes in the West Bank.
Reality check: There is no Palestinian peace partner, so it might be time to come up with a new approach.
For one, how about implementing punitive measures with actual teeth, such as incarcerating Palestinian terrorists in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives instead of releasing them after 10 years as a precondition for negotiating about negotiations? Or how about arresting the imams on the Temple Mount and across the Palestinian territories – including those regularly appearing on state television – who reduce Jews to “apes and pigs,” effectively justifying their slaughter? Or what about coming down like a pile of bricks on Palestinian officials who support the terror campaign, such as Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Aloul, who was quoted as saying that a faction of the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades “accepted responsibility” for murdering the Henkins? At the very least Aloul would seem to have intimate connections to a designated terrorist group.
Likewise the leaders of Hamas (a cell of which is now believed to have actually carried out the Henkin killings) and Islamic Jihad, who might be granted their ultimate aspiration – a face-to-face meeting with Allah – every time their organizations praise the “heroic martyrs” who attack unarmed children.
Perversely, Israel continues to transfer tax revenues and provide electricity to those who preach our annihilation.
But none of these things will happen because we have an inert leadership that banks on a public that remains detached in the absence of total chaos, at which point the government’s “solution” can be likened to dumping a pail of water on a raging fire.
The road to change is paved by a new, collective mobilization around a common cause. Harm to even one of us needs to enrage us all and spur us to action, as indifference to any act of terrorism allows such evil to metastasize. In its final expression, that evil would have us all evacuated from this land tomorrow, preferably in body bags.
One day perhaps Palestinian society might evolve, rendering coexistence possible. In the interim, it is high time that the people demand an end to violence – using any and all means necessary.
No more “proportionality.” No more moral relativism. No more Palestinian terrorism. Period! Only then can a divided Israel – public and officialdom, alike – justify resuming the ludicrous debate about which phantom might be partnered with in an imaginary “peace.”
The author is a journalist living and working in Israel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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