Two months after the completion of Operation Protective Edge – a 50-day war fought by the region’s military superpower against a terrorist group confined to a limited territory – Hamas brazenly took responsibility for an attack in Jerusalem in which one of its operatives plowed through the streets of the capital ramming as many pedestrians as possible.
Hamas is calling for a third Palestinian intifada, as the spigot of rocket fire from Gaza again begins to open.
In other words, Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip failed to achieve even the minimal goal set out by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the outset of the operation: Hamas has not been deterred.
Rather, it is actively rebuilding its infrastructure, first and foremost its weapons manufacturing facilities, and openly testing long-range missiles in full view of the IDF, which accounts for most of the alarms that have intermittently been set off recently in the south.
In the meantime, the Netanyahu government is preoccupied with Hamas’ partner in terror, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
For his part, Abbas is equally responsible for the escalation of violence in Jerusalem. He has fanned the flames by calling for Jews to be barred from the Temple Mount, under the banner of “saving the Aksa mosque.” His systematic demonization of Jews and official media’s whitewashing of Jewish rights to live within any borders in their one and only state is the root cause of the ongoing unrest. Yet Israel continues to appease Abbas as if he were a moderating force.
Much of this is done in deference to the US, which continues to fund the Palestinian terror machine. Israel fears that without American support, the diplomatic war waged by Abbas in international forums will gain steam and further chip away at the country’s standing and international perceptions of its legitimate rights. But these fears are largely unfounded.
The paradigm of Israeli-Palestinian relations has shifted, away from one of protracted diplomacy to one of unilateral actions by both parties in a peace process that has been moribund for years. As must surely have become clear by now to any objective person, the Palestinians do not want 99 percent; they want everything, including Israel proper. And while Israeli officialdom seems to think that Abbas’ prospective UN Security Council bid to force the IDF to withdraw to the “1967 borders” warrants further concessions to him, ultimately the Palestinians lack the ability to change the reality on the ground, whereas Israel doesn’t.
Even if the US, under President Barack Obama, were to abstain from a Security Council vote, thereby allowing a resolution to pass, it would change nothing. From a legal standpoint, most of the international community already considers the disputed territories as “occupied.”
Moreover, there is absolutely no way that any international force would ever be dispatched to Israel – as US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power once intimated – in order to enforce any resolution.
While it is likely that the European Union would indeed enact sanctions against Israel, it already has and will continue its campaign against the Jewish state in parallel with the growth of its restive Muslim population.
Europe has anyways always been inherently anti-Semitic and Arabist, beginning with Britain’s effort to keep Jews out of Palestine, despite the Mandate, and its subsequent collusion with Arab forces in their attempt to destroy the nascent Jewish state.
Europe is a lost cause for the time being; it will not change course until such time as London and Paris more closely resemble Baghdad – at which point European officials will be lobbying Israel not to recognize East Brussels.
As for the US, with both houses of Congress now under Republican control, it will be next to impossible for the Obama administration to force Israel’s hand vis-a-vis the Palestinians or harm the Jewish state more than it already has. On the Iran front, a Republican Congress will see readily through the Obama administration’s engagement of the mullahs and its pursuit of a “bad deal” on the nuclear issue.
Accordingly, the effects of any Palestinian “victory” in the Security Council would, in this author’s opinion, be negligible.
THEN THERE is the International Criminal Court, which spooks Israeli leaders like the phantom boogeyman residing underneath a child’s bed.
The ICC, however, is a toothless and tainted entity that acts with sloth in prosecuting actual perpetrators of genocide, leaving the likes of Sudanese leader Omar Bashir to roam freely, attending summits throughout the globe. Not even Syrian President Bashar Assad has been targeted by the court.
While prevailing prejudices would likely see the ICC spurred into action if Israel was on the docket, ultimately its verdicts would, from a practical standpoint, be meaningless. Israel has survived multiple previous kangaroo courts and will continue to do so in the future.
Furthermore, should the Palestinians in fact go the ICC route it would expose their leadership to serious and irrefragable counter-claims. The Palestinian Authority is an amalgamation of terrorist groups, beginning with the PLO and Hamas, which together have waged a campaign of murder against Israelis for decades. Should any proceedings be initiated at the ICC, this reality would be crystallized and highlighted as never before.
Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh are no doubt wary of such a prospect, especially given their dependence on foreign aid.
Overall, then, the Palestinians can do little additional damage to Israel in the diplomatic arena. No initiative they undertake can significantly alter the current status quo, which is already firmly anti-Israel.
This reality accounts for why the Palestinians always turn to terrorism, for in this manner they can do actual harm; by inciting to violence, which leads to the killing of Israelis and the demoralization of the rest of the country.
Therefore, combating Palestinian terror in a pro-active manner should be Israel’s primary focus.
First, security must be restored to the capital, which then needs to be taken off the negotiating table entirely.
Jerusalem is the united capital under Israeli law and should be treated as such. The term “east Jerusalem” should be stricken from the lexicon and full Israeli citizenship should be extended to every resident within the city’s jurisdiction.
Poll after poll shows that most Arab Palestinians would prefer to live under Israeli control in Jerusalem, and so it should be.
With regard to the Temple Mount, Jews should be able to freely visit their holiest site. Israel cannot succumb to Islamic apartheid practices, as it has done in Hebron, for example. Rather, it must defend the rights of its citizens to worship where they so choose.
If Jordan, in particular, has a problem with this, then the government should inform the Hashemite Kingdom that it will pull its support for the monarchy, which would lead to its progressive demise. When given the choice, Abdullah will undoubtedly opt for self-preservation rather than being consumed by the Muslim Brotherhood or Islamic State.
In response to Palestinian unilateralism, Israel must also assert full sovereignty over any areas in Judea and Samaria deemed necessary to maintain its security. Palestinians living in any annexed lands should likewise be given a path to citizenship and the option to relocate.
If a further entrenchment of the IDF is temporarily necessary, then forces should be deployed in requisite numbers.
Finally, Israel must consider cutting ties entirely with the PA, allowing it to collapse like the house of cards it is. The country can, and will, deal with whatever comes afterwards as long as its borders are secure and a military presence exists in close proximity to any cities under continued Palestinian control.
The alternative to asserting Jewish rights is worse – and in plain view: an endless cycle of violence waged by sworn enemies under the guise of a phony peace process. There is no white dove fluttering its wings at the end of the peace tunnel, which is nothing less than another underground conduit for more terrorism from the likes of Fatah and Hamas.
Pandering to murderers is not why Jews fought and died for the establishment of Israel. The goal was never the creation of a banana republic devoid of direction or intestinal fortitude; one which, unless it gets its act together – and soon – might no longer be worth fighting for at all.The author is a correspondent for i24News, an international network which broadcasts out of Israel.