Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Octobe 8, 2015.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Just a few days ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the UN General Assembly to give what has since been described as a scathing speech, denouncing the world’s silence when it come to Jewish suffering. It was the pause heard around the world, and Netanyahu did what he does best, by providing powerful quotes and newsworthy sound bites. The essence of the speech was ensuring the safety of Israeli citizens and slamming the international community for its failure to understand Israel’s need to do just that. Netanyahu has uttered those very words many times, and he does so flawlessly with right and might, but that night reality echoed his sentiment in the eeriest of manners.
While Netanyahu was speaking, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin were shot in front of four of their children as they were driving near their home in Samaria. A day later, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita were murdered and three other people wounded while walking back from the Kotel through the Old City, one of the victims being a two-year-old, who was shot in the leg. 12 hours later, before the chaos had a chance to settle, an Israeli teenager was stabbed at a gas station in Jerusalem. In the past three days four Israelis have been murdered, dozens have been wounded. 36 terrorist attacks have been perpetrated against Israel and many more have been foiled.
The time for speeches has come to an end. Netanyahu was re-elected on security and strength and both of these must be promises fulfilled before even more blood runs red on Israeli soil.
In his speech, Netanyahu said that as soon as the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state, Israel will recognize Palestine in return, and I wonder to myself for whose benefit we play these games of rhetoric? Is it for the benefit of the international community we pretend that we do not know that Fatah and Hamas have no interest in Israel beyond its ultimate destruction? If that is the case I can inform you that we may as well save our breath for bigger battles. Since the first two murders I have closely followed the international media as well as the statements from the PA , and their interpretations of last week’s events range from the ridiculous to the sublime with Israel as the one clear culprit and the victims of terrorism described as “settlers” or worse.
If our constant return to the one-seated table of negotiation is to please the US or the EU, I can also provide solace in saying that the world is still engaging in an impressive mix of cognitive dissonance and moral relativism, the US State Department and the EU both releasing statements calling for “restraint on both sides,” seemingly equating our side with the one wielding knives, creating orphans and shooting toddlers.
What these statements, reactions and the world’s deafening silence in the face of Jewish suffering shows us is that not only is it time to walk away from the table, it’s time to break the furniture and take back the keys to our house. In its statement, the US State Department wrote: “We are concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation,” and for once I happen to agree.
After Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s inciting speech at the UN on Wednesday, the killer of Rabbi Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita wrote “every way to protect Al Aksa’s sanctity is legal,” and the next day Netanyahu addressed the United Nations, vowing to preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount and abide by the 1967 agreement. While I respect the prime minister’s adherence to contracts, he seems to be the only one showing good will in this matter.
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Osama bin Laden famously said that when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse, and we have no time for weakness in this matter nor any more Jewish lives to give to appease an international community who not only fails to have our back but happily stabs us in it at their own convenience.
We have sought the way of peace and coexistence since the birth of our state. When our side have perpetrated acts of violence we have condemned, weeded out and decried these actions as the atrocities they are, whereas violence against us has been hailed and celebrated, and at some point we need to adopt the same methods against them as we do against ourselves. Actions need consequences, and those need to last until the violence becomes too costly to maintain, their leadership is replaced and they work toward a path of peace for themselves, rather than have us do the hard work for both of us, the cost of which is carried by just one party.
I call upon Netanyahu to act on the words he spoke at the General Assembly, and to ensure the safety of his citizens in every way, starting with taking control of the Mount that is now being used as a flashpoint for the third intifada. What we want in life we earn, if we fail then privileges are lost. This applies to Jews in Israel and it should apply to Arabs as well. Words are cheap, but Jewish lives should not be, and the cost of terrorizing our entire society should be high enough for them to be forced to dramatically change the political architecture of theirs.
Netanyahu spoke so beautifully at the UN, telling all the world that Israel will stand alone if it has to, but after all of that rhetoric, the question remains: Will we conclude that we know enough to start fighting for our lives or are we going to Rome to be crucified again? The author is a journalist and political advisor, contributing to such publications as Commentary Magazine, Israel Hayom and Mosaic. She is based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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