Israel's response to terrorism is creating terrorism - opinion

The common factor in past terrorists isn't religion, economic situation or educational background. They all had a loved one die in Israeli action.

 Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, including militants, who were killed in an Israeli raid, during their funeral in Jenin in the West Bank January 26, 2023.  (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, including militants, who were killed in an Israeli raid, during their funeral in Jenin in the West Bank January 26, 2023.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

During the Second Intifada, when there were many suicide bombers and many volunteers joining their ranks, Israel’s security forces began profiling those willing to kill themselves in order to kill the Zionist enemy. Initially, the thinking was that the people willing to kill themselves to kill Israelis were probably very religious, from very poor families, and not very educated.

Who commits terror attacks?

The research that the profilers did dispelled these assumptions. They discovered that most of the suicide bombers, or potential suicide bombers, were not very religious. They were not from the poorest sector of Palestinian society. Many of them were employed. Most of them were quite educated. The common thread they found was that someone close to them, a family member or a close friend, was killed by the Israelis.

They also found quite a large number of them had had their homes destroyed by Israel when they were children. That is why it was no surprise to learn that Khaire Alkam, the 21-year-old man from the Shuafat neighborhood who killed seven Israelis in Jerusalem’s Neveh Ya’acov neighborhood, was the grandson of a Palestinian who had been killed by an Israeli.

In 1998, Khaire Alkam (the grandfather) was murdered by a Jew. Four years, later his grandson Khaire Alkam was born. Three and a half months ago, 18-year-old IDF Sergeant Noa Lazar was killed by the Palestinian Udai Tamimi. Three days ago, Muhammad Ali, a teenager, was accidentally killed by Border Police during an operation to demolish Tamimi’s house. Ali was a relative of Khaire Alkam, who murdered seven Israelis in Neveh Ya’acov. And the cycle continues.

In 2022, 146 Palestinians were killed by Israeli guns. Since the beginning of 2023, 36 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, among them eight children and one elderly woman. Not all of them were terrorists or combatants. Some of them were terrorists, combatants who used violence against Israeli civilians. Many of the Palestinian combatants were not terrorists – they were resisting Israeli invasions and attacks within Palestinian-controlled territories, such as the Jenin refugee camp.

 Palestinian gunmen and mourners attend the funeral of two Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces during a raid of Israeli security forces, Jenin, in the West Bank, January 19, 2023 (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90) Palestinian gunmen and mourners attend the funeral of two Palestinians who were killed by Israeli security forces during a raid of Israeli security forces, Jenin, in the West Bank, January 19, 2023 (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

These Palestinians killed by Israelis, combatants or non-combatants, all have close relatives and friends. Many of their homes will be demolished by Israel. None of those family and friends will ever forget their loved one who was killed. Not all of them will seek revenge.

Some of them may even become active supporters of peace, such as the Palestinians and Israelis who are members of the “Parents Circle Families Forum,” a joint Israeli-Palestinian nonprofit organization of families, all of whom have lost an immediate family member in the ongoing conflict.

The same is true of those Israelis whose loved ones were killed by Palestinian terrorists or combatants. Immediately following the attack in Neveh Ya’acov there were calls from bystanders “death to the Arabs” and “revenge.” The Israeli government immediately adopted the calls from National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to seal the homes of the families of Palestinian terrorists and combatants in preparation for demolishing them.

Expelling family members from Jerusalem or from the West Bank is another punishment that the government is being called on to accept. The death penalty for terrorists is another of the new demands. In most cases, the death penalty is issued on the spot when the terrorist or combatant is “neutralized.”

Israel has refrained from using the death penalty until now. Perhaps this government will change that policy and will immediately focus the attention of the entire world on this issue. 

ABOUT 140 terrorist attacks by settlers on Palestinians were recorded during the past day, throughout the West Bank. About 120 vehicles, including ambulances, were damaged by stone-throwing settlers; six Palestinian-owned cars in the town of Majdal Bani Fadal were set on fire and completely burned. Houses were set on fire and attacked in the village of Turmusaia; 22 shops in a village south of Nablus were vandalized.

So far, there have been zero arrests of settler terrorists. No settler will have their house sealed, stolen Palestinian land will not be returned to its owner. The Israeli government will not bother to discuss the unrestrained rampage of the terrorists from the settler outposts on hilltops all around Palestinian villages. Israeli authorities have turned a blind eye to Jewish terrorism.

In Jerusalem, Israeli and Palestinian protesters against all of the violence witnessed a group of armed policemen beating a Palestinian boy, dragging him on the floor and punching him, for no reason. How can one see this horror and imagine that it is good? Is that justified? Does that bring confidence to anyone?

Ben-Gvir has ordered Israeli forces to demolish 14 homes belonging to Palestinians in east Jerusalem. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homes slated for demolition in east Jerusalem. They were built without permits from the municipality. It is almost impossible for a Palestinian to get a building permit in east Jerusalem.

There is a complex set of rules and regulations that prevent land registration and there are almost no zoning plans enabling Palestinians to even apply for a building permit. Will Ben-Gvir let loose the massive bulldozers of destruction on 40% of Jerusalem’s population? Ben-Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich and their like have let it be known very clearly: their plan is to force Palestinians to leave Palestine, to leave their land, their property and their heritage.

Netanyahu, the left-wing of the current government, is doing little if nothing to restrain these extremists who will set fire to this entire land. That is their plan – chaos is the name of the game and under its shadows, another Nakba can be implemented. They say it out loud. They hide nothing. They also know that the nuclear nerve of this conflict – al-Aqsa/Temple Mount is the place that can ignite the explosion. Who will prevent this madness from happening? 

The writer is a political and social entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to the State of Israel and to peace between Israel and its neighbors. He is now directing The Holy Land  Bond.