Earlier this week, in less than 48 hours, two Jewish families were shattered forever by Palestinian terrorist gunfire.
On Saturday, Shai Nigreker, 60, and his son Aviad Nir, 28, were shot dead when they stopped at a Palestinian-owned car wash in Huwara, south of Nablus.
Then, on Monday, another one of our ostensible peace partners opened fire on an Israeli vehicle near Hebron, murdering Batsheva Nigri, a 42-year-old mother of three, in front of her 12-year-old daughter who was sitting in the back seat. The driver, Aryeh Gottlieb, a father of six, was seriously wounded.
These latest acts of barbarism were followed by the usual sequence of events. Solemn-looking Israeli politicians sent their condolences to the families before sternly vowing to hunt down the perpetrators; Hamas spokesmen gleefully rejoiced at the news; and Palestinians in Gaza handed out sweets to passersby to celebrate the spilling of Jewish blood.
But enough is enough. This cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot, and must not, accept a reality in which Jewish families are fired upon and Jewish children are brutally traumatized.
Israel must respond with force and construction
It is essential that Israel move quickly to respond, not merely with military action but with some bold Zionist initiative. Simply put, it is time to rev up the bulldozers and build, build, build throughout Judea and Samaria.
The fact is that since the start of the year, Palestinian terror has been steadily intensifying. More than 30 Israelis have been murdered since January 1, the most in recent memory.
And in the first six months of the year, according to data compiled by the Rescuers without Borders organization (also known as Hatzalah of Judea and Samaria), there were 3,640 Palestinian terror attacks, which included 2,118 incidents of rock-throwing, 799 Molotov cocktail assaults, 18 attempted stabbings, 6 car rammings, and 101 shootings.
That averages out to 20 terror attacks a day, every day, over a six-month period, or nearly one every hour.
This is intolerable, and it is incumbent upon the government to ensure that the attacks earlier this week bring about a turning point in Israeli policy toward Palestinian terror.
FOR FAR too long, we have made do with retaliatory measures by the IDF and an occasional operation to clear out dens of terror, as though it was sufficient merely to contain the phenomenon of Palestinian violence.
But we need to do more, much more, than just cracking down on terrorist cells and cutting off the flow of funds and weapons.
In addition, Israel should undertake a clear-cut policy that will send a simple yet unambiguous message to our foes: The more you try to kill us, the more we will build.
For every Palestinian attempt at destruction, Israel must engage in construction and further expand the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.
This does not imply any moral equivalence between the two because there simply is none. Rather, it is intended to make clear to any would-be Palestinian terrorist that his actions will ultimately serve only to undermine his own goals.
If Palestinians see that their efforts to eliminate Jewish life will only boomerang and lead to further Jewish growth and development, they might finally begin to understand that terror will get them nowhere.
As of this writing, there have been reports in the media that Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich plans to bring a proposal to the cabinet next week to bolster Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and authorize dozens of undocumented Israeli outposts in the area.
This is precisely the kind of step that Israel needs to take, one that will underline to the Palestinians that whether they like it or not, the Jewish people have returned to their ancestral homeland and are here to stay.
Indeed, the continued expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria may actually provide the best chance for achieving a long-term, viable accommodation between Israelis and Palestinians.
THE LOGIC is really quite simple. For the past 30 years, ever since the signing of the disastrous 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have refused to reach a final deal with Israel, confident they have all the time in the world at their disposal.
They have repeatedly turned down one Israeli proposal after another, relying instead on the international community to press the Jewish state to make still more concessions.
That is a recipe for failure, which is exactly what it has produced thus far.
It might sound counterintuitive, but the most effective way of disabusing the Palestinians of the notion that time is on their side is by filling the landscape with more and more Jews.
Their leadership needs to realize that the longer they wait, the more territory they will “lose” as the Israeli presence in the areas is strengthened and reinforced.
Don’t get me wrong. I personally believe that Israel should expand the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria because of our divine-given right to these areas. And I do not want Israel to give up control over any part of our patrimony, nor do I believe the Palestinians are truly interested in peace with us.
But if there is to be any hope of putting an end to Palestinian terror, then its practitioners must be made to understand that for every attack they launch, the number of red-tile roofed Jewish homes filling the horizon outside their windows will only continue to grow.
The writer served as deputy communications director under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term of office.