Rattling the Cage: The chink in our armor

If Israel’s deterrent power over everyone but the Palestinians was plain after Operation Cast Lead, it’s even more plain now after the raid on the Turkish ship.

311_Turkey protest (photo credit: Associated Press)
311_Turkey protest
(photo credit: Associated Press)
‘Interesting: There are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, 50-odd Muslim countries, all of them with armies, lots of them with missiles that could hit Israel, all of them hating Israel’s guts worse than ever – and not one of them lifted a finger against us.
“Most interesting was Hizbullah. They’re sitting right on top of us with over 40,000 rockets, they could have rained hell on this country and become the heroes of the entire outraged Muslim world – and they did nothing.
“For all their yelling and all their weapons, Hizbullah didn’t lift a finger against Israel, neither did Syria, and neither did Iran.
“Why? Because they didn’t want to? Of course they wanted to. They would have won such glory among Muslims everywhere.
The entire Muslim world, including the most fanatical and apocalyptic-minded forces among them, passed up the chance for glory in a jihad against the Zionists destroying Gaza because they were afraid; 1.5 billion Muslims, 50-odd Muslim countries not counting Hizbullah, and Israel’s military power deterred them all. Utterly.
“So the question is this: Why is it, when the rest of the 1.5 billion Muslims are afraid to touch us, that these Palestinians won’t put down their guns and rockets? Out of 1.5 billion Muslims, all of whom surely hate us by now, why is it that the only ones actually fighting us are the 3.5 million Palestinians? “
Could it have something to do with the fact that of the 1.5 billion Muslims, the only ones being ruled over by Israel are those same 3.5 million Palestinians? While the Palestinians are by no means unique in hating Israel, could the two things about them that are unique – that they fight Israel, and that they’re ruled over by Israel – be connected?“
THE ABOVE is the slightly-abridged start of the column I wrote on January 22, 2009, four days after Operation Cast Lead ended. A couple of things have changed since then – Turkey is now on the list of powerful Muslim countries that hate us but are afraid to attack us, while the Palestinians in Gaza aren’t fighting like they used to; they’re still in the postwar stage of regrouping and rearming.
And what’s the extent of retaliation against Israel since its unintentionally bloody raid on the Mavi Marmara on May 31? A few errant rockets from Gaza and two foiled infiltrations by Gazan guerrillas.
Meanwhile, from the other 50-odd Muslim countries, there hasn’t been a single trace of violence. Not a bomb, not a bullet, not a rock.
If Israel’s deterrent power over everyone but the Palestinians was plain after Operation Cast Lead, it’s even more plain now after the raid on the Turkish ship.
But then Israel’s deterrent power over everyone but the Palestinians has been obvious since the war with Hizbullah in 2006. That’s the one time since the Six Day War that we’ve been attacked by someone whose land we weren’t occupying.
And since the bashing the IDF gave Hizbullah and Lebanon, we’ve had four years of quiet on the northern border.
We say we can’t lift the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank because if we do, the Palestinians will bring in weapons and attack us; after all, they hate us to death. So we have to deny them the means to act on that hatred. This is our doctrine, and it’s 100 percent logical – if we intend to keep them under our control, which, judging by our actions instead of our words, we do. As long as we’re ruling over the Palestinians, we’d better keep weapons out of their hands as best we can because, like any subjugated nation, they will use those weapons against their subjugators.
And no matter how tightly we control them, they’ll always find a way to attack, and we’ll always be at war with them, and this country will just go to hell faster and faster.
But look around. Look at all the bombs and missiles that aren’t falling on us from Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the 50 other Muslim countries that hate us, that will never accept the Jews’ right to a state here and that are countless times stronger than the Palestinians are or ever will be. There’s no sea, air or land blockade on any other Muslim country; they’re all free to bring in all the weapons they want, and they do, but they don’t dare use any of them against us.
Why? Because as much as they all hate us, none of them live under our guns.
Throughout the Muslim world, people go where they want, they eat what they want and we don’t stop them. So it’s not worth it to them to act on their hatred; they have too much to lose.
The one exception is the Palestinians.
They’ve been living under our guns for two generations. We tell them where they can and can’t go, and in Gaza we even tell them what they can and can’t eat.
We won’t let go of our grip on the Palestinians because we’re afraid they’ll destroy us. But life in the Middle East teaches us that if we leave people alone, they’ll leave us alone – no matter how much they hate us or how badly they can hurt us.
This is national security based on deterrence.
We can have it with the Palestinians, too, and that’s no less true today than it was after Operation Cast Lead.
From January 22, 2009:
 “I think that if we lift the siege, deterrence can work in Gaza, even with Hamas. And if it works in Gaza, and we can reach a deal in the West Bank – which, I know, won't be easy at all – then I think we can end the occupation there, too, and the deterrent power of Israel’s military will keep Ben-Gurion Airport and the rest of the country safe.
“We are incredibly strong. We are stronger than the rest of our enemies put together. They are deathly afraid of us. This last confrontation proved it as conclusively as it can be proved. If we stay out of their faces, they will stay out of ours. We’ve done it with 1.5 billion Muslims. There are only 3.5 million left, but first we’ve got to free them.“
Correction: Somehow I wrote that the Second Lebanon War was the only time since 1967 that Israel was attacked by someone whose land we weren't occupying. A Talkbacker reminded me about the 1991 Iraqi Scuds on Israel; having lived in Tel Aviv at the time, I'm not sure how I could have forgotten them. L.D.