We have heard this all before, on countless occasions.
At times like this, there is always a chorus that pops up to lecture our leaders with the kind of advice that has proven, time and again, to be fatal. First they mourn the "regrettable loss of life" and bemoan the fact that "calm has been shattered." Then comes the familiar call for Israeli restraint, as if such restraint will prevent, rather than invite, the next attack.
In this case, as in many others, the claim of the terrorists themselves that Israel has provoked the attack will be politely repeated and discussed. It will be stated or implied that Israel has roused the anger of the terrorists by rounding up them up and targeting their commanders. Didn't Israel know, they will ask, that Islamic Jihad would be "forced" to respond to the killing, days before Wednesday's attack, of Luay Sa'adi? And wouldn't a fierce Israeli strike in the wake of the Hadera bombing only invite further terror?
Such people ignore the reality that there has been no calm, except the calm before the storm. Just 11 days ago, three Israelis near Gush Etzion were gunned down on the roads. On Monday, numerous Kassams were launched into Israel from Gaza. Has this already been forgotten? The chorus overlooks the fact that Sa'adi had directed the murders of several Israelis and was planning new attacks when the IDF killed him. And they fail to grasp that it was precisely PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's failure to lift a finger to control groups like Islamic Jihad that made Israel's arrest raids in the West Bank and the neutralization of men such as Sa'adi an absolute imperative.
People of conscience should recognize that the only provocation here was the slaughter of innocents - a slaughter carried out in the open-air market of Hadera, perpetrated against people who were simply waiting in line to buy felafel.
According to early reports on Wednesday, the terrorist who detonated himself in Hadera's market had recently been released from an Israeli prison - in a gesture of support for Abbas.
This too is a standard refrain of the chorus within days of each attack: Why don't you make more "humanitarian gestures" to the Palestinians? Only a few days ago, Israel was treated to criticism from American special Middle East envoy James Wolfensohn that it was being too strict with its closures of border crossings. The shortsightedness of such calls is as painful as it is predictable.
As Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told The Washington Post: "If Israel tomorrow allowed unimpeded passage at the crossings, I think everyone believes that would have negative consequences all around. There would likely be a series of suicide bombings and we would have to respond." Now that there has been a bombing Israel indeed may respond. More broadly, the basic truth must be constantly restated and implemented because it is constantly forgotten: If the Palestinians do not combat terrorism from their midst, Israel must.
All those who once again revert to the language and logic of the "cycle of violence" should remember that if the Palestinians truly abandon and combat terrorism, Israel will gladly end its efforts to do so. The reverse is demonstrably not true: Israeli restraint does not automatically lead to an end to attacks but, absent Palestinian will to crush terrorism, to a gift of time for the terrorists to recover and regroup.
Prisoner releases in this climate of Palestinian Authority inaction against terror carry immense risks - fatal risks in some cases, as underlined so terribly yesterday. And how many times has Israel lifted roadblocks only to have such gestures literally blow up in our faces?
So this time, for a change, spare us the lectures about how defending ourselves is futile and the wisdom of "humanitarian" measures that lay the groundwork for the next atrocity, or even release its perpetrator.
Send us your comments >> Richard Brown, Oakland, CA, USA: You are only too correct! I find it amazing that any rational person (I'm not including most Muslims in that) can believe that Israel is really responsible for attacks against it. Isn't that something like saying the six million Jews who were exterminated by Hitler were responsible for that? The world needs to get a clue before it's too late! Vittorio, Orange, CA: Jack Daniel, unfortunately you're an ignorant fool who does not know history. The criminals are the Arabs. Read your history! Paul Filler, Ada, Michigan, USA: I am Jewish, have not gone to temple in more years than I can count, but I am still very Jewish, and I find it hard to...no, I find it incredible how we as Jews still have to answer to the world. We know right from wrong by our ancestry and should stop answering the peoples of this earth on what comes as common sense to any Jew on this planet. I don't know if I get more annoyed at having to read answers for the survival of Israel or the people that keep telling us to lay down like sheep and get slaughtered. Shein...Stop. The world is not worth our response. I simply get livid every time we have to give ANY reason to do what you do. Any country living within as shouting distance of Israel that does not know what response they will receive when my people are attacked are either 1.Too dumb or 2. Not too bright. Mort Scharfman, NYC, USA: History is rife with tyrants, villains and would-be world-conquerors who "...want only peace." And their logic is a sterling example of reductio ad absurdum. 1) "A" is responsible for destroying the peace. 2) But "B" is responsible for attacking "A". 3) If "A" did not resist the hostilities would end. 4) Ergo, "A" is responsible for destroying the peace. On those terms, peace is hell! Jaime Rodriguez, Lakeland: It's unfortunate that Mr. James Wolfensohn does not understand that Israel is facing an enemy that has no intention of making peace. The PA and its supporters have only one goal - the annihilation of Israel. Ruslan Tokhchukov, Redmond, WA, USA: I am not Jewish by any definition, don't have Jewish family or even friends. I am a Muslim, originally from a Muslim minority in Russia, but I strongly and unconditionally support Israel and reject the terrorist "Palestinian cause" in its entirety, because its goal is as evil as are its means. And it is revolting to read the scurrilous post from a lowly terrorists' groupie Jack Daniel who backs the murderous leader of Iran's ruling terror cult in his call for a complete annihilation of the entire nation of Israel, the only democracy of the Middle East. He is even worse than Neville Chamberlain who betrayed the only democracy of Eastern Europe to Hitler. Dave Berg, USA: It is now almost 40 years that Israel has been occupying and stealing Palestinian land for settlements for Jews only. Isn't it time to give the Palestinians their freedom? Israel has tried everything but giving these people their freedom. Look to South Africa as an example. When those people were given equal rights, the conflict stopped. The Palestinians living in Israel have equal rights and protection and are peaceful citizens. What makes you think that the same can't be accomplished by either enfranchising the occupied ones or giving them their land back for a state. Max Kornblum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands: An excellent article, it's a pity that every word is true. My opinion: If Israel doesn't close the borders even more tightly and expel out of the country all the Arabs that won't accept the Jewish state, there always will be a fifth colonna that is unbeatable. James M. Price, Haymarket, Virginia, USA: Whereas I appreciate Mr. Horovitz's comments in this editorial, I feel frustrated and angry that he and many other Israeli journalists have helped create the journalistic climate that nurtures an endless parade of inane and often hypocritical criticisms with which they deluge Israel. Had Israelis forcefully fought against the relentless dishonesty in the reporting and commentaries pumped through the mass media since the Oil Embargo of 1973, much if not most of what Mr. Horovitz now rightly complains about would not be happening. However, it is not too late to begin to engage the mass media, especially those foreign and Israeli reporters resident in Israel. I hope Mr. Horovitz will become a force within the JPost organization to engage mass media lying and become a consistent and forceful defender of his country. I for one will applaud his efforts if he does. Juan F. Carmona, Madrid, Spain: I fully agree. I am from a country, Spain, who is enduring a very hard time because it has given in to terrorism. There is nothing worse than renouncing one's dignity in order to supposedly retain life. You are right, no one is entitled to give you lectures on combating terrorism. Terrorism must be defeated, not excused or allowed to win. My condolences and best wishes for the future. Mark Wiseman, Glen Cove, NY: Kahane was right. Arabs have no business living amongst Jews. They should probably all be deported and kept on the other side of a wall/border. And if we must, we should only move Jews out of Arab-dominated areas in exchange for an equal number of Arabs leaving Jewish areas. Get them out of Jerusalem and Haifa. Those who refuse to swear allegiance the State should be deported. Patricia Williams, San Rafael, California: Before Chris Fitzgerald becomes too exercised over the foreign aid given Israel by the US, perhaps he should examine that given to Arab countries: we give just as much money to Egypt, which is currently the leading contributor of foreign terrorists to Iraq. Those Egyptians are actively engaged in killing Americans and democratic Iraqis. America knows who her friends are and very few of us believe that our foreign aid to Israel is ill-spent. Do what you have to do and take care of business. Joe Levi, Los Angeles, USA: After the Israeli retaliation to the killings in northern Israel, I watched a network TV channel in prime time. The incident was reported as well as the subsequent attack on Islamic Jihad by Israeli forces. The term "cycle of violence" was used by the news reporter. Angered, I wrote the TV station my strong exception to the language. Again and again and again we hear this phrase, circle of violence, as if there is equality to the actions (or equal justification). Additionally, the lead headlines in local newspapers refer to Palestinian terrorists as "militants" and not the murderous terrorists (they aim at innocent civilians), they truly are. There are two probably reasons for the above. Either the news media wants to placate their Arab (Muslim) audiences and not appear bias towards Israel, or, in fact, they are biased, AGAINST, ISRAEL. The militants in Iraq are described as either terrorists or jihadists or insurgents. It's too bad these terms cannot be used to describe the Palestinian murderers. Israel's mistake is in allowing Arabs to go free from their incarceration, rather then 25 years to life as punishment with no parole, or the hangmans' noose for capital crimes. All I can say to Israel is, wake up, before it's too late. There is still time. Prof. A.I. Weinzweig, Chicago, USA: Great piece!! As for Chris Fitzgerald, we could save a great deal more money by cutting off the money to Egypt which is one of the leading purveyors of anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda, or the PA which uses our money to support their anti-American propaganda as well as terrorism. We would be a lot safer and have more money if we did this. We get great returns from the money we give Israel, in intelligence and equipment design. At least Israel is a democracy and an ally in fact not in words! Jack Daniel, Britian: Let's face it. All this so called cycle of violence will not end till the so called state of Israel returns all its lands to the Palestinians to whom it rightly belongs . if this does not happen soon , then it will happen in time just like the new leader of Iran bravely said. Israel will need to be wiped out from the face of this earth for peace in the mid east. Everybody knows that. Only the Americans, British and the Jews of the world don't seem to. The destruction of Israel and wiping it off the face of the earth is inevitable. So the sooner this is achieved the sooner innocent lives will be no longer be lost. The people of Israel like the people of Palestine are innocent. But Israel is not. PM, US: Excellent article. The only viable long-term solution will be to resettle the Arabs squatting in Israel. They can be resettled in Jordan, which was supposed to be their land, in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and other Arab lands. No other solution will ever bring peace since these Arabs are fanatically committed to the destruction of Israel, and murdering or driving the Jews into the sea. Despite problems and objections, a plan needs to be put together to accomplish this. The "Roadmap to Peace" is a delusional fairy tale based on false premises, and will never work, as it is now not working. Adina Kutnicki, Ridgewood, NJ: I have always been stymied by those who care a whit about "world opinion" after a murderous homicide bombing. However, I have NEVER been surprised by their calls for "restraint" to these bloody rampages. In this regard, the only order of business Israel's leaders need to concern themselves with is how to stop these atrocities from happening in the first place. A good area to start with is to demand - in a collective and roaring voice - that captured terrorists are not allowed to be released. Not only does it violate international law to do so, but it also violates Israeli law. In the meanwhile, ignore the assorted anti-Zionists/anti-Semites and protect your citizens. Israel's leaders are obligated to do so. Nothing less will suffice! Israel Keller, New York, NY: A definitive characteristic of a sovereign nation-state is a set of borders over which it has control. Neither Condoleezza Rice or James Wolfensohn has the right to demand that Israel open its borders for Palestinians to go work in Israel than Mr. Sharon has to insist that the US open its borders to the unrestricted flow of Latino or other workers and goods. Enough with the lectures and confidence-building measures. Alvin Unilateralism on the part of any democracy, Israel in particular, is unacceptable to the dreamers of this world seemingly under any circumstances. Try this, try that. Well, the time for all of this has long since past. Dreamers, thank you very much. Just do what you have to do. Chris Fitzgerald: ....As to "sparing you the lectures"...Could we spare you the MONEY too?....Our country would be a lot more prosperous (and maybe safer?) if we weren't continually bankrolling yours! Ed Weddar, Mississauga, Canada: The gestures must stop. The Palestinians complain that we block their access to the outside world and so we remove some roadblocks. They then immediately take advantage of the situation and attack. This can only mean that they do not want access to the outside world. They have seen our response time and time again. Therefore, there should be no surprise to our reaction. Our only option is to show them just how serious we really are. If there are Palestinians that want to live in peace side by side with Israel as two states now is the time for them to show it. They need to realize that failure to rise up against their fellow Palestinians who attack Israel will result in a decline in their quality of life. I say we block their roads, cut off any utilities we provide them, be it water or electricity or cable television or phone or cellular. Cut off their employment opportunities in Israel and if Abu Mazen wants to support his people he will have to rally all the supporters together and fight as one against the terrorist infrastructure in their areas. Abu Mazen fails to act because he knows that if he does nothing will change. The terrorists believe that through suffering we will learn to submit to their demands. They believe this because this is how they would react. So lets think like Palestinians. If they want to see change they need to be kicked a little. Sometimes a good smack can turn a person in the right direction. Alan Haber, Alon Shevut, Israel: I agree 100%. Kol Hakavod for stating the truth so clearly. Perhaps now the Editorial staff of the Post can also acknowledge that the same logic should have argued against the biggest unilateral concession Israel has ever made: the Gaza Disengagement (which you supported)? Perhaps now it is clear that - far from improving Israel's security - this summer's debacle has provided the greatest incentive for continued terror. Perhaps now you can admit that you are guilty of the same mistake you criticize in others?