The assault on Israel

Though some of the tactics are new, Palestinian goals have all-too plainly not changed since 1947.

Majdal Shams demonstration 311 R (photo credit: Reuters)
Majdal Shams demonstration 311 R
(photo credit: Reuters)
Sunday’s incidents at the Syrian border near Majdal Shams, across the Lebanon border at Maroun a-Ras and on the border with the Gaza Strip mark a formidable challenge to Israeli security. What is the IDF to do if the same tactic of attempted en masse infiltration is repeated in the weeks and months ahead, but instead of a few hundred infiltrators, the borders are overrun with thousands or tens of thousands of Palestinian “refugees” and their supporters?
The IDF and other security personnel would be under tremendous pressure to do their utmost to avoid causing casualties while at the same time preventing the rampant trampling of Israeli sovereignty. Failing to do either could have dire consequences.
The death of any unarmed rioter would immediately be misrepresented as an Israeli crime, serving to strengthen the anti-Israel “narrative.”
Even on Sunday, many international news outlets lumped all reports of fatalities together and blamed Israel for all of them, even as the IDF was insistent that the reported 10 deaths on the Lebanon border were a consequence of Lebanese army fire. Attention would be directed away from oppression in Arab regimes just as Sunday’s clashes shifted focus away from Syrians being gunned down or thrown into prison in Homs, Douma, Hama, Banias, Daraa and Damascus.
However, allowing angry mobs to forcibly cross over into Israel – as, unconscionably, occurred at Majdal Shams, where the IDF had not adequately prepared for the rush to the fence – compromises Israeli sovereignty and presents a serious security danger by allowing potential terrorist elements to make their way to Jewish targets.
To successfully meet this challenge, IDF soldiers will have to be more effectively deployed, on the basis of better intelligence, and urgently trained and equipped to use non-lethal crowd dispersion techniques such as tear gas, and water and sound cannons. More effective border fencing and other physical deterrents may have to be constructed.
UN peacekeeping missions, positioned in Lebanon for precisely these situations, proved themselves to be completely, predictably, useless.
BUT WHILE the prospect of additional, far greater, “nonviolent” mass border incursions presents daunting challenges, Sunday’s “Nakba” protests were also another reminder of the fundamental opposition to Israel’s very existence. The “Nakba” anniversary those protesters, and those who sent them, are marking is not the “catastrophe” of Israel’s 1967 capture of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. It is, rather, the “catastrophe” of the revival of the historic Jewish state in 1948, a development with which they still refuse to reconcile.
Protests were launched not only in the “disputed” territories that some Palestinian leaders assure the world are their only focus, but also at Israel’s internationally recognized borders with Gaza and with Lebanon. The day’s bleak message: Nothing has changed since 1947, when Palestinians and the Arab states rejected the UN partition plan.
Of late, the official Palestinian leadership has abandoned even the most pro forma gestures toward a negotiated peace. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas entered into a national unity agreement with Hamas, an Islamist organization that vows daily to destroy Israel. And far from Hamas moderating its positions, Abbas seems to be sounding increasingly radicalized.
In recent statements, contrasting with previous remarks, he insists on Palestinians’ “right of return.” And he is not talking only of those who remain from the approximately 700,000 refugees who left Israel before, during and immediately after the 1948 War of Independence, but of their millions of descendants. (Palestinians are the only people in the world whose refugee status can be extended indefinitely – five generations and counting – according to UNRWA criteria.) The Palestinian leadership, now officially including the anti-Semitic terrorists of Hamas, has not paid any diplomatic price for its extremism. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton welcomed the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, as did leaders from several other Western countries and Russia, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. If all goes as planned, in September the UN General Assembly will issue a declaration that, albeit nonbinding, recognizes a Palestinian state along the 1949 armistice lines – despite the fact that the core issues of dispute with Israel will not have been resolved. Former ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev told a Knesset committee on Monday that the Palestinians’ move toward UN recognition of their state was an “intermediate goal” that seeks “to destroy [Israel] before the international community.”
Over the decades, open warfare gave way to terrorism and then to missile attacks. Now Israel faces “nonviolent” infiltration of its sovereign borders, the uncompromising demand for a “right of return” that would destroy it as a Jewish state, an unholy Palestinian alliance with a terror group openly bent on Israel’s destruction, and a diplomatic campaign for recognition without reconciliation.
Though some of the tactics are new, the goals have all-too plainly not changed since 1947.