The Palestinian terror wave (the authorities are not calling it a 3rd intifada – yet) continues to sweep Israel. There were more stabbings in Jerusalem on Shabbat, rock throwing, and violent Arab protests in many towns. After Shabbat there were Israeli protests across Israel against the Arab violence.
This morning we saw an escalation as a female bomber blew up her car at a checkpoint outside Maale Adumim. Miraculously the only casualty was the bomber herself. severely injured. The circumstances of how the bomber was stopped sound almost like a spoof – but a diligent traffic cop stopped what could have been a massive terror attack in Jerusalem:
Police said officers noticed a “suspicious vehicle” driven by a woman toward a checkpoint en route to Jerusalem and signaled to her to stop. The woman then yelled “Allahu Akbar” and detonated a bomb in her car, a police statement said.
Army Radio reported the wounded officer is a traffic policeman who pulled over the bomber in her car for driving in a lane specified for public transport and carpooling.
Initial reports pointed to a possible suicide bombing, saying that the woman had died in the attack. Police later said the woman exited her car just before the bomb went off, indicating that it may not have been a suicide bombing attempt.
I wonder if the bomber was coerced into the attack to save herself from a “family honour” punishment. We’ll probably never know.
Hamas is obviously feeling neglected so they organized huge demonstrations at the border with Israel. After several protestors breached the border, the IDF opened fire, killing up to 7. In retaliation Hamas launched rockets at Israel last night, and in return the IAF bombed some Hamas targets.
Same old same old.
The question at the moment is how should the government, and Israeli citizens, react to this new uprising? Should we be taking a harsher stance with the Arabs or try to defuse the situation? Should Netanyahu be building more settlements davka now or is he right to placate and appease Obama and the Europeans?
I bring you some differing viewpoints here, and I find myself agreeing with them all, depending on the time of day and what’s on the news. I offer no solutions myself. I’m glad I’m not in the position to have to offer such and I don’t envy the government. On the other hand, that is what they were elected for, and the situation cannot be permitted to drift.
… I read what Kerry said yesterday in Valpariso, Chile, where he was giving a talk:
“Regarding Jerusalem, it absolutely is unacceptable on either side to have to have violence resorted to as a solution.
“And I would caution everybody to be calm, not to escalate the situation…it is very important to maintain a sense of calm that will minimize the instinct for escalation.”
Let me get this straight: Arabs are killing Jews, but our government should not ratchet up the response to the terrorists? And whatever we do, we should not use violence in persuading those terrorists to stop what they are doing? We should, maybe, reason with them? Offer them perks if they stop?
This is moral equivalency run amuck. Politically correct thoughts from an empty head.
What it illustrates is the breath-taking international bias against Israel that we must contend with. No calling out the Arabs for their execrable behavior. No recognition of Israel’s right to defend her Jewish citizens. It helps us to understand (though not excuse) some of Netanyahu’s reluctance (until now) to take a strong stand against Arab terrorists.
In “Navigating choppy waters” she writes:
It has been revealed by media sources that during the Security Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu held Monday night, after the close of Simchat Torah, the issue of threats by Obama was raised. Some of the right wing/nationalist members of the Cabinet (some within the Likud itself) were urging that part of the response to terrorism be increased building in Judea and Samaria.
This is not going to happen, Netanyahu informed them. For Obama has said that if there is building in Judea and Samaria, he will not veto a French resolution that is to be brought to the UN Security Council, a resolution that reportedly would declare “Palestine” a state and would declare the settlements “illegal.”
“We will not jeopardize international support for a declaration of building,” a senior source in the Netanyahu administration reportedly said, While the prime minister himself called for “a sober political maneuver.”
The question I want to explore, then, is whether Netanyahu simply “caved” to the US, as Arutz Sheva suggests, and as is his pattern, or whether he has valid reason to be cautious here.
My gut impulse is to say, damn them all, go ahead and build. Now is the time for us to stand up for what is ours by right. But I know that my gut impulse is not necessarily the wisest course of action.
In exploring precisely what IS the wisest course, I contacted two highly respected and knowledgeable international lawyers, and here share their responses. Please, walk this through with me:
One lawyer, deeply involved in legal issues in Judea and Samaria, was interested in looking at the repercussions in terms of international law.
His opinion (this is not a legal opinion) is that a resolution would be tempered, and would
“call for an immediate return to negotiations, with the aim of establishing a Palestinian state and recommending a freeze in settlements.” All this, he says would not “really dramatically change the present situation.”
“But the settlement issue as well as that of Jerusalem have regrettably reached panic proportions thanks to very clever Palestinian manipulation of Obama and the EU and their evidently existing predisposition to harm Netanyahu and hence harm Israel.” (My emphasis added here)
The other lawyer, a man with sterling international credentials, chose to look at other, non-legal aspects of the issue (my emphasis added):
”The SC resolution would be very very damaging. Not because of any particular legal point, but because it would lock in a fundamental delegitimization of Israel, trigger a wave of EU sanctions, and make it harder for future US presidents to support Israel.
“Unless Bibi has concrete assurances on this, it makes sense to assume there will be no veto and build anyway…His (Obama’s) promise may be worth something if made publicly or with some other additional indicia of reliability.”
What we see then is that this is not a simple matter and should be taken seriously, but received without panic. It is not easy, being the head of a state that is isolated internationally and against which much venom is directed.
In the end it may well be that now is the time to stand up and claim our rights. But I would not make light of Netanyahu’s hesitancy to move forward.
And here is Arlene in a more belligerent mood after detailing the active incitement promoted by Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the rest of those “peace-loving Palestinians”: War. Whatever they call it:
One way or another we must vanquish them, make them afraid of us. But how?
The war that should happen will not happen, because no one wants to call it a war.
I’ve read a lot of suggestions both on the Internet, and from readers’ emails. What I will say here is that some of the suggestions that seem appealing – from the gut – will not work. We cannot banish all the Arabs to Gaza. We cannot take down whole Arab villages. We cannot.
But please be assured, I am not suggesting that Abbas has us cornered and that there is nothing we can do. This is only the case if we allow ourselves to be cornered. I believe attitude has a great deal to do with it. We must convey a self-confidence – a belief that we are in the right – which we are, and IN CONTROL.
No expressions of gratitude to Abbas for his cooperation on security matters. How ludicrous. Rather, a very quiet message to Abbas that if he doesn’t let his people know that they should cool it, it will go very badly with them and he will pay the price.
David Rubin, former mayor of Shilo, makes a host of suggestions in a blog on Arutz Sheva.
Rubin makes other suggestions, including:
“Declare the Levy Report, which in 2012 proved the legal basis for Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, to be the basis for government policy in ‘the territories.’”
That last suggestion, to implement the Levy Report – a campaign for which. called We have Legal Grounds, is being run by Arlene and others – is probably the best suggestion anyone has made for a long time. Don’t expect it to be implemented any time soon.
The blogger Abu Yehuda is also an excellent read and I would highly recommend you follow him and read his insights. His two latest posts contain interesting advice for our leaders (which of course won’t be followed):
In “Learning from Putin” he writes:
The Prime Minister’s reaction to the escalating terrorism of the last few months is an example. On the one hand, he wants to get tough with the stone- and firebomb-throwers. But on the other, he rejects the idea of changing the status quo with the PA, either by increased building or cutting off subsides. This is an attempt to treat the symptoms while feeding and stimulating the disease.
In all of these situations Israel is being forced to give up its sovereignty bit by bit. In each case, the government chooses to give in to blackmail. Our ‘strategy’, if you can call it that, is to walk between the raindrops. Unfortunately, as time goes on it rains harder and there is less and less room. We may have reached the point in all three of these cases that the old non-strategy no longer works.
We have allowed our fear of international reactions to keep us from exercising our rights in Judea and Samaria, and our fear of terrorism to limit actions against the PA. But at the same time, the US and EU keep increasing the pressure, and the PA keeps inciting and financing terror. So what have we gained?
I’m not going to try to provide a detailed prescription for solving these difficult problems. But in all of them we are moving in the wrong direction, from strength to weakness, from more to less independence and sovereignty.
There is a reason for this: it is because we haven’t articulated a clear picture of the desired end result. Lacking clear objectives, we are passive. Everything we do is a reaction to our enemies’ actions. No wonder we get boxed in – they are writing the screenplay, and we are performing our role in it.
Do we think that all faiths should be able to worship on the Temple Mount, including Jews? If so, we should insist on it. Rav Shlomo Goren wanted to build a synagogue on the Mount (not a third Temple, a synagogue). Why should this be an impossible goal?
And isn’t it past time that the PLO, the organization that has murdered more Jews because they are Jews than any other since the Nazis, joined their Nazi role models in oblivion?
I am not a fan of Vladimir Putin, but we could learn from him. The chaos of recent times is also an opportunity.
I find myself nodding my head in support at these suggestions.
On a similar theme, in “Sovereign or satellite?” Abu Yehuda addresses the American threat not to veto anti-Israel UN resolution, and writes:
Israel ought to have a close relationship with the US, because we share many of the same ideals. We certainly have the potential to be a valuable ally in a dangerous part of the world. But the present administration in Washington does not behave like an ally. … the president and his appointees like to talk about how much they care about Israel’s security. But they continue to act in ways that directly damage it.
I propose that we do implement a freeze, not on construction, but on our relationship with the Obama Administration.
The Prime Minister should publicly announce that while Israel wishes to continue its close relationship with the American people, it does not see the Obama Administration as an appropriate partner with which to do so. Therefore, until January 20, 2017, Israel will downgrade its relationship with the administration to the minimum required for diplomatic relations.
The PM should say that Israel does not see the administration as an unbiased broker in any negotiations with the PLO or anyone else.
Questionable US personnel in Israel (those suspected of working for the CIA) should be made persona non grata and asked to leave. The US-operated X-band radar station on Mt. Keren in the Negev, which serves as much to spy on Israel as to warn of an Iranian attack, should either be transferred to IDF control or shut down. Intelligence cooperation with the US should be limited.
I admit I like this suggestion the best of all that I have read, but it’s probably in the realm of a pipe-dream. I’m prepared to be proven wrong however!
Meanwhile, Israeli citizens have been reacting in their usual courageous way – in addition to the many protests last night.
Read this message of outrage from the bereaved Henkin family (click “more) at the end of the English to see the whole message) or see the whole text below this:.
I have to offer you my sincere condolences, Ambassador Shapiro. It is your duty, after all to explain on a daily basis an unexplainable and unjustifiable policy.
You have to defend a US government which on the one hand demanded that Israel should not free Palestinian terrorists with American blood on their hands, and on the other hand demanded that Israel will free Palestinian terrorists with Israeli blood on their hand. Apart from the blatant hypocrisy the US government has seemed to forget that by doing so it raised the chances that more people, among them US citizens like my brother Eitam, would be murdered at the hands of cold blooded terrorists.
You have to defend a government that appeases its enemies and pressures its friends; A government that decided that its army will “no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations”, when apparently the government itself is no longer sized to conduct prolonged operations or policy of any sort, perhaps explaining how chemical weapons continued to be used in Syria and how Russia got back into the middle east with a vengeance. You have to defend a government which focuses more on Timetables than on results, succeeding in pulling out forces but and almost nothing else.
You have defend a government that was so full of itself, that in 2009 it let Rahm Emmanuel declare that that “in the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians… and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister”. How unfortunate it was that the Arab-Israel conflict cannot be solved by pulling US troops out and declaring that the war has been won.
And now we have Mr. Putin and co. making fun of the US in the Crimea, sending a clear message to the whole world not to trust America’s assurances and guarantees. We have him in Syria too. In 2012, President Obama has ridiculed senator McCain when the latter said that Russia is a bigger geopolitical threat than al-Qaeda. ” The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back”, said the president. Well, now the 1980s are calling once again, to ask if we, if the US, if the current administrations needs them to lend us some leadership, since apparently they had way more than we have today, and we have less than we need.
You Ambassador Shapiro, have to defend all that and more. It is a heavy burden for any honest man. I offer you my sincere condolences.
These words, written in anger and bereavement, ring out with the truth.
And finally – a reminder to everyone that Israelis have not lost their humanity while under attack, in stark comparison to our enemies, one of whom named his new baby after a murderous terrorist:
At the site of the stabbing at the Petach Tikva mall last week, Shacharit (morning prayers) was held at that very site:
Let these be a reminder that we Israelis, we Jews, hold on to our humanity even in the darkest and harshest of times, especially when our enemies act in the most inhumane way possible.