How Not To Fight Terror

Published January 10, 2003, issue of January 10, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The two Palestinians who blew themselves up in downtown Tel Aviv last Sunday, killing 22 innocent victims and wounding more than 100, were identified by their handlers this week as young men from the West Bank city of Nablus, Burak Hilsa and Samar A-Nuri. According to a statement from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Fatah offshoot that claimed responsibility for the massacre, the two killers reached Tel Aviv from their hometown without difficulty, passing through a “Zionist checkpoint” in an orderly fashion and then proceeding to their target in Israel’s main city.

That Palestinian terrorists can still move freely from their dens in the West Bank to the main centers of Israeli population ought to be a scandal of the first order. That Israel has not built a fence to separate itself and its citizens from the festering hatred in the neighboring territories ought to be the central issue in public discussion in Israel and wherever Jews gather. But there is no fence, because building a fence would amount to an acknowledgement that the historic land of Israel will some day be divided between the two peoples that live there. And so Israelis continue to live in an undivided land, and to die there in unconscionable numbers.

Palestinian terrorism claimed 447 Israeli lives last year, or about 37 per month. During the first four years after the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians in September 1993, the rate was about seven per month. Terrorism has exploded since the collapse of the peace process in September 2000. Yet Israeli hawks and their allies here continue to insist, more than two years into the maelstrom, that the violence is the fault of those long-defunct accords and the liberals who signed them, and has nothing to do with the policies of the government now charged with maintaining Israel’s security.

What are those policies? It’s hard to tell. Prime Minister Sharon has stated repeatedly that no diplomatic movement is possible until Palestinians put an end to terrorism, but he and his ministers sneer at efforts, by Egypt, the European Union and moderate P.A. leaders, to broker a unilateral Palestinian cease-fire. Sharon insists the Palestinian Authority will not be a viable partner until it has implemented thorough-going reforms in its structure and leadership; yet this week the government torpedoed two upcoming meetings, in London and Ramallah, that were to have begun implementing those reforms.

In place of a fence, and in place of a visible diplomatic strategy, Israel relies on a form of mass house arrest, fueling even greater hatred. And the killing goes on.

Let there be no mistake. The blame for the misery and heartbreak in Israel and the territories lies squarely with the Palestinian terrorists who wreak death and despair and the terror-masters who arm and dispatch them. The Palestinian territories under Israeli military control have become swamps of murderous hatred.

The question fair-minded observers must ask is not who is guilty of murder, but how to stop the bloodshed. Israel’s prime minister owes it to his own people to come up with some real answers.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.