As I write it is just past noon on October 13, and there already have been five terror attacks in the country, with at least three dead and tens injured. They included shootings, stabbings and car attacks. Chances are that by the time you read this, there will be more.
I’m not going to go into detail, because early reports are often confused. Most of the Arab terrorists involved in the recent wave of murders have been from the PA areas or eastern Jerusalem, but a few have been Israeli citizens. In the past few days, terrorists have struck all over the country, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Ra’anana, Afula, and other places.
The PM has called an emergency meeting of his security cabinet to decide on immediate steps to be taken. Among other things — Americans obsessed with the pro/anti gun debate will appreciate this — a relaxation of Israel’s strict gun regulations has been suggested by the Internal Security Minister, Gilad Erdan.
Hamas has claimed ‘credit’ for the attacks, but Palestinian Authority radio praised terrorists who were ‘martyred’.
No doubt the government will decide to beef up police and other security forces, possibly close off PA areas or Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, and so forth. The real question is whether any substantive action will be taken to change the situation in a fundamental way, or will today’s terrorism be tamped down temporarily, to return the next time it is convenient for the Arabs.
The Arab leadership that incites terrorism isn’t stupid. They have an objective now, as they have in the past. This time it is to attract the world’s attention to the ‘unsustainable occupation’ and to promote the idea of coercing Israel to withdraw from Judea/Samaria/eastern Jerusalem.
We can expect to hear expressions of great concern from Barack Obama and the Europeans — as if they care in the least when Jews are butchered! — about how the ‘cycle of violence’ needs to be stopped right away, and of course the way to do that is to engineer an Israeli surrender to the same forces that are murdering our people today. The French will make their proposal to the Security Council that declares the Israeli presence outside the 1949 lines illegal and calls for the establishment of ‘Palestine’ there, and quite possibly Obama will not veto it.
PM Netanyahu understands this, which is why he has strongly opposed suggestions that Arab terrorism be met with increased building in the territories or other actions that our Western ‘friends’ will interpret as ‘anti-peace’ and use as an excuse to support the French initiative.
But I think this is a poor strategy. Obama and the Europeans are dead set on getting Israel back to 1949 lines — and yes, I believe they understand that this means the end of the Jewish state in the near future — and if we dodge the bullet that is heading at us today, they will fire another, and another.
I would like to propose another approach, which will combine striking a blow against terrorism with defeating the US/EU diplomatic offensive.
How do we attack terrorism? Jabotinsky argued correctly that the Arabs will continue to fight as long as they think they have a chance to throw us out. And since the 1990s, they have been successful, driving us out of Gaza and South Lebanon, and much of Judea and Samaria. We need to turn this around, which means annexing strategic and otherwise important parts of Judea and Samaria, and increasing Jewish construction in J/S and eastern Jerusalem.
Combined with stronger security measures and action against the inciters (for example, expelling hostile elements from Jerusalem and other parts of Israel), this is the best way to fight terrorism.
But that will trigger increased pressure from Obama and his friends, will it not? Of course it will, but the important thing to understand is that this pressure will come anyway. We know that appeasement of military or terrorist threats just causes increased pressure, and the same goes for the diplomatic threats coming from Obama and the EU.
What we need is an ally that will help us resist that pressure. And I think there is only one possible candidate.
Israel has a great amount to offer Russia in the present geopolitical contest: critical intelligence, military support in the eastern Mediterranean, reduction in US influence and ability to project power in the Middle East, great embarrassment for Obama, economic and technical assistance, and more. And Russia can help provide a quiet Syrian border, control Iran and Hizballah, and veto undesirable Security Council resolutions.
Indeed, even if Israel just begins to tilt in the direction of Russia, it would have a salutary effect on Obama’s behavior.
There are obvious problems. The IDF would have a harder time obtaining parts for its American weapons, and integrating Russian weapons and equipment into its strategic systems would not be easy. And it would probably have to do without US military aid. But Israel has met worse challenges of this kind before.
The pragmatic Putin could probably put aside any anti-Jewish attitudes he may have better than Obama can override his pro-Muslim bias. And any deals must be structured in such a way that Russia can’t achieve its objectives without also meeting its commitments.
Could Netanyahu pull it off? There would be great opposition from the IDF, which is addicted to its American suppliers. Some would say that dealing with Putin is like dealing with the devil; but Obama’s ideology is at bottom more dangerous than Putin’s opportunism.
Dangerous? Certainly. But the present situation is also dangerous. Israel is facing a triple squeeze, from Iran, the Palestinians and the US/EU. A bold move might break all of these threats at the same time.