This can’t be allowed to continue.
Yesterday there was another fatal stabbing at Etzion junction, a place which has seen several murders and countless terror attacks. A beautiful young woman, Hadar Buchris, was murdered for the crime of being Jewish in the land of Israel.
Between October 1 and November 22, 20 people have been killed (19 Jews and one Palestinian murdered by mistake), and 180 injured in a total of 91 attacks.
These terror attacks have been encouraged and praised by Palestinian Authority officials and media, although they are not organized or specifically commanded by them. This is the strategy they call ‘popular resistance’. The most popular weapon has been the knife, followed by the automobile. Firebombs and rocks are also used. It is sometimes even called “nonviolent” because only rarely are firearms used, although shooting attacks are becoming more and more common lately.
Recent polls show that a majority of Palestinians favor “armed resistance” and are more militant than the very unpopular PA, which seems to be taking its cues from the “street” rather than the reverse.
Before I discuss what should be done to stop the terrorism, it should be pretty obvious what should not be done: the response to a wave of murders should not be to reward the murderers for their enterprise.
Unfortunately, this is almost certainly what John Kerry will do on his upcoming visit, in which he intends to make suggestions on how “both sides” can take steps to restore calm. Since the US has been suggesting to the Palestinians that they stop incitement since the days of President Bill Clinton without effect, what’s left is that Kerry will try to get Netanyahu to give something to the Palestinians to show his good will. I’ve heard speculation that this might include transferring some land that is under full Israeli control today (Area C) to Palestinian civil control (Area B).
I’m sure that there will be other creative ideas, all based on the principle that the way to stop the murder is to improve the conditions for the Palestinian Arabs or to strengthen their leadership – thus proving to them that the way to obtain concessions is to kill Jews. This is an approach that can only make things worse.
The army will be installing more barricades and checkpoints at critical junctions. They will try to stop infiltration of Palestinians across the Green Line (illegal residents have committed some of the recent murders). These are steps that should be taken, but they aren’t solutions. A solution needs an overall strategy.
I think the truth is that we are at war with them – the PA, Hamas and also the “Palestinian people.” We did not want war. We wanted to live side by side. There is enough room for that. But you can’t live side by side with someone who wants to kill you. You can’t share the land with someone who thinks it all belongs to him and that you can leave or die.
The Arabs don’t accept our moral, historical or legal rights to any of the land. Their response to our ill-advised attempts at compromise has been to try harder to murder us. They couldn’t do it en masse in 1948 and 1967, so they are trying to do it one by one today. It’s a different kind of war but war nevertheless.
You win a war by hurting the enemy, not helping him. If it’s a war for territory, you occupy and control the territory. Our strategy has to be to occupy and control Judea and Samaria, cooperate with those Arabs that want to live alongside us peacefully, expel the ones who do not, and kill the ones who try to kill us.
That’s it. It’s really simple. The rest is tactics.
But, but, but. No, there aren’t any buts. True, war is brutal and ugly and innocent people are hurt. The fact is we are already in a brutal, ugly war and innocent people are being hurt, every day. The war has been going on, waxing and waning, since 1948, for 100 years, or for 2000 years – depending on how you want to count.
The Muslims have always taken the long view, the historical view. They remember the battles of the 7th century, the ‘setbacks’ of the Crusades, and the ultimate expulsion of the Crusaders from the lands they occupied. We should take the long view as well. What’s happening at Etzion junction is an extension of what has been happening all over the land for tens, hundreds, thousands of years.
The enemies have been various. There have been victories, and as Obama would say, “setbacks.” History tells us that victories will be temporary, and we’ll need to fight again and again.
Unhappily for us, this is one of those times. We are already in the midst of a war with the Palestinian Arabs, and losing it isn’t an option. But we can’t win the war we don’t fight.