If you live in Israel, you know what happened in Beer Sheva on Tuesday. You know that a terrorist who was an Israeli citizen from one of the larger Bedouin towns that sprawl over Israel’s Negev desert, a former teacher (!) who spent four years in prison for his activities on behalf of ISIS, brutally murdered two women and two men because they were Jews living in Eretz Yisrael.
The terrorist, Mohammad Jalab Abu al-Quian, stabbed a woman at a gas station and then drove to a nearby shopping center, running over a bicycle rider on the way. He got out of his car and stabbed three more people before being shot dead by two armed citizens. Four of his victims died, and the fifth was very seriously injured. The nightmare took eight minutes.
Here are the names of those whose lives he took:
1) Laura Yitzchak, 43. Mother of 3 girls. Resident of Be’er Sheva.
2) [Rabbi] Moshe Kravitzky, 50. Father of 4. Managed a Colel Chabad soup kitchen in Be’er Sheva. Chabad Shaliach [he was the bicycle rider].
3) Doris Yahbas, 49. Mother of 3. From Moshav Gilat.
4) Menachem Menuchin Yechezkel, age 67.
As always happens, Gazans distributed sweets in honor of the successful “operation,” like it was a military triumph, instead of a vicious murder spree victimizing the softest of soft targets.
I have a question for the Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, his cabinet, and indeed every member of the Knesset:
What is your long range plan to deal with Palestinian Arab terrorism, both by Palestinians from the territories and Israeli Arabs?
I am not talking about your plans to increase the police presence over the Pesach and Ramadan holidays. That is the shortest of short-term plans. I am not talking about your plans to improve the economic conditions in Gaza, the PA, and the Negev, a slightly longer-term plan which will probably lead to more, not less, terrorism.
I want to know if you have any idea of what to do about the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, who have been so radicalized by Hamas and the PLO that teenagers are capable of murdering Jewish babies? And I want to know if you understand the dangers of the continuing Islamization and Palestinization of the Arab citizens of Israel, which was demonstrated in May 2021 by the Arab pogroms against the Jewish residents of Lod, Acco, Bat Yam, Haifa, Yafo, and Tiberias?
Lately our leadership has been concerned with the war in Ukraine and a possible influx of refugees from there, Jewish and non-Jewish. It has been concerned with the betrayal of Israel by the Biden Administration, which seems to be prepared to go to almost any length to make a deal with Iran that will provide the evil regime with a Niagara of dollars and a free pass to deploy nuclear weapons. These are not small issues.
But the war between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs has been going on for far longer than the Ukraine war, and started long before the Iranian revolution. Unless there is a massive escalation into what would become WWIII – something that I doubt will happen – the war in Ukraine will be over soon. And either Israel will find a way to deal with Iran in the next year or two, or there won’t be a State of Israel to worry about.
Some will say that more people are killed in road accidents than are victims of terror. Some will say that most Arab citizens of Israel are loyal to the state, that only a minority took part in the 2021 riots, and that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are viewed as corrupt and dictatorial by the residents of the territories. These things are all true. But it is also true that virtually all the Arabs living in Israel and the territories share the view that the Jewish presence between the river and the sea is illegitimate and temporary. And I think that in a situation in which they see the possibility of success in ending the Jewish occupation of the land – all of it – virtually all of them would support the effort to do so.
Today there is no such possibility on the immediate horizon. But in the context of a major war with Iran and her proxies, a war that will treat our home front very harshly – and a war that I believe to be inevitable – the glimmer of possible victory might appear visible to them on the horizon. If that happens it will make the Second Intifada and the May 2021 riots look small, as the “pragmatic” Arabs, including the doctors and professors that we are so proud of as examples of successful coexistence come together in support of the Palestinian national objective: the reversal of the Nakba and the “redemption of all of Palestine.”
The problem of Palestinian Arab terrorism will not go away by itself. The incitement that feeds it, coming from the PLO, Hamas, ISIS, and Iran, is greater today than it ever was. And today it feeds itself, too, via social media.
In 1993, Israel’s leadership, under pressure from outsiders who understood the situation even less well than they did, tried to solve the problem by an attempt at reconciliation and compromise. But they were fooled. They entirely misread the Palestinians, who have never lost sight of their national goals, which definitely do not include living at peace along with a Jewish state. The consequences of that mistake have compounded themselves over the years, and today the threat is greater than ever.
Our 1993 leaders had a plan, and it failed. Very few Israelis still think that a solution can be found via reconciliation and compromise. The rational thing to do in response to failure is to develop a different plan that takes into account the lessons learned. Such a plan would have to recognize the Palestinian narrative and objective that drives terrorism. It would have to comprehend that you can’t reconcile with those who hold onto an overwhelming sense of grievance. It would have to replace the idea of compromise with one of victory.
But today’s leaders have no plan at all.