Meir Indor –
Terrorism is the story of the lone sniper from Gaza who shot an Israeli.
A thousand accords with the PA and Hamas can’t stop lone terrorists. Lone terrorists are terrorism: the man who lays a bag of explosives, the woman who dons a suicide belt, the sniper. This is why the answer to terrorism is not political agreements, but the IDF’s complete security control of the area.
With a single bullet, this week’s terrorist deterred farmers from going to tend the fields near the frontier with Gaza. The same dynamic held sway in the area of Korazim and Almagor, on the Syrian border, before the Six-Day War. A bullet. Another bullet. Israel is deterred. The army directs civilians to stay away from the Palestinian-controlled fields.
The releases of terrorists over the past several months, including the most recent installment this week, are a surrender to terrorism. Netanyahu can talk all he likes about successful crisis management, and he can use whatever jargon he wants to borrow from that discipline, but it just so happens that the Palestinians also have studied it (from the other side), and they have no problem keeping up an unending supply of new crises, profiting from each and every one.
Israel, meanwhile, creates only crises that are defensive in nature, such as the recent strike against Hamas targets in response to a terrorist attack on the Gaza perimeter road.
Israel retreated from Gaza because of pressure from terrorist attacks. Israel retreated from Lebanon because of pressure from terrorist attacks. Israel entered the Oslo Accords because of pressure from the First Intifada. Sometimes the terrorist organizations press their advantage by applying more pressure, sometimes they miss the opportunity, but never do they cease to be amazed at Israel’s behavior.
The only Israelis who behave differently are the settlers of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Instead of running from terrorism, they raise Israeli flags over the hills from which shots were fired at them. The settlers may not be soldiers, but they are in fact a counter-terrorism strike force.
Another such force consists of the bereaved families and wounded terror victims who fight publicly against the terrorists. Sometimes they may seem to be fighting a personal war against the terrorists who attacked their loved ones, but the results are indisputably a public matter. Every terrorist whose release they manage to prevent is a victory over terrorism for the State of Israel.
I’ve never told this story publicly before: Not many years ago, I appeared with bereaved members of Almagor in front of the Shamgar Commission. We informed the commission members that the government had made use of our opposition to a terrorist-release deal to push down the price being negotiated with Hamas. That was after the Schalit Task Force’s demonstrations had given Hamas the impression that the entire public was in favor of a deal, and it had raised the price accordingly.
“Maybe,” I said, “one of your recommendations should be that the government fund Almagor.”
Amos Yaron, for his part, took me to a side room after we had given our testimony, took out a check with his and his wife’s name on it, and made a substantial donation to the war effort.
The Feeble Arm of the Law
This week, senior terrorist Samer al-Issawi got to celebrate his victory over the Jewish state’s judiciary and penal system. He was released from jail, even though he was supposed to remain there for many more years.
Samer is a veteran terrorist, previously freed in the Schalit Deal despite having been sentenced to decades of imprisonment. When his release was imminent and bereaved families went to the High Court of Justice to oppose the release of terrorists, the state attorney’s representatives were ready with a response to soothe the judges and petitioners: If Samer and his colleagues return to terrorism, they told the judges, he’ll be brought back to jail to serve the remainder of his sentence in full.
Samer, though, had other plans. He returned to illegal activity. When he was brought back to jail, he commenced a hunger strike. Israeli terrorist aid organizations (the groups themselves use more euphemistic terms) helped him take his case to the public, especially abroad.
As a compromise, the authorities offered to release him, but to Gaza.
The terrorist, though, maintained his ground—and he won.
The Netanyahu administration surrendered, ordered that the terrorist be freed to his home, in the Jerusalem area.
This past weekend, having learned just how tough the State of Israel is, Samer granted an interview to Ohad Hamu of Channel 2 calling for the abduction of more soldiers, because “this is the only way to release all the prisoners.”
Now let’s see whether the authorities put him back in prison for calling for terrorism—a clear breach of the Prevention of Terror Ordinance, and yet again violation of the terms of his release.
Don’t Be Silent
In the face of the government’s surrender, the voice of the public is what matters most right now.
At last week’s Me’oravim (“Engaged”) conference in Eilat, sponsored by Ma’ariv and Makor Rishon, many social issues were raised and discussed. As far as I’m concerned, the public struggle against terrorism is a social and security issue of the first order that should have figured in the list of topics. When a government crumples in the face of sophisticated terrorist organizations, it falls to the public to build a wall against the attackers.
In the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Netanyahu’s political movement: an iron wall against Arab terrorism.
Originally published in Makor Rishon, 27 December 2013
Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg