As reservist call-ups are going out every hour, and a Gaza operation is in the air, in response to an endless barrage of missiles from Hamas, I set my pen down to some thoughts, before possibly finding a keyboard and an internet connection luxuries quite out of reach. And so, a few intermixed subjects must be explored within the piece, hopefully the reader will not mind.
Within a day of the kidnappings of the three youths, being announced, I posted the following article. Of course along with all Israel, I prayed and hoped for the safe return of our young boys. At the dawn of their lives, innocent, full of life, students. It was not to be, since they were murdered in cold blood by Hamas thugs. Within the article was correct analysis about Hamas being behind the attack, the likelihood that the boys entered a stolen Israeli vehicle willingly having been tricked, and the importance of the victim’s cell phones in the investigation among other details all before any of this information had been released. This for no other reason than the fact that I know our people, and I know our enemies. Their nature one that the West refuses to understand or come to grips with. More on that.
Given the circumstances known at the time, I feared for the worse, and ended the article with a request for our leaders and our security forces that I was not alone in demanding, to:
Let us, with Gd’s help, swiftly save Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, and bring them home. And if we fail, Gd forbid, let us avenge them. I very much fear, that we will do neither.
More on that shortly, but let us be clear that it is not a kidnapping that required avenging. Conventional wisdom says that the young men were kidnapped, and then murdered. No such thing is the case. For though they were most definitely, unfortunately and most gruesomely murdered, they were never kidnapped. Given the incompetence of the police in responding to the emergency call (which was an embarrassment, and a subject and story in its own right), namely by first deciding that the emergency call was a prank (unfathomable to anyone who hears the released recording of the call), then by ignoring the situation for nearly 5 hours until a concerned parent raised the alarm, and finally failing to alert the army and the Shin Bet for another hour (by now 4 AM, while the emergency call was made at around 10:25 PM) for a grand finale; had they been kidnapped, the Hamas cell had plenty of time to execute their plan. Few places in Israel, Gaza, Jordan or Egypt would have been out of range in that many hours of undisturbed travel.
Israel would have found itself negotiating with Hamas for the boys, alive or dead, as has happened all too often before. Instead the two cowardly punks, Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu-Eisha, 33, found themselves outnumbered by suddenly having 3 people in the car rather than the one they originally attempted to kidnap (it is a common phenomenon in the Gush Etzion area to stop for one hitchhiker and be “swarmed” by others who need a ride, since the government prevents appropriate levels of public transportation in the area for political reasons (ie appeasement)), and their plan unraveled from there.
We do not yet know the details, but after the young Jews noticed that “something was off”, there seemed to have been a struggle, the emergency call to which the police dialed the caller back over a dozen times (which is highly stupid in case the call had been made secretly!) and then subsequently promptly ignored, and the two would-be kidnappers panicking and shooting all 3 youngsters in the back of the stolen Israeli vehicle. Reportedly, the recording includes the two Arabs reporting the murders to some higher up, and singing in celebration.
This was an attempted kidnapping, but not a kidnapping. The three youths, to their credit and courage, when faced with the reality of their situation, decided against going quietly into the night. I don’t how many grown men would do the same, say nothing of teenagers (two of the boys were only 16, one 19).
Be it because ideologically they would not fall alive into the hands of our butchering enemy, in the knowledge of the cost to the nation (usually thousands of released prisoners who in turn become free to murder and kidnap again), a sense of honor and courage absent most people most of the time, or any other inherent nobility that these young lads carried within them, they were not kidnapped. They were duped into an enemy vehicle posing as friendly, and when they realized this, though young and unarmed, they fought for their lives, and the Qawasmeh’s clan’s own Marwan and his boyfriend Amer, were able to take the young students nowhere on this earth. Soon, Gd willing, the IDF will ensure that they are found nowhere on it as well.
The Qawasmeh clan is one of the important and deeply rooted clans in Hebron, with over 10,000 members and leading the Hamas faction present in Hebron. It has a long history of murder, kidnapping and terror. Marwan is a member of this Hamas family, and Amer is apparently some sort of side-kick.
Unfortunately not surprisingly, more than three weeks after the murders found Israel having done amazingly little. The effort to find and/or rescue the young boys was large indeed, with many troops covering large parts of Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank). In order to pressure the group, some key Hamas offices were seized, some weapons, tunnels and the like found, and some of the few and unimportant Hamas leaders who are in the West Bank (as opposed to Gaza, Syria, Qatar or elsewhere in the Arab world) were arrested.
The PNA (or PA), along with Fatah and other “leftist” groups outside of Hamas were hardly touched. Abu Mazen, leading the PA unity government with Hamas, remains unscathed in his large offices minutes drive from Jerusalem in Ramallah. This despite the Fatah’s own Al-Aqsa brigades was one of the groups to claim responsibility early on, and most importantly despite the fact the Fatah’s and the PNA’s current leader, Mahmoud Abbas (aka his “nome de guerre” Abu Mazen), is already guilty of a lifetime of crimes and terrorism not least of which is the Munich Olympics massacre.
For weeks after the attacks, Israel’s response was so shameful, I could not bring myself to report on it.
In this piece (about popcorn regulation of all things), I described specifically how it is that Israel’s administrations are paralyzed in the face of existential threats and enemies such as this:
These administrations are paralyzed in terms of a long term plan, or a comprehensive strategy that a country like Israel must have visa vi, the enemy states that surround it and other existential threats it faces. What normally exists is no more than a feuding cabinet barely held together by a Prime Minister constantly worried about his job, that rules “tit for tat” rather than strategically; the cabinet (rather publicly) meets after every development, be it a terrorist act, peace initiative or international pressure campaign to decide on Israel’s very next step, after which they must meet and vote again for any subsequent step. Often immediately after these meetings, the decision made is criticized by some cabinet members who presumably opposed it and were outvoted.
It would have been much happier to not have been so accurate in this case, as the scandal and publicity that followed each cabinet meeting that was supposed to decide Israel’s response went in exactly the above described lines. One minister badmouthing the other, no majority being able to decide on any decisive course of action.
Literally, and without exaggeration, the Israeli response was officially, as the headlines read: “mulling expelling Hamas leaders in the West Bank to Gaza”.
The entire thing was absurd if not comically tragic. Firstly, the headline should alert any reader to the amazing fact that Hamas offices and leaders exist openly in the West Bank, territory largely controlled by Israel. Being so that they exist, openly and in full knowledge of Israel, who claims (along with much of the Western world) that Hamas is murderous terrorist organization (that is banned by Israeli law), one would wonder why they then would not have arrested those leaders and close their offices long ago…. Kidnappings or no kidnappings.
Certainly it would be absurd if the US declared that it would move Al-Qeada offices from Arizona to Montana so that they will be less comfortable in the winter months.
But now having there been these latest murders (not to mention the endless onslaught or rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza) into much of southern Israel, why would Israel still threaten to move those offices and leaders instead of arresting them even now as part of Netanyahu’s promised “harsh response”?
And finally, as if all this was not absurd enough, do not fall into the trick that the headline was meant to achieve… here we are talking about how pansy (or how harsh as others may see it) moving the Hamas offices from one Arab town to another would be… as if it happened! Israel’s response was not to actually do this incredibly meaningless and absurd gesture, but to merely say it was considering it! A detail that makes it go from absurdly pathetic to intolerably humiliating.
And one may wonder why my article ended with “…I very much fear, that we will do neither [save them nor avenge them].”
Had Hamas stopped there for a while, this would have been the sum of Israel’s response. Another step in our endless loss of deterrence, dignity and national virility. Hamas however, drunk as usual with its success overstepped with its daily shelling of Israel. As of writing of this article, missiles from Gaza have flown over Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Ashdod and much of southern and central Israel. The frequency and volume of the volleys has increased dramatically in the recent days.
The leftist core that controls much of the political power in Israel largely lives in Tel-Aviv and its surroundings, happy to remain oblivious about what happens outside of the city despite the tiny size of the Jewish state. This is why terrorist suicide bombers know to try to target Tel-Aviv buses and cafes. If you want to terrorize Israel, you have to terrorize the quick-to-terrorize Tel-Aviv population. I described this phenomena much more articulate the last time this happened here.
The rockets over Tel-Aviv having been reported (your humble author having heard the sirens and explosions of those landing in the Jerusalem area), there is little doubt that Israel will now (or is now) execute(ing) a military operation in the Gaza strip. Of what intensity, duration on purpose is yet to be seen.
And here is where the danger and opportunity lies. Netanyahu, not being of course (nowhere near) as incompetent as our last Prime Minister, the corrupt and useless Ehud Olmert, has so far refrained from such a ground operation in Gaza. About two years back, he called one such operation off in an previous hail of rockets from Gaza at the last moment. It is easy to follow the popular cries to strike at Gaza (as Olmert did twice), but then difficult to achieve any tangible goal, not to mention not come out politically destroyed, as the population notices the lack of direction objective, along with the all too unavoidable casualties.
Even to my surprise, I treated these subjects rather thoroughly (and well if I be permitted), in my 2012 article The “Danger” of Peace. Its words ring as true today as they did then, though they are easier to see today, and it remains I believe a correct roadmap that needs to be considered before any operation in Gaza for anyone interested. Not having heeded the advice, nor done much of anything other than sign a truce with Hamas, Netanyahu suffered greatly politically in the subsequent election, where he had hoped to finally establish a strong ruling right-leaning coalition. Instead, he barely held on. However, here, I will jump ahead to the opportunity also mentioned and ignored then.
But first a word about some of the ethics that have confused some of my compatriots. (skip to the Opportunity if long ethics is not for you).
Ethics and Accusations
Immediately after the Gush Etzion murders of the three young men, the self-immolating, appeasing and excusing voices could be heard loud and unashamed from various corners of the Israeli public.
The kids had it coming of course, they were hitchhiking….and in the West Bank! Some were even angry at the financial costs being expended by the security forces trying to rescue the young boys. Alas! Government spending spree supporters and socialists concerned about taxpayer money being used by the army and to protect the state’s citizens. Though I am being unfair, the sarcasm is unnecessary, as their concern was perfectly consistent with the left’s general view, that taxpayer money should not normally be spent in ways other than giving it over to people who did not earn it.
It is sad that these points even have to be addressed. Nominally, we can pretend for the sake of argument, that indeed living in the West Bank as a Jew is dangerous; let’s say more dangerous than living in Tel-Aviv.
The people who live there (among the Jewish population) tend to be patriotic or otherwise ideologically motivated. The so-called West Bank is nothing more than Judea and Samaria, the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people (as opposed to Tel-Aviv). It is a sad state of affairs that we have allowed the accepted notion to be that a Jewish person, merely by living within Judea of all places, is a bad person to put it mildly, and a violator of Muslim inalienable rights.
Though in today’s “enlightened” world, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and anyone else can live wherever they want (ie it would be unacceptable for New York, London, Chicago, Toronto or anywhere else in the Western world to say members of any one of those groups could not live in the city by virtue of their religion), the same Western world (including Israel ironically) accepts at face value that Jews should not be allowed to live in Judea merely because they are Jews.
The Muslim tells us that the presence of Jews there offends him and he will not tolerate it, fine… that is not surprising, but that we agree with him is. The muslim in New York cannot call his Jewish neighbor a “settler” and have the city evict him just because he is a Jew, much like the Jew could not do the same in reverse either. Likewise, Arabs can live freely in any city within Israel, without being bothered at all.
So Jews in Judea, mostly but not exclusively religious Jews, do live in, farm, work and travel throughout the land. Their Arab neighbors in complete safety from them (for example, an Arab would not think anything of hitchhiking in a Jewish owned vehicle, while the reverse is virtually never done intentionally). Arab children walk the roads of Judea to school and back in perfect safety. Jewish life in the West Bank is very different. Towns and villages are armed and barricaded; barbed wire, high tech night vision and thermal cameras, constant armed patrols and the like. The Jewish population itself is highly armed (unfortunately none of the three victims in this case were). Why? Because the Arabs of the West Bank, like Arabs in many places, tend to kill people on site when possible merely for being Jewish (and sometimes Christian… or say shia or Alawite instead of Sunni etc).
This Jewish “settler” population in the writer’s humble opinion constitutes on average, Israel’s best population… they tend to be cultured, educated, well mannered (unlike the more urban Israelis who in comparison to Western societies can come off rather rude), family oriented people who work hard, pay their taxes, serve in the best units in the army during their service (in a day and age where more and more Israelis are avoiding this duty), and so on and so forth.
Of course, they, at least in theory, live in areas that are more dangerous than those Jews living in Haifa or Tel-Aviv; they readily accept this danger and basically “man the wall” in order to protect their fellow citizens behind them. They don’t ask for a medal of honor, but not blaming them for it would be a nice start.
Those Israelis who live in Tel-Aviv and similar areas should not be fooled into thinking they live in safe conflict free areas. The only reason this appears so is because the “settlers” along with the army is holding back the enemy at the gates. Of course the conflict is at the front, hence its very name. But that doesn’t mean that no one wants to attack the “rear”… just withdraw or dissolve your front to test the theory. The entire IDF and the entire settler population guards Tel-Aviv day in and day out. If it is safe, it is only because the front has done its job and taken the blows. When it fails, suicide bombers explode in Tel-Aviv buses and cafes. If Israel withdraws this front back to the gates of Tel-Aviv, her citizens would soon realize that their presence there is not as controversy-free and safe as they may have imagined.
Now all of this is in any event irrelevant to youngsters who live where they do because that is where they were born and raised. To blame kids of this absurdity is a double insult on decency and logic. And furthermore, all of this is “nominally” true, and not really true. In reality, it is a far less dangerous thing to have lived in the West Bank and hitchhike frequently than it is to have lived in Tel-Aviv or in Jerusalem and take public transportation (in terms of terrorism, not car accidents) in the last say 15 years. Or even simply sit in cafes. How many buses have blown up? How many cafes, restaurants and clubs have blown up? How many hundreds and hundreds killed in these? And how many cases do we know of Jews hitchhiking in Judea being killed?
So by this logic anyone blaming the victims for doing something dangerous should likewise, or rather more so, condemn anyone in Israel who takes buses, or sits in cafes. And this is only taking terrorism into account, obviously it is much more dangerous statistically to merely drive a car, so anyone driving a car I suppose deserves to die. So statistically speaking, hitchhiking in Jewish owned cars, in the West Bank is quite safe, and seemed especially so before this incident a few weeks back. The government’s policies do not allow for a proper amount of public transportation in the area so it is quite common for youngsters and others (in a country where not everyone has a car as is the case in the US) to hitchhike with other members of the community.
The phenomena has a social or ideological edge to it as well. The Jews of Judea are a close community, not materialistic and self involved, and they love to help each other in many ways including giving each other rides. For an outsider in today’s world, this may seem strange without having seen it first hand. And beyond that… yes there is perhaps an underlying message in it… “we travel this land, we hitchhike, we help each other, we are in our biblical homeland and we are not afraid, we will not be driven off nor terrified by murderers”. Nothing wrong with that, there is something wrong with the murderers.
So yes, the Jews in the West Bank are brave people with principles and ideals; they are willing to bear the risk that murderers are in their midst… and they don’t ask for anything in return, they simply wish to live in their land; but this does not mean that if killed, anyone other than their murderers are to blame.
Blaming victims is something rightly not accepted in today’s “enlightened” world.. be it a woman who is raped or the Americans working in the World Trade center in 9/11, financial symbol to America’s might and “imperialism” hated by many in the Arab world. It is straightforward, a murderer is responsible for a murder, and not his victim. True, the Jews in Judea could give up in fear and move to Canada, then perhaps the Israeli left will no longer blame them (until someone starts killing them in Canada), but their refusal to do so does not justify people killing them, and it certainly does not exempt our IDF from protecting them; the soldiers of the IDF are happy and proud to protect all of Israel’s citizens, that is it’s job, and if the leftists ever served in the IDF, they may have known that.
Finally, this leaves us with the murder of the young Arab boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The teenager was killed July 2nd, a day after the three Jewish teens were buried. Israeli and world media immediately went crazy over the story, and blew the wind out of any possible Israeli retaliation against Hamas, as endless comparisons were aired between the two situations, implying a moral equivalence in the two crimes in terms of Israeli and Arab responsibility.
The incident left the most ardent and Zionist Jews in shock and second guessing themselves, since as a people we detest such acts. A clarification is in order.
Firstly, unequivocally and categorically, let me say that this murder was evil, disgusting, cowardly, soulless, and most un-Jewish. Khdeir’s family has my condolences along with all of Israel’s. And they have our assurance that the culprits will be caught and punished accordingly. And if Israel’s lack of capital punishment is an issue, they have my vote as well, as far as I’m concerned, Jewish, Muslim or Apache, they can stone to death whoever it is that could kidnap a young boy and burn him alive.
And here is the difference. First of all, if this indeed was perpetrated by Jews, it would be a virtually unheard of rarity. But if this is the case, this is not an action supported, initiated, or even incited by Israel or Jews as a whole; quite the opposite it is universally condemned by the Israeli and Jewish world. From the most leftist party to the most right-wing, all Jewish political parties were shocked and saddened by this attack.
Therefore, the reason no “retaliation” against Israel is warranted by this crime, is because there is no collective responsibility. On the contrary, it is Jewish Israeli detectives and police who have found the culprits and apprehended them. On the other hand, Marwan and Amer are still hiding out in PA territory, being praised by heroes by Hamas and Fatah as well as the general population and certainly not being arrested by any palestinian force.
There are bad people unfortunately everywhere, murderers strike in the streets of the US every day, as they do in Europe and elsewhere throughout the world. But the US does not sanction murder, if any American commits this horrible crime, America can be expected to find him and punish him. The situation is identical in this respect with Israel. The Arabs will find no argument here… no one in our nation thinks its ok to seize a young innocent teenager and kill him. They will find us their friend in apprehending anyone who does so.
If likewise, the punks Amer and Marwan were simply two bad Arabs, just like there are bad people in any population, the only necessary “retaliation” would be no more than to look for them and arrest them (which has yet to be done, due to Arab security forces aiding them in their escape and hiding). If Arabs across the world were outraged at the killings of three innocent Jewish kids, we would be in a different situation all together.
But instead, these two killers were Hamas operatives, trained, sponsored and ordered to cause this mayhem. The Arab world rejoiced in their actions. Hamas praised them as heroes. Their countrymen have thus far helped them avoid capture. Instead of cooperating with the investigation and capturing such killers, Hamas has spent the entire time since the attacks sending hundreds of missiles to Israeli citizens in order to kill civilians.
These cases are not comparable in the slightest. We have organized groups representing an enemy people that want to defeat us and worse. Khdeir on the other hand, was the unfortunate victim of cowardly thugs, who deserve all manner of punishment, and stand completely outside any Jewish values, group or state.
Vengeance is a word loaded with connotation and drama.. but what we mean by it is Justice. Justice always has a certain degree of vengeance… the biblical eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth. People should be held responsible for their actions. All modern law is based on this principle. Of course you can be punished for something you did, and this is a form of “vengeance”. The point is that you should not be punished for what others did. The three Jewish teenagers murdered in June and the other thousands that Hamas has targeted throughout the years had done nothing wrong, they were targeted because they were Jewish. As I write, they continue to lob their missiles to Jewish cities hoping to kill as many innocent people as possible. Justice demands that we strike Hamas back.
Finally on this issue, it is important to clear up the labels being misused and thrown around. The Israeli punks that murdered the young Arab boy are being labeled worldwide as “ultra right wing”, and “settlers”. In the same way that Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Worker’s party is called right wing. Basically, if you are a mean person who kills people, we will call you right wing (unless you are Stalin, it’s too much to call a commi dictator right wing even though he killed everyone, but they would if they could). I reject this. A detail perhaps, but one I cannot let stand.
There is nothing “utlra right wing” about these punks. Do they believe in the free market? In less government control and lowering taxes? These people and their families tend to vote for the Mizrachi (oriental/middle eastern) party “shas” and if not, then as far “right” as Likud which is a center right party. They tend to be quite socialist in their beliefs and far from anything close to ultra right wing. In reality, they are typically known in Israel as “arsim”, the Arabic word for “pimp”. Everyone knows them in Israel as the bottom of the barrel of Israeli society, and the connotation is something akin to “greasers” in the 50’s and 60’s (but way less cool) America or Jersey shore types today.
They wear tacky gold, unbuttoned shirts, gel in their hair, and go around doing nothing. They typically do not serve in any combat unit in the army if they serve at all, tend to live off the state, etc etc. Ethnically, they are sefaradi and mizrachi Jews, whose parents and grandparents came to Israel from Arab countries (perhaps it is there that they learned that you can burn another kid alive).
Personal stories are not typically part of any article here, but in this case an exception must be made for the point. As anyone acquainted with the Lighthouse knows, its humble author is truly “right wing”. Just a few short weeks ago, I was forced into a fist fight with a group of such “arsim” in downtown Jerusalem. A group of about 10 of them were beating an Arab taxi driver. I came to his aid, quickly being surrounded by these punks who quickly took up broken bottles, chairs and anything they could find to fight me as they disliked the odds of 10 on 1 (worry not, your humble author and Lighthouse Keeper availed himself well, and together with an American gentleman who aided, saved the driver from further punishment, though I walked away with a bump on the head from a partially blocked wooden chair blow).
As for the settler label, these type of people (the “arsim”) in Israel are always very urban. They tend to live in rundown areas of the larger cities. The suspects in this case are from the Jerusalem area. They are not “settlers” in any sense. Settlers tend to actually be very right wing, quite observant, and mostly Ashkenazi Jews. You will not find them burning anyone alive. The media may be able to claim some of them are technically settlers since half of Jerusalem is over the “Green line” (the 1967 border), but this is misleading. These are simply urban Jerusalemites, and not the settlers which connote people living in the Jewish small towns throughout Judea and Samaria.
These are not right wingers, these are not religious Jews, these are mere scum. They represent observant Jews as much as Jersey shore characters represent Christian values (since they always wear crosses). And the values (or lack thereof) that allow them to beat the weak en masse, hit women and much worse, are those they have retained from the worse aspects in our own Arab enemies, and not values existing neither in Judaism nor in the Western character that Judaism is part of. Most sefaradi Jews of course, reject them as much as any other, and they represent nothing but the unfortunate decay of society plaguing the western world.
As was mentioned above, and in the previous articles quoted, Israel’s issue with Gaza is not knowing what endgame to play for. When Israel held Gaza, it was “occupying” it. When it withdrew from it, it was still occupying it because there were adjacent Jewish areas in the now destroyed “Gush Katif”. When it evacuated Gush Katif and forcefully removed 10,000 Jews (mostly families) from gush Katif, enlarging Arab Gaza, it then was “siegeing” it.
And if it enters Gaza militarily, it is difficult to imagine it will stay. The act of invading and retreating, though of course is somewhat painful to Hamas, leaves Israel looking like it achieved nothing, and at the great cost of soldiers’ lives. Hamas laughs last, ready to regroup and start launching missiles yet again. Or worse, Fatah takes over after the fact, making us look like Abu Mazen’s foot soldiers conquering Gaza for him.
But in this case, the political objectives is so clear! Netanyahu must heed this advice… and lead Israel into one of the rare victories it has had in decades.
Re-establish Gush Katif!!
In 2005 when Israel threw out the 10,000 Jews of Gush Katif, under the pretext that “we cannot rule over 1 million Arabs”, I felt like the world was high. The excuse of not ruling over 1 million Arabs had been used over a decade before by the left in order to get Israel to withdraw from Gaza proper. In the early 90’s, no one imagined leaving Gush Katif, there was exactly 0 Arabs living there, thus no one being “occupied” why would Israel have to leave a completely Jewish area (quite a rarity in Israel as most cities and areas have large Arab populations).
In 2005, the same old argument was being heard again, “we cannot rule over 1 million Arabs” to excuse our dismantling of Gush Katif (The shameful “Disengagement”). Gaza had been completely independent for over a decade, with its Hamas and Fatah and corrupt armed police.. and bad economy and everything else it brought upon itself, there hadn’t been a single “settler” or Israeli soldier in Gaza since the early 90s. And Gush Katif had no Arabs living in it at all.
But the left won again, and based on this faulty logic in 2005 we removed Gush Katif from existence. Basically this just meant increasing Arab Gaza’s size, as they pushed forward into lands where they had never lived before as the IDF withdrew. We were told it was a necessary sacrifice for peace. Gaza had no more excuse, it was completely “Jew free” and even its border with Egypt was handed over (the Philadelphia corridor – which meant they could arm and militarize).
It only took a few days for the first Kassam rockets to hit further north than ever before (since Gaza has enlarged its borders) in the Israeli city of Ashkelon (even the Danish Carlsberg beer factory was hit). Since that day, nothing but terror, missiles and death have come out of Gaza towards Israel. And since Israel merely guards its borders, and does not generally let the Gazan population into Israel (supposedly the entire point of a two state solution is this separation), save for medical emergencies, special permits, etc, Israel is accused of “sieging” Gaza. Though Israel does not let in Gazans any less than Germany, Egypt, the US, Canada or any other country does. People need appropriate Visas or passports to travel or immigrate. This shows more than anything the lie that is territorial withdrawal for peace. We would be accused of laying siege to the West Bank, as much as we are accused of occupying it now, if we withdrew from it; leaving Israel a 7 km wide strip of land with a new larger Gaza (the West Bank) at it’s throat. Rockets and mortars hailing down everywhere from Ben Gurion Airport to northern Tel-Aviv’s upscale neighborhoods.
In any event, the Gush Katif Disengagement was touted as “unilateral”. This meaning that lacking any peace partners with whom to negotiate with, Israel simple withdrew. No treaty gave any new lands to the PA, nor to Hamas. Israel simply physically went backwards, and thus naturally, the Arabs went forwards and took these new lands. If Israel withdrew all the way back to Tel-Aviv, likewise would the Arabs push forwards until we were all in the sea.
The pain of the IDF, the only Jewish army in the world, sending its boys to remove Jewish families from Gush Katif is hard to describe. It is hard to describe the betrayal the settlers felt… a people whom no Arab army could dislodge from its land… a people wiling to fight and die for their homes; except not against their brothers. And it was their brothers who came to kick them out in order to hand their homes over to their enemies.
For peace we were all told it had to be done. And the the goodwill gesture to the Arabs could not have been any bigger. Rather than appreciating it and reciprocating in kind.. they (correctly) felt Israel is on the defensive.. on the run… it has no answer to our constant terror… that they must merely press on and one day win.
I was sadly amused by the fact that the Israeli media chided the “palestinians” for thinking that out withdrawal from Gush Katif was a “victory”. Didn’t the Arabs know that they did not throw the IDF out of Gaza, nor Gush Katif, but rather that we “chose” to leave? The media mocked the Arabs for being that primitive in thinking that it was a victory in the sense of a military victory.
In fact, the only primitive fools were the Jews. Of course it was a victory, and the Arabs did not think that they physically threw out the IDF in a pitched battle or anything of the sort, they understood that their perseverance, a missile here, a suicide bomber there… on and on had succeeded and broken the will of Israel who was now withdrawing. They were unfortunately right, and it indeed was a victory for them, as it was a shameful defeat for us.
In any event, a gesture for peace of gigantic proportions was made… and in return we have had a decade of death and terror, just like we had another decade of terror before that after withdrawing from Gaza proper. Each withdrawal brings more terror. Benjamin Netanyahu, can make a very simple consequence a reality here….
He has the chance to state to our enemies and the world that if in the past, the reward for murdering Jews, for bombings, for kidnappings, for missile barrages, was released terrorists, money, political recognition, weapons and land; the price has changed. Now, there is a price to murdering Israelis, instead of rewards. There are consequences for attacking Israel. And what better choice than to re-establish Gush Katif. Land where the Gazan arabs never lived in, but were given to them (without treaty) in good faith anyways.
Let us go into gaza proper, destroy the Hamas infrastructure, and then withdraw… but not all the way back, but rather back to the 2005 lines… and re-establish our beloved Gush Katif, with its rolling sand dunes, its nature reserves and high tech greenhouse agriculture, some of whose families are still living in trailer parks after the expulsion, a patriotic people we repaid with abuse and neglect.
Bibi, re-establish Gush Katif, with every reason and legitimacy, both domestic and international, and with one bold stroke re-establish Israeli deterrence. Let us say to them, now let’s see you murder more of our young boys! It’s not released killers anymore, now it’s land that we take.
You stand to gain immeasurable popularity within Israel, and the respect of the world at large… show there are consequences, erase the blot of shame that was our expulsions of our fellow Jews from their homes because they were Jews… our humiliation on our knees; they (the Arabs) could have kept it, if they but only wanted peace for a moment, but they didn’t and now we can redeem ourselves.
If Israel does not know to make even the slightest and more legitimate of consequences a reality for acting towards its destruction, if it cannot put a price on the head of its citizens, a simple concept every nation that exists makes a fact, then our enemies are already right and we do not have the right to exist. If we refuse to exist, by using the very strength and morality Gd gave us, we have no business in this sacred and coveted land.
Bibi, order us into Gaza, order us to punish our enemy, and then withdraw us back to our 2005 line… your humble writer awaits your orders, whatever they may be, it’s not 1973 across the Suez… not even 1967 in all of Gaza and Sinai,… but just one simple mere step forward… back to 2005, to let our enemies know, that like Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, we will not go quietly into the night.