Last Saturday Netanyahu declared: “Israel is waging an all-out war on Palestinian terrorism. This battle must be fought with determination and focus. We are increasing our prevention and punitive measures.
“We all feel outraged, but we have to let the IDF, Shin Bet and police fight terrorism, and no one should take the law into their own hands.”
Bibi’s declaration came after one of the deadliest weeks of attacks by Palestinian terrorists against Jewish Israeli citizens since the second Intifada ended in 2005.
Just last week four Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists:
On Sept. 14, Alexander Levlovitz was killed on the way home from celebrating Rosh Hashanah with his family. The car that he was driving was hit by stones thrown by Palestinian terrorists. Four Palestinians were subsequently arrested.
Eitam and Naama Henkin were gunned down last Thursday in a well-planned ambush while traveling with their four young children on a road in Samaria. Eitam was a US citizen.
On Saturday evening, Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita were stabbed to death, and Banita’s wife and two- year-old son were injured as they walked home from the Western Wall in the Old City. The terrorist, Muhannad Halabi, 19, was killed by security forces at the scene.
Also Saturday, 15-year-old Moshe Malka sustained moderate wounds in another Jerusalem stabbing attack.
In its weekly meeting Monday, the Israeli cabinet decided on new and enhanced steps to stop the current wave of Palestinian violence, including:
- Easing rules of deadly force use against stone throwers (stones, bricks or cinder-blocks being classified as a deadly weapons).
- Tougher punitive action against incitement on social media.
- Minimum prison sentences for stone-throwing and firebombing.
- Imposing hefty fines on the parents of minors involved in violent acts.
- Expediting destruction of perpetrators’ homes.
- Extension of judicially overseen administrative detention for suspects.
- Additional security forces (both police and IDF) in Jerusalem and the West bank
- Limiting Palestinian access to the Old City and Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The catch-22 of these measures is that the Palestinian leadership, and especially Abu Mazen who openly incites and encourages these terrorist acts and then glorifies the young “martyrs” who murder unarmed women, children and babies, will run to the U.N. and world leaders, begging to punish the “Occupying Force” (Israel) for its “barbaric, inhumane and undemocratic treatment of the poor, innocent, occupied Palestinians.
Is this the beginning of the third Intifada? I don’t think so. Despite the fact that Tuesday the stone-throwing spread to Jaffa and Tel-Aviv, it still lacks the mass grass-roots support and quasi-military leadership and organization that the previous ones had.
The good news is that if the current and added government directions are implemented with full determination and commitment, then this “embryonic “uprising will be stopped before it develops further.
The bad news is that Abu Mazen and the various Palestinian “resistance” (terrorism) groups will try to make the optics of each event as bad as possible for Israel. There will, no doubt, be global condemnations, International Criminal Court (ICC) accusations and a strong tail wind to the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement.
Unfortunately with ISIS already established in Gaza and Hamas enlarging its footprint in the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria, there is no way around the negative PR if Bibi and the Israeli government are really determined to finally “wage all-out war on Palestinian terrorism,? and stop the current wave of violence from morphing into a full-scale Intifada.
I hope that at least some of Israel’s friends will understand.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is President and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress,
and a Middle East analyst. Email: email@example.com
Upcoming briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org
DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.