By MICHAEL FREUND—
For over two decades, ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel has had to endure one atrocity after another at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. Enough already! We were told that patience was in order, even as our ostensible peace partners sent young men strapped with explosive vests to blow up buses in rush hour and dispatched masked militants to fire rockets at Israeli towns and cities.
Just a few more concessions, it was said, and the Palestinians would forgo violence, finally stop likening Israel to the Nazis and cease calling for attacks in their official media.
Well, I don’t know about you, but my patience ran out a long time ago.
The kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers by Palestinian terrorists last week is a wake-up call to Israeli society.
This bestial act is a painful reminder of a simple yet incontrovertible truth: our struggle with the Palestinians is not a battle over borders, it is a clash of civilizations. It is a contest between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. It will not be solved by signing a piece of paper, holding a joint press conference, or even sharing a couple of beers.
So instead of continuing to pretend otherwise, let’s put an end to this tragedy once and for all. It is time to topple the Palestinian Authority and reassert full Israeli military control over all of Judea and Samaria.
The Palestinians have proven that they do not want peace, are not interested in it and prefer to keep the flames of hatred alive. Just look at how news of the kidnapping was received in the areas currently under its rule.
Throughout the territories, Palestinian men, women and children were photographed handing out sweets to celebrate that three young Israelis had been snatched. There were no voices of condemnation or criticism, no Palestinian marches or protests against such a vile act, and no calls from the Palestinian leadership to refrain from harming innocent Israeli children. It says a lot about Palestinian society that their reaction to the kidnappings was one of delight rather than disgust.
How much longer must we tolerate such barbarism? For the sake of our future, we cannot and must not allow a hostile terrorist entity to continue to take root and grow in Judea and Samaria. If the Fatah-Hamas unity government that now rules in Ramallah is allowed to endure, it will pose a direct threat to the heart of the country.
The very existence of the Palestinian Authority provides terrorists with a safe haven and a launching pad, a place where they can plot, train and perpetrate with virtual impunity.
Complete Israeli military control is simply the surest way to ensure that the Palestinian terrorist threat is contained.
Will there be a price to pay diplomatically? Absolutely. And will it be difficult to implement? For sure.
But if one has to choose between a bad solution and a worse one, then the choice to be made is obvious.
Don’t let the prattle in the media about other matters divert your attention from this, which is the underlying core issue. Indeed, on Sunday morning, one of Israel’s leading radio news shows devoted a large portion of its program to discussing the danger to Jews of hitchhiking in Judea and Samaria. Activists and experts spoke authoritatively about the need to improve public transportation, asserting that increasing its frequency and availability would prevent similar abductions from taking place in the future.
That may be true, but it misses the point entirely.
Let’s get one thing straight: the kidnapping of three Israeli teens is not a transportation problem, it is a terrorism problem.
And the only way to solve it is to tackle the terrorist threat.
Doing so means denying the terrorists the territory from which they continue to attack us. This has been a critical element in the US war on terror, and it should be part of ours as well.
In June 2011, the White House released its “National Strategy for Counterterrorism,” one of the “overarching goals” of which was to “eliminate safe havens.” Noting that terror organizations such as al-Qaida and others “rely on the physical sanctuary of ungoverned or poorly governed territories, where the absence of state control permits terrorists to travel, train, and engage in plotting,” the document stresses that it is important “to constrict the space available to terrorist networks.” And that is precisely what Israel needs to do now.
Instead of allowing the terrorists of Fatah and Hamas free rein in various parts of Judea and Samaria, let’s finally put an end to the experiment that was the Palestinian Authority and dismantle it.
Rather than appeasing the terrorists, it is time to oppose them. Reasserting full Israeli control over the territories may sound like a frightening prospect to some. But at this point, there is no other choice.