Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Disproportionate Restraint

David Isaac

“Disproportionate force” is the accusation invariably hurled at Israel when she does anything beyond lie down in response to Arab attack. In Dec. 2008, for example, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in an effort to reduce Hamas rocket fire coming in from the Gaza Strip – 1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar bombs were hurled at Israel that year alone. Less than a year passed before the UN Human Rights Council Commission on Gaza led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone accused Israel of “a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population.”

But if Israel is guilty of anything it’s of disproportionate restraint.

We see this most recently in the government’s feeble reaction to the Fogel family murders, in which a mother, a father and their three children were stabbed to death. The youngest, a 3-month-old baby girl, had her throat slit to the point of decapitation. It appears that the terrorists, who are still at large, fled to a nearby Arab village.

“They murder. We build,” was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remark to 12-year-old Tamar Fogel, the eldest daughter, who discovered the slaughter after returning home from an evening out with her youth group. The prime minister was referring to the government’s decision, in light of the attack, to approve the building of some 400 new apartments in places like Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Sefer and Gush Etzion.

Notably absent from the list was Itamar, the town where the murders actually took place. Itamar has been the site of many Arab terror attacks – 15 Jews were murdered at the height of the post-Oslo “peace”. It especially behooves Israel’s government to build in Itamar as it bears some guilt for the attack, having failed to provide adequate defense for the community.

According to Arutz Sheva, “the IDF refused to fund essential security equipment around the Itamar fence because the government’s legal department claimed that the fence was illegal…. The army also refused to help fund technological upgrading and installation of advanced capabilities for the surveillance camera … The upgrading would have made it possible, through the use of thermal sensitive devices, to differentiate between an animal touching the fence and someone going over it.”

Those who have followed news of the murders may recall that a guard on the night of the grisly crime was alerted by a fence alarm at the point where the terrorists infiltrated. Inspecting the area, he saw that the fence hadn’t been cut (the terrorists had jumped over), so he assumed an animal had triggered the alarm and did not pursue the incident further.

The ‘they murder, we build’ approach has not gone over well with the residents of Judea and Samaria. “It was an insult, Yesha Council officials said this week,” according to a op-ed. “Linking construction to this murder is simply insulting. It felt like the PM was offering us a deal: Here, you deserve 500 housing units for this murder. And even that figure quickly turned into 400 homes. And then we discovered that some 200 of those are apartments already approved a month ago and earmarked for young haredi couples in Beitar Ilit.”

The Netanyahu government says that it will also pursue the murderers. It may very well catch them. But unless the perpetrators are killed while being taken, they will end up doing time in an Israeli prison, perhaps eventually to be released in return for the bodies of some Israeli soldiers, as happened in the case of Sami Kuntar, who in 1979 shot dead 28-year-old Danny Haran and then killed his 4-year-old daughter, Einat, by smashing her skull with a rifle butt. No one would have believed that such a monster would have been released but he was set free in 2008 to be feted by Lebanon, Syria and Iran. In an interview, he remarked, “God willing, I will get the chance to kill more Israelis.”

Another group of terrorists who will probably enjoy relatively cushy confinement courtesy of the Israeli taxpayer are the Hamas terrorists who carried out an attack in September, killing four residents of Beit Haggai, a Jewish town near Hebron. The Arabs ambushed the four when they stopped their car at an intersection, shot them and then pulled their bodies from the vehicle and shot them again at point-blank range. One of the murdered was a woman nine months pregnant.

Just as with the murders in Itamar, the Israeli authorities share some of the guilt. As Arutz Sheva reported back in September, “The Victims of Arab Terror organization said it had begun initial steps into suing the Government of Israel for ‘having taking away the gun of Yitzchak Imas [one of the four killed at Beit Haggai], which might have been able to save his life and that of the other victims.”

Successive Israeli governments have pursued an upside down policy, failing to defend its citizens, even depriving them of the means to defend themselves, while at the same time releasing terrorists who’ve committed the most heinous crimes. This suicidal approach is reminiscent of the policy pursued by the Jewish Agency during the years of the 1936 Arab Revolt in the Mandate period.

As Shmuel Katz wrote in "Days of Fire" (W.H. Allen, 1968):

After a very brief period of hesitation the Agency decided on a policy called havlaga (self-restraint). This did not mean passivity. The Haganah was active, maintaining a twenty-four-hour protective guard on institutions in the towns, and a constant lookout in the agricultural settlements, and ready at any moment to repel attackers. But havlaga forbade carrying the war back to the attackers. They drove the enemy off (if he attacked in mass) but they did not pursue him; they did not liquidate his bases, nor counterattack. …

Dr. Chaim Weizmann in his memoirs, published twelve years later, wrote: “Violence paid political dividends to the Arabs while Jewish havlaga was expected to be its own reward. It did not even win official recognition."

Even as late as 1947, with a full-scale Arab invasion imminent, the Haganah found it difficult to shed pre-conceived notions. As Katz wrote:

Accidents and bad luck, even inefficiency in execution, are understandable, even inevitable. What was disturbing throughout those weeks was the strangely unreal political aspects of all Haganah activity. They persisted in describing these reprisals as “punitive operations” – an empty phrase which emphasized their failure to recognize the fact that they were waging a war of life and death. But the Jewish Agency’s official policy was still “moderation and non-provocation." …

The Agency’s subservience to the British remained unchanged, although the latter were openly exerting themselves to arm the Arabs and to disarm the Jews. A number of police armories in Arab centers were “taken over” by the Arabs. Again and again British police patrols met Haganah units and demanded the surrender of their arms. Haganah soldiers, acting on standing orders, meekly complied.

Why did the Jewish Agency leadership adopt such a policy? Katz offers that:

They saw their pioneering efforts as the foundation on which Jewish political existence could be built. But with their gaze turned inward, they were not capable of making a realistic assessment of the forces ranged against Zionism. Confronted by a clear-sighted, purposeful antagonist determined to set bounds to Jewish regeneration, they did not even identify the antagonist, let alone pause to recognize his motives.

Moreover these settlers were under the spell of the illusion of British sympathy with Zionism, and persuaded themselves that this interest in Zionism was a moral one. They believed that their social revolution had endeared itself to the British people, and that the virtues they personified (if only they could be sufficiently publicized) would cement British friendship.

It’s unlikely Netanyahu is motivated by similar illusions regarding Obama’s friendship. What Netanyahu shares with the “elite” of the Jewish Agency is the folly of his approach. With murder to the left of him and murder to the right of him, he intends to propose a new peace initiative. This plan will include more concessions to the PA. His motive may be that he wishes to head off, in the words of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a “diplomatic tsunami” whereby the international community will recognize a Palestinian State, but as others in the cabinet say, such an approach is “delusional”.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon points out that even so-called moderates like PA head Mahmud Abbas want Israel wiped off the map. It has been documented ad infinitum how the PA incites violence, indoctrinates children and celebrates the murder of Jews. The PA says one thing in English and another in Arabic. In the case of the Beit Haggai attack, the PA captured the terrorists responsible only to release them a few months later. When Sami Kuntar was released, the PA made him an honorary citizen.

What is remarkable about the PA's reaction to the Fogel family murders is that it condemned them at all. In the end, the PA's official media made up for this uncharacteristic condemnation when in the next breath it held Israel ultimately responsible and suggested, according to MEMRI, “that the attack could have been perpetrated by an Israeli settler.”

The Jewish Agency chose subservience to resistance. Netanyahu does the same. But it was resistance (led by the Irgun and Lehi) that finally drove the British from Palestine. It is resistance – not pre-emptive surrender – that offers Israel its only chance to extricate itself from the hangman's noose.


Moshe Sharon said...

Rod Serling, the writer, director and producer of the popular weekly show called “The Twilight Zone” would appear on camera as the narrator and would say that we all live in a world of imagination and can easily take a wrong turn and step off into the “Twilight Zone.” Little did we know then that Mr. Serling was describing the future post 9/11 world of political correctness. Thus, if he were alive today his narrative would read something like this:
Your are in the Twilight Zone. This is the world of fantasy where terrorists are called “militants” and the war against terror is not a war against the fundamentals of Islam, but a war against a small minority of one hundred million fanatics who “hijacked a peaceful religion”. This is the world of bizarre twists and convoluted turns where murderers and thieves are rewarded with the property of their intended victims and the “road map to peace” requires total surrender to homicidal lunatics.
This is the world beyond reality where atheists pray to themselves in the “Church of Non Belief”. This is the world of imagination in which the officiators of marriages declare, “I now pronounce you husband and husband.” This is the world of denial where threats of genocide are met with open borders and entitlements for all who chose to enter that “unseen” place in the realm of human reflection where right is wrong and left is right. More at

Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles said...

“Israel’s Disproportionate Restraint.”

Israel is guilty of anything it’s of disproportionate restraint.

Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens

The brutal slaughter of a family of 5 in Itamar just shows that we are dealing with a barbaric mentality.

It is a known fact that any country if attacked, its citizens kidnapped, rocket bombardment on a daily basis.
Has the right and obligation to defend its citizens.

It is sad that innocent civilians are hurt, but that is the cost of war and conflict.

Any government and its citizen who do not resist terrorism and let terrorist organization entrench themselves in their country and utilize those countries as bases of armed terrorism against a neighboring country. Eventually pays the price for permitting such actions.

If you gave the Arab population a vote in Israel and the west bank and Jerusalem the option to vote freely and without intimidation, you would find out, that they would rather be living under Israel’s government. They derive more stability more benefits, pensions, welfare, etc.

If the United States or any other government were to be attacked from across the border on a daily basis, have its citizens kidnapped, rockets launched at them on a daily basis, the citizens would demand that immediate military action be initiated with no holds barred, collateral damage or not. That is the fact of life.

Terrorist and those who support them do not know what peace is, they thrive on violence. That is the only way they control the masses. Any negotiations or compromise only strengthen those terrorist organizations. When a poison strikes the human body, the only way to address it, is to remove it and destroy it completely.
There is no such thing as a “disproportioned response to terror.”
Our problem today is “Israel’s Disproportionate Restraint.”
This puts Israel and its citizens in grave danger.
That is the way the terrorist organizations should be treated.

“Like all sovereign nations, Israel has not only a right, but moreover, an obligation, to ensure the safety and security of her citizens”.

As quoted in a statement “the only time of a chance for peace is, when the Arab mother would love her children more than she hates the Israelis.

The big mistake is that people are missing the economic benefits for Israel and its neighbors. That is if there was a true peace, you take the Israeli Technology and know how, add to it the Arab labor and natural resources – and you have an economic prosperity beyond your widest dreams.

YJ Draiman