By Daniel Perez
“Restraint” seems to be the buzzword du jour in the international community right now. Specifically, that Israelis and Palestinians (but especially the Israelis) need to show “restraint” after the savage murder of three Jewish teens – high school kids whose only crime was existing in a part of the Holy Land that, in the eyes of those urging said restraint, ought to be completely free of Jews.
So often do I find myself railing against the hypocrisy of our administration and the moral bankruptcy of the UN that it feels sometimes as if I’m talking to a wall. And last week, I suppose I was. Well, not to a wall, but in front of one. Last week I had the honor of accompanying former Arkansas Governor (and future U.S. president? One can hope!) Mike Huckabee and Dr. Joe Frager, chairman of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim – both men of profound integrity and vision whom I respect greatly. And when I wasn’t sitting in on Knesset sessions or meeting with community leaders in the occupied territory of Yehuda and Shomron (it’s true: most of Judea is under Arab occupation!), I spent much of my time praying at the Kotel HaMa’aravi, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. No matter where I went, the one topic on everyone’s lips was the abduction of our boys, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel [HY”D]. At the Kotel this meant additional tehillim (psalms) and prayers appended to every service, pleading with the Almighty for the boys’ safe and speedy return. Unfortunately, the freedom fighters who bravely attacked a trio of unarmed high school students ensured that the answer to those prayers would turn out to be “no.”
While what happened was an unspeakable tragedy, I’m sorry to say that part of me is, in a certain sense, relieved: relieved that the boys were killed quickly, rather than smuggled across the border into Lebanon or Syria, to be imprisoned and tortured indefinitely, while Israeli officials wail, gnash their teeth and sit on their hands, until the time came to reward the terrorists by freeing hundreds (or thousands) of their unrepentant, bloody-handed compatriots in exchange for our three kids, dead or alive. (To the terrorists’ credit, they understand one thing: A lifeless Israeli body is worth at least as much as a thousand of their lives. I just wish that wasn’t the de facto exchange rate.)
“Restraint,” begs our State Department, on “both sides.” Considering that one of the “sides” in this is a horde of bus-bombing, child-abducting thugs who think “martyrdom” means “dying while committing mass murder,” it’s difficult to imagine what sort of “restraint” is applicable in any conceivable legal or ethical framework. Frankly, I think it would show tremendous restraint on Israel’s part if we don’t wake up tomorrow to find that Gaza and the West Bank have been turned into a couple of smoldering glow-in-the-dark craters! Not that I’m suggesting a course of action – the fallout, both literal and political, make this option an untenable one.
But let’s be serious for a moment. Since the establishment of a Palestinian Unity Government that includes both the (openly terrorist) Hamas and the (terrorist but pretends to be moderate in front of news cameras) Fatah, every attack on Israel – each rocket launch and each citizen murdered – is an act of war. Given that the enemy in this case makes no distinction between combatant and bystander, and launches missiles indiscriminately into population centers (that their aim is lousy does nothing to change the fact that this is an actual war crime – UN Human Rights Commission take note!) makes Israel’s measured response all the more remarkable. We’re talking about an army that drops leaflets, that calls their targets on the phone to let them know they’re about to be bombed. You may recognize this as the worst possible method for launching a surprise attack. But the Israelis, being concerned for some reason with the lives of non-combatants, routinely jeopardize the success of their own military operations in order to minimize civilian casualties. Contrast this with the Hamas/Fatah strategy which frequently employs human shields, and then – if Israel has the chutzpah to defend itself anyway – uses their deaths to great effect as part of their PR/psychological operations against the Jewish state. At the end of the day, as long as somebody dies, Hamas is happy. In fact, I think that may be their slogan.
The people who distributed candies to celebrate the kidnapping/murder of Yifrach, Shaar, and Frenkel were the same ones dancing in the streets as the Twin Towers came down. Perhaps you have seen or read about the “Three Shalits” Campaign, where terrorist sympathizers showed their support for the valiant child abductors with photos of themselves giving a three-fingered gesture of solidarity. The only appropriate response to a three-fingered salute is a
one-fingered salute. And maybe a bullet to the head. Except, would you believe, a lot of the people celebrating the abduction/murder of three teenagers are Arab children? I don’t think I could fathom a more despicable form of child abuse than turning a child into a soulless monster like that. At least when some scumbag parent hits their child (God forbid), the kid still retains their humanity!
Bottom line: If U.S. policymakers were to say anything to the Israelis, it should be short and simple, like this:
Do what you have to do. If you can do it without leaving a Middle East-sized hole in the planet, we’d be much obliged.
PS: Thanks for taking care of Osirak – you really saved our asses.
So yes, I firmly believe this situation calls for restraint. We need to show restraint when it comes to dictating Israel’s defense policy to them. We’re supposed to be watching their back, not stabbing it. And we need to restrain ourselves from providing any further aid to the Palestinian “government.” Governor Huckabee said it best when he explained that “even by the State Department’s liberal standards,” Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization. Our government’s policy, he noted, is not to negotiate with terrorists – so we sure as hell shouldn’t be funding them!
The Israelis have been fighting an uphill battle for decades, and they’ve just suffered a devastating tragedy. The last thing they need is a warning not to “destabilize the situation.” The message that sends is that the situation is apparently stable, so long as it’s only Jews being killed.
If we in the United States consider our great nation a friend of Israel – AKA the lone beacon of democracy, freedom, and human rights in the Middle East-then we’d damned well better start acting like it!
Daniel Perez is a freelance writer and media consultant based in New York City.