Saturday, July 05, 2014

October 2000/Cast Lead All Over Again?

It started with the heinous murders of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas-affiliated terrorists and the equally heinous suspected revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli extremists. Now it seems to be escalating into a combination of the October 2000 Israeli-Arab riots which took place at the beginning of the Second Intifadah and the December 2008-January 2009 Cast Lead Operation in Gaza, Israel's response to Palestinian missile strikes inside Israel.

Let's start with Gaza. Israel has been very restrained, responding to the barrage of rockets on border communities with a proportional response - attacking missile launchers and a bunch of symbolic, yet empty, buildings. Rockets haven't stopped, though. Today, rockets were fired on Be'er-Sheva, 40 kilometers from Gaza, the largest city attacked so far this round. This is undoubtedly an escalation. I believe it would be hypocritical of anyone in the world to criticize Israel for going on a large scale operation (one which I hope will not be necessary, but might be if attacks continue on Sunday) after giving Hamas the opportunity to stop the missiles it and other groups have launched.

Now, to the other front of this round of the conflict. Palestinians have rioted in East Jerusalem and inside the green line, while barely anything has happened in the West Bank. Anger over the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir is understandable, especially in East Jerusalem, where he lived and died. However, violent riots, including the destruction of property and attacking civilians, are beyond the pale. Within Israel, Palestinian citizens of the state have blocked roads, pulled Jews out of their cars and burned the vehicles and laid siege to the village of Mei Ami. This is unacceptable. 

The Palestinians of Israel cannot join their brethren, the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, in their war against the state. This will not be tolerated. The police's harsh response in October 2000 resulted in the fact that the rest of the Second Intifadah did not include Palestinian citizens of Israel. Unfortunately, 14 Palestinian rioters (13 citizens, one non-citizen) were killed, as was one Jewish citizen who was killed by rocks thrown at his car. This time around, better riot dispersal equipment should be used so there will not be civilian casualties (Arab or Jewish) while still quickly crushing this insurrection.