Published On: Mon, Jun 13th, 2016

Point/Counterpoint: Government’s response to terrorism

ISRAEL PALESTINE IDF checkpoint outside of Beit El (Photo Gil Yohanan)
Noah Klieger argues that the occupation isn’t causing terror – fanatical, irrational hatred of Jews does; Nechama Duek argues that giving the Palestinians a state and ending the West Bank occuation is the only way to stop terror.
Two of our commentators present opposing views on the following question; “Tens of thousands of Palestinians are under a blockade, Israeli forces perform house to house searches , and work permits are being revoked: Do you support the government’s actions following the Sarona Market terrorist attack?”

 

Noah Klieger: Yes; we must respond.

Occupation? No occupation and no despair? Just a blind hatred of “Al Yahud” (“the Jew”). No reason. No logic. Just hatred, and even those who feel it can’t explain why.

On April 15, 1939, at the end of the bloody 1936–1939 Arab revolt, two Jews went to the Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood in Haifa. They had immigrated to Israel from Germany, and they went out for a short walk near the Persian Garden after prayers at the synagogue.

Suddenly, an Arab gang emerged from a side street and opened fire on them. Both of them, as well as others were at the scene, were killed or seriously wounded. One of those killed was Natan Klieger, a father of one son and a young man of 35. He was my uncle. I never met him, as he had lived in Germany and I in France.

That same year, there was no occupation and no despair. Just a desire to kill Jews out of blind and inexplicable hatred. Just like in Be’er Tuvia and Hebron.

Approximately ten years later I was a soldier in the “Shomrei Haleila” (“Night Watchmen”), which were annexed to the Frontier Corps (today the Border Police). The headquarters were in the Tel Mond Police Station (which is today the Tel Mond Prison outside of Netanyah). My shift was from 10pm until 6am.

Night after night, we had to get into fights with gangs that traversed the short distance from the Jordanian cities of Tulkarem, Jenin, and Qalqilya to Tel Mond. The gangs — we first called them “infiltrators, ” and then the “fedayeen” —came to steal and murder in the Israeli towns of Even Yehuda, Tel Mond, Kadima, and Ein Vered.

There wasn’t an occupation then, either.

What are we doing today to stop or minimize the murderous attacks for the sake of murder—not to “end the occupation” or for peace been them and us? Operate at full power. Lieberman has already begun doing so. They aren’t interested in peace at all.

They only want to murder, and for the umpteenth time, I say again that this won’t help them. We are already more than six and half million Jews in one of the most advanced, developed, modern, and best countries in the world.

Of course we have to respond to every murder with a long and complete closure of the location from whence the killers came, complete building the security fence, demolish houses, expel some residents, and revoke work permits. The time for action has come.

 

Nechama Duek: We’re only increasing the hatred

Between the years 2002-2004 a special committee examined the deterrent effect of demolishing terrorists’ homes. The committee, under the directorship of Gen. Udi Sheni, came at the behest of Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. The report which came out about from the committee was unequivocal – collective punishment does not deter (terrorist from carrying out terror attacks) and does not encourage families to stop terror attacks. Another conclusion was that collective punishment increases Palestinian frustration and (incitement to) terror, and builds on the Palestinian ethos.

An intelligence expert told me that closing (the West Bank), raiding houses in the middle of the night, and denying entry permits are not effective. It’s more efficient to monitor social media and phone lines of (terror) suspects and their families. Therefore, the decision to destroy a home, to surround a village, or deny entry permits is only for (Israeli) propaganda purposes in order to show a strong response.

Almost 49 years have passed and since Israel has turned from a tiny country to a large nation. We are in control of the lives of millions of Palestinians. For 49 years it hasn’t been clear where we’re going with this. Where our leadership is taking us. How it intends to get us out of this tangled situation, and stop being in control of the lives of millions of Palestinians.
We give them entry permits into Israel and take down checkpoints, but then a moment later, we demolish their homes, surround the villages, and conduct searches.

Israel must protect itself and fight against terrorists and criminals, but also know what the leadership’s end goal is. Is it to establish a (Jewish) state from the Jordan river to the sea? By doing this they will put it upon themselves to take on the responsibility and bear the consequences of giving rise to a future prime minister of Palestinian descent. If it believes in the two-state solution, the government will stop avoiding it and present a genuine and detailed peace plan. When this happens and the nation feels that there is something to trust, it will support it.

We should also ask ourselves how all of this affects our children. I was recently in San Francisco where I became acquainted with a plethora of talented young Israelis who moved there. The Israeli Consulate General does everything it can to keep in touch with them. However, the worry is there that we will lose them, and that they are no longer willing to be kept in the dark as to the direction that Israel is headed.

By Noah Klieger & Nechama Duek

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