The second intifada that erupted some 20 years ago was named Operation High Tide-Low Tide by the IDF. This is very apt for the current events that have plagued Israel as of late. Back then, many were in denial that terrorist organizations had grown stronger. They were convinced that targeted strikes would be enough to solve the situation. This flawed paradigm is once again prevalent among a lot of Israelis.
Then, as now, Israelis were being murdered in attacks across Judea and Samaria while the political echelon was wed to some fantasy of a “ceasefire” and calm. Only when the big suicide bombings started did it finally sink in that an offensive was in order. Then, as is now the case, the inescapable conclusion should be the same, and it should dawn on them sooner rather than later.
For those who have been following the overall situation, the fact that improvised explosive devices were used against our troops this week in Jenin was hardly a surprise. The IDF has long been aware of terrorist organizations’ efforts to hurt soldiers using powerful means, and they have used such weapons many times in recent weeks. This time, it turns out, the IED was strong enough to lead to casualties. We have to confront the sad truth: The terrorists have launched another intifada in northern Samaria.
This is not just some theoretical analysis or hyperbole. The reality is that any incursion by Israel into the refugee camps in Jenin and Nablus results in major gun battles and even the use of such explosive devices. At the end of every such operation, the IDF has to deal with damaged vehicles that have come under fire or been targeted by the bombs to the point that they can no longer be properly used.
But despite all this, we continue living the lie that somewhere this new intifada is not really unfolding and there is no clear and present danger. The security barrier has stopped some of the would-be attackers from entering Israel and the Shin Bet has managed to stop terrorists from striking the Israeli heartland. But will our luck never run out? Of course not.
In this paper, we have just recently brought the stories of Israelis who almost got killed in recent attacks while driving the roads of northern Samaria. They miraculously survived. Days after the article was published, another five Israeli survivors joined the statistics, and this week, several IDF troops experienced the same ordeal when their jeep was attacked during the Jenin operation. The question we asked in our story has not changed: What is the number of murdered Israelis that will make the political echelon act by launching a counterterrorism offensive in northern Samaria instead of continuing to put all of us at risk?
Defensive measures can only go so far. Iron Dome deals with projectiles; security barriers help seal borders; armored vehicles help when entering urban centers. But these are Band-Aid solutions that ignore the need for open-heart surgery. We have gotten used to defending ourselves but we are fooling ourselves into thinking that this could somehow solve things. Terrorists only get more sophisticated while we tell ourselves that we have managed to prevent terrorism. IEDs are getting more lethal and bigger, while we are just adding more steel grills to our jeeps.
“If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck—then it’s a duck,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once famously said in a memorable speech. Well, if the IDF thinks an operation is warranted, if senior cabinet officials say so, and if the terrorists prove it, it’s time the quacking stops and an operation begins.
Originally published by Israel Hayom.