Mr. Netanyahu, take the offensive

We must send our soldiers into terror hotbeds to root them out.

Israeli forces conduct a counterterror operation near Jenin, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
Israeli forces conduct a counterterror operation near Jenin, Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
Ariel Kahana
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.

Mr. Netanyahu, we don’t want any more promises of “hunting down the killers.” We are sick and tired of such statements. We don’t need any lecturing on “the bloody toll that comes with living on this land.” We know this because we live this reality day in and day out. 

Please spare us the thoughts and prayers you express over the hardships of the “hero settlers.” Such comments can’t bring people back from the dead. You can also spare us the exposes and the reenactments and the snuff videos.

We have had enough of all this, which contributes nothing. What’s worse, it can’t stop the next terrorist attack from happening. What we need is action—immediate, forceful and targeted measures. Yes, I am talking about military action, not just ridiculous regional talks in Aqaba or for-show summits in Sharm el-Sheikh. 

Mr. Prime Minister, you ran on a ticket of restoring security and you won a sixth term. This is your government’s task; this is what your ministers were elected to do. Can’t deliver on this pledge to Israelis and to the settlers on the front? Throw in the towel and let more qualified people take the helm. 

Since you took office some six months ago, 28 people have lost their lives to terrorism on your watch. As soon as one shiva ends another one begins. Mourning continues into more mourning. In fact, the fatality figures don’t reflect the true scale of terror: Attacks are perpetrated every few hours. Israelis are wounded every day.

Before Tuesday’s deadly attack near Eli, there was the attack on soldiers in Jenin, wounding five. Our troops are humiliated 24/7 with rocks, paint and Molotov cocktails all across Judea and Samaria. A military that prohibits its soldiers from responding to such humiliation ultimately has to extract them under fire when things go wrong in a military operation, just like the incursion in Jenin turned into a South Lebanon-like inferno this week when IEDs were hurled at the officers. 

Israelis deserve security. They have paid a heavy and bloody toll to know that Arab terrorism won’t stop at the Green Line or the security barrier. A country that won’t go on a counterterrorism offensive in Jenin will ultimately have to face bombs and rockets from Samaria raining on Tel Aviv. By not entering Jenin, we will only turn it into another Hamastan in Samaria, as we learned from the 2005 Gaza pullout. 

An operation is imperative because the current policy has been a proven failure. The escalation has continued for at least 18 months. It began when rock-throwing incidents tripled in Judea and Samaria. Then the number of more sophisticated attacks rose as well, with an ever-increasing geographical area from north to south.

Eli lies at the heart of Judea and Samaria. The gas station where the attack took place Tuesday is just off a major artery that sees heavy traffic daily. In other words, terrorists are no longer scared or deterred. 

A prime minister must be attuned to his best troops on the ground—the settlers. When they cried foul 20 years ago amid the same predicament, demanding that the government “let the IDF win,” they were first ridiculed, only to be embraced later when the horrific attack on Passover Eve in Netanya finally had the penny drop for the political echelon, who concluded that widescale military offensive was in order.

The same reality exists today. Perhaps such action shouldn’t cover all Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria, but what’s certain is that we have to shift gears from defense to offense. Adding more troops to guard the roads is not enough. We must send our soldiers into terror hotbeds to root them out. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu, you and Defense Minister Gallant announced “emergency meetings” right after the attack. Well, that was 24 hours too late: Dead Israelis should not be the criteria for convening special national security sessions—the severity of the situation should. These consultations should have taken place earlier this week when the IDF found itself entangled in a Hezbollah-like booby-trapped mess in the middle of Jenin and came under fire for an entire day from terrorists, which almost prevented the safe extraction of the fighters. Alarm bells should have gone off then. 

Over 140 years of Zionism have taught us that taking the war to the terrorists on their turf is the only way to prevent attacks.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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