(January 22, 2018 / JNS) You wouldn’t think that one isolated Israeli counter-terror raid could explode every major myth about Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian Arabs. But last week’s raid in Jenin came pretty close to doing just that.
Overnight Jan. 17, Israeli commandos entered the city of Jenin in search of two particular Arab terrorists. When the operation was over a few hours later, the Israeli forces withdrew.
Wait! The Israelis withdrew? But isn’t Israel “occupying” the Palestinians? That’s what J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace are always telling us. Just this week, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote that Israel is “ruling over millions of Palestinians.”
I guess Rabbi Jacobs hasn’t been to Jenin lately. In fact, I would imagine he hasn’t been there since at least 1995. That was the year Israel withdrew all its forces from the city (and the other areas where 98 percent of Palestinians reside) and a new ruler took over: the Palestinian Authority (PA). Counter-terror raids like the one in Jenin are the only occasions on which Israeli forces enter PA-ruled cities.
Back to the story. The Israeli commandos were searching for the terrorists who carried out last week’s brutal drive-by murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, father of six young children. As the Israelis were searching, The Times of Israel reports, “a violent riot broke out…Palestinians hurled improvised explosive devices, rocks and fired at the forces.”
Wait, what? The Jewish left has been telling us for decades that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are moderate, peace-seeking, and opposed to terrorism. The residents of Jenin should have been delighted that Israeli forces were coming to rid their city of terrorists. In fact, if they’re so moderate, they should have been actively assisting the anti-terror efforts.
Instead, the local residents impeded the hunt for the terrorists, by trying to shoot, stone, and burn the Israeli soldiers to death. Would some J Streeter please explain this? I’m so confused! Can these be Israel’s future peaceful neighbors?
I wonder if Jenin residents’ passionate support for terrorism and hatred of Jews and Israel has anything to do with the anti-Jewish textbooks that are used in PA schools, or the non-stop anti-Jewish incitement in the PA-controlled media and mosques.
Or maybe that’s all just a coincidence. Maybe how Palestinians behave has no connection whatsoever to what they watch, hear and read from their teachers, imams and political leaders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fortunately, the Israeli forces eventually caught up to two of the terrorists. They killed one and captured the other. They were both identified as members of a local Hamas cell.
Wait, that can’t be! The Palestinian leadership promised, in the Oslo Accords, to disband all terrorist groups, seize their weapons and outlaw them. In other words, to put them out of business. How can it be that, 23 years after the PA took over, Hamas still has active terrorist cells in the city?
Surely the PA has the means to do the job. After all, the PA has one of the largest per-capita security forces in the world. Yet the PA never outlawed Hamas. It never arrested its members or seized its weapons. The PA treats Hamas like brothers and allows them to operate freely in Jenin, and everywhere else.
But don’t take my word for it. Look at The New York Times. Every once in a while, the truth about the PA and the terrorists manages to slip into one of its articles. On March 23, 2014, The Times reported that Israeli troops were forced to enter the Jenin refugee camp in pursuit of terrorists because although Jenin is under the “full control” of the PA, “the Palestinian [security forces] did not generally operate in refugee camps.”
Let me repeat what The Times said: The PA’s security forces do not operate in refugee camps. It doesn’t matter what the Oslo Accords say about the PA’s obligation to fight terrorists. It doesn’t matter how many Israelis the terrorists murder. The PA is not going to shut them down. Never has, never will.
One final fact from this week’s Jenin raid. The shots fired—by “moderate” Jenin residents and by terrorists whom the PA lets run free—wounded two of the Israeli soldiers. An Israeli military spokesman said one soldier was injured “seriously” and one was injured “lightly.”
According to IDF terminology, an injury is classified as “serious” if the victim’s life is in danger. A “moderate” injury means the victim could lose a limb. Anything short of losing a limb is categorized as a “light” injury. The victim might have to go through dozens of surgeries. He might have to walk with a severe limp, or he might suffer seizures for years to come. Technically, it’s still a “light” injury.
These two courageous young Israeli men risked their lives to protect their fellow Jews, and their lives may well have been shattered as a result. But you will never hear anything further about it. You will never hear on CNN or read in The New York Times about what these two Israelis suffered, or how their future lives will be affected. That kind of news is not considered fit to print.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.