Since the locating by Israeli searchers of the three tortured and hastily buried corpses in a mass grave in a field in Hevron, there has been rioting complete with throwing pipe bombs and other items at police and other forms of destructions by many of the Arabs and Palestinians throughout their neighborhoods in Jerusalem as well as all over areas in Judea and Samaria that also spilled onto the Temple Mount forcing the closing of the holy site to all visitors. There have been no calls for quiet or for the rioting and destruction to stop by Mahmoud Abbas or any of the officers of the newly appointed unity government of Hamas and Fatah. Meanwhile, Abbas has been very busy making calls to United States President Obama and Egyptian President Sisi demanding and pleading that they take measures to prevent Israel from taking any action against Hamas in Gaza or against the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria while also claiming that the new unity government had nothing to do with the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli youths even if Hamas ends up being the proven perpetrators. It likely would never ever enter into the mind of Mahmoud Abbas that if he and the others in the leadership of the Palestinians would simply not abduct, torture, murder, or otherwise harm Israelis and actually made efforts to live peaceably next to the Israelis that there would be no need for Abbas to frantically call everybody in his rolodex demanding they come and save him from any possible retribution by Israel.
There will be those who will claim that the death of an Arab youth overnight was the cause of the rioting and the Israelis should have expected such as they should expect such when they take revenge against innocent Arab youths. There are a few problems with this logic. First, the young Arab who was abducted being seen forced into a black vehicle in an Arab neighborhood in the Jerusalem area was not abducted by Jews but instead was victim of criminal elements who were part of a feud which included the youth’s family and had nothing to do with the Israelis, revenge or the events of the past three weeks. It has furthermore been determined that much of the rioting had been planned already and would have occurred with or without any further impetus. Additionally, Hamas has also been making statements threatening Israel over their assumed guilt in the murder of the Arab youth mentioned above and also threatened that they would “open the gates of hell” should Israel take any steps against them for the abduction and murder of the three Israeli youths whom they claim they had nothing to do with their fate. Meanwhile the members of Hamas suspected of the criminal deeds by Israel remain in hiding and are feared to have managed to have escaped from Hevron and are being obscured elsewhere in the West Bank likely by Hamas but possibly Fatah, Islamic Jihad or some other terrorist sympathizers or groups. While the riots played out on one front, Hamas launched at least a dozen rockets and mortars into Israel from out of Gaza yesterday probably in an effort to prove they have no fear of Israeli retributions and simply mocking Israeli leadership.
All of this begs the question of what exactly might Israel be planning? There are those amongst the leadership of the ruling coalition such as Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman who are calling for a no hold barred military strike to completely obliterate Hamas to the point where they would no longer pose any threat in the future to Israel or her people, especially her young people. Then there are the leftist liberals within the coalition such as Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid who are calling for restraint and caution so as not to do anything which might harm the peace process going forward. Surprisingly, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon cautioned that any large scale military actions could easily lead to all-out war and also recommended a more cautioned and reasoned approach. The fact that the Security Cabinet was debating at all was most likely due to the lack of leadership by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu who was very probably seeking out those who would recommend caution and more passive approach such that he could disguise his preference for timidity behind the indecisions and need for further debate in order to get a consensus from the Security Cabinet. Those who claim that Prime Minister Netanyahu is too quickly willing to acquiesce to the demands of the United States, the Europeans, the European Union, the United Nations and virtually any other expressions of concern from virtually anywhere on earth may have a valid argument.
There was and still exists a sense of unity and solid backing for the government to take any action and be supported by the vast majority of the people. Even a fair number who normally call for peace and restraint at any price and oppose military force or other forms of retribution have been moved by the heartache of the families and the near universal feeling of collective loss from the horrific deaths of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frenkel that the only reason there has been a debate by the Security Cabinet is because when convened the Prime Minister asked for suggestions and opinions instead of simply stating what steps he foresaw as necessitated and then gave a full briefing of what he envisioned and then turned the floor over to the commander of the IDF, General Benny Gantz so he could apprise what steps were already in motion and an assessment of the expectations for the duration and exit strategy and expected gains from the coming military actions. The one thing Israelis can be assured of with Prime Minister Netanyahu, nothing will be done until every possible option has been hashed to death and run around the track a few times to see how it looks. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, your middle name must be Caution. By postponing any action all that has been accomplished is for the Israelis to have made a strong case for inaction and against strong actions thus making the defense of their nation and their children something which her enemies can now call into question. The world will never love Israel no matter how many times she refrains from taking vengeful retribution and the world will never fear Israel if she insists on attempting to find the magic formula for their love. Strange as it may seem, the world will only respect Israel should Israel be something they also must fear. Love may never come, but at least if we engender fear in the hearts and minds of those who wouldst do us harm, there will be those who will respect Israel. You will only be respected once you respect yourself and that begins by defending your children and honoring your national pride with actions to back it and to protect your honor and name. Marcus Tullius Cicero may have come well after the writing of the Torah but he still knew a thing or two about men, nations and the struggles in the honor and compassion for both and a good way to end this article is to quote him as he once stated, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Beyond the Cusp