Once again the news is filled with denunciations, demands, pleas and outright indignations all demanding Israel release or commit to actions which will alleviate the reasons, conditions and complaints in order to mollify and end the hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. It is not a new set of circumstance as this exact scenario has been played out before much to the delight and satisfaction of those who constantly call for Israeli surrender no matter the reason, situation or possible deleterious results which will be caused. The last time there were hunger-striking terrorist prisoners, we add the modifier terrorist in order to clarify exactly the kind of people and the reason for their detention as such is important, the world, or at least the Europeans and their cohorts from the left, made a set of demands with attached admonitions which revealed their duplicity. Now that the precedent and full consequences for particular actions have been established, this time around only the bald demand need be voiced as the rest of the limitations are understood. But what are the demands and the options the Israelis may utilize in addressing this situation?
The initial picture is a select number of Palestinians held due to their ties to terrorist activities. Some are under what is known as Administrative Detention, a charge left from the British Mandate legal system where those responsible for planning, arming, or other direct means of assisting terrorist activities were placed in custody for the increased safety of the peoples as a whole. Such incarcerations usually have an upper limit to the length of time such a prisoner may be held though there is no limit as to how many times they may be held or the frequency. Neither of these latter conditions applies to those currently involved in the hunger strikes and many of the strikers are imprisoned for actual terror acts. The one part of this entire affair which will never likely be explained are the limitations placed on the country or other administrative body under whose jurisdiction the hunger-striking prisoners are held. They are required to have a neutral physician determine the rationality and sanity of the prisoner and if they are found to be of sound mind, then they must be advised that their actions are harmful to their general health and could, if carried to its logical end, result in death. This is the limit in which the government may intercede concerning the hunger-striking prisoner. If the prisoner should expire as a result of their refusal of nourishment the state is not seen as being responsible. Should the state intervene and force-feed the hunger-striking prisoner, the act is viewed as a denial of the prisoners’ rights and such actions may lead to sanctioning the state. In a nut shell, Israel is left powerless to act in any manner to provide sustenance as long as the prisoner is deemed rational. So, if Israel were to force-feed any of the hunger-strikers, they would very likely find themselves charged with crimes against humanity as they would have denied the prisoner their human rights. If Israel followed international law and allowed the hunger-striker to starve and die, the firestorm that would follow would be beyond any such outrage ever before seen. That leaves Israel with only one option, to capitulate to the demands of the hunger-striking terrorist prisoners and release them to resume their organizing, assisting and implementing terror attacks against Israeli civilians. This is the unspoken desired result those protesting Israeli lack of actions in preventing the adverse effects of starvation from inflicting the hunger-strikers.
The real problem Israel is currently facing is a direct result of their former actions. Many, ourselves included, advised not to give in to an early release or any other demand made by the initial hunger-striking terror prisoners. This is not to say that Israel should have allowed the prisoners to starve themselves to death. There is a technicality which can be applied to make a kind of end-run around the noninterference clause within the applicable international law. The law states that if a prisoner should be determined to be in an impaired state of mind and possibly not fully cognizant of the imminent danger their actions are causing, then the prisoner may be hospitalized and fed. The only qualifying requirement is the documentation of their limited capacity by two neutral physicians. It is highly doubtful that two such physicians could be procured to make such a determination and thus allow Israel to address the threats of prisoners starving themselves to death while not surrendering to the demands for release or any other demands. No doubt Israel would probably be called to account for their actions for feeding terrorist prisoners against their declared intentions and will to starve themselves to death in order to bring condemnations upon Israel. It is not too late for Israel to implement this method for addressing such protestations in a way which will blunt the indignations from the world’s busybodies while also rendering hunger-strikes as an ineffective ploy robbed of its impact and denying the intended result. Sometimes it becomes dizzying witnessing the lengths and depths many in the world will travel simply to condemn Israel.
On another front of this situation, Israel should refuse to allow any advantages to come of not only the hunger-strikers but also those rioting and attacking security forces in supposed support of the hunger-strikers. We say supposed support as it is a relative call as to how much of the current increased violence is directly due to the prison hunger-strikers and how much is simply instituted in order to attempt to interrupt the joys and revelry associated with the joyous Purim celebrations throughout Israel this week. If Israel were to react with panic and surrender to increases in violence perpetrated by the Palestinians, the result would be a never ending spiral of increased violence. This has been the exact reaction to apparent Israeli restraint in the face of violence perpetrated against her citizens in the past. When Israel attempted to simply wait out increased violence of previous intifadas instead of mobilizing and restoring order; their lack of action was perceived as weakness and resulted in more violence, increased destruction, higher death toll, additional casualties and a greater intervention in order to restore order and calm. Each time Israel has appeased such pressure tactics such as these hunger-strikes which are coordinated with allied NGOs, leftists, and other anti-Israel and anti-Zionist groups and governments, Israel has simply guaranteed more similar actions with ever increasing demands attached. In every instance where some act was initially met with Israeli compliance and surrendering before coordinated world demands, the action would be repeated and escalated with demands eventually surpassing even the ability of the most permissive and tolerant of Israeli society to agree it was necessary to meet the demands in the hopes of restoring peace and order. This use of escalating threats tied to ever increasing demands has become the normal operating procedure of the Palestinian Authority with its preconditions, Hamas and their rocket barrages and has even spread to the anti-Zionist allied groups in Europe, the Middle East and world-wide. Since Israel gives in to some minor action and continues to capitulate through numerous and ever-increasing escalations; whenever Israel finally refuses and takes whatever actions are necessary to restore order, the result is the same calamitous cacophony of shrill denunciation thrust upon Israel for having the audacity to defend her people, country and even existence. The intent of the most minor act of defiance should be treated the same as the eventual escalation of such similar act if Israel can ever expect to live with the same peace and tranquility afforded other nations. It is not as if the boisterous cacophony if indignations would be any more or less than when after numerous escalations Israel finally resists the blackmail that is at the heart of the terrorist onslaught faced by Israel daily. The friendship of the world which is offered before every demand for Israeli concessions, usually land for the promise which matters not as it will never be met, will likewise not be forthcoming but withheld with yet another concession brought forth as the new parameter necessary for their friendship. The friendship of much of the world will remain denied to Israel until she learns that the world only loves those who demand their respect. Capitulation begets further demands, standing one’s ground is the only path which eventually leads to respect, the first requirement for friendship. Simple stated, capitulators will capitulate themselves to death, both literal and figurative, while the steadfast will dictate the terms and gain respect and be the ones whose friendship is sought. Israel needs to soon choose which side of this fence they will be found, lying helplessly defeated and trounced on the side of the capitulators or standing strong with pride among the recognized nations of the world. Let us hope and pray they choose to stand among the nations.
Beyond the Cusp