Beyond the Cusp

June 22, 2014

Israel Must Take Definitive, Unequivocal Stand Against Any Further Terrorist Releases

There once was a time when Israel drew a strong, definitive, well-defined line that her leaders refused to cross and her people had enforced refusals to negotiate with terrorists and to never under any circumstance release terrorists for any reason, even to presumably save kidnapped or captured Israelis no matter who they may have been. Eventually, after much erosive pressures Israel caved and made the initial exchange of a terrorist for a hostage. This was a shocking new turn from the nation which would, against all the odds, manage to pull off the most miraculous rescue operation in which her special operations forces from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) infiltrated the Entebbe International Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. Israel daringly loaded one-hundred commandos over two-thousand-five-hundred miles (four-thousand kilometers) to rescue the one-hundred and two hostages held by a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist cell. These were the remaining Jewish passengers plus the pilot, Captain Michel Bacos, who refused to leave while any of his passengers remained endangered from the original three-hundred and four passengers and twelve crew members of Air France Flight 139, an Airbus A300, on route to Paris, France. The Israeli rescue mission cost the IDF one officer from among the personnel deployed for the mission, Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, brother to current Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. The rescue mission has been immortalized in film and well documented and studied as one of the most daring and successful anti-terror rescue missions ever attempted, let alone carried out. This was the measure of Israeli principles and determination when it came to negotiating with terrorists.


Unfortunately, the Entebbe mission actually was executed after Israel had already compromised on their stated rule of no negotiations, no prisoner swaps, and reliance on the IDF and Mossad to prevent or rescue any hostages. The definitive act occurred as a response to the hijacking by the PFLP, the same terrorist group responsible for the later Entebbe hijacking which proved that one successful hijacking releasing terrorists would lead to further such hijackings, of an El-Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv on July 22, 1968. The plane was diverted to Algiers where all but the seven crew members and five Israeli male passengers were released almost immediately after landing. After forty days of negotiations Israel backed down releasing sixteen convicted Arab terrorists in exchange for the hostages. The slippery slope continued eventually leading to the most disastrous of negotiations with terrorists with the Oslo Accords in September of 1993 which promised that Israel would allow the return of Yasser Arafat and his top echelon of terrorists and Israel would attempt to negotiate the formation of an Arab state for the invented Palestinian people to be formed from within the then existing borders of Israel. This led directly to the disengagement from which birthed Hamas controlled terror entity within Gaza and later to the exchange of over one-thousand terrorist prisoners for the return of a single soldier, Gilad Shalit. Israel now faces the next installment of her emasculation where three teenage youths have been abducted and Israel is searching in hope against hope to find them alive and well before they can be whisked away and hidden beyond any reasonable reach of Israeli forces.


With the precedent having been set and the trending reached such an absurd level that no Israeli Prime Minister can, without the near complete support of the Knesset and a willing media to give cover, take the now near impossibly difficult path of refusing to meet the demands of terrorist hijackers or kidnappers. Directly due to the collapse before political pressures from the “Free Gilad Shalit at any Price” campaign which took the form of demonstrations as well as an all in sympathetic media further supported by Knesset Ministers using the strong public protesters as a backdrop to politically attack the Prime Minister, all converging to permit the release of over one-thousand terrorist prisoners for the sole IDF soldier, any attempt by a future Prime Minister to refuse to negotiate or release any untold numbers of terror prisoners is guaranteed to spell political ruin and an end to that ruling coalition and very possibly a complete defeat and possible collapse of the party lead by said Prime Minister. With this in mind, one has to realize that the recent claim by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya who called for the release of all Palestinian terror prisoners from Israeli prisons is not seen as excessive by the Palestinians or much of the world. There have been calls from Hamas controlled television stations for the kidnapping of six additional IDF soldiers so as to gain the release of six-thousand terror prisoners in Israeli custody. Palestinian media has already explored the concept of gaining the release of at the least three-thousand terrorists in exchange for the three young teens kidnapped last Thursday. These threats are additional reasons that the roadblocks and checkpoints are necessary in order to prevent the movement of the kidnapped youths, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel, thus allowing for the IDF and other units to locate and rescue the young students and prevent the government and nation of Israel once again being held to ransom their children’s safe return.


Israel is going to need to take some time once this current crisis has been resolved even if it must be done in the manner of already set prerogatives. Then the Knesset will necessarily need to address what will be the path proceeding forward from this point. The first decision is whether or not the people of Israel deem it a necessity to support those Jews and Israelis living beyond the Green Line and if not should they be required to relocate within the Green Line allowing for the return of the disputed lands to Arab control. The next decision is similar to the first except this time the lands addressed are those of East Jerusalem including the Old City, Temple Mount, Kotel and Western Wall. Once the Israelis have voted and reached a collective decision, then the Israeli people need to address whether or not to allow any government elected official or appointed official to decide to trade terrorist prisoners for abducted Israeli civilian lives and on another front IDF soldiers who have been captured during operations or kidnapped by terrorist forces or their state supporters. Once these decisions have been voted upon and decided, the results would need to be incorporated into the Basic Laws so that the will of the people can be enacted and enforced and thus made binding on future governments such that there will be no ambiguity. The pieces of truth that Israelis must contend with and recognize is that no matter their choice in these referendums, the Palestinian terrorist government and forces will continue to abduct Israelis, they will continue to attempt to terrorize and murder Israelis, their view of a perfect world is one which is completely Muslim and without a single Jew anywhere, the terrorist entities will test Israeli resolve and exploit any weaknesses they find, the world will never ever support the Israelis, and finally the only recourse Israelis have today are the same choices their forefathers faced throughout the history of Judaism and these choices will continue to be the ones perplexing Jews into the future. Unfortunately, all too many people and too many Jews refuse to learn anything from history. Even sadder is how many believe that history has nothing to teach us because we today are more evolved, more sophisticated, more intelligent and just generally more capable of coping and finding new ways of doing things, which is why everything we read in the newspapers reads so similar to items we could have read and learned about in those old and dusty history books. As the famous sayings by poet and philosopher George Santayana go, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”


Beyond the Cusp


May 4, 2013

The Horrors of Prisoner Hunger-Strikers

What a dilemma for the government on how to address the prickly problem that hunger striking terrorists and other assorted prisoners being held on security issues. According to International Law it is illegal to force feed such prisoners unless they can be ruled in mortal danger or are suffering from some form of mental instability. This applies even if the prisoners should become in danger of death. Even then the prisoners can continue to refuse food and the government authorities holding them technically must not take actions even to save the prisoners’ lives. But when there are approximately one-hundred prisoners who have all joined the hunger strike demanding immediate trials or to be released what does the government do to address the situation? This is especially true when their claims seems so reasonable, especially those who are being held on political charges of being potentially dangerous as planners and organizers of terrorist attacks and training. Such prisoners have not actually committed any crime yet have been determined to be a serious threat of fomenting or aiding terrorist functions including attacks on the public.


Making this situation even more difficult is that the prisoners’ hunger strikes are being taken up by a number of human rights activists who are demanding that the government either charge and give a speedy trial to these hunger striking security prisoners or release them if there are no charges to be brought. What should be done with prisoners who it has been determined require being held for a thus far undetermined amount of time as the threat they are suspected of posing warrants such imprisonment by the government acting in the protection of the people, all the people, both their own citizens and those of others throughout the Western World. The human rights activists claim that since some of those held have not actually committed any crime and are simply being held due to the positions they held in what the imprisoning country has classified as a terrorist organization which allow their claim that the leaders of such a group may be imprisoned without charge as a precautionary action. It is likely that eventually the human rights activists will refer their charges against the government’s position claiming the right to preemptively hold these political prisoners to the ICJ in The Hague (International Court of Justice). This will present a particularly difficult challenge should the right to detain security prisoners without charge attempt to be defended by the government.


What has been most interesting about these particular hunger strikers has been the lack of news coverage either their hunger striking or the objections and protests of the human rights advocates have received. With the coverage that the mainstream media, especially the European media, has given the Palestinian hunger strikers held in Israeli prisons one would expect equal vociferous protest headlines in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, the AFP and other international mainstream news sources denouncing the continued incarceration and the ongoing forced feedings being foist upon these prisoners against their wills at the United States high security facility at the Guantanamo Naval Base on the Cuban Islands. One would expect the human rights activists to be even more incensed about these particular hunger strikers as well as the rest of the terror security prisoners continuing to be held at Guantanamo as President Obama made promises he would close the facility. Especially since it has been at Guantanamo is where torture has been rumored to have taken place as well as other deprivations which had been vociferously protested at the end of the Bush Administration but have been mostly silent since President Obama was sworn in as President. We will have to wait and see whether the recent pronouncement by President Obama to finally close the Guantanamo Holding Facility using the impetus of the sequester cuts as the leverage to at last accomplish this. The problems of whether or not to release these prisoners or, if it is decided they continue to require being held, where can the government imprison the most dangerous of these terror threats. This issue will very soon become an issue that’s time has come and the human rights advocates will finally be granted the front page coverage they have thus far been denied. Will the public display of the realities of the situations that must be confronted when guarding and fighting against terrorism in all of its manifestations by the United States mitigate the position and condemnations the Israelis have faced in their difficult fight against terrorism or will the world continue to pretend that terrorism against Israel is completely separate from the terror faced by the rest of the world and terror against Israel is understandable while terrorism against everybody else is an evil they fight out of necessity. My deepest fear is that the moral relativism which allows many progressives to differentiate between terrorism against Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world to be completely separate and worthy of a united effort to eradicate while expressing understanding and tacit, or even vociferous, support of terrorism which targets Israel, Israeli interests around the world, or Jews because such terrorism has a worthy cause.


Beyond the Cusp


February 25, 2013

Prisoners, Politics, Policies, Perceptions, Principles and Pardons

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

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