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May 6, 2015 / 17 Iyar, 5775
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Yoram Ettinger: Defense and Retaliation – Not an Option

Aftermath of a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Ashdod

Aftermath of a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Ashdod
Photo Credit: Flash90

The Background

More than10,000 Gaza-based missiles have been launched, systematically and deliberately, at Israeli cities, kibbutzim, and villages since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in September 2005 (1,700 annually), compared with 700 missiles launched from 2001 to September 2005 (140 annually). In addition, over 5,000 mortar shells have been launched at Israeli civilians since the disengagement.

250 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists between 1978 and the 1993 Oslo Accords, compared with 2,000 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists since the conclusion of the Oslo Accords.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has transformed its policy of no-Palestinian state-solution to a two-state solution, highlighted by the importation of some 60,000 Palestinian terrorists into Gaza, Judea, and Samaria from Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria. The two-state solution has been replete with systematic groundbreaking Israeli gestures, concessions, and ideological and territorial retreats. It has yielded unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and terrorism; Palestinian smuggling and manufacturing of tens of thousands of missiles; multi-billion dollar cost of Israeli homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israeli confidence in Israel’s own cause and capability to confront its enemies; and significantly undermined the Israeli posture of deterrence, which is a prerequisite for security and peace. The two-state state of mind has ushered in the assumption that the solution to terrorism is not military force but diplomacy.

In 1993, the architects of the two-state solution dismissed the warning that such a solution would doom Israeli cities to a barrage of Palestinian missiles. In 2012, one million Israelis – in Beer Sheba, Ashdod, Ashqelon, Kiryat-Gat and scores of kibbutzim and villages in southern Israel – have been held hostage by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorism as a result of the 2005 Disengagement. Irregularity and missile alert sirens have dominated their daily lives at work, in kindergartens, schools, and at leisure.

The PLO (now the ruling faction of the Palestinian Authority) was the ally of the USSR and the Communist Bloc, of Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden. The PLO and Hamas are the allies of Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, the trans-national Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, the emerging Islamic leaders in Libya and Tunisia, and the ruling Islamic party of Turkey.

The Solution

The Israeli government is tested – by its citizens, enemies and allies – by its ability to ensure personal and national security, rather than submitting its citizens to periodic terrorism.

Personal and national security will not be advanced by the conclusion of another ceasefire with Palestinian terrorists, but by the destruction of the ideological, educational, political, financial, logistical, and operational infrastructures of Palestinian fire.

Israel’s security will not be enhanced by deterring Palestinians from launching missiles at Israel, but by denying them the capability to launch missiles.

Israel’s security will not be bolstered by the power to retaliate against Palestinian missiles, but by the power to preempt and to prevent the launching of – and to eliminate – Palestinian missiles.

An effective offensive against Palestinian terrorist capabilities should not be surgical and limited in scope and time, but comprehensive, decisive, sustained and disproportionate, aiming to devastate all terrorist infrastructures and capabilities, bringing the enemy to submission.

A limited response to terrorism, and the pursuit of ceasefires, constitutes a prescription for a war of attrition – the dream of terrorists and the nightmare of democracies.

An effective offensive should not strive for engagement and coexistence with – or the suspension of – terrorism, but for uprooting terrorism.

Since Oslo 1993, Israel’s battle against terrorism has been subordinated to the two-state paradigm, entrenching moral and operational ambiguity rather than clarity. Therefore, it has been addicted to defense, the belief that “restraint is strength,” the assumption that there is no military solution to terrorism and the subordination of war on terrorism to the pursuit of peace, international pressure and international public opinion.

However, the nineteen post-Oslo years of unprecedented Palestinian hate-education, terrorism, and non-compliance have documented that there is no political or diplomatic solution to Palestinian terrorism. Ignoring the lessons of the post-Oslo years, by refraining from a resolute, preemptive, preventive, decisive, and disproportionate offensive on Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorist infrastructures, will subject Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa to a terrorist assault that will dwarf the current predicament in southern Israel.

In its battle against terrorism, Israel should reclaim its pre-two-state solution posture, highlighting roots and vision, determination, defiance of odds, the can-do and risk-taking mentality, and gumption. It is that spirit which transformed the Jewish State from the remnants of the Holocaust into the most stable, predictable, reliable, capable, democratic, and unconditional ally of the USA.

 

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1534

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


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