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When Gilad Shalit was abducted two years ago, we were told that the kidnappers were part of a clandestine terror group, some sort of popular front over which Hamas had no control. But then Hamas realized that it could drop the pretense, for even if it took full responsibility for abducting Shalit, no harm would befall it. And so, without blinking an eye, the elected government that rules as a sovereign in Gaza embarked upon direct and open negotiations for the release of the abducted Israeli soldier. Ismail Haniyeh doesn’t even pretend to be a mediator. He, the Hamas leader, sets the price that will convince him – in his current capacity – to release the Israeli soldier.
In plain English, that is a declaration of war. But Israel is paralyzed. Why?
What would have happened in the Yom Kippur War if the Syrians had stationed an artillery unit in the Syrian village of Kuneitra and shelled Tiberias from its heights? Would anybody have thought it improper to retaliate because of the civilian casualties that would inevitably result? That would be ridiculous. If a sovereign government decides to go to war, it does so in the name of the entire nation. Everybody is included. There are no “innocent civilians.” If the elected government goes so far as to use a civilian platform for its attack, the responsibility for the results of any counterattack is clearly on its shoulders.
But in Israel’s case, the logic does not hold. Hamas enjoys the best of both worlds: It has territory, a democratically elected government, and international aid and recognition – all the while bearing no responsibility for its actions. It shells the Jews from inside its sovereign territory, and the Jews restrict themselves to policing the attackers alone – as if they were a gang smuggling drugs from Mexico to Texas.
Can Israel win under these circumstances? Obviously not! That is precisely the cause of the insane situation in Israel today – unique to this country alone.
Israel cannot defeat Hamas because defeating the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (or actually dealing with the rising nationalism of Israel’s Arabs) would leave Israel alone with its Jewish identity. Victory means a return to the Biblical Land of Israel. It means reconnecting to our Biblical role models, encouraging Arabs to emigrate from our Biblical homeland, declaring sovereignty over our homeland and massive Jewish settlement. Israel’s short history proves that anything less than that is not victory.
Actually, the only real victory that Israel ever enjoyed was that of the 1948 War of Independence. In that war, Israel actualized the four principles mentioned above: conquest, Arab emigration, sovereignty and settlement. That triumph triggered a true peace process. For a while it looked like the process would end like most wars, whereby one side defeats the other and in the end both sides shake hands.
But that did not happen. The Arabs eventually realized that the Jews did not establish an independent Jewish state, but a new Israeli state. This identity-less state desperately needed the Arabs to prove just how normal it really was: no Jewish identity, just a collection of Jews, Arabs and whomever else living together without roots or religion. The logical result is that the Arabs, who hold the key to the new Israeli identity, have an insurance policy against any Israeli aggression or retaliation. That is why Israel cannot deal with the missiles flying into its sovereign territory on a near daily basis. That is also why an “Israeli” Arab MK can direct the Katyusha missiles into Haifa and laugh all the way from his interrogation in Israel to the bank in Jordan with his hefty Israeli compensation.
What will we do? Will we continue to raise white flags all the way from Gaza to Tel Aviv? Israeli mentality can no longer integrate a solution based on the principles of the War of Independence. Tens of years of leftist brainwashing have deleted the concept called “victory” from the Israeli lexicon. Concepts like “Land of Israel” or “Jewish nation” are virtually unthinkable.
The real threat to Israel is not from the military might of Iran or the Arab states. The real threat is that they won’t even need to attack. They have already discovered Israel’s weak spot, and they can watch it crumble away without a battle.
Israel must change direction and elect leadership with a Jewish orientation, leadership that draws on its internal resources for its sense of self-worth and is not dependant on the approval of other nations. If we don’t do that soon, we will all turn out to be – in the best-case scenario – Gilad Shalit.
To learn more about Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), and to read its plan for Israel’s future, visit http://www.jewishisrael.org/.
About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.
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