When analyzing the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is very easy to pinpoint the horrific acts of terror carried out by Palestinian terrorists as a critical issue that must be addressed before there can be any substantive conversations about a true and lasting peace agreement. Their seemingly indifferent attitude toward human life runs afoul of the laws of basic human decency and is morally reprehensible.
However, it is a recent rash of troubling actions perpetrated by Jewish activists in the West Bank that has the potential to upend an already tenuous situation in a region ripe with instability. When some local residents and activists directed their ire at Israeli soldiers tasked with protecting them, they demonstrated an utter disregard for the law and a disdain for what is right and just.
Israeli soldiers at the Efraim Regional Brigade base were treated to an unwelcome surprise when some local Jewish residents hurled rocks at them, vandalized their army trucks, and set tires ablaze. These heinous acts of cowardice thrust the overzealous Jewish activists into the international spotlight in a most unflattering fashion.
Instead of allowing people to focus on the Palestinian extremists who are sworn enemies of Israel and who have openly and unabashedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state, the Jewish activists distracted the international community by diverting its attention away from what should be the real issue at hand.
It was just recently that the terrorist group Hamas commemorated the twenty-fourth anniversary of its formation by reaffirming its propensity for violence and reiterating its position that it will never recognize the State of Israel. This is the same organization that has the blood of countless innocent men, women, and children on its hands following numerous horrific acts of terror directed at Israelis.
An example of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism at its absolute worst, Hamas proudly claims it is directly responsible for firing more than 11,000 rockets at Israel between 2000 and 2011, for killing more than 1,300 Israeli citizens, and for injuring more than 6,400 others.
It is Hamas that claimed responsibility for the August 2010 attack that claimed the lives of four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, when their car was ambushed near Kiryat Arba. It is Hamas that carried out an attack in January 2005 in which six Israelis were killed by a suicide bomber at a crossing near the Gaza Strip. It is Hamas that killed sixteen people and injured approximately 100 others when suicide bombers attacked two buses in Beersheva in August 2004. It is Hamas that carried out scores of suicide bombings on buses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that claimed numerous lives.
The monstrous acts of terror carried out by Hamas and other Arab extremists have rightfully led to them being internationally vilified. The recent radical actions of Jewish activists deserve equal opprobrium. Acts of terrorism – irrespective of the perpetrators of those acts – must be swiftly and strongly condemned. There can be no double standard.
Being passionate about a particular issue does not give people license to violate the law and to act immorally, improperly, and illegally. Rules and laws apply equally to everyone, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.
The outcry that ensued after these horrific acts was justified and definitely necessary. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan deserve praise for censuring the attack and for taking the extremist activists to task for what they did.
The conduct of the Jewish activists who attacked the Israeli army base is absolutely inexcusable. Their blatant disregard for the health and well-being of others, in this instance their fellow Jews, is shocking.
The brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces put their lives on the line each and every day in order to ensure the safety and security of the people of the State of Israel. They selflessly put themselves in harm’s way in order to safeguard the lives of others. These heroes deserve our deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks. They deserve our respect, not resentment.
As the Arab-Israeli conflict continues, it would certainly behoove the Jewish activists to employ vigilance, not violence, in the ongoing war against terror. No matter how dire the circumstances may seem at times, it is imperative that our brethren never lose sight of the real nemesis in this battle. It is not the soldiers who are stationed in Judea and Samaria, nor is it the Israeli government, which works diligently to protect its citizenry. Our true enemies are the Arab extremists who kill innocent Israelis and who want nothing more than to eradicate the state of Israel.
Rather than attacking Israeli soldiers, setting fire to mosques, or hurling rocks at Palestinian cars, our Jewish brothers and sisters must properly channel their energy and exert self-control. Acting in a manner that runs counter to our moral framework and equates them with our enemies is unbecoming and unproductive.