Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rally commemorating the fifth anniversary of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, in Ramallah on Nov. 11, 2009.

As a Jew – or even as a human being – I cannot accept the insincere condemnation of these attacks by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Insincere because of the certain compensation families of terrorists killed in action get. And because Abbas ultimately blames  ‘the repeated incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the provocative actions of extremist settler groups.’

This is not to say that I agree with the incitement of Arabs these people cause. I am strongly opposed to it! They stir up Palestinian passions – which gives them all the excuse they need to carry out these attacks. But I am equally convinced that the real issue is our very existence in ‘their’ country: Palestine.


They not only object to the Jewish presence on the West Bank. They object to our presence anywhere in ‘their’ country, Palestine – all of it from the river to the sea. Including Tel Aviv. They believe we have no claim to their land. Not even a biblical claim. They believe it is rightfully theirs.  Their ancestors having lived there for centuries and it needs to fulfill its destiny as a Muslim country.

In their hearts, they believe the Jews should go back to where they came from. Which in most cases was somewhere in Europe. It doesn’t matter to them that after the Holocaust Europe did not want them. It doesn’t matter to them that pogroms against the Jews were resumed in these countries to the Jews who wished to restore their former lives there. It doesn’t matter that Jewish refugees from the Holocaust were stuck in displacement camps with no place to go.

That isn’t their problem. It is ours – they say. They deserve to get their land back and the Jihadists among them are going to do whatever it takes to try and accomplish that – by first getting rid of the Jews. They hate us so much for being there, that are willing to die trying. That most of them actually do die has not stopped them.

This is of course not to say that all Palestinians are terrorists. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of Palestinians have a sense of pride when one of their Jihadists succeeds in killing and maiming some Jews.  I am equally sure that most Palestinians fully approve of compensating terrorist families too.

The question is, what can Israel do about it?  The harsh measures under which West Bank Palestinians are currently suffering are designed exactly for this purpose – securing the safety of all Israeli residents.

Something much of the Left already categorizes as Apartheid. I can’t imagine Israel clamping down much harder without even more criticism – some of which may even come from the US! In fact the left side of the political aisle in congress has been known to criticize even Israel’s current security measures. Not just the 2 anti-Israel House members, Tlaib and Omar, but even some mainstream Democrats. Not to mention Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Or just about any UN agency

I don’t think Israel can do what it needs to do without unprecedented increased world condemnation. An increase that might include the current Executive Branch.

It’s a tough call. Clamping down even harder on Palestinians may further reduce the incidence of terror. But it probably won’t eliminate it. It may in fact motivate an even stronger and more daring terrorist response from even more Palestinians. Stronger security measures by Israel might be akin to spitting in the wind.  And could have negative consequences in terms of reduced US support.

On the other hand, what choice does Israel have? Are they to just sit back with their hands tied and watch more Jews die?

I don’t have the answer to these questions. (As is the case for many questions I pose here.)  But I am just tired of all the Jewish blood being shed and the attendant suffering of their loved ones.

My sincere hope is that God will help Israel’s current leaders devise a way to stop these attacks. Something they have only had limited success with of late. But they need to do it in a way that will not generate even more anti-Israel sentiment than already exists.

And if they are going to execute harsher measures against West Bank Palestinians, they need to execute harsher measures against extremist settler violence too. And – until the advent of Moshiach – make it illegal for any Jew to go up on Har Habayis with mandatory prison time if convicted of doing so.

{Reposted from the author’s blog}


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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at [email protected].