Update: This article was written on June 25, 2006, hours after Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. In those early hours, we didn’t no if we could get him back. We were not even sure of his condition, but no one expected him to be held by Hamas for five long years. This was the beginning and indeed, had we shaken the very earth upon which Gaza sits, perhaps it wouldn’t have taken a war and five years and a trade for over 1,000 prisoners and terrorists to get him back.
From June, 2006 – Shake the Earth
Israel has, for the most part over the last year, appeared weak and inefficient in its dealings with the Palestinians. We have emphasized our desire for peace and our willingness to make painful concessions and the Palestinians hear only that we are willing to take pain, and willingly oblige.
We have made unilateral concessions and for the most part the Palestinians laugh at our having given up much of our bargaining position before the bargaining has even begun. We have made our people homeless, subjected whole cities to endless incoming rocket fire, all to the immense enjoyment of the Palestinians. Imagine, they think to themselves, how much more the Israelis will be forced to give up when we actually do sit down to negotiate.
And even more, they tease us with promises of peace…and then explain they only mean a temporary peace, perhaps 10 years, perhaps more, but only if we weaken ourselves enough that they too will be able to follow in the path of their great Mohammed. They remember that Mohammed made a peace agreement, only to break it two years later when the enemy was weakened enough that Mohammed’s victory was assured.
This morning just after dawn, 8 Palestinians attacked an army base in Keren Shalom. As military strategy goes, it was a successful operation in which 2 of the enemy were killed, 6 others wounded, and best of all, the infiltrators were able to steal back across the border after kidnapping an Israeli soldier. All our past mistakes will be as nothing if we do not make the ground shake today, if we do not act without mercy, as they have done.
This was not a terrorist attack against innocents. In this one case, we cannot bemoan the lack of decency or mercy that is so common in most terror attacks. This was a military incursion and must be answered in kind. The left wing who called for disengagement promised that any military action would be answered with the full strength of our army against an “invading” enemy. More than one left-wing friend told me that our withdrawing from Gaza would strengthen our right to defend ourselves. The right wing, the Orange People who saw the surrender for what it was, knew that this was all a lie. We knew rockets would fall on Askhelon and bombs would explode in Netanya and Tel Aviv. We knew that Hamas would celebrate their victory and more would die.
That the attackers and kidnappers will likely choose to hide their prize among Palestinian civilians is not our problem and we must now show the same lack of mercy that was shown to us. They choose how to begin this war and it is our obligation to see it through until the end, until our sons are brought home.
The fact that they were able to infiltrate and attack is the fault of the Defense Minister and the upper echelons of the army who have failed to allow our soldiers to adequately defend themselves, who have placed unacceptable restrictions on their actions and placed them in harms way. Whatever failing of military protocol enabled this infiltration succeed no longer matter. What matters now is what we do, at this moment, to save the life of one Israeli, one Jew. If Israel does not shake the ground to get our soldier back, if the very earth does not vibrate with our anger and our determination to return the soldier and the body parts these ghoulish gunmen claim they took, we may as well surrender all that we have left.
The reason we live in Israel, the purpose for its existence is so that we Jews can live in our land, be protected by our army, and take our place among the nations of the world. If Olmert and Peretz are to be worthy of the positions they hold, they will hold back no mercy, until our boys are home.