Still nothing new under the sun.
Terrorist enemies of Israel will kidnap or kill Jews at every opportunity, guaranteed. But weak-kneed Israeli governments that permit Hamas and Hezbollah to perch indefinitely on Israel’s borders are the underlying problem.
It is never simply the individual Israeli held hostage, but the entire country. Ransom deals for living or dead hostages are detrimental to the national security interests of the nation as a whole. Remedying this recurring situation is feasible if the political will exists.
This is neither brain surgery nor rocket science: Israelis must instate a government whose actions will be basic for Israel yet seem bold to outsiders living elsewhere. The concerted dismantling of terror groups is required, not merely airstrikes that target inert weapons facilities, underground tunnels, single terror leaders, or rocket-launching crews. Tit-for-tat tactics only prolong the real work of dismembering terror organizations in a sustained, relentless campaign that only ends when the mission is accomplished.
Recent years have witnessed the Israel Defense Forces fighting “operations” according to a ticking clock – and, worst of all, someone else’s clock. This is preposterous. The IDF needs a free hand – both hands untied – to do the job decisively with finality. The world will not like it, at least not publicly, and the optics will be unfavorable. But such a determined action would be no less than the foremost obligation of a nation besieged by violent enemies, well within the defensive mandate of a menaced society.
It is not for the UN or international community to superpose its sumptuary conceits on a nation with security concerns unlike any other country anywhere in the world. Artificial restrictions are the impedimenta of Israel’s everyday safety. Israeli governments that shy away from defending its citizens to the utmost degree are guilty of gross misprision.
Annihilating active terrorist networks demands no special moral ardor; it simply demands the possession of an excellent fund of common sense, something the State of Israel has hitherto sorely lacked. Israel is today an acephalous state at a time when a Joshua or a Samuel is needed. There is a time for negotiations (when aggressors are soundly defeated), and there is a time for taking no prisoners (when aggressors are emboldened). The government that cannot discern between the two is a government that should resign in disgrace.
For Israel, the most effective irenic measures in the long term involve wholesale obliteration of the terrorist infrastructure and infantries, top to bottom. Arresting terrorists is absurd when everyone knows they will only be released in time during futile negotiations in an obscene and suicidal display of gesture politics.
Israel remains a miracle. In the statelet bursting with great society, it is not too much to ask for sane legislators and strong-minded governance in the face of deadly neighbors and in a region of chronic conflict.
Until that day, the Jewish People awaits with bated breath.