The scenes from Hebron on Israeli television last night were disturbing.
We had video of heavily armed Israeli soldiers walking down the streets in the city as Palestinian children cavorted in and out among them. We had images of Palestinian women gathering in house windows to smile and laugh as our troops went by. We even had scenes of families gathered on bridges overlooking streets and roads gawking at the passing Israeli forces.
It was as if the appearance of hundreds of Israeli soldiers in town was the new afternoon and evening entertainment.
Suddenly, it appears that the IDF is no longer a force to be feared.
Except that it is not “suddenly”.
What has happened is a process that has taken place over the last half decade as political correctness has seeped into the IDF general command via the Israeli government. Years of throwing “rocks” and Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs at Israeli soldiers and civilians with virtual impunity has created the reaction we see in Hebron and elsewhere.
And if the local population has this reaction, you can imagine the reaction of terrorists. Is it any wonder that “the usual techniques” are not working in the attempt to locate the kidnapped Israeli teenagers? Even though another fifty or so Palestinians were rounded up overnight bringing the overall total to about 300, there is no indication that any fruitful information has been gleaned.
The same process has taken place in Gaza. Years of shooting missiles and mortars at the people of southern Israel with virtual impunity has instilled in Gazan terrorists a feeling of invincibility. Just last night we saw yet another barrage of rockets hit the Sha’ar Hanagev-Sderot-Netivot area.
This morning on our morning walk out here in south Ashdod we saw another group of Israeli aircraft probably heading toward Gaza to bomb empty buildings and empty fields. At this very moment, we are sitting here in our house listening to what appears to be a naval mini-barrage aimed at Gaza. And what is the effect of these IDF actions?
The Palestinians in Gaza know that the IAF and the Israeli navy are not going to take any action that might endanger Palestinian civilians despite the fact that Hamas and its cohorts target Israeli civilians every single day. Life for Gazans continues as normal as life can be in Hamas Gaza, and one can almost imagine that the nightly IAF flares over the autonomous Palestinian territory have become like troops making their way through the streets of Hebron–nothing more than nightly entertainment for the locals.
The point of today’s blog is simply that times have changed. The old IDF is not the new IDF, and the old Palestinians are not the new Palestinians. The paradigm shift that has taken place in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza has nothing but negative implications for Israel as Palestinian terrorism seems to be on the verge of becoming more brazen than it has for years.
Political correctness is a cancer that slowly and almost imperceptibly spreads into a country’s psyche and saps its will to fight. We certainly want an IDF that is humane and protects Palestinian civilians; however, we live in a neighborhood in which the IDF needs to instill fear when it does decide to show up and protect Israeli citizens.