During the hunt for Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar the Israel Defense Force has arrested 500 Palestinians and killed six more. The killers of the three boys still haven’t been found.
In Gaza the Israeli Air Force hit 34 targets in one night, hitting Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets. We hit those targets in response to 18 rockets fired at Israel. .
It has been reported that the Israeli cabinet still hasn’t decided what the response to the killings of our three boys should be.
A case like this is gruesome but it isn’t complex. There are two men suspected of kidnapping and murdering three of our boys. We need to find and arrest (or kill in the attempt) those two men and any other accomplices involved.
And yet while the hunt for the suspect continues we’re bombing Gaza, arresting hundreds of Palestinians and holding them in administrative detention. Once upon a time if someone was arrested it would be because they committed a crime. Not anymore, now we arrest hundreds of people without thinking twice simply because they fall into the category of the “usual suspects”.
In our rush for vengeance we forget the fundamental truths of our existence. Our country was to be a light unto the nations and I’m sick of watching the worst of our enemies succeed in taking from us our humanity. As they perpetrate the most evil of crimes against us so they have succeeded in reducing us to their level. As their crimes get worse so we forget about justice and set our sights on attack and revenge. I have no doubt that we will find the murderers and either kill them or arrest them depending on whether or not they come quietly.
But that’s not all we’ll do.
We’ll build more settlements in the name of our dead, we’ll continue sweeps of arrests and send soldiers into the hearts of Palestinian towns and cities (as we already have) and we’ll launch even more aerial bombing raids. We’ll make sure that all Palestinians know that we blame every last one of them for this crime. There’ll be arrests and there will be riots and there will be more dead and at the end of it all we’ll be in exactly the same place we’re in now.
Because there is a larger lie here. The lie that there is a number of targets we can hit or a percentage of the Palestinian population that we can arrest in order to end terror. The truth is that terror isn’t going to end with bullets and a bunch of dead terrorists. The more we try to “send a message” to terrorists the more successful we are at sending the wrong message and making the worst thugs look like heroes.
We must find the killers of our boys. But all of the time remember that there is no magic number of terrorists we can kill that will end the violence. There is no military operation that will prevent future kidnappings, bombings and violence. Only a negotiated settlement can do that.