Don’t Negotiate! Threaten!

When people begin to lose their memory, we begin to suspect senility. Are we all becoming senile? Not too long ago, there was a consensus that “we,” meaning governments and government agencies, do not negotiate with terrorists. Think of the Entebbe operation. Instead of negotiating, Israeli commandos flew to Africa and rescued the hostages and killed the terrorists. The brother of the one Israeli who died in the Entebbe raid, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu actually wrote a book about terrorism and reconfirmed what we all accept as a guiding principle: Do not negotiate with terrorists.

So, here we are in a world that is so topsy turvy that terrorists are creating chaos throughout the Middle East and Africa. Boko Haram kidnaps 200 young women. Does the world negotiate with them? No. However, the world did run a very successful, highly publicized campaign on Twitter. Did that bring any of the girls home? No.

This week, the New York Times reported that Germany paid billions of Euros as ransom for over 30 Europeans who were held hostage in Mali. Who was on the receiving end of the ransom money? Al Qaieda. Apparently, we only fight terrorists in Hollywood movies. Where is the real life Rambo when you need him?

Yesterday, Wednesday, Israel sent a delegation of officials to Cairo to be part of the negotiations to create a cease-fire – a permanent one, we hope – with Hamas. Hamas, in case you don’t remember, is a terrorist organization. Yes, they are also the governing body in the Gaza Strip. No, we Israelis do not occupy the Gaza Strip. If we did, Hamas would not be sending all those missiles our way. But I digress. Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization by the US government, by the European Union, by the Egyptian government and by the Israeli government. So, why, in heaven’s name, are we negotiating with them? At least the Egyptians remember. They will  not even welcome a delegation from Gaza until the fighting stops.

Why is the Israeli government dithering about “finishing the job”? True, there will be a . . . I’m not going to say it. First, it’s a cliché. Second, it casts an Ayin HaRa, an evil eye, which is something I don’t want to be responsible for doing. Three, in poll after poll the Israel public calls for finishing the job.

While Hamas is content to see shutting down American air traffic into Ben Gurion for 48 hours as a great victory, we have a different yard stick for victory. We are definitely on the cusp of such a victory. All we have to do is remember our values. Come on Bibi, don’t negotiate! First threaten! And then do it!

About the Author
David Derovan lives in Israel with his growing family. He recently published "Tales of Mystery, Magic and Chassidim," fictional tales in which the Rebbe teaches authentic Chassidic wisdom. Available on Now retired, David has taught Torah for over 50 years, on all educational levels except pre-school.