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Terrorism is endemic

Posted By Obadiah Shoher On October 1, 2009 @ 9:09 am In Islamic terrorism | 1 Comment

Terrorism was never significant in Israel—or anywhere else, for that matter. By its very nature, terrorism is a small-scale operation. Once it grows into something big, as it did in Lebanon, terrorist groups have to form into militias, and eventually mini-armies—which removes their major advantage of invisibility. They can no longer hide efficiently, and they become susceptible to reprisals by much stronger conventional armies.

Even at its peak, provoked by the Oslo peace process, terrorist damage in Israel paled compared to the toll taken by road accidents. For some reason, human nature sees violence as more important than accidents; perhaps history has taught us humans that unlike accidents, violence tends to escalate. The Media gleefully amplified the terrorist threat to herd the population into the stables of the peace process.

No Palestinian group is committed to destroying Israel. Their rhetoric is militant, but it is as removed from reality as the Jew-speak on the boundaries of the Promised Land. After Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas shelled her not for any existential reason, but for two practical and specific reasons: to push Israel out of the West Bank, and later to lift the blockade. In both cases, Hamas was successful.

Gaza’s arsenals are no threat to Israel. A few hundred primitive rockets cannot inflict statistically significant damage. Hamas would run out of small arms in about two weeks of fighting in Gaza. Hamas has proved itself to be seriously committed to Israel’s security by preventing other groups from violating the ceasefire.

The West Bank terrorism is merely a show. IDF routinely intercepts bomb-carrying terrorists at roadblocks, even though checks there are lax. That is only possible if the soldiers are tipped off. Almost no bombs explode inside Israel, thus all the terrorists are intercepted. Such an outcome would be completely impossible in any real conflict: terrorists would sneak through the many open border areas rather than walk through roadblocks. The major reason for Shabak’s staggering success against terrorists is the terrorists’ cooperation. Terrorist bosses need to show some anti-Israeli activity, but they don’t want Israel to disrupt their organizations in retaliation. Accordingly, they send the bombers and then turn around and inform Shabak on them. After Israel withdraws from the West Bank, the place will continue to be a haven for corruption and criminal anarchy, but it will not be a terrorist nest. Palestine would be even more orderly under Hamas than under Fatah, and no more terrorist.

The West Bank’s militants don’t care about liberating their Israeli brethren. The Palestinians were never a people to begin with, and are now split into distinct groups: Jordanians, Gazans,  West Bankers, refugee-camp dwellers, and Israeli Palestinians. The last thing the Israeli Palestinians want is to be liberated by their poor, criminal brothers from the West Bank. Left to itself, a Palestinian state would not be a problem for Israel, though it would be a humiliation—our enemies occupying the land given to us by God and fearfully returned by Jews.

The Palestinian state would hardly be left to itself. Syria, Jordan, and Iran would compete for influence there. In Lebanon, Hezbollah has no meaningful quarrels with Israel, yet it opposes her. Iranian proxy forces in Palestine would be similarly subversive. A pretext will always be there: Israeli “oppression” of her Arabs, visa restrictions for Palestinian migrant workers, and so on. Such hostility wouldn’t translate into an existential problem for Israel, though a peace treaty with Palestine would stifle Israeli retaliation for occasional rocket attacks.

There is the problem of grassroots terrorism. As the established terrorist organizations become averse to anti-Israeli actions, ad hoc groups spring up. Here and there, small groups of young Palestinians will join forces for specific actions. Their groups are easy prey for intelligence services when the members are talkative and spread their message widely among their friends, but they can also be impenetrable if their two or three members act with a modicum of common sense. In several incidents, attacks have been perpetrated by lone terrorists: bulldozers, cars, and knives are no less effective than bombs in terms of media effect. This grassroots terrorism inundates both Small Israel and the West Bank. The youth bulge guarantees a large, unemployed, underperforming, jealous Arab population idle on Israeli welfare—and that this population will grow radical.

It is not sufficient to check out from the West Bank. We must leave the Arabs behind.

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