Israel’s response to Islamic terrorism should be sufficiently cruel to discourage repetition and dry up Muslim support for anti-Israeli actions. A weak Israeli response provokes further escalation of the Middle East conflict by turning Arab aggression into no-risk heroics.
Arabs are willing to die only for a winning cause. Israel must either crush Arab hopes for success with overwhelming retaliation or succumb to Islamic terror. Sixty years of compromise have taken Israel nowhere, while Israeli human and economic losses have skyrocketed, Israeli international prestige has vanished, and immigration to Israel has dwindled.
Producing ideologically motivated kamikazes to fight Israel requires persistent Islamic indoctrination. At the dawn of Islamic suicide operations, the Muslim Brothers had a hard time finding someone to kill Nasser. Indoctrination is a large-scale operation, vulnerable to countermeasures. Remarkably few scoundrels committed the atrocities in WWII Germany, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, but they depended on the tacit support and acquiescence of the general population. Israel should retaliate against the supporters of Arab terrorism, rather than sifting out a handful of active Arab participants in anti-Israeli actions who are immediately replaced by other Islamists. Islamic terrorists must be killed, but by destroying housing and infrastructure Israel will stifle their Muslims supporters. Napoleon stopped a rebellion with a “whiff of grapeshot.” A minor show of force can stop a mob; large groups rarely commit crimes unless immunity is assured. Small but persistent Israeli pressure on the Arab groups and towns that support Islamic terrorists would soon extinguish the support for Islamists.
The Nazis crushed Russian guerrilla resistance by punishing civilians who supported the partisans systematically and ruthlessly. The Muslims have twice routed Arab terrorists out effectively: in Jordan, where an estimated eight thousand Palestinians died in a matter of days, and in Syria, where about twenty thousand Muslims died in a few weeks. By contrast, Egypt’s attempt to prosecute terror with judicial procedures is futile. Though the Israelis may not like the harsh way, no other way works against Islamic terrorism.
Israel must use force and spend money and Jewish lives to preserve the State of Israel. Otherwise, Israel's policies will vacillate and provoke angry Arab response to exploit Israel’s internal weakness.
Israel must determine what constitutes an adequate response to Islamic terrorist acts. How many Arabs must die for Israel to prevent an Islamic terrorist attack? How many Arabs should die in Israeli reprisal? The calculations are important, since only Israeli ruthless cruelty will kill Muslim popular support for Islamic terrorists. Israel could have got rid of the grassroots Islamic violence long ago with time-tested measures. Protesters do not return if many were killed during the last demonstration. And why not? The Arabs support the Islamic terrorists who kill Israeli civilians.
Should Israel execute Arabs for shouting and waving flags? Organizing similar demonstrations in Israel in support of the Israel Defense Forces is irrelevant. Israel breaking up demonstrations with water cannons would only be fun for the Palestinians, a cheerful deviation from the dull lives of Arab unemployed welfare recipients. Rounding the Palestinian demonstrators up in Israeli jails is tremendously expensive and creates a basis for long-term international condemnation of Israel for suppressing a political liberty to fight against Israel. Killing a few anti-Israeli demonstrators would make repetitions less likely. Many civilized countries killed demonstrators even in peacetime.
A less violent solution than Israel killing vast numbers of Arab civilians and hardening the rest for a desperate fight against Israel is retaliation against Arab officials. Israel should destroy an office and the personnel of some hostile Arab country after every Islamic terrorist attack against Israel. A short reaction time is possible if Israel chooses the targets beforehand. That would mean Muslim civilian casualties but would worry the world media less than an Israeli attack on an Arab village. Arab government officials would stop associating openly with Islamic terrorists. Israel could target Arab government personnel and minimize or avoid strikes against population entirely. Israel could pretend to liberate Muslims from corrupt governments whose secret services nurture the Islamic terrorists.
Killing a few Islamic terrorist leaders would not be enough to stop attacks on Israel. To shift Arab attention from the supposed honor of martyrdom to the assurance of imminent death, inconspicuous and unmemorable, Israel needs to kill scores of leading Islamic terrorists. Jewish public relations will also benefit from replacing murder with statistics: people accept many deaths easier than a few.
If Israel could not find a particular Islamic terrorist, Israel might proclaim an amnesty, abandon the search, and wait until he surrenders or commits suicide—and systematically destroy Arab villages and infrastructure with unavoidable Muslim civilian casualties from Israeli strikes until he does. That proven tactic would turn Arab populations against Islamic terrorists. Arabs will understand Israeli vengefulness.