Wednesday, September 28, 2005

One Murder and Five Years Later

Yesterday marked the Palestinian anniversary of five years since Intifada II began. Yay - break out the bubbly and the balloons. A few weeks ago, optimists among us may have thought we were about to begin disengagement from this horror movie. Amazing really how often they show repeats of some episodes these days!

It is all so deja vu that it truly is verging on ridiculous. Have a read of the Palestinian rhetoric. Sad sad sad. Makes me really sad! I'm not just sad for myself or for Israelis. Even if the horizon does not look so pretty right now and it is bearing down on us far too quickly, I am still committed to feeling sorry for the Palestinians too. Why do their leaders, diplomats and terrorists persist on raising expectations. Why do they play with the emotions of a people, who like us, have suffered so much? Where is the willingness to embrace reality and reciprocity. Israel has begun to do so and it has caused a tsunami of painful bubble bursting nationwide. It needs to happen in Palestinian society too.

Why should it ever happen though? I mean, is there really any pressure on them to seal the new weapons flow from Egypt or the rocket fire or the planning for suicide bombings? For decades the UN has flirted with the Palestinian victim card on the diplomatic poker table. The Arab media provides their readers and viewers with such misleading and false reports and paints a picture of Palestinian victimhood, weak and occupied and yet able to defeat the IDF - apparently! How could any Palestinian ever be swayed to seek peace over war and negotiation over terror? Why should they when Arab states provide them with the green light and the resources for terror? Why would they when al-Qaeda and other terrorist support is allowed to freely enter Gaza?

For me, answers sometimes come in small packages - small but treasured packages. The murder of Sasson Nuriel may not have caught the world headlines as it should have. Had it done so, they might now have a better understanding of the inherent problems in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

What bothers me about this story is not only the arrogant, horrific and non-humane way by which Hamas dealt with this family man, but the relationship that in fact existed between him and Palestinians. The much less common murder of one's Palestinian colleagues and workers by Jews is equally horrific.

This is not the first time that Palestinians have murdered the person who actually provides them with business and income. Why do they persist on cutting off their nose to spite their face? Like the Gaza woman who recently tried to blow up the Israeli hospital that was treating her for burns. Why amputate the hand that feeds you? Here lies one of the greatest obstacles to peace. If they kill those who cooperate and work with them, there can never be trust. You can not complain about occupation and poverty on the one hand and then hurt those who do business with you.

The very fact that these 'hostage videos' have become so popular worldwide is a sad illustration of the world's morality. Why do we allow ourselves to become immune to such horrors? Why do we wait for buildings to fall and trains to explode before we take action?

What action to take is always controversial. The way I see it, while military action risks the creation of greater anger and extremism, terrorists will always make their own justification for launching attacks, just as Hamas did so misleadingly last week.

Israel has now embarked on what I see as a military strategy unlinked to internal Likud battles. As is being repeated daily, post-Disengagement brings new rules and Israel will not hesitate a moment longer. Defence Minister Mofaz says terror from Gaza will be stopped - period. He and his compatriots are using tough, direct and uncompromising threats that we have not witnessed for some time. Israel only ever used about 2% of its real strength in the last five years. Something tells me that from Peres to Sharon and everyone in-between, there is very little patience remaining and the IDF will now do the PAs job while they refuse or are unable to do so.
Where to from here then? The good news is that we 'only' lost as many to terror in the last year as the UK did. (Isn't that ironic?!!) Though no room for bubbly and chocolate cake here either, other than congratulating the IDF and police (which Haaretz did not!) on stopping the countless attempts to undermine our constant struggle for peace.

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