Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Report from Israel: Netanyahu gets tough?

After an upsurge of terror attacks by Arabs against Jews over the last six days that left at least 5 Jews murdered, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced tough new measures to try to stop future attacks (Hezki Ezra, “Netanyahu: No work permits for terrorists' families”, Arutz Sheva, November 23, 2015). Netanyahu also insisted that the IDF and Israeli government were tackling terror head-on (ibid)—and would continue to do so.

During a visit to Gush Etzion (near Hevron), site of multiple attacks against Jews, Netanyahu spelled out some of the actions he has authorized. For example, he suggested that he’s unleashed the IDF.

For some Jews, that sounds like empty political rhetoric, aimed at comforting his Right-leaning base. Next week, many of these measures (below) could be aborted--because of international pressure. But for now, these measures do appear to have teeth.

For example, the IDF enters Palestinian Authority (PA) villages. It enters PA towns. It goes into PA homes. It’s making widespread arrests (ibid). Yes, it’s been doing some of this for several weeks (Judah Ari Gross, “More crackdowns are just more of the same”, Times of Israel, November 24, 2015). But the tempo of incursions appears to have increased.

Netanyahu’s announcement was made November 23, 2015. By November 24, 2015, Arabs in the PA began to see what Netanyahu meant.

Within a matter of hours (after the announcement), the IDF sent small convoys of IDF vehicles (Humvees and trucks) into at least five PA Arab villages and one PA ‘refugee camp’, the names of which most Israelis have never heard of: Idhna, Deir Samit, Beit Awwa, al-Muwarraq, Tarusa and the ‘refugee camp’, al-Arrub (“Israeli forces raid Palestinian homes across Hebron district”, Ma’an News Agency, November 23, 2015).

IDF soldiers deployed into these villages. They searched homes. They issued home demolition orders. They searched ‘municipality’ buildings. They closed village entrance roads. They arrested several PA men (ibid).

The IDF set up flying checkpoints. it closed or blocked a number of roads. It established curfews (ibid).

Meanwhile, at about the same time these activities unfolded, the IDF used live fire to respond to riots in the Ramallah and Tulkarem (PA) districts (“8 Palestinians shot, injured with live fire during West Bank clashes”, Ma’an News Agency, November 23, 2015). 

At the Nablus checkpoint, the IDF used live fire again. A 16-year old Arab boy, upon approaching the checkpoint, drew a knife and attempted to stab a soldier. The soldier shot him dead ("Palestinian teen shot dead after alleged stabbing at Nablus checkpoint”, Ma’an News Agency, November 23, 2015). 

Next day, November 24, 2015, the IDF went into Hevron city, the village of Dura and two ‘refugee camps’,  al-Arrub and al-Fawwar. (“Israeli detention campaign continues across Hebron district”, Ma’an News Agency, November 24, 2015). It also went into Nablus (“Israeli forces detain 5 in Nablus, close crucial checkpoints”, Ma’an News Agency, ibid). IDF soldiers detained several people and were said to have ‘ransacked’ several homes (ibid). On at least one occasion, clashes broke out between Arabs and the IDF. Again, the IDF fired live rounds (ibid).

By mid-afternoon November 24th, Israeli security forces had killed three Arabs who had attacked Jews. These Arabs were all 16 years old (“Palestinian shot, injured after alleged car attack injures 4 Israelis”, Ma’an News Agency, November 24, 2015). 

These IDF actions are harsh. They're intrusive. They're disruptive. If this pressure keeps up (some Israelis believe it won’t), life for PA Arabs could get very uncomfortable. 

The convulsive terror attacks we see against Jews began in earnest in mid-September (on September 13, 2015). These attacks have harmed Arabs far more than it has harmed Jews. For example, according to official Israeli sources (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), between October 1 – November 24, 2015, 21 Jews were murdered, 189 wounded (“Wave of Terror, October-November 2015”, November 24, 2015). By contrast, unofficial ‘Palestinian’ sources claim that, between October and November 11, 2015, 82 Arabs were killed, and more than 8,500 injured (“Health Ministry: “83 Palestinians Killed Since October 1”, International Middle East Media Center, November 12, 2015). Please note that Arabs in this region tend to exaggerate facts.

Nevertheless, for the PA, October was still horrific. It was the deadliest month since the Second Intifada, which ended in 2005 (“8 Palestinians shot…”above).

We don't know if Israel will keep up the pressure. But we do know that PA leadership doesn’t care how many Arabs are harmed or killed. It doesn’t care how many homes are ‘ransacked’. It keeps on inciting.

At a recent funeral for yet two more Arabs killed in clashes with the IDF, speakers shrieked for the extermination of the Jews (Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Prayer for extermination of Jews at funeral of 2 Palestinians”, Palestinian Media Watch, November 23, 2015). They called out, “Strike the Jews... kill them to the last one" (ibid).

Where do you think that’s going to lead?

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