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What would you do?

Posted by Richard on July 14, 2006

Imagine you’re an Israeli Jew, maybe a resident of Haifa. Maybe you, or your parents or grandparents, fled to Israel from Baghdad or Amman or Cairo more than half a century ago to escape persecution. All of your life, peace and security have been pressing issues. There was always the threat of all-out war, of course, but the day-to-day routine terrorist attacks were the real burden.

In the early years, Palestinian terrorists attacked with guns, shooting as many people as they could — schoolchildren if possible — before attempting to escape. Israel countered by arming large numbers of its citizens, and such attacks became less and less successful.

In response, the Palestinians adopted a new tactic: suicide bombings. They apparently really do love death, as they proudly proclaim. This tactic was terribly effective and difficult to stop. Over time, you and your fellow Israelis simply learned to live with a certain level of random horror.

Recently, though, the situation seemed to improve. Sure, a market, bus, or restaurant occasionally blew up, and you might be unlucky and be in it at the time. Or you might arrive a few minutes later to see the mangled bodies and pieces of flesh in the rubble. But the number of suicide bombings had declined precipitously, especially since large sections of The Wall went up and the Gaza border was secured. You were feeling safer and safer in your day-to-day activities.

In response, however, the Palestinians seemed to be adopting yet another new tactic. This time, maybe two. First, they lobbed more and more rockets into random targets, initially from the safe haven of Gaza, and then from Lebanon as well. They bragged about having thousands and thousands of rockets — and their friends in Tehran, Damascus, and Ryadh will surely buy them more.

But the Palestinians’ second new tactic was the real chiller: kidnappings. Carried out regularly and routinely, on even a modest scale, kidnappings could be a terribly effective terror weapon, in many ways more so than suicide bombings. They leave the friends and families of the victims — and by empathy, every caring person in the country — on the hook day after day after day — hoping, fearing, despairing. They tie up all kinds of military and police resources trying to locate and rescue the victims. And after milking the situation for all the agony they can cause, the terrorists can indulge their murderous, barbaric natures and return their victims’ bodies in this condition to further traumatize the population.

So imagine you’re that Jew in Haifa, huddled in your bomb shelter in case of more Iranian missiles. You’re thinking about the future. It’s not the immediate hostilities that you’re worried about. You’re pretty confident of the IDF’s ability to bring the current intense fighting to a successful conclusion, unless too hobbled by the timidity of the politicians.

No, you’re thinking about what life in Israel will be like over the next 2, 5, 10 years — however long the nation has to put up with a certain level of random rocket and missile strikes, and routine kidnappings and tortures, ending in butchery. However long dismembered bodies on the streets will be something you just have to learn to live with.

Imagine you’re that Jew in Haifa — what would you do?

I know what I’d do. I’d contact every elected official I could reach, every newspaper, TV station, and radio program, every blog and forum. I’d be saying as forcefully as I could to anyone who’d listen: Do not let these new tactics continue for years like the suicide bombings. Do whatever it takes to nip this in the bud, to stop these animals now.

Whatever it takes. 

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