Terrorism comprises the indiscriminate use of violence, whether direct or indirect, for political aims, and the Palestinian Authority is doing just that by claiming that Israel’s legitimate retaliation to the massacre of civilians is an attempt to stifle the PA’s September bid for statehood at the UN, and by equating Israeli self-defense with Palestinian terrorism. That these claims are patently false was confirmed by the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, which reported that Egyptian delegates delivered a message from Jerusalem to Hamas saying that Israel was only targeting in Gaza the elements responsible for the terror attack, and would immediately halt its strikes if rocket fire into Israel stopped. Therefore, instead of calling on its newly minted political partner, Hamas, to stop murdering Israelis with projectiles, the PA is wrongly, although expectedly, condemning Israel for a situation it could otherwise help to resolve—that is, if it wanted to, rather than manipulate tragedy to empower itself while further delegitimizing the Jewish state.
To fully conceptualize the ongoing violence in Israel, it is essential to view the events in the framework of Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.
Following the PA’s own eviction from Gaza, Hamas and associated terrorist organizations were left unabated to re-arm, and trench in. The result is that Gaza has effectively become an Iranian-sponsored military base whose lone ambition is the annihilation of Israel. This is not to say that Israel brought terror upon itself, but rather to show the correlation between ceding territory to sworn enemies and the potential deadly ramifications. The fact of the matter remains: the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks in Southern Israel gained access to the Sinai via the Philadelphi Corridor, situated along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, which was monitored and patrolled by Israeli forces prior to the 2005 disengagement.
One can only hope that by accentuating this connection policymakers in Israel will realize the dangers associated with the “land for peace formula”—that all Israel has ever received in return for territory is the spilled blood of its innocents. In this respect, perhaps those in power will forego future Israeli territorial withdrawals, in particular to the 1967 borders, as is presently being promoted by US President Barack Obama.
The security of millions of Israelis depends on it, and the memories of those who perished this week deserve nothing less.
For forgotten memories manifest in repeated anniversaries.
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