The past few weeks in Israel have been among the most vexing and upsetting in recent memory. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a multiplicity of attacks, as the Palestinians continue to wage a campaign of terror and violence fueled by primal hatred.
As I write these words, a Jewish family in Tzfat is mourning their 21-year-old daughter, Hadar Buchris, who was brutally stabbed to death Sunday by a Palestinian in Gush Etzion. Buchris had recently returned from a trip abroad, and was on her way to study Torah at a religious women’s seminary in Bat Ayin when her life was abruptly cut short.
Sadly, her family is not the only one in recent weeks to see their world come crashing down on them.
Enough already! It is time for this madness to end, and for Israel to undertake a comprehensive counterterrorism campaign to restore a basic sense of security to the nation’s streets.
Since the beginning of October, the Palestinians have carried out 70 stabbing attacks, 10 shootings and 10 car rammings, all with the aim of murdering and maiming as many Jews as possible.
But even those statistics only tell part of the story.
Numbers are curious things. Sometimes they conceal more than they reveal, providing us with a cold and narrow glimpse of the truth while obscuring all the sentiment and emotion of the situation. And yet, on occasion, figures can also encapsulate a state of affairs, telling us much of what we need to know in a concise and formulaic manner. And this, I believe, is exactly one of those cases.
According to Israel’s General Security Service (GSS), also known as the Shin Bet, October saw the greatest number of monthly terrorist attacks in Yerushalayim and Yehudah and Shomron in the past nine years.
It may seem difficult to fathom, but the GSS counted a total of 602 attacks last month. Yes, you read that correctly: 602 attacks — stonings, firebombings and other assaults — just in the 31 days of October. That averages out to nearly 20 attacks a day, every day, over a one-month period.
During that same interval, more Israelis were wounded than in all of 2014 or 2013.
No nation in the world would tolerate such a situation, and neither should Israel.
What these numbers tell us quite clearly is that Palestinian terror continues to strike at a breathtaking pace, and the measures adopted by the Israeli government have thus far failed to stem the tidal wave of violence.
This simply cannot continue.
The first thing Israel needs to do is to muzzle the daily incitement being spewed by the Palestinians, whether via newspapers, radio, television or social media. There is no reason that Palestinian news outlets, which foment violence, laud terrorists and create a hostile and threatening environment should be allowed to continue to function. Freedom of the press does not — and must not — include the freedom to instigate murder.
In addition, much harsher measures must be taken to deter Palestinians from waking up in the morning and deciding to go on a stabbing spree. These could include stripping their family members of residency rights, demolishing their homes, denying their loved ones the right to visit or work in Israel, and other such steps.
Moreover, the Jewish state should create a direct linkage between Palestinian actions and Israeli reactions so that the terrorists know they cannot act with impunity. For example, every time a Palestinian carries out an attack, Israel should impose immediate curbs on Palestinian agriculture and commerce, so that every Palestinian will know that if he or she engages in violence, it will result in harm to the Palestinian economy. Furthermore, if Israel were to declare that every Palestinian attack would instantly result in the issuance of building permits for Jewish housing construction in Yehudah and Shomron, it would send a clear message to the Palestinians that terror will only hurt their own cause.
Finally, Israel needs to give the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah an ultimatum: if you don’t put an end to the terror campaign, then we will.
As Winston Churchill rightly noted, “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”
And what is necessary now is for Israel to protect itself and its people, b’Siyata d’Shmaya, and do whatever it takes to stop the daily onslaught of Palestinian violence.