IDF reserves officer killed by stray fire during Palestinian knife attack
Captain (Res.) Eliav Gelman, 30, was killed by friendly fire in the midst of a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank on Wednesday afternoon, according to an IDF spokesman.
A soldier from an IDF unit securing the junction saw a Palestinian armed with a knife charging at Gelman, the spokesman said.
A soldier stationed at the junction fired at the assailant, striking both him and Gelman, an IDF spokeswoman said. She added that this assessment was based on an initial investigation of the incident.
Magen David Adom evacuated both the assailant and the reservist officer to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where Gelman died from a gunshot wound to the chest. The terrorist is in moderate condition.
Palestinian sources identified the attacker as 26-year-old Mamdouh Tousef Amru, from the village of Al-Majd west of the town of Dura in the Hebron area. The sources said that Amru is a math teacher in a school in the Hebron area.
Gelman was a resident of the Gush Etzion settlement of Karmei Tzur and grew up nearby in Kiryat Arba. A father of two boys, he had recently left a permanent job in the army to go into the private security industry. His wife Rinat is seven months pregnant.
He will be buried in the Kfar Etzion cemetery in Gush Etzion at 9:30 p.m.
President Reuven Rivlin spoke of the attack as he sat down to meet with Israeli-Arab leaders on the need for economic equity.
“There is no forgiveness for terrorism. There is no tolerance for terrorism. All those who sit here to denounce it vigorously. The fire of terrorism, which has given us so many victims, in the past six months, is also the fire that could ignite the bridge we trying to build here today. I send my condolences to the family,” Rivlin said.
The Gush Etzion junction where he was killed has been one of the violent flash-points in the Palestinian wave of terrorism against Israelis in the last five months.
To prevent such attacks, the IDF has made a number of changes to the junction, including placing metal polls by the bus stops to prevent vehicular attacks.
It has doubled the number of soldiers securing the area in recent months, placing soldiers at each bus stop and in front of the stores at the junction.
The IDF has also doubled the amount of units securing the area, as part of an effort to protect civilians.
Col. Roman Gofman, the recently appointed commander of the IDF’s Gush Etzion brigade, issued instructions for patrols to be stepped up around a gas station in the area in December, and in other areas prone to knife attacks.
After Wednesday’s attack Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) has demanded that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) suspend all Palestinian traffic to the Etzion Junction, which is a central artery for both Israeli and Palestinian vehicles in that region.
“It can’t be that Israeli citizens are murdered over and over again in the same spot and there is no proper security response,” said Ariel.
“I am in favor of easing restrictions on Palestinians but it is the basic obligation of the government to protect Israeli citizens and therefore we should stop Palestinian traffic on the roads leading to the intersection today,” he said.
“This is not a matter of punishment but instead a prevention of the murder of Jews,” added Ariel.
Over the past five months, 33 Israelis have been murdered and 311 wounded in the wave of Palestinian violence. Twenty-nine of those sustained serious injuries, eight were moderately to seriously wounded, and 214 lightly injured. (Jerusalem Post)
Number of Israelis injured by terrorism jumps 284% in 2015
In 2015, Israel saw a 284 percent increase in the number of injuries resulting from terror attacks compared to 2014, even though the number of actual attacks slightly lessened, according to figures released by the Shin Bet on Tuesday.
A total of 239 people were wounded in terror attacks in 2015, compared to 63 the year before, the agency said. The majority of the 2015 injuries, 174 of them, occurred in the final three months of the year, as part of the wave of violence that continues to rock the country.
Twenty-eight people were killed in 2015 terrorist attacks, as opposed to 20 fatalities in 2014. Four more people have been killed in attacks since the start of 2016.
The majority of last year’s fatalities occurred in attacks in the southern West Bank (12) and in Jerusalem (10). Two people were killed in Beersheba, two in Tel Aviv, and two in the northern West Bank.
Overall, 1,719 terror attacks were carried out in 2015, down from 1,793 in 2014.
In 2015, the Shin Bet, along with the army and police, arrested 3,100 Palestinians, a third of them Hamas members. Israel indicted 1,933 Palestinians for a variety of charges.
Security forces seized 143 rifles, 34 handguns, dozens of pipe bombs, tens of kilograms of explosive material, and shut down three bomb-making labs, according to the Shin Bet.
In addition, 41 Israeli citizens were arrested in 2015 for supporting the Islamic State.
There was no change in the number of Jewish terror attacks between 2014 and 2015 — 16 in both years. However, “there has been an increase in the severity of the attacks, and in the number of those injured, as a result of Jewish terror,” the Shin Bet stated, specifically noting the Duma firebombing attack, which left a Palestinian infant and his parents dead.
Three terror attacks were carried out by Arab Israelis in 2015. (The Times of Israel)
Possible Jerusalem attack thwarted: Two pipe bombs found at Herod’s Gate
Security forces prevented a possible attack Wednesday after locating two pipe bombs and bullets during searches at Herod’s Gate, which leads to the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, police reported.
Police said two suspects in their 40s have been arrested.
Sappers were called to the scene and neutralized the explosive devices.
Jerusalem Police deploy dozens of officers in and around the gates to the Old City.
There are currently around 4,000 police patrolling Jerusalem – including around 2,000 Border Policeman – as well as around 600 police from around the country sent in as reinforcements.
Police deployments at the flashpoint Damascus Gate came under scrutiny earlier this month, when 19-year-old Border Police officer Hadar Cohen was shot and killed while responding to an attack at the site carried out by three Palestinian men armed with guns, knives, and pipe bombs.
Border Police officers deployed in Jerusalem include both seasoned reservists and youths as young as Cohen performing their national service. (Jerusalem Post)
IDF destroys West Bank homes of two Palestinian terrorists
In an overnight operation, the IDF Engineering Corps unit early Tuesday destroyed the homes of two Palestinian terrorists who carried out separate attacks in November.
The West Bank home of Raid Khalil bin Mahmoud, 36, who murdered two Israelis and moderately wounded a third during a rampage in a southern Tel Aviv office building on November 19, was destroyed in the first operation of the evening.
Afterwards, the home of Muhammad al-Haroub, who killed three, including 18-year-old American student Ezra Schwartz, and wounded seven others, in a shooting attack in Gush Etzion, also on November 19, was torn down.
Also early Tuesday, security forces arrested 19 Palestinian suspects in West Bank raids, including seven who are suspected of taking part in disturbances and unorganized terrorism, the IDF said.
Units arrested three Hamas members in Beitunya, southwest of Ramallah, and a fourth in Ein Um A-Sarait, south of Ramallah.
Additionally, IDF units working with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Border Police, launched an operation to seize illegal weapons in Nablus.
Security forces located a lathe for producing arms, grenades, magazine clips and ammunition, and arrested seven terrorism suspects who were found to possess weapons in their home.
In another raid launched by the Menashe territorial division and the Sa’ar Battalion (of the 188 Armored Brigade), soldiers found two handguns and three commando knives, as well as a grenade, an ammunition clip and IDF vests. (Jerusalem Post)
2,000 Ukrainian olim arrive in Israel via ‘Freedom Flight’
With smiling faces and tears in their eyes, 116 new immigrants arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday from Ukraine as part of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews’ Freedom Flight program.
Many came from war-torn zones bordering Russia, where violence between Russians and Ukrainians has caused thousands of Jews to flee. The olim who arrived have witnessed much violence, and those who lived away from the violence still felt its reverberations.
For this reason, the Freedom Flight program was created, airlifting 2,365 Jews to Israel since December 2014. Through the program, olim receive financial and bureaucratic assistance, as well as guidance before and after aliya, according to Ofer Dahan, the IFCJ’s director of aliya and absorption who accompanied Tuesday’s group from Kiev. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the IFCJ, said the program helps Ukrainian Jews make aliya “to rescue their physical bodies from peril, and to return them to the Jewish Homeland.”
Dmytro and Lyudmila Prokopochych and their four children, ranging in age from four to 18, were among the IFCJ’s new arrivals and can attest to being rescued from peril. Though not motivated to leave due to separatist violence, they had many other reasons.
Up until a few years ago, the family lived in Kiev, but then moved to a small village in order to care for an ailing grandmother. As Jews who know Russian, the Prokopochych’s oldest children were targeted with intense anti-Semitic and anti-Russian violence at school.
The eldest daughters, Mariya, almost 18, and Oleksandra, 15, both suffered injuries, including concussions, on numerous occasions while school authorities encouraged the incitement.
“The kids beat them at school in front of the teacher. The teacher herself also called them ‘separatists,’” Dmytro said.
On top of the violence, work was sparse and the family was subsisting on $50 a month from Dmytro’s job as a physical rehabilitation therapist and Lyudmila’s job as a car mechanic.
Reporting the school violence to police could have affected their jobs.
Standing with 2 modest carts of luggage, the family of six stood out in contrast to many of the others who arrived with huge piles of luggage – the IFCJ program charters its own flights to allow olim to be able to bring more items.
“This is everything we have,” Dmytro said.
The family was happy to leave as soon as they heard of the Freedom Flight program. Both parents and children responded that they are looking forward to starting fresh in Israel and having a chance to “live in dignity.” They will be living in Haifa, where it will be easier for Dmytro to get re-certified in his profession.
Before their flight, the IFCJ helped the families pack and transport their belongings to the airport and provided preparation seminars on what to expect in Israel. During the first year of aliya, an IFCJ member helps them navigate bureaucracy, find jobs, enroll in school and even does home inspections to make sure families have all necessary appliances and furniture.
If not, the program makes sure they get it.
Dahan said he hopes this program will serve as a model on how to treat all people who decide to make aliya. (Jerusalem Post)
Netanyahu: Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel
Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in welcoming visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to his Jerusalem office.
Kenyatta arrived in Israel on Monday for a three-day state visit, the first by a Kenyan president since 1994.
Netanyahu characterized as “remarkable” the relationship between the two countries that goes back “over half a century.” He pointed out that Kenyatta’s father Jomo, the founder of Kenya, “demonstrated that friendship most dramatically 40 years ago in helping Israel in the raid on Entebbe.”
Kenyatta allowed Israeli planes to refuel in his country during the 1976 rescue of the hostages in neighboring Uganda.
“We have since developed a relationship in many areas,” Netanyahu said, noting that he and Kenyatta speak regularly on the telephone.
The first area of cooperation, he said, “is our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism.” Kenya is fighting against the al-Qaida al-Shabaab terrorist organization active in east Africa.
“Both our peoples have suffered casualties at the hands of these brutal terrorists,” the premier said of the Islamic extremists.
“We have no illusions about them. They want to murder our people, and we know that this is a common battle that we share with you.”
Netanyahu said that Israel, which already provides training and security assistance to Kenya, is “prepared to do a great deal more. In fact Israel is willing and prepared to work with Africa in our common battle against militant Islamic terrorism.”
Netanyahu said that more and more African countries are realizing that they have a partner in Israel in their fight against terrorism. Likewise, he added, Israel is willing to work together with Kenya and the rest of Africa in many other spheres as well, including agriculture, irrigation, and technology.
“You are in many ways leading this direction,” Netanyahu said to his guest. “And I welcome that not merely in the context of our relationship with Kenya, but in our relationship with the countries of Africa.”
Kenyatta, in his remarks, called this a “historic visit,” and said that both countries live in “challenging neighborhoods” and share similar security concerns.
“The cooperation between our countries since the time of our independence has been formidable, and we look forward that this particular trip will even strengthen those ties in the the future,” he said.
Kenyatta met President Reuven Rivlin prior to his meeting with Netanyahu. (Jerusalem Post)
Dead Sea scrolls to be digitized in new Israeli-German collaboration
Computer scientists and Dead Sea Scroll scholars are beginning a new project in which they will upload the Dead Sea Scrolls to a special digital working environment. This will enable more in-depth study of the scrolls and better innovative analyses and insights into the ancient manuscripts seventy years since the discovery of the scrolls in 1946.
The new project will develop advanced digital tools to help identify connections between the thousands of tiny biblical scroll fragments and manuscripts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It aims to create a dynamic virtual work environment that will enable the production and publication of a new generation of updatable digital editions of the scrolls.
The program will also offer paleographic tools and an alignment tool connecting text and image that will enable simple transitions between different databases. Readers will be able to access the original text of the scroll, up-to-date translations, high-resolution images, dictionary entries, and parallel texts.
The project will enable scholars around the world to work together simultaneously on an enhanced hands-on virtual workspace. It will also serve as a new platform for the collaborative production and publication of new editions of the scrolls.
The collaborative research partnership will link the Qumran-Lexicon project of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Germany) with the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Computer scientists, Dead Sea Scroll scholars, and experts from the IAA, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, and the Göttingen Academy will all be involved. The partnership received EUR 1.6 million in funding from the German-Israeli Project Cooperation program and is administered by the German Research Foundation.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of hundreds of biblical texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek discovered between the years 1946-1956 in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea. The scrolls date back to the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE and are considered to be the third oldest surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. (Ynet News)
Stop using apartheid for your own agenda
A fascinating feature of the country is its patriotism, seen with the presence of the Israeli flag in every part of the country, even in Tel Aviv.
By Lesiba Bapela The Jerusalem Post
There is a difference between somebody who is exposed and someone who is informed. I recently took part in an educational tour to Israel and Palestine. This was a remarkable exposure trip, co-ordinated by South African Israel Forum.
I am now in a good space to distinguish between the Israeli and Palestinian narratives and I realize that the aim was not to make me (and fellow young leaders) pro-Israel, but rather for us to be more exposed to a narrative that is not often heard in South Africa.
Like many other colonized countries, Israel was liberated in 1948 from the British system. However, from the year of liberation onwards, there have been severe conflicts between Israel and its neighboring countries, and in later years, between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. I was surprised to find that Israel has made peace with most of its former adversaries; however, the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have proven to be very challenging and complex for both parties.
A fascinating feature of the country is its patriotism, seen with the presence of the Israeli flag in every part of the country, even in Tel Aviv (the financial capital and economic hub of the country).
The Israeli sense of patriotism and cultural desire to better its society, no matter the race, gender, religion or political affiliation of its citizens became very evident to us, wherever we went. I went to Israel expecting to witness an apartheid state, but I immediately understood that I had been misled.
During my trip, something became very clear to me: the current conflict is more religious than political. Lack of knowledge yields obtuse decisions and thinking, but I am truly inspired to have explored institutions of higher learning in Israel, wherein lie the element of peace and hope for the country’s stability.
I have noted that these Israeli universities are products of diversity and unity, yielding an environment full of tolerance. Institutions of higher learning, and students in general, are in search of, and are partaking in, a common fight for a peaceful solution.
Another observation I made during the trip was the vast difference between Israeli and Palestinian cities. In Israeli communities and kibbutzim, people embrace respect, social norms and communal values, largely promoting peace and coexistence.
However, in Palestinian cities and the Kalandia refugee camp, in Ramallah, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the modus operandi is completely different. Many people there do not practice what they preach in the media. They believe that the radical political influence of Hamas violence toward Israeli Jews is the defining factor for their liberation, according to their own right. As they openly expressed to us, they believe that the country should have Palestinians as first-class citizens and Israelis as second-class citizens. Moreover, I can say that there will never be two bulls in one kraal, hence, a two-state co-existence seems almost impossible for both countries, at this point in time.
I am not a Christian, nor am I religiously affiliated, but I am inspired by Christians, particularly the Bible Church that seeks to promote the difference and importance of culture, tradition, politics; using the Bible as the navigator to peace. Clearly, even if like myself you are not a believer, you can be open-minded enough to learn that stability within the region requires more than just religious intervention.
I was inspired by the Palestinian Christian population in their approach toward peace with Israelis and their willingness, unlike Muslim nationalists, to lay down arms and denounce violence against others.
In summary, “variety is the spice of life,” thus I believe that people should not rely on what is portrayed and projected by the media, because, when it comes to Israel, it presents one-sided information and propaganda. I recommend that other South Africans take the time and make the effort to ensure that they visit Israel and Palestine, or at least make the effort to investigate both sides, before making decisions about Israel.
I decided to write this article because I, personally, will no longer allow other people to use our tragedy, as the survivors of apartheid, for their own agenda.
Knowledge is power and instead of being a victim of misinformation, I intend to be an ambassador of peace in this very complex and difficult conflict.
Your sense of solidarity should be informed. And the problems between Israel and Palestine should never be compared to South African Apartheid; the current conflict is completely different: it is not a racial conflict and from my perspective, it is far more religious than it is political.
The author is All Faculty Council chairperson of the University of the Witwatersrand Student Representative Council.
Thinking the unthinkable: What if the Palestinian Arabs don’t want a state of their own?
Maybe, after all, the Palestinian Arabs prefer to be a central cause in international diplomacy rather than run the risk of becoming a marginal state?
by Yoav Tenembaum The Jerusalem Post
In the July 1978 issue of the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, under the headline, “Thinking the Unthinkable: A Sovereign Palestinian State,” Walid Khalidi argues a case for a Palestinian state as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Paraphrasing that headline, let us try to argue the case for the unthinkable: that the Palestinian Arabs, at least as for now, do not want a state of their own.
What if the Palestinian Arabs do not want a state of their own? What if the widely-held premise about Palestinian aspirations is wrong? That the Palestinian Arabs do not want a state of their own is a statement that may appear as a contradiction in terms. Still, let us elaborate on it. Let’s argue this case to its ultimate conclusions.
The Palestinian Arabs have received a prominent place in international diplomacy, rarely accorded to stateless people.
There is hardly a United Nations General Assembly resolution hostile to Israel that does not muster an overwhelming majority of votes. A resolution which is highly critical of Israel can be expected to be endorsed in most international organizations.
Any incident that occurs which involves the Palestinian Arabs and Israel features prominently in most international news networks. The Palestinian Arabs are usually portrayed as victims in their protracted conflict with Israel. Further, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority are received by most world leaders as welcome guests.
No non-state entity has ever received so much support in so many international organizations as the PA has. The Palestinian plight, even where the more extreme factions are involved, such as Hamas, gets much international backing accompanied by censure of Israeli policies.
Any attempt by Israel to defend itself against violent attacks perpetrated on its civilian population only helps to enhance the image of the Palestinian Arabs as victims, as has happened on numerous occasions.
The Palestinian cause has received an unequalled degree of attention and support.
The assumption would be that the Palestinian Arabs prefer to be international stars, playing the role of eternal victims, who can always blame Israel for all their problems – real and imaginary. Now, let me ask you: why on earth would the Palestinian leadership, whether in the West Bank or in Gaza, wish to discontinue the present situation? Why would it ever want to set up a state? Establishing a state means assuming responsibility. It also means that the people living in it are no longer seen by the outside world as victims of an external power. There is a limit to the extent to which blame can be apportioned to an outside factor for the emerging problems.
As a sovereign state, outside economic aid and diplomatic support would be as much a result of how its leaders govern as of the self-portrayed image of weakness.
As a state, the Palestinian cause would become a memory in international diplomacy.
A Palestinian state would be just another state. Any success accrued to it would be a corollary of its own efforts, and not merely of the pity and sympathy it is able to elicit from international public opinion.
A Palestinian state might be just another Gabon (with all due respect to it). Why would the Palestinian Arabs, now accustomed to being persona grata world-wide, wish to become just another Gabon? The Palestinian agenda in the international arena might get the attention accorded to that of a country like Guatemala (with all due respect to it). Why would the Palestinian Arabs, who are used to having a cause which is in the limelight of international diplomacy, wish their agenda to descend to the level of a country such as Guatemala? When Israel withdrew its armed forces and its inhabitants from the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Arabs could have established an entity enjoying ample outside aid and support. Gaza could have become a model of economic development and social progress for a future Palestinian state. It didn’t. Gaza was transformed into a major terrorist base. Within the Palestinian political camp, a brutal campaign by Hamas against Fatah took place, helping Hamas establish an Islamic dictatorship.
Strife and hate persevered over peace and progress.
For Hamas, the objective of eradicating Israel from the face of the earth was more important than establishing a model entity in the road to full statehood.
The West Bank, which is still ruled by the PA, has not experienced a similar fate to that of Gaza due primarily to the presence of the Israeli security services.
Otherwise, the leadership of the PA might have been brutally killed, as their Fatah brothers were in Gaza.
It might be argued that an independent Palestinian state could have been established in the West Bank and Gaza had the Palestinian Arabs been willing to reach a fair and balanced compromise with Israel. The late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and the late Jordanian king Hussein have shown clearly and unequivocally that once the Israelis are convinced of their enemies’ sincere wish to live in peace, public opinion suddenly supports compromises hitherto deemed to be unacceptable.
So, maybe the obstacle to an agreement is in essence the refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to have a state of their own, and not only to live side by side with a Jewish state? Contrary to what we were led to believe, the Palestinian Arabs perhaps prefer to remain under the international spotlight, as stars in the diplomatic arena, portraying themselves as permanent victims of Israeli oppression and enjoying unprecedented backing world-wide. They do not wish to leap into the unknown. They are not willing to assume sovereign responsibility, with all the difficulties that it entails.
Maybe, after all, the Palestinian Arabs prefer to be a central cause in international diplomacy rather than run the risk of becoming a marginal state?
The author is lecturer in the Diplomacy Studies Program at Tel Aviv University.
How not to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Some policies are guaranteed to make things worse
By Clifford D. May The Washington Times
Imagine that your mission is to make sure the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians does not get resolved — not even now, a time when self-proclaimed jihadis are wreaking havoc throughout much of the Middle East and, as a consequence, Israel’s relations with Egypt, Jordan and even Saudi Arabia are improving. What policies might help you accomplish your mission?
Start with an idea the French have been floating: Convene a “peace conference,” announcing in advance that if progress isn’t made, the Israeli side will be held responsible and the Palestinian side will be rewarded. No crystal ball needed to predict how that will turn out.
Second, demand that Israelis “end the occupation” and don’t say what you think they’re occupying — whether it’s specific territories or every square inch of Israeli soil. Also, ignore the fact that Israelis, more than a decade ago, withdrew from Gaza, relinquishing claims to a territory they had taken from Egypt in a defensive war, a territory which earlier had been ruled by Britain and for centuries before that was a backwater of the Ottoman Empire.
Gaza is currently ruled by Hamas, a Palestinian organization openly committed to exterminating Israel through jihad. Toward that end, Hamas has fired thousands of missiles into Israel and, in recent years, has been digging terrorist tunnels. No problem: Justify that as “resistance.”
When Israelis respond to such attacks, Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields. Blame Israel for that, too. You’ll be surprised how many people nod their heads. And you’ll be encouraging Hamas to continue this lethal, immoral and illegal practice. Don’t feel bad about that. Abetting the anti-peace process is not supposed to be a picnic.
It will be helpful, too, if you insist that Fatah, which rules the West Bank, is trying hard to achieve a modus vivendi with Israel even as its leaders incite terrorism (for example, by charging that Israelis threaten the al Aqsa Mosque, which Israelis actually protect and long ago placed under Muslim authority) and heap honors upon Palestinian teenagers who stab Israelis in the streets. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has for years refused to negotiate with Israelis. Ignore that. Almost everyone else does.
If you do get specific and demand that Israel end its occupation of the West Bank (territory ruled by Jordan until Jordan attacked Israel in 1967) you should pretend not to know that an Israeli withdrawal in the absence of security guarantees will lead to terrorists using the hills overlooking the Mediterranean coast to lob missiles and mortars into Tel Aviv as well as at Israel’s international airport.
To defend themselves, Israelis will have to return fire or send troops back into the West Bank. That will to result in high body counts on both sides. If asked about this, say, “You’re just speculating” or “Well, risks have to be taken.”
One more suggestion: Support BDS, which stands for boycott, divest and sanction, a campaign to demonize Israel and persuade governments and corporations to wage economic warfare against the world’s only Jewish state.
BDS advocates relentlessly throw mud at Israel in the not-unreasonable conviction that some will stick. For example, they delight in calling Israel an “apartheid” state when, in truth, Muslim citizens of Israel are guaranteed rights unavailable to Muslims — much less minorities — in any of the world’s Muslim-majority countries. “Apartheid” means separate. Perversely, BDS advocates are trying to separate Israelis and Palestinians, not least by shutting down enterprises where they work together.
Senior leaders of the BDS campaign such as Omar Barghouti reject any possibility of a Palestinian state peacefully coexisting alongside a Jewish state. “We oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine,” he has candidly declared. Nevertheless, you should maintain that BDS aims at achieving a “two-state solution.” Most people won’t recognize the discrepancy.
As a BDS advocate you’ll need to turn a blind eye to the atrocities being perpetrated against Arabs and Muslims (and Christians, Yazidis and others) just beyond Israel’s borders. Israel is and must remain Public Enemy No. 1 — that’s the BDS story and you need to stick to it.
Plenty of people will buy it — though not everyone. There are those who understand how anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism have become intertwined. Just as the goal of radical anti-Semitism in the 20th century was a Europe without Jews, the goal of radical anti-Semitism in the 21st century is a Middle East without a Jewish state. In both cases, murder, economic warfare and propaganda are means to that end.
A growing and bipartisan list of members of Congress sees BDS for what it is. In recent days, they’ve begun to enact legislation intended to discourage anti-Israeli trade and commercial practices, for example by authorizing the U.S. Trade Representative to re-evaluate economic relations with any EU countries that support boycotting Israel.
Legislatures in Illinois and South Carolina have passed — also with strong bipartisan backing — laws penalizing companies that discriminate against Israelis. Similar measures are pending in other states.
There’s even been some rethinking internationally: Anti-BDS bills or resolutions have passed in Canada, France, Spain and Britain. The Europe Union may be backing away from punitively labeling products made in Israel and Israeli-controlled territories.
The vast majority of Israelis would be willing to help Palestinians achieve statehood in such territories — if an agreement can be reached ensuring that independence is celebrated with fireworks exploding in the skies rather than missiles exploding in Israeli villages.
Imagine that your mission is to make such an agreement elusive for as long as possible. You know what you have to do. And perhaps now you also know who else is doing it.