Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Real Palestinian Terrorist Threat

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The Real Terrorist Threat

by Elliot Chodoff, from Middle east think tank Middle East on Target. Reprinted with permission.

Yesterday’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv that killed 9 underscores a number of issues, many of which have been wrongly emphasized in the media in recent months.
The Tel Aviv attack was the first successful attack by the terrorist organizations in the past few weeks. This period has been labeled “relatively quiet,” implying that the terrorist organizations have reduced their attempts to launch attacks against Israel. The myth has been taken to the extreme with the assertion that Hamas has moderated its positions as a result of its entry into Palestinian politics, a sign that it is becoming a responsible political organization ready to take on the task of leading the Palestinians after its election victory.

The facts are somewhat at odds with the media myths. Terrorists’ attempts to attack Israel are ongoing and are being prevented by the effective intervention of the IDF and other Israeli security organizations. Occasionally however, the terrorists will succeed, as they did yesterday. While it is true that Hamas has not succeeded in launching a suicide attack in over a year, this is because the IDF has intercepted or disrupted them, and not for lack of trying. This is hardly a reason for optimism concerning Hamas’ moderation, past, present or future.

The Kassam rockets that the terrorists have been firing from Gaza are potentially dangerous weapons, but they do not constitute the real threat that needs to be directly and immediately confronted by the IDF. This is not to say that the Kassam firings do not constitute acts of aggression that should be dealt with as part of the overall war with the terrorists (and we utterly reject the characterization of the Kassams as “homemade” as if that somehow renders them harmless), but rather that the IDF is correct in dedicating its manpower and resources to stopping suicide bombers and other types of more lethal terrorism. More innocent people were killed in yesterday’s attack than by all the Kassam rockets fired in the past three years.

There should be no further doubt that Hamas is a terrorist organization (we haven’t ever doubted it, but apparently some people need more convincing). The victory in the PA elections did nothing to soften the organization’s stance on the need to destroy Israel or the method by which to accomplish the task, as yesterday’s support for the attack by the PA spokesperson illustrated. In fact, there was no reason for Hamas to change its positions: it ran for office as a radical Islamic terrorist organization, and that is why the people voted for it.

Abu Mazen’s condemnation of the attack notwithstanding, Fatah is as much a terrorist organization as Hamas. Both Islamic Jihad and El Aksa Martyrs Brigade (a Fatah subsidiary) took responsibility for the attack. While it is likely that Islamic Jihad was behind it, Fatah has been trying desperately to launch a successful attack since the Hamas election victory. Taking credit for someone else’s success is the next best thing, but this does not mean that Fatah will now become a pacifist organization. Once again, the Hamas victory has improved the electoral chances of the more active and successful terrorist organizations.

The suicide terrorist was 16 years old, despite the fact that the terrorists (and the NY Times) added five years to his age. Evidently even the Jihadists understand that it will be difficult to accuse Israel of killing Palestinian children when the terrorist organizations are the primary killers of Palestinian children. Of course, this fact will not prevent Amnesty International for listing the terrorist as a child victim of the conflict, and hold Israel accountable. If Hamas can get away with it, so can Amnesty.

It is high time that the Israeli leadership realizes that Israel is at war with the PA and it should behave accordingly. There should be no direct response or retaliation for yesterday’s attack. Instead of ordering meaningless retaliatory strikes, which waste ammunition and convince the terrorists that the IDF is impotent, the Israeli government needs to declare that the PA is a terrorist entity dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish State. The appropriate action under the circumstances is to fight the war in a fashion that indicates that Israel is serious about both fighting it and winning it, by use of all means at Israel’s disposal, military, economic and diplomatic. IDF raids were both effective and appropriate before Hamas came to power, but the situation has since deteriorated; Israeli policy needs to be adjusted as well. beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Related articles from Middle East-on Target:
Amona Investigation Farce
Moderate Analysis of Hamas
Israelis Move to the Center
Initial Effects of Hamas' election

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