Sunday, January 29th | 7 Shevat 5783

June 21, 2016 6:53 am

The Obama Administration’s Awful Response to Palestinian Terror

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avatar by Doug Lamborn

President Barack Obama. Photo: Pete Souza/White House.

President Barack Obama. Photo: Pete Souza/White House.

The recent terror attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, was a classic case of a terrorism, and so were the responses. The UN Security Council’s condemnation of the attack — the first Security Council condemnation since the attacks began last September — was welcome. Since the recent terror wave began in Israel, there have been 218 attacks, leaving 38 people killed and 487 people injured.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s condemnation “in the strongest possible terms” — while also urging Israel to refrain from acts that will further escalate tensions — was typical of the Obama Administration’s response to terrorism carried out against Israelis. Who tells the father or mother of a murdered child, or the wife of a murdered husband, to exercise “restraint” in the same breath that they convey acknowledgement of the loss?  We should condemn acts of terror, unequivocally and without caveat.

Nowhere but in the case of Israel and the loss of Israeli lives are such caveats acceptable. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said as much during questioning by the AP’s Matt Lee. Lee asked, “[D]o you recall ever feeling the need to advise, to warn, to urge governments in Europe to use restraint as they respond, when they respond to terrorist attacks?” Toner answered, “I can’t come up with an instance, no.”

Likewise, the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that Israel’s response may “amount to prohibited collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time” is disingenuous.

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When trying to deter future terrorism, Israel has acted creatively and strategically. Their response has included the cancelling of permits granted to some West Bank and Gaza residents to travel to Israel during Ramadan, and the suspension of some work permits of individuals in the alleged attackers’ extended families to work inside Israel.

This is how deterrence works — the cost of taking the action must outweigh the potential gains. Israel must show that there is a real cost to terrorism. Israel is effectively denying easy access to undertaking terrorist action by restricting the freedom of movement of the Palestinian population during Ramadan.  Preventing a terrorist attack during the major Jewish holiday of Shavuot was also within Israel’s interest and rights.

The problem, really, is the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to speak out against the attacks and the violence. The Palestinian leadership needs to start by condemning it. The Palestinian leadership can’t, by their silence, condone the attacks, and then support terrorism by paying terrorists and the families of terrorists.

The Palestinian leadership needs to stop naming sports stadiums and schools and monuments and events after terrorists. Hamas outright celebrated the attacks on Twitter. How does Hamas even have a Twitter account?

All of these things glorify terrorism, and do not facilitate peace.

Palestinian freedom of movement is a problem. However, there are numerous problems with unrestricted movement as well.

It should be remembered that there are no permits given to Israelis to freely move through the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority or within Gaza. Can you imagine an Israeli going to Gaza? It’s not done. Does anyone decry the human rights abuse suffered by Israelis because they cannot freely travel in these areas? What did Israelis do to be so limited in movement in Hebron, Bethlehem, Shechem (Nablus), and Ramallah? Did they carry out terrorist attacks? No, they are simply Jews.

The Palestinian people do deserve better, and they should start demanding it — from their own leadership. For the conflict to ever have a hope of peace, the Palestinian leadership must be held accountable for the hatred they incite.

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