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October 16, 2018 5:47 am

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

avatar by Amnon Lord / JNS.org

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Palestinian rioters on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, Oct. 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

JNS.org – Given the rising tensions on the Israel-Gaza Strip ‎border, it is time we ask Prime Minister Benjamin ‎Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman — ‎how many times can you threaten Hamas? How many ‎times can you say “Somebody stop me” before your ‎credibility, as well as the military’s ability to ‎effectively generate deterrence, will be completely ‎eroded? ‎

The Palestinians have marked significant propaganda ‎achievements over the past seven months. Islamic ‎Jihad has declared that its operatives will not ‎allow any normalcy for the border-adjacent Israeli ‎communities, and Hamas’ weekly border riots and ‎arson terrorism campaign have severely undermined ‎Israeli sovereignty on the southern frontier. ‎

Israel may be willing to tolerate some things to ‎avoid an unnecessary military conflict, but the fact that ‎Palestinian terrorism dictates the daily routine of ‎Israelis living near the border cannot be one of ‎them. ‎

Moreover, it seems Hamas has schooled Israel in the ‎art of deceptive diplomacy. For months, Egypt and ‎UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov have been ‎trying to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the ‎Islamist terrorist group, only to see Hamas leaders ‎go back and forth. ‎

Now, when Israel seems determined to take action, ‎Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh suddenly declares that progress ‎has been achieved in the indirect talks. As a ‎result, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel ‎plans to visit Israel and Gaza this week, so is this ‎the right time to launch a military campaign in the ‎coastal enclave?‎

Israel, it seems, has been made dizzy by the number ‎of factors it must take into consideration. These ‎include Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‎Abbas, the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Iran’s ‎regional ambitions, the “deal of the century” the ‎United States is working on and for which Hamas’ ‎leaders seem willing to sacrifice the masses hurling ‎themselves at the security fence weekly, and last, ‎but not least, the looming Israeli elections.‎

The correct course of action would probably be to ‎relinquish the futile attempts to understand the ‎Palestinian mindset. A cease-fire deal may be brewing on the horizon, but ‎it does not seem like a viable option at this time, ‎especially when any mention of a truce always seeks ‎to tie Israel’s hands. ‎

Sometimes you have to go with your gut and ‎experience has shown that the Israeli reaction must ‎significantly exceed what appears necessary. Statements like Netanyahu made on Sunday, ‎saying, “If Hamas has any sense, it will cease its ‎fire and its violence right now,” are a commitment. ‎If we have passed the point of no return, then ‎surely we have reached the point of “When you have ‎to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”‎

Amnon Lord is an Israeli journalist with the daily newspaper Makor Rishon.

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