Over the last few weeks, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza have considerably raised the tempo of violating international law, launching hundreds of rockets and mortars, indiscriminately, at smaller Israeli communities and cities bordering Gaza, and at the larger metropolitan areas of Ashdod and Be'er Sheva. Despite the lodging of an Israeli complaint with the United Nations, the international body has not taken a single substantive action to demonstrate that anyone but Israel can ever be investigated for committing war crimes.
The Israeli response has been "proportional", targeting the members of terrorist organizations and empty Hamas offices. Thank G-d, no one in Israel has yet been killed during the recent barrages, but for this happy outcome, Palestinian terror groups do not take credit. They should. If the rocket attacks on Israel serve a mere symbolic, political purpose, Palestinian factions should pray to G-d that not a single life is ended by their actions, aim their flying bombs as far from populated areas as possible, and declare their unequivocal regret at the fear and suffering their campaign of terror achieves among human beings beyond the gates of Gaza. They should, but of course they don't, and no one expects them to.
No, the world expects and allows Palestinian terror groups to do what they do - to terrorize and murder as many human beings, preferably, as many Israeli Jews, as possible. Likewise, the world expects Israel to engage in the much bemoaned cycle of violence, to bleed and be bled, to entertain the very bored despondents of more peaceful lands, who with vicarious relish follow every useless exchange of violence in the hope, the dark and rabid yearning that Israel will do what it does, from time to time - to go to war.
Despite growing discomfort within the IDF, Netanyahu is right not to take the country to war against the terror groups of Gaza. A weaker Israeli Prime Minister, a more dovish, left-of-center Israeli leader, may not have been so wise. The Palestinian terror rockets are a political weapon, a tool of propaganda which rely on the quiet, building anguish of a people abandoned by the world, for years under relentless, savage bombardment, to achieve their full effect. It is only by drawing Israel back into Gaza, by leveraging the full might of the Jewish army at war, that Palestinian terror factions can make the Andrew Sullivans of the world pay attention and respond with shock and horror and embittered vitriol, spiced with a subtle hint of the eldest hatred, against the Jewish state. Like a martial artist who uses his opponent's strength against him, so have the Palestinians honed the propagandist value of war with Israel.
Netanyahu is right to hold back, to avert a war, to preserve the status quo, and to work on a timetable and methodology more suitable for striking back, in a way that works for Israel, and not against her. We should thank him for his strength and his wisdom. Netanyahu, a right-wing Israeli Prime Minister who the likes of that same Andrew Sullivan have proclaimed a warmongering fascist, if not in so many words, but close enough, has averted a war which no other leader in the world could avoid, given similar circumstances, saving countless innocent Palestinian children from the horrors of conflict, even as the attempted murder of human beings in Israel continues unabated.
Are you paying attention, Andrew Sullivan, ye great supporter of Israel? Tonight, Jewish children half a world away will interrupt their dreams in a mad rush to the bomb shelters, just so that you don't have to be troubled enough to pay attention. You're welcome.
This is the last post on Abu Muqawama. As many of you know, I left the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in August of 2012 to spend a fellowship ...