Uzi Dayan, military commander of the Central District, was proud to answer a question about how he is handling security in Hebron by letting the statistics speak for themselves. After asserting that his job is to protect the Jews living in Hebron, he "proved" that he was doing his job by offering the following statistical facts:
As a result of all of the rocks, bombs and molotov cocktails thrown by Hebron Arabs in the past week no Jewish civilians were injured, eight police and security personnel were injured and 150 rioters were injured. No one was killed. Thus, Dayan concluded that he was doing his job, and quite successfully.
Defense Minister Mordechai visited Hebron yesterday and determined that the manner in which the security forces were acting was sufficient to maintain safety to the Jewish residents of Hebron. What neither Dayan nor Mordechai seem to have taken into consideration, is the fact that the activities taking place in Hebron appear on television screens all over the world. In spite of his antiseptic "statistics", Dayan is placing his troops and those he is defending into a volatile position which is bound to erupt into an uncontrollable conflagration.
Arabs throwing rocks are not a bunch of rabble rousers or "demonstrators". They consider themselves to be soldiers in Arafat's army to liberate Israel from the Jewish people. They know that, at present, Israel's military superiority is unbeatable. But they have seen that the Jewish State is clearly vulnerable to rocks. The intifada won them recognition and tremendous strategic advances which could never have been achieved via conventional warfare. As they feel negotiations are not yielding the desired results, they are reverting to the method which worked in the past. . . facing guns with children and rocks.
When I see Arabs burning my flag and throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at Jewish soldiers, and then watch my soldiers back off, it makes me sick. It also encourages the Arabs. By most military standards, when soldiers are openly attacked and flags are burned, that is considered to be an act of revolution. This kind of action is axiomatically dealt with quickly and brutally by any self respecting government in any country in the world. Not to act in such a manner is to encourage revolution and increase acts of violence.
Today the IDF is content to play cat and mouse. Such a game makes the mouse feel like a lion. The enemy mistakes restraint for weakness and elevates the level of violence, because they really think they can defeat us cowards.
Eventually the level of violence will reach a point where it can no longer be tolerated and the IDF will have no choice but to act like an army. But, owing to the government's idiotic position of refusing to accept the fact of a resurrection, world powers will view the IDF as unfairly putting down demonstrations in a brutal manner. This may well encourage outside military intervention which could easily break out into a full scale international war of major proportions.
Netanyahu, with all of his rhetoric of "peace with security" and "reciprocity", has his hands full just trying to keep his government from collapsing around him. Rather than deal with the real problem of escalating violence accompanied by ideological warfare which is hurting us, all he can do is to try to make everyone happy at the expense of the security of the nation.
He said it right when he said the final responsibility is his. He was elected to make the tough decisions. Let him make one easy one. Let him make Hebron a safe city for Jews to live in. This was his promise to the Jews in Hebron prior to election. Let him live up to it. Not by providing bullet proof buses, rather by forcibly removing the enemy.
When anyone dares to physically assault soldiers, there is no room for restraint. A clear and brutal response is the only rational method to discourage future attacks. It may not be politically expedient, but it will save lives..