A day before the abduction, I took a peaceful tour of the Gush Etzion area, on the way to Hebron, including villages in Area A to which "entry is forbidden." During part of the tour, together with an American journalist, we were accompanied by a senior officer.
If anyone dreams of coexistence, it was presented there in all its glory. In the Rami Levy supermarket, near the intersection, Arabs and Jews, worked together. The Arabs, who live in the area, were in management positions as well.
Just several minutes away from there, Arabs sat together with Jews at the cafeteria. It wasn't a false display. It was a display of harmony.
I know, the region's senior commander told us, that this is a completely fragile state of calm. I know that there are those who want to inflame the situation. I know that this calm drives some people mad. They want fire. I know that by easing so many restrictions, including the removal of checkpoints, we are also taking a risk. But it's a calculated risk. The alternative, he added, is much worse.
Although the tragic kidnapping took place the next day, the officer's words are true. It wasn't an attack against the occupation; it was an attack against the calm. The media presented mainly the Palestinians who support the kidnapping. They stand out in such situations. This is the hour of haters. This is the hours of rocket launchers. This is the hour of belligerent people.
The past five years have not been characterized by complete calm. There is no such thing. But the amount of incidents was at a decline. Most of the Palestinians enjoyed the calm. Most of the Palestinians did not participate in the abduction. The Palestinian Authority itself maintained security. Not for Israel; for the Palestinians.
The Israeli rule is far from ideal. But it is far, far away from the false claims made by Israel's haters. So the attack was also against the PA, also against Israel and mainly against the calm.
Hamas and the rest of the jihad organizations are not much different from their twin organizations in Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. They are first and foremost the Muslims' enemies. Ninety-nine percent of the jihad organizations' victims in the past five years are Muslims. If Israel were not around, Hamas would do to the West Bank what ISIS is doing to Iraq.
It's hard, but the Israeli interest is to separate the sheep from the goats. Not everyone who doesn't like Israel is a jihadist. We must fight against Hamas. At the same time, we must continue the calm. The more the general population gets a more comfortable life, the more justified will be the steps taken against Hamas be.
Mahmoud Abbas' PA has proven itself. We must not forget that. So there is a need for punishment, but not collective punishment. And there is definitely no need for revenge.
Those who carried out the attack wanted to act not just against Israel. They wanted to act against the calm as well, against the cooperation, against the PA. They sought to inflame the situation. There is no need to give them what they want.