Time to divide: The answer to terror
Op-ed: Authority to kill even would-be attackers is unprecedented in Israel, and such measures do not actually have a deterrent effect; the only way to separate from the Palestinians is to help them form a demilitarized state on 22 percent of the land between the Jordan River and the sea.
This is the fifth month we are facing the new intifada, the intifada of screwdrivers and scissors. It will not end, fade, or be defeated. We are already in a state that I and others warned of – a binational state and violent conflict between two nations mixed together. The kindling for this fire – the political desperation and economic hardship in the territories – will continue to feed it.
The government’s countermeasures are ineffective. Their damage to security is greater than their benefits. Even in the late 1980s, when I commanded the Civil Administration in the West Bank, we concluded that the demolition of houses is not a deterrent. It is a punishment that is not fixed in any law but has no security benefit.
The authority to shoot dead any attacker, even if only he or she only intended to commit an attack, is a step that was not taken in all the years of our struggle against terrorism. The defense establishment or years declined to demand death sentences, even for the worst murderers and the perpetrators of the most severe attacks. We avoided it not because we are soft-hearted and self-righteous. We concluded that executions would cause more damage than they would benefit our security. That is how all Israeli governments felt.
In practice, the new rules of engagement mean the killing of anyone who tries or intends to carry out a stabbing or vehicular attack. After over four months and with 150 Palestinians dead, one can say with certainty that there is no deterrent value to these rules of engagement. However, every additional funeral in the West Bank and East Jerusalem raises the level of violence and expands the number of potential attacks. Using cold, cost-benefit reasoning, this step is not helpful and not a deterrent. It merely temporarily soothes the the Israeli public's rage and frustration.
Simply put, this type of terrorism has no efficient military, intelligence and administrative response . If it were possible to block social media in the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem, this would somewhat reduce the element of incitement, but the importance attributed by Prime Minister Netanyahu to incitement is clearly excessive and is designed to compensate for the lack of a solution. Whoever lives under occupation and in distress for 48 years has nothing to hope for and nothing to lose. He does not need to be incited – he is already incited.
To stop individual terrorism requires a sharp change of mood in the territories. Only dramatic political action can do this. Many talk today about disengagement from the Palestinians. They can succeed if they call it what it is – the division of the country. This includes the division of East Jerusalem, where more than 300,000 Palestinians live.
Separation from the Palestinians is only possible by the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state on 22 percent of the territory of the land of Israel between the Jordan River and the sea. This percentage is what the international community and the Palestinians (except for Hamas) are prepared to accept.
Given the fact that within two years the percentage of Jews living between the Jordan River and the sea below drop to below 50 percent, 78 percent of the land is not a bad solution for us. The insistence on 100 percent led us to where we are stuck today. It will be more and more difficult both economically and politically to pay the price for the lack of political courage to say and do the right thing.