Op-Ed: We Told You So
Rabbi Eliezer MelamedThe writer is Head of Yeshivat Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish Law, whose works include the series on Jewish law "Pininei Halacha" and a popular weekly column "Revivim" in the Besheva newspaper. His books "The Laws of Prayer" "The Laws of Passover" and "Nation, Land, Army" are presently being translated into English. Other articles by Rabbi Melamed can be viewed at: www.yhb.org.il/1
We Told You So
As a result of the Oslo Accords, we said they would attack us from any place we withdrew from.
We said that missiles would be fired on Ashkelon from Gaza, and all the leftist, delusionary peace seekers, claimed that we were terrifying the public – and now, ‘Gush Dan’ (greater Tel Aviv) is under fire.
We warned that retreating from Gush Katif would strengthen our enemies, but government and security officials responded arrogantly that, on the contrary – withdrawal would increase security.
We warned that abandoning the ‘Philadelphia Corridor’ at the Egypt-Gaza border would lead to the flow of weapons and missiles into the Gaza Strip, and they said there were agreements with the Palestinians and Egyptians that nothing would trickle in from Sinai to Gaza. And lo and behold, for years, a constant supply of missiles and other weapons have streamed into Gaza through Sinai.
We said that retreating would bring Hamas to power, and they argued – on the contrary, it would strengthen the P.L.O.
We said that if, after the withdrawal, we have to fight them, it would be much more difficult; we would have to fight in urban areas, and our situation in the eyes of the world would be much more problematic. They argued the exact opposite – if after retreat the Arabs open fire on us, we will be able to strike them relentlessly.
We asked: “But they will shoot missiles from civilian homes?” They answered, condescendingly: “First of all, they don’t have missiles. Secondly, if they do fire a missile, we’ll destroy the houses from which they are fired.” And now, when they constantly fire missiles, it turns out that from the world’s perspective, there is absolutely no legitimization to bomb inhabited houses.
If the mainstream Israeli media were honest, they would broadcast the taped recordings of all the leaders responsible for the Oslo Accords and the retreat from Gaza, so everyone could hear their foolish promises, and realize just how distorted their ability to correctly analyze the situation is.
If the media were honest, they would demand that all those who supported retreat apologize before the Israeli people for what they caused, and disappear from the public arena. Instead, the media invite them into the studio, allowing them to talk freely, as if nothing terrible was done on their part, and they still deserve to be considered “experts”.
No matter how much we criticize the Israeli media establishment, it will still fall short of the harsh criticism it truly deserves.
Alienation from Their People and Heritage
The only explanation for this painful phenomenon is that the central figures in the media establishment are alienated from their people and heritage. True, they do not dare speak badly about IDF soldiers, or residents of the southern and central areas who are being attacked. But in their hearts, they embrace the “just” position of the enemy, hoping that if we accept the enemies’ claims that this land belongs to them, the Arabs will then be ready to accept Israel’s existence within the borders of the so-called Green Line.
Consequently, they believe there is no solution other than providing a “political horizon” for the Arabs, in other words – continued withdrawals. Any opposing position, relying on our right to all of ‘Eretz Yisrael’ (Land of Israel), appears groundless to them, because they deny its moral foundation.
What drives them to Believe in Delusions of “Peace?”
It is generally believed that religious people are less realistic, because they rely more on their faith than on an objective analysis of reality, whereas people lacking faith are able to analyze a situation objectively, and as a result, their short-term assessments are more accurate.
Yet here we have a situation where precisely those who are faithful to Torah, the nation, and the land assess the situation accurately, whereas the unbelievers are mistaken in their delusions and false hopes – which repeatedly blow-up in all our faces.
The explanation for this is that they are no less religiously committed – to a form of idol worship. Their god is called ‘Peace Now’ or ‘human rights’. This is exactly the sin of idolatry – taking one value and worshipping it, without giving consideration to balance with other values.
In contrast, Jewish faith is careful to state that God is exalted above all definition, for He is beyond all values, and all of them are included within Him. God desired to grant merit to Israel, and gave them Torah and mitzvoth with the aim of teaching them to balance values. The leftists, who are alienated from their Jewish heritage, are searching for a god who will give hope and meaning to their lives. Many of them previously believed in communism, and embittered the lives of many people. Today, they believe in ‘Peace Now’, and bring all these troubles upon us.
A Gradual Awakening
Fortunately, a process of awakening is taking place among the public. Many people are already aware of the appalling bias of the leftist “experts” and the media, and of their alienation to their people and homeland. Many understand that their “analytical interpretations” are merely a type of ‘entertainment’, whose connection to reality and logic is flimsy.
In order to advance this welcome process – although doing so has become boring and annoying – we must reiterate, over and over again, the guilt of the leftists. We must repeat “we told you so” over and over, and continue to spread the videos of their stupid remarks on the social networks.
Besheva and Arutz Sheva Readers
Some might ask: “What good is it writing such things in the national religious Besheva newspaper? Shouldn’t we try to get them published in other media outlets?”
It certainly is important to publish such articles for the wider public. However, it is more important to resolve and define issues among the right, because they are the ones who can bring about change. People aware of the appalling situation of leftist “experts” and the media establishment, can lead the necessary change. If they forcefully demand change in the media, justice system, and academic research, which has shamefully inclined to the left – in a gradual process, most of the people that support our position, will join in the call.
The Long-Term Solution
In the long-term, the only solution to the security situation is to restore Israeli control over the Gaza Strip. We must return to the situation we were in twenty years ago, but this time, with the clear conviction that this land belongs to the Jewish nation, we have returned to the land after two thousand years of exile, and we will never abandon it. Any Arab, who wants to treat us with dignity and respect, can live an honorable life. Anyone who wants to fight? We will fight him with all our might.
To achieve this, we need to strengthen Israeli consciousness significantly. It could be that even without proper strengthening, the security situation will force us to return to complete military control in the Gaza Strip, just as the army controls Judea and Samaria today. But even then, without a profound exploration of Israel’s destiny, there will never be quiet.
Currently Proposed Solutions
The problem is that in the present situation, the citizens of Israel lack the moral courage to restore our control of the Gaza Strip, and we are left with the question of how to deter the enemy from bombarding our cities for the time being.
In an attempt to offer a solution, we must first review the suggestions that have already been placed on the table.
Let’s return to the position of the leftist “sages” and the military leaders who lick their boots. Before the withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, they declared that if after retreating they continue to bombard us, we will set southern Lebanon on fire, bomb the Gaza Strip relentlessly, and the entire world will identify with us.
As we know – these words are meaningless. It doesn’t matter now whether their statements were said out of stupidity or willfully – in order to throw sand in the eyes of innocent Jews. In practice, had we listened to them, we would have paid an unbearably harsh price internationally.
Currently, the leftist “sages” advocated a halt to the operation in Gaza, and granting the Arabs a “political horizon” by returning to negotiations with Abbas. If this weren’t so sad, it would be funny.
How can negotiations with Abbas, who is hated by Hamas, curb the shelling from Gaza?! On the contrary! To show us who really is in control, they will shell us even more! And how could they possibly imagine that if another Palestinian state were established, in addition to the one they already have in Gaza, it would not fall into the hands of Hamas, who seek the destruction of the State of Israel? If we listen to them, the problems they have caused us so far will be Paradise compared to the hell that awaits us.
There are some defense-oriented people who suggest sending troops into the Gaza Strip, striking the terrorists, and then retreating. The problem is, the price we are liable to pay for this, in the life of soldiers, and international criticism, is not worth the damage done to the terrorists, which at best will result in a short-term deterrence.
A Change in Aerial Bombing Policy
We must announce that from now on, for every mortar shell they fire at us, we will destroy at least one house. For every primitive missile they fire, we will destroy five houses. For an advanced missile, ten.
The most plausible solution is to increase the bombardment from the air, in three directions: towards houses and property, towards the terrorist leaders, and towards the supply of arms.
We must announce that from now on, for every mortar shell they fire at us, we will destroy at least one house. For every primitive missile they fire, we will destroy five houses. For an advanced missile, ten houses. And for the most advanced missiles – dozens of houses. So they themselves can fulfill They can then fulfill the Arabic curse “your house should be destroyed”.
If they damage our economy by shutting down the south, they must suffer twice as much. To avoid harming their citizens, we will have to give advance notice of the time and place of the bombing, so they can flee.
Houses intended for destruction should, of course, start with the homes of terrorist leaders and their surrounding neighborhood – for our Sages said,“woe to the wicked, and woe to his neighbor.” To win this battle, such bombings might suffice. Of course, we will meet with hypocritical condemnation from the U.N., but not enough to cause long-term damage.
We will have to return to the policy of targeted killings. The problem with targeted killings began after the assassination of the mass murderer, Salah Shehadeh, about ten years ago. In that operation, fourteen other people were killed, including his family members and neighbors.
Afterwards,the left launched a publicity campaign in Israel and throughout the world against the IDF They demanded that the commanders responsible be brought to trial. They also petitioned the High Court. True, the judges did not dare harm the commanders themselves; but with shocking irresponsibility, they caused the defense establishment to change the procedures.
Since then, it is extremely difficult to strike at terrorists. They know that as long as they are in the presence of their family – their lives are guaranteed. If we don’t want to endanger the lives of our soldiers through land operations, it is necessary to announce that from now on, we will also assassinate terrorists in the company of their families. Indeed, we will attempt to strike only the terrorists, but the proximity of civilians will not prevent us from taking action against them.
In order for there to be no doubts about it, and for the deterrence of this policy to be complete, it is necessary to provide backing for this position through lawyers, to announce it publicly, and if need be, even to pass a law in the Knesset.
And most crucial, army intelligence invariably knows when weapons are smuggled into the Gaza Strip. Every such supply convoy must be shelled.