Op-Ed: Who is Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon Defending?
All of us who live in Judea and Samaria (the so-called 'West Bank', Area C) as well as many other Israeli citizens, are well aware that, along with the resumption of the peace talks in Washington in the past three months, we are witnessing a sharp upturn in the frequency of terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. These attacks are nothing new, but in the past few weeks, more Jews have been killed or wounded.
Israeli politicians are finally starting to take notice, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who admitted recently that yes, six terror attacks had taken place in Judea and Samaria in the past month, but added that they were carried out by individuals and did not have an organization such as Fatah or Hamas behind them. He went on to complain that such attacks may have been influenced by “Palestinian incitement”.
No doubt there are many residents of Judea and Samaria who are pleased that Yaalon recently visited Hevron, showed some concern, and is aware of the increasing attacks. He even hinted at a strong Israeli response, declaiming, as always, that the IDF "will not rest until we catch the last terrorist involved in these attacks."
Having witnessed far too many terror attacks, as well as the usual recurring promises from the leading politicians of a strong response, it is hard for the residents of Israel’s biblical heartland not to be skeptical.
More importantly, though, Yaalon’s emphasis on the lack of organizational backing is not only disingenuous, but is patently false. It is a well-established fact that up until recently, the Palestinian Authority was bankrolling the terrorist infrastructure, paying salaries to the terrorists and their families. It was reported by Palestinian Media Watch that as of May 2011, the Palestinian Authority was distributing a total of five million dollars monthly to Palestinian terrorist prisoners, continuing and institutionalizing its traditional support for terror, begun during the Yasser Arafat era and expanded under Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership. One can safely assume that the payments have continued since.
Is Moshe Yaalon ignorant of this comprehensive network of officially sponsored terror? The problem is not just PA “incitement”, but the direct sponsorship and encouragement of terrorist attacks on children and other Israeli civilians. If Minister Yaalon, whose responsibility it is to stop such acts of terrorism, has unquestionable evidence that the PA has stopped such payments to terrorists, he has an obligation as our defense minister to reveal such information. Such a surprising announcement has not been forthcoming.
Barring such a doubtful revelation of a change in PA policy, perhaps it’s time for Yaalon to stop making excuses for our “partners in peace”, point an accusing finger at Abbas and start defending Israel’s citizens.
David Rubin is former Mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund and the author of several books, including Peace for Peace and The Islamic Tsunami. He can be found at www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or at www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org