Hello! Is Anyone Listening?

Michael Freund,

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Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

If only they would listen.

If only Israel’s leaders would pay attention, and start taking a little more seriously just what the Palestinians themselves are saying. If they did, they might actually learn a thing or two about just how ill-advised the planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria really is.

Take, for example, the remarks of Hamas leader Ahmad al-Bahar, who told the Jerusalem Post the other day:

The painful and qualitative blows which the Palestinian resistance dealt to the Jews and their soldiers over the past four-and-a-half years led to the decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip… Hamas's heroic attacks exposed the weakness and volatility of the impotent Zionist security establishment. The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that the resistance is the only way to pressure the Jews.

In other words, as far as Hamas is concerned, the “lesson” they have learned from Israel’s plan to withdraw is that violence is the most effective way for them to achieve their objectives. For obvious reasons, that is a very dangerous message – one that is definitely not in Israel’s interests to be sending.

Moreover, take a look at what Abu-Musab, a senior Palestinian terrorist who serves as commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in northern Gaza, had to say about the current “calm” prevailing in the region: "What’s happening now isn’t considered a calm. It’s merely a warrior’s rest. When the confrontation renews, we’ll be back with methods and tools never before seen."

Thus, even the current “lull” in attacks, as the terrorists themselves make clear, is merely a tactical ploy designed to give them a chance to rest and fight another day. It does not represent a strategic move by the terrorists away from violence. Nonetheless, the government continues to adopt a softer approach, refraining from carrying out targeted killings of terrorists or large-scale counter-terror operations.

I guess that our Government is simply so smart that they feel they need only to listen to themselves – but if past experience is any guide, they would do well to pay attention to what our foes are saying.

Because unlike our own leaders, the Palestinians usually mean what they say.