Some compelling incentives and conditions facilitate a Palestinian Muslim terrorist's decision to murder Jews: his sense of Islamic obligation, Palestinian patriotic responsibility, family support, and Palestinian Authority financial payment. These are some of the components igniting his enthusiasm and validating his choice to set out to murder Jews, Israelis.
HOW TO PREVENT TERRORISM
Israel implements an impressive array of security measures to ward off terrorist assaults - monitoring potential attackers, surveillance ambushes, preventive detentions, a security fence, checkpoints, and patrolling city streets. Yet it is unreasonable to expect total success.
The recent spate of Palestinian Arab terrorist assaults in Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak, Tel-Aviv, and Ashkelon exploited the virtually unhindered movement of Arabs throughout the country, their illegal possession of weapons, and – most decisively – their fundamental hatred of Jews and rejection of the Zionist state of Israel.
Once we realize that there is no full-proof method to preempt and prevent every terrorist attack before it occurs, the question is then whether there is an effective way to avert the next one from occurring.
THE TERRORIST'S PARENTS
ARABS celebrate the murder of Israelis. The father of Ra'ad Hazem from Jenin, who murdered three Israeli civilians sitting in a Tel Aviv café on April 7, waxed joyous and proud, boasting "the [Palestinian] victory will come soon…you [Palestinians] will be free and Al Aqsa will be liberated from the [Israeli] occupation." The cult of martyrdom that is central to the Palestinian Arab narrative does not sanction moral musings or shameful submission to realities.
THERE is however a way to draw the curtains on Palestinian mythmaking by Israel changing her mind-set and thinking out of the box.
Muslim parents, both fathers and mothers, praise their sons for self-sacrifice on behalf of 'Palestine', as the terrorist summarily cut down by security forces brings honor to his family. This patriarchal society surges with religious and national loyalty as a sacred principle. Life goes on for the family, while the son's action serves as a model of emulation for future martyr murderers.
A radically different scenario would nonetheless unfold if the Israeli response to terrorism would be the immediate expulsion of the parents and entire family. Distributing sweets, which is customary after killing Jews, would end. From offering glowing tribute to their courageous son, parents would become the victims of his outrageous decision to spray Israeli streets with bullets targeting innocent Israelis. Before dawn breaks – and Israel buries her dead - the Palestinian parents would be across the border never to return.
Such a policy decision would serve a number of purposes. The festival of terrorism would become a woeful day in 'Palestine'. The heroic act of murdering Jews will produce humiliation, disruption, and expulsion. Siblings, friends, and neighbors, some of whom might want to mimic the shaheed, would reassess a reckless decision, seeing how a son causes the uprooting of his parents. Rather than enjoying eternal veneration in the pantheon of Palestinian Arab 'freedom fighters', the son turns into the ,nemesis of his parents and their sad fate.
No less, this formula avoids collective Palestinian Arab punishment, while promoting the collective welfare of the Jews in their land.
CHANGING PALESTINIAN DECISION-MAKING
A cacophony of voices from all quarters will rise indignantly to dismiss this deterrent policy as immoral, politically unacceptable, legally awkward, and counter-productive from a security viewpoint.
That said, various new or alternative policy options are available to contend, contain, and crush terrorism. Israel could apply emergency measures by cancelling citizenship and residence status, deny access to social benefits and services, impose curfews over rogue villages, institute severe prison sentences, and impose fines on derelict persons and entities.
Striking out directly against the parents of terrorists would inflict a searing sting and traumatic upheaval against the enemy. The measure proposed is rational considering the Arab cultural milieu and defendable before Israeli public opinion.
Israel should enact this policy measure today. It will challenge and change the decision-making calculus in Palestinian Arab circles – for the better.
If we are looking for a powerful addition to Israel's arsenal of deterrent measures, we have found it in expelling the family of a terrorist. With its first use, every father will wax angry and warn his son – dir balak - not to become the cause of the next family's loss of home and land.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan is a retired lecturer at Hebrew U. and writes and lectures on Israel and the Middle East. He is the author of Only Israel West of the River and The Crack-up of the Israeli Left, among others.