No Israeli is safe and secure until all Israelis are

We need to adopt the message that if in Sderot parents have to worry about rockets, we all must pressure the government to stop them. Op-ed.

Rachel Touitou ,

Hamas rockets land in Israel
Hamas rockets land in Israel
IDF spokesperson

For millennia it was understood that the minimum for a casus belli, an event which justifies or provokes a conflict, is the attempt to murder a nation’s citizens on sovereign territory.

Possibly hundreds if not thousands of conflicts have begun because of belligerence by one entity dragging another into a justified response.

Israel has more than enough ongoing justification to react overwhelmingly to the missile attacks emanating from Gaza by terrorist organizations based there, who openly and proudly call for the murder of all Israelis. According to recently released statistics, 176 rockets were launched by terrorist organizations toward Israel during 2020, meaning one every two days.

Yet, Israel does not respond. There are sorties by the Israel Air Force which tend to target empty buildings or positions. Government press releases talk of not “trying our patience”, and usually claim that these types of attacks are “unacceptable”.

Unfortunately, they have become acceptable because we accept them.

We now appear to be living in a situation when an enemy launches a deadly missile on Israeli population centers and it does not make headline news, and is met with an almost collective shrug.

I say ‘almost’ because there are hundreds of thousands of hard-working tax-paying citizens who live under a daily threat from these rockets. They send their children to school worrying about which one they should run to first in case of attack. They walk the streets sometimes ensuring they are never more than seconds away from a protective shelter. They tuck their children in to their beds at night unable to properly promise them that they will be one hundred per cent safe.

This is an “unacceptable” situation that must be changed.

Before we discuss any operational changes, we must change the mindset within the country.

What we need is the adoption of a victory mentality into the population.

We need a general public which calls for the crushing of its enemies, and breaking their will to continue their deadly attacks and violent rejectionism.

During the current Coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization has come up with an interesting slogan to ensure global solidarity. “None of us will be safe until everyone is safe,” has become the WHO’s rallying call in recent months.

In Israel, we should adopt this mentality. No Israeli is safe and secure until every Israeli is safe and secure.

Just because the rockets are not currently being aimed at Tel Aviv, this should not mean that residents of Tel Aviv should continue their day as normal when their fellow citizens in Sderot are cowering in safe rooms.

We see examples across the world, whether it is the rout of ISIS in Iraq or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Terrorist organizations and violent oppressive non-state actors do not have to be negotiated with, they can be defeated.
We need to respond with overwhelming solidarity and empathy to every attack. We need to send a message to the government and other decision-makers that this is truly unacceptable and must be made to stop.

We need to send a message that we are applauding and adopting Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi’s return to a victory message and strategy for the IDF. The talk of defeating one’s enemy is not passe and it is possible to achieve.

We see examples across the world, whether it is the rout of ISIS in Iraq or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Terrorist organizations and violent oppressive non-state actors do not have to be negotiated with, they can be defeated.

We see it currently in Ethiopia where the government is forcefully repelling the armed forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) Northern Command headquarters in Mekelle during early November.

While these events only encapsulated a relatively small part of the country, the Ethiopian government and the ENDF responded and defeated its enemies.

It achieved this despite the painful cost and condemnation from the usual suspects who cry foul over any armed intervention by a national government even if justified on the legal and moral level.

Mostly, it was successful because the Ethiopian population gave its support to its prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and his government to defeat its enemies.

The public decided to adhere to the principle that if one of us is not safe and secure, then none of us are safe and secure. This gave the Ethiopian leadership the impetus to achieve victory.

The Israeli public needs to send a similar message to its politicians, especially during an election period, that it will no longer tolerate any attack against any other citizen. If one is attacked, we are all attacked, and we give our full backing for Israel to defeat its enemies and achieve a permanent victory that brings peace and security for all.

Rachel Touitou is a member of the Middle East Forum Israel