Menachem Rahat
Menachem RahatCourtesy

Of the three murderous attacks in Israel's cities perpetrated by hate-filled Islamists that cost the lives of 11 innocent Israelis, two – in Beer Sheva and Hadera- were carried out at the hands of ISIS extremists with Israeli citizenship, one a resident of the Bedouin town of Hura and the other of the Arab town of Umm al Fahm in what is called "The Triangle."

Hura is a Bedouin town considered a ticking bomb because of its high concentration of Islamist extremists while Umm al Fahm has turned into a source of murdererous terrorists over the last decade and is the center for the Hamas-connected Northern branch of the Israel Islamist Movement. The residents of both towns claim that a small number of terrorists have given them all a bad name, and that they are not culpable for the actions of lone terrorists.

The problem is that these loners derive their power to act from the support of those around them. Terror does not grow in a vacuum and would not grow without the support of fans in Hura and Umm al Fahm. Those "innocent" supporters have yet to realize that those who give them a bad name, may also give them a second Nakba. It is not rational to expect the Jews to absorb this treason forever. At this rate, the day of reckoning - when they will pay the price for those extremists' crimes - is fast approaching.

This brings Trump's peace initiative to mind. It was a regional plan which separated us from Umm al Fahm and its surroundings, suggesting various ideas for peace and tranquility, and titled Peace to Prosperity. It was filled with optimism and the belief that peace would blossom mainly as the result of economic prosperity brought on the wings of the Pax Americana.

The plan, naturally, being an American creation, spoke of establishing a Palestinian Arab state as envisioned by Obama. One of its principles was the idea of land swaps between Israel and the imaginary Palestinian state. The idea itself is not original, and was previously the product of other minds, such as that of Yvet Liberman, but it never gained the wide support of Israelis, both Arab and Jewish.

Page 17 of the Peace to Prosperity booklet talks about plans to redraw the borders of Israel. "The Triangle area communities (Kafr Qara, Ar'ara, Baha al-Gharbiyye, Umm al Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia), where a large majority of residents consider themselves Palestinian Arabs, would become part of the state of Palestine, and the civil rights of their residents would be subject to the Palestinian judicial system. In exchange, Israel would annex the areas of Judea and Samaria populated by Jews.

This fantasy was seen as untenable from every aspect, starting with the security one, but also including a transportation impossibility as a major and crucial traffic artery to northern Israel passes through the Triangle And anyway, Israel's Supreme Court would never let it happen.

But the main opposition – across the board – came from the Israeli Arabs who populate the Triangle, who refused to be annexed to the Palestinian Authority or a Palestinian State. They prefer living with the Jews, clinging to them, robbing and stealing from them, and sometimes also murdering them.

And to be frank, why should they give up the pleasures of welfare and freedom, modernization and comforts that Israel grants to all its citizens? They get childbirth grants, child allowances, benefits in the case of unemployment, accidents, health, old age, handicaps, birth and burial. They get quality education almost gratis, including affirmative action in universities (46% of graduating doctors in 2020 were from the Arab sector and that is not because there are not enough eligible young Jewish Israelis); they get preferential hiring in public and academic spheres; are allowed freely to organize politically; they get budget allowances that are totally out of proportion to the taxes they pay the government. Does anyone think that the Jewish State they hate so much, those suckers who give in to their every whim and will, is not preferable in comparison to any Arab framework?

The Arab leadership in Israel refuses to be viewed as relinquishing its Palestinian identity and will not give up the ethos that calls for ongoing struggle against Israel, thereby preserving the militant and oppositionary consciousness of the Arab population.

And that is how the Arabs living in the Triangle are like a bone stuck in our throats – we cannot swallow them, nor can we spit them out – and this is before we discuss the most important question of all: how to part ways with the Islamist hornets in these wasps nests without giving up the lands on which those nests stand?

Separating the Triangle villages from the State of Israel was one of the results of the 1948 War of Independence in the eastern Sharon region, the heartland of the Jewish State. When the battles ended, the Triangle's population found itself in the Kingdom of Jordan. The fledgling IDF was unable to overcome the Iraqi armed forces that held them and handed them over to the Hashemite Kingdom's soldiers.

The residents of the Triangle were about to obtain Jordanian citizenship, but a year later, in the 1949 armistice talks between delegates of Israel and Jordan in a hotel in Rhodes, Israel demanded that the young Jewish State annex the thousands of Muslims living then wretched lives in the Triangle villages. The Israeli demand was so adamant that it threatened a renewal of fighting in order to distance the Jordanian forces from the area.

In the end, the Jordanians and Israelis did a package deal: The Jordanians gave in on the Triangle, and received land near Beit She'an as well as Dahariya in the south Hebron hills.

The rationale behind Israel's demands was that a strategic route to Northern Israel goes along the length of Wadi Ara through the Triangle region, and that it must remain under Israeli control. Another point was that Umm al Fahm rests on a strategic elevation where Israel must have an observation post in order to secure the country's narrow waist, a stretch of barely 12 kms. (9 miles) between Kalkilya and the sea.

One interesting detail: In those days, even the radical Zionist left in Israel supported annexing the Triangle. The left's current mantra "let them be there and let us be here" which is meant to prepare Israelis to relinquish Judea and Samaria was not yet invented, because the Zionist left had not forgotten its Zionism in those days. The now defunct far left Mapam party, which later helped create today's Meretz Party, even published an election poster headed: "[Jordanian King] Abdullah's annexation of the Triangle – means British mortars pounding the alleyways of Tel Aviv!" calling on those who want to prevent the threat of Jordan Legion mortars on Tel Aviv to vote Mapam. They even printed a map on the poster emphasizing how narrow the State was in the Triangle area.

Now, however, the Triangle's Arabs are a threat to Jewish security, allow hostile pockets of ISIS, Hamas, Jihad, Revolutionary Guards and whatever other terrorist scum finds their way there to wait for the day they think the time is ripe.

It is therefore incumbent upon the Jewish leadership to begin hinting that the Arabs of the Triangle are playing with a double edged sword, that their violence will eventually be responded to by determined activities to destroy the terror monster, like Operation Defensive Shield of some 20 years ago which ended with a clear victory for Israel and brought back quiet to the area for a good number of years. This week, IDF CoS Cochavi began hinting that after the terror attack in Hadera, perhaps Operation Defensive Shield is not over.

An operation on the lines of Defensive Shield can also end differently this time, as in wars not everything that happens is predictable. The Arabs living in the Triangle – and the rest of the Arab Israeli citizens – may find themselves corralled in a situation from which they cannot find the way out. It might even lead to a correction of the 1948 results, a second Nakba ("catastrophe," their name for the establishment of the Jewish State and how many of them fled its borders). No one can promise that the operation to sanitize the Triangle and the Negev from its various terrorist wasps, will be a pleasant experience. After all, the Jews have learned something by now and have no desire to repeat the mistakes of 1949.

Menachem Rahatwas born in Tel Aviv, graduated Bar Ilan University (Political Science and History) and Haifa University (Political Science). He chaired the Maariv newspaper political desk for 24 years and is a well known publicist Married and a grandfather, he lives in Raanana.

This article was translated from the Arutz Sheva Hebrew site by Rochel Sylvetsky.