The next terror strike is on its way. You don’t need to be an expert on terror, or a compulsive gambler, to foresee that Islamic Jihad will try very soon to avenge the death of Mohammed Sider the head of the organization’s military wing in Hebron.
Is this fact on the minds of the assassinations’ planners each time they plot another operation? How can anyone seriously contend that the assassinations contribute to Israeli security since each one leads directly to the killing of Israeli civilians? Since 2000, Israel has in such operations liquidated 136 Palestinians along with dozens of innocent victims, and terror has yet to be extinguished. Dozens of Israelis have been killed in retaliation, an yet Israel continues to wield this dubious weapon, which abrogates international law and is ineffective.
Successors arise to replace the slain men, and the motivation to kill Israelis increases. Moreover, to a large extent, thirst for vengeance motivates the assassinations; and, as Amram Mitzna has put it, they are executed by those who “think from the gut, not from the brain.”
These are not ordinary days. Under a cease-fire, assassinations are a far more grievous offense. Instead of the rules of the game being adjusted in harmony with the truce, and security officials overcoming the lust for revenge in order to give the truce some prospect of success, Israel has played by the old rules, ones it invented and under which almost anything goes.
Today, the assassinations do not only provoke more bloodshed: they threaten to derail the road map as a whole, and, because this prospect is so obvious, it can plausibly be suspected that the government’s aim is, precisely, to forestall the renewed diplomatic process.
The Palestinians, who are not doing enough to battle terror, also bear responsibility for shortening the hudna’s lease on life. Yet Israel’s share of the responsibility is much greater, and not only because it is the stronger side andthe conqueror. From the start - before this last wave of assassinations -Israel grimaced as it went about fulfilling its obligations under the road map; it acted stingily, as though being forced against its will. The prime minister, the defense minister, the army chief of staff and the head of the Shin Bet security service competed to see who might come up with the bleakest forecast; and now their pessimistic prophecy has come true.
The hudna will soon come to an end. Israel will blame the Palestinians; the Palestinians wll blame Israel; and both sides will try to pluck the right heartstrings of the U.S. government, and also sacrifice their own blood in another violent, pointless round of fighting. A moment before this happens, we Israelis should confess to the disturbing truth: yet again there was hope for change, and Israel’s government and security system did nothing to promote it. Instead, they sabotaged the prospects for peace.