Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to last week’s shooting attack in Tel Aviv in which four Jews were killed meters away from the IDF’s headquarters as “a very difficult event of cold-blooded murder by atrocious terrorists.”
If at all necessary, expressions like “cold-blooded murder” fit a crime scene. Netanyahu’s choice of words is not a slip of a tongue. Defining terror attacks as acts of war means that Israel is attributing a status of statehood to the Palestinian Authority. This is why Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israel are not POWs. Reports about policemen hesitating to kill the two terrorists show a state of confusion in which law enforcement personal are not sure how to act, particularly when Israelis who have killed terrorists are subject to legal scrutiny. Israel’s unwillingness to define Palestinian terrorism for what it is, acts of war, forces her to be indecisive. This is why there is a hollow ring to the Prime Minister’s assurance that “we will act firmly and intelligently to fight terrorism.”
Talking with Army Radio the morning after the attack, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai expressed a kind of disappointment that more Israelis weren’t killed.
“Forty-nine years of occupation” didn’t teach Israelis a thing. His sympathetic interviewer asked Huldai if “only an enormous trauma, a tragedy of unknown scale” would cause Israelis to vote for the Left, to which Huldai responded affirmatively. “Unfortunately, this is the reality,” agreed the mayor. Huldai believes the kind of change he is seeking can only come through humiliation and defeat. And four dead is not enough to bring about the kind of change that will pull Israel back to its 1948 “milk-and-honey” borders.
As it is with any bloody terror attack, Israeli authorities are doing their utmost to erase any traces of the horror as quickly as possible.
The code word “back to routine” means that no matter how bloody things get, Israelis are expected to go immediately back to business as usual. Our leaders believe that by doing so we are showing the terrorists that we are not afraid. This is not only nonsense, it is downright harmful. Removing the blood stains and plastering the walls before the next business day encourages forgetfulness and indifference rather than resilience and determination. Visitors to Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market should have been allowed to see and smell this tragedy that was encouraged and carried out by a people that celebrates the death of any Jew.