Ianiv Lowy is an Israeli born Canadian citizen. He has a Masters degree in Government, Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security studies from the IDC in Herzliyah Israel. To contact him please send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
When you speak with the average Israeli, they almost tend to go silent on the matter of who the last effective Prime Minister was in terms of Israel’s security and use of military resources. Perhaps it is because they live in the moment and for the moment, and Ariel Sharon is unfortunately infamously known as the Prime Minister that unilaterally withdrew all Israeli settlements and military positions from the Gaza Strip. This ultimately led to the situation today with Hamas ruling the enclave and if not launching themselves, allowing other terror groups in the strip to freely launch rockets into neighboring Israeli towns and cities. It would be easy to contest and say it wasn’t entirely Sharon’s doing for the situation today, considering how the Bush administration was so keen on seeing that their “road map to peace” plan go into effect and allow elections openly knowing Hamas wouldn’t play by the rules of democratic elections. That discussion can go on for ages and should be left for another day. The issue at stake is today’s situation, and how Israel should handle the recent spate of events unfolding including the recent kidnapping and murdering of three Israeli teens in Hebron as well as the continuous rocket barrage from Gaza. With that being said, no Prime Minister proved as effective as Ariel Sharon when it came to silencing the terrorists.
We tend to quickly forget who was almost single-handedly responsible for ending the 2nd Intifada and silencing the Palestinian terrorist groups. Before him both Benyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak faced early elections because they couldn’t handle the heat. Then came Ariel Sharon, and he put into effect immediate harsh measures. Those measures need to be put back on the table. Netanyahu needs to remember what Israel was like when it faced a serious threat greater than today with suicide bombers causing mass casualties. While the situation right now is a serious threat, it is on a fairly lower scale than what was during the 2nd Intifada and that plays to Israel’s advantage, because Netanyahu needs to just flex that same muscle and it would guarantee the silence he is requesting of Hamas. Amassing troops along the Gaza border and then going on public air to issue a warning and stating that Israel will meet silence with silence is only prolonging the inevitability of more rocket fire. This strategy might work for the next month, three months or even a year but it won’t solve anything. Before Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister for a 2nd time, he was an avid right-winger supporting Sharon’s tactics. Once in power though, he chose the path of diplomacy trying to improve Israel’s image in both the political and media arenas. It clearly makes no difference, anti-Israel advocates are for the most part anti-Semitics cloaked in sheep clothing, it’s something only Jewish people can understand and identify with because it’s been the same old story since the beginning of time and even he knows it. Therefore, let’s show what Israel is made of again because we know we can and we know we do not have to answer to anyone when it comes to the safety and well-being of the country we fight so hard for day in and day out. Let’s go back to Ariel Sharon’s tactics that is, targeted killings of any and all terrorists, home demolition of terrorists, night curfews and arrests, and creating a buffer zone.
We need to start by showing that if you like to target civilians just because they hold Israeli passports, then you will be targeted for assassination. Any and all Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and other terrorist group members must be made accountable, whether high ranking for allowing it to happen or if driving a car on the way to a mortar shell launch. They must all be made fresh targets. Ariel Sharon did this so effectively to the point where all PA and Hamas administrative members were dressing up in costumes and women’s clothing and driving in unmarked cars for fear of their life. This strategy must be put back in place. Forget the media, forget the backlash, this is about Israel’s right to a quiet and peaceful life.
Whether by targeted killing, arrest, or just knowing the involvement of a terrorist in any operation or attempt to operate against Israel and Israelis, their homes must be demolished. Ariel Sharon had no problem demolishing anyone involved in attacking Israel during the 2nd Intifada, especially those of terrorists who had succeeded in attacking or bombing Israel. Once Ehud Olmert came into power, he allowed this issue to become a matter for the courts where they placed serious restrictions on the ability for the IDF to continue demolishing homes. However, let’s face the facts, Ariel Sharon faced a lot of opposition abroad and from the courts during the execution of this plan but once it started bringing positive results, everyone went silent. It needs to be put back on the table and back into action, without a place to sleep these terrorists will be exposed and their families punished for raising casual murderers with no human remorse.
Perhaps one of the most effective of Sharon’s policies was the fact that once 8 or 9pm came around, no one was allowed to leave their homes in both the West Bank and Gaza. Anyone who did was asking for questioning or an arrest or was out for the purpose of attacking the IDF. That helps filter some of the perpetrators and allows the military to strategically deploy across the territories so that they can search houses, buildings, etc. for weapons and for terrorists. Human rights activists can cry wolf all day long but the fact of the matter is, if you want to start rounding up all the ammunition that these terrorists are hiding in their homes, their schools, their mosques and their businesses there is arguably no better way than to have them all stay out of the army’s way while the searches and questioning are conducted. It proved quite effective back then and I see no reason why it wouldn’t right now.
Some might contest that creating a buffer zone means re-occupying parts of the Gaza Strip. While the West Bank has security zones and checkpoints in place, Gaza terrorists are free to roam awfully close to the fence and launch rockets into Sderot or Ashdod and other neighboring Israeli cities. This needs to stop. Using military resources to create trenches, protective zones, guarding posts, etc. the IDF can effectively make life for rocket launching terrorists that much harder if not impossible without being caught in the act or before the act. It would definitely expose them much quicker and make it that much harder for them to strike at any Israeli town or city. Even after the 2nd Intifada and up until the unilateral withdrawal, the IDF buffer zone made it near impossible for terrorists to get close to Israel. It doesn’t have to be permanent, it just needs to be there long enough until all the terror groups in the strip understand that the fun is over for them and they either shape up or shift out.
The best part about deploying all those tactics is that Netanyahu can still go and play the diplomatic game. Truth be told, whether some nations or most nations condemn the actions, they were all so quick on the trigger to condemn the killing of an Arab teen in Jerusalem without even knowing if it was a revenge killing but some of them, including President Obama and his foreign secretary John Kerry, took days to condemn the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. Netanyahu had to personally call EU President Ashton and implore her to make a public condemnation about the kidnappings otherwise she never would have. So if the world doesn’t care and in fact doesn’t even put in a single effort to help and protect the one democracy in the middle east, the only one that is keeping the region afloat not just with security but economically, then why should Israel care what they think anymore? The answer is that Israel shouldn’t, not until it can live peacefully and freely, and only then should Israel be open for any suggestions from outsiders with little or no concept or understanding of the region with which Israel resides in.