Naftali Bennett never thought that his first day on the job as defense minister would include the Israeli assassination of a leader of Islamic Jihad, followed by hundreds of rockets from Gaza raining down on Israel in response. But even Bennett, who in the past had harshly criticized Israel’s “feeble” policies, didn’t act any differently from the defense ministers who preceded him. After responding to the rocket attacks with air strikes, a week later a ceasefire was reached with the terror organizations—until the next time.
“This is a very deliberate policy,” said Dr. David Bukay in an interview with Ami. “It’s possible to fight terror and to win or lose, but the politicians have come up with a third way: managing the terror. They’re not really interested in fighting it because the price would be too high. The leaders of the defense establishment, who advise the politicians and diplomats, also prefer the option of management and supposed control because it doesn’t come at much of a price. From time to time there are more aggressive policies, but for the most part Israel prefers to continue the status quo with regard to the terrorist organizations.”
Bukay, who is a longtime researcher, teacher and expert in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, strongly rejects the possibility of a political solution to the problem. “It’s possible to reach peace agreements with hostile countries,” he explains, “but not with terrorists. The only solution for terrorism is the military option. Unfortunately, since Oslo there are entire groups that are willing to sell everything in the name of peace, but the raison d’être of the terrorist organizations isn’t peace, it’s the destruction of Israel.
“In light of the decision to manage the terror rather than stop it, the question is no longer about the price we’re willing to pay in order to be safe; it’s about how ethical the IDF is. Which country in the world deals with terror by ‘knocking on the roof?’” (This refers to the IDF protocol to use small missiles to warn civilians that their buildings are slated for bombing, giving them time to escape.)
Dr. Bukay feels that the defense establishment is mocking the Israeli people when it announces planned attacks on terrorist positions and bases. “The Israeli planes are blowing up empty huts. All they’re really doing is some work for Gazan farmers by flattening the ground for them.”