Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Tolerance bolsters terrorism
Dr. Gabi Avital
The term "fog of war" expresses the acute uncertainty regarding one's own capability and an adversary's capability and intent during a military operation. Usually, neither side can claim any advantage in such situations, but in some instances, the fog is somehow unilateral. This is what the past few days have felt like.
The terrorists who abducted Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel know exactly what they are doing and that their next move is likely to be, while the families are plagued by the fog of war. The terrorists' leaders have a clear goal in mind, while the Israeli leadership is forced to act as if its hands are tied, or as if, at the very least, the actions it can take to counter this crisis are very limited.
Why is this happening? Why was it so obvious that the world would tolerate the abduction of Jewish Israelis, and that the terrorists' position was justified? A partial answer to this question can be found in the recent conduct of the United States and western Europe: if U.S. President Barack Obama still needs a few more days to decide whether or not his country should assist Iraq in its fight against insurgents, and if he has already negated the possibility of putting boots on the ground, then he too is in the grips of a unilateral fog of war.
Some say this was a conscious decision -- that this is just Obama's way, while others believe his policies endanger the entire world. If the information suggesting insurgents have executed 1,700 Iraqi soldiers over the past few days (and these are just the numbers we know of) evokes such an anemic reaction from Obama, the situation is worse than we thought.
The United States under Obama has somehow bolstered terrorist organizations -- although it is unfair to place the blame solely with one man. This has been a fundamental policy of the State Department for years, and it has affected the entire world. For example, the U.S.'s eagerness, under the direction of Henry Kissinger, to broker peace between North and South Vietnam might have won him the Nobel Peace Prize, but a million refugees plunged into the depths of despair following that so-called "peace."
In 1976, Israel proved to the world that it would not cower before terrorism. Operation Entebbe was a clear statement that terrorism must be fought even when the stakes are high. Unfortunately, the motivation to fight terror has been steadily decreasing ever since, right down to the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, whose aspirations to liberate Palestine go beyond the 1967 lines.
The U.S. fosters moderate policies when dealing with terror states, while its rigid policies toward Israel raise serious questions about placing the murderer and the victim to the same level.
This atmosphere has limited the Israeli leadership's ability to seek a fundamental solution to the threat of terror; making even the simple act of counter abductions (kidnapping the relatives of those who abducted the teens), which could have a curtailing effect on terrorism, utterly impossible. This might be the greatest sin of those who bolster terrorism rather than quash it.