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FM Liberman: The time has come to take off the gloves when dealing with terrorist organizations

Published on: February 1, 2015

Hezbollah is trying to set up an outpost in the Golan Heights in order to operate from there as they do in Southern Lebanon. They want to create a reality where terrorist acts are carried out from Syrian territory on a regular basis according to their whims as if it were a part of “the rules of the game.” This is the essential meaning of the decision not to act now and not to respond in an aggressive and harsh manner against what Hezbollah has done. Anyone who says that we need to simply “accommodate” the incident and to wait  is saying that Israel should allow Hezbollah to increase its strength even on our border with Syria, letting them bring terrorists and large amounts of lethal weapons in order that they can act against us from there at any given time.

The lack of an Israeli response to the killing of the two soldiers and the wounding of others and the “accommodation” of the incident means that Israel is agreeing to these “rules of the game” and its costs. This is a serious blow to Israel’s deterrent capability.

Whoever offers Gaza and Operation Protective Edge as an example of deterrence and what needs to be done against terror organizations is giving exactly the opposite example. Just this week we have seen a missile test conducted by Hamas and in the weeks beforehand we saw Hamas parades where they presented the advanced weapons that they have built for use against Israel. This is not deterrence, but turning a blind eye. It is exactly this result that I opposed during Protective Edge and today we see how, after Hezbollah was deterred because ofthe beating it took from Israel during the Second Lebanon War, this deterrence was broken because of what Hezbollah saw happen during Protective Edge.If we do not respond now in the right way the feelingthat Israel does not decisively fight terror will strengthen and take hold amongst terror organizations. They know that words and declarations do not defeat terror, but rather it is difficult and determined action that collapse the foundations of terror.

A “proportional” response in accordance with the “rules of the game” is exactly what the terrorists want because it will drag us into a war of attrition and the perpetuation of the conflict.

A “proportional” response means that the heads of terror organizations know that they have immunity, that we will not destroy their rule, that we will not damage their armaments, that we will allow them to continue to enlist and train new terrorists. This is what is happening today in Gaza and it is just a matter of time until they use all of these abilities to drag Israel into another operation at a convenient time for them.

The meaning of a disproportionate response is the defeat of terror, which aligns with the goals that the international community declared for itself two weeks ago after the events in Europe.

Yesterday, Israel was again forced to close its airports in Haifa and Rosh-Pina, to close roads and tourist sites and to disrupt the routine lives of many Israelis. Once again, the one deciding the timing was the enemy.

Whoever wants to accommodateis agreeing that terror organizations are those who control the “normal switch” for the lives of Israeli citizens. We cannot agree to this. The citizens of the south, the citizens of the north and even the citizens of Tel Aviv and the center of the country cannot be hostages of the terrorists and Israel cannot be a hostage of terror organizations.

Israel does not have the option to be weak against terror. The time has come to take off the gloves when dealing with terror. We need to be strong and to do what is necessary, even if it is hard because any other options will make it even harder.

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