Friday, November 28, 2014

Punishment or justice?

The Israel Government recently re-introduced a method for dealing with terrorism in the wake of the recent wave of attacks that have taken the lives of 11 Israelis in a month.  The tactic is the destruction of their houses and also the expulsion of those who have been given Israeli id.  This applies particularly to the families of terrorists who have been killed in suicide attacks or attacks where they have been shot dead while committing a terrorist act.  How can you punish them if they are already dead?  The only way is to punish their family, so that future potential terrorists will be deterred.  This tactic works because young men and fathers are loath to cause the destruction of their family home and/or the expulsion of their wives and children from Israel, where they receive all sorts of benefits, including welfare.  We know this works because the former wave of suicide terrorism died out partly due to this punishment.
    Some of the British readers might regard this treatment as harsh, but actually this was the legal means of punishing Jewish fighters used by the British forces during the Mandate (1922-48).  It was declared legal by the British judiciary and was carried out by HM forces.  The Israeli Govt. merely adopted it and continued it, since if the British said it was legal it must be. By the way the civilized British used this tactic throughout their Empire.
    The expulsion is also legal, since when Israel captured the area in 1967 Arab residents of E. Jerusalem were given Israeli id, but not citizenship.   But, this is not permanent, it is revocable.  The families of the terrorists who drove a bulldozer into people last year,  the men who killed the 4 rabbis and the Druse policeman in a Jerusalem shul last week, and the man who drove his car into a queue and killed a woman and baby, are affected.  Some of these people and their families are in fact from the West Bank and have no permanent rights in Israel.  Two of the other attackers are in custody, the man who drove his van into a woman and stabbed her and the man who stabbed the soldier to death.
    Another Israeli death due to terrorism has been revealed, a construction worker who fell to his death from a building site in Petach Tikva has been found to be a terrorist incident.  His Arab co-workers cut the rope while he was suspended doing work on the building and he fell to his death. Three of his co-workers have been arrested.
    This tactic of destroying the houses of terrorists has been criticized by human rights groups as being "collective punishment," punishing the wives and family of the terrorist for his actions.  But, in trying to protect its citizens from such terrorist attacks, the Government is allowed to use extreme measures, and there is no reason why the family of a Palestinian terrorist should be immune from the consequences of his actions as well as benefiting from public welfare.  It's as if a Mexican family illegally entered the US and the husband killed someone and the wife then receives a pension, its just not right.  Also, other governments, including the British, are looking for ways to counteract the current wave of terrorism from the returning Syrian ISIS fighters.  PM Netanyahu is sponsoring a new bill in the Knesset that will bring together many anti-terrorism features, including stripping Israel Arabs who carry out terrorist attacks of their Israeli citizenship and deporting them after they serve their sentence and many other actions, including the destruction of houses of terrorists and the deportation of their families.
    People have asked why the homes of Jewish terrorists have not been demolished, but there is no comparison.  I can think of only four deaths caused by Jewish terrorists (Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by Yigal Amir; the massacre carried out by Baruch Goldstein; the shooting of passengers aboard a bus in Galilee; the death of the Arab boy Khdeir in retaliation for the murder of the three Israeli teens), but by comparison there have been hundreds of murders of Jews by Arab terrorists, and if you include the intifada, thousands.  So these measures are being used to counteract a wave of Palestinian Arab terrorism that is killing our civilians, and it must be stopped.  Any legal means are justified.


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