by Tzahi Dickstein
I am not a defense minister, nor a regional commander, general or leader of a combat brigade. I'm a simple Golani infantryman, a major in the reserves, who is stunned, incredulous and wondering out loud how a main junction in Gush Etzion has been allowed to become the daily scene of bloody attacks in which we are run over with cars, shot at and stabbed to death, as the world continues to turn unperturbed. As a resident of Judea and Samaria who spends a lot of time on the roads at all hours of the day, I must ask whether Israel's government and society would tolerate a similar reality at a central junction in Tel Aviv.
As the defense establishment has already said, the murder of Hadar Buchris will be investigated, conclusions will be reached, and preventive steps will be taken. It appears, however, that in response to every preventive measure we implement, the terrorists adapt and find new ways to continue their killing spree. We place large cement blocks near bus stops to prevent ramming attacks, and they take a knife or rifle and try killing us that way. We prevent Palestinian laborers from crossing the Green Line, and they come in regardless through the many holes in the fence. We could separate Israelis and Palestinians in the junction area, and the Palestinians would find a way to disguise themselves in the crowd and carry out their murderous plans.
Under the current formula, the killing sprees will continue and more precious lives will be claimed, because at the end of the day these measures and the presence of IDF soldiers and other security personnel at the junction only provide an initial response. It is an important preventive step of course, but far from sufficient. The battle must be moved immediately to the Palestinian villages: They must be besieged; a general curfew with no one allowed entry or exit needs to be put in place; troops must go from house to house making arrests; inciters need to be exiled; the enemy needs to be broken until he surrenders.
Last Friday I participated in the 10th annual Benaya run commemorating Maj. Benaya Rhein, who fell in action during the Second Lebanon War while leading his crewmen on a mission to rescue wounded comrades, for which he was posthumously awarded a medal of honor. I ran alongside my son, Benaya, on the special course for children named after him. They were given that name so that future generations not only remember his heroism but also that the very privilege of living in this land was granted to us because people like Benaya and his comrades, in all our wars, were willing to fight for it. I am all too aware of the heavy price that soldiers, their families and the country would have to pay for an operation like the one I am proposing, but it is the army's job to take the fight to the enemy so that civilians can live their daily lives.
Hadar Buchris was the 22nd life claimed during this current wave of terror, the number of the next birthday she would have celebrated. The voice of our sister's blood cries out to us from the ground; indeed the writing for her murder was on the wall. May her memory be a blessing; perhaps we will be able to find some solace in her death if it moves the decision-makers to order the IDF to win -- and the sooner the better.
Tzahi Dickstein is CEO of Eshkolot center for Israel studies and religious education.
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