Israel has been taking it on the chin from the Palestinians. It offers them an incredibly generous package at Camp David in July; the Palestinians (and Israeli Arabs) reward it in October with the worst-ever outbreak of violence. Likewise, the IDF fights in a careful manner intended to return the Palestinians to the negotiating table (as opposed to defeating them); in reply, Palestinians respond with heightened violence (uniformed "policemen" are now shooting at the IDF). Nor are the Palestinians the only ones to assault Israel:
- The UN Security Council thanks Israel for its "policy of restraint" limiting Palestinian casualties - even though this adds to the injuries and deaths of its own troops - with a resolution lambasting its "excessive use of force."
- The international media ignore Israel's absorbing a range of provocations almost without retaliation (the abduction of soldiers to Lebanon, the lynching of soldiers in Ramallah, the desecration of Joseph's Tomb) and instead vilify it.
- Governments around the world respond to hundreds of incidents of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions on six continents, carried out almost entirely by Moslems, with near-silence.
- Assert political goals. These days, Israeli policy aims only at a return to the bargaining table. It would do well to emulate the Palestinians, who have a well-articulated set of goals (end Israeli occupation, establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital). If it did, Israeli equivalents would include a complete end to violence by Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, and the Arab and Moslem states.
- Enforce agreements already signed. At present, the government asks only for a "drastic" drop in violence before returning to the bargaining table. (And the Likud wants hardly more, demanding merely a complete cessation of hostilities.) Better would be to demand complete implementation of all agreements reached since 1993 before even considering another round of negotiations.
- Choose the time and place of confrontations. If Palestinians insist on continuing the violence, stop letting them decide its terms. Actively choose the who, when, where, and how favoring Israel's interests.
- Don't worry about world opinion. Israel is so unfairly treated in this regard, it has little left to lose. Anyway, a strong Israel criticized for defending itself is far better off than a weak Israel no less criticized when it fails to defend its interests.