Who is Ultimately Responsible for the Cold-Blooded Murder of a Palestinian Teenager?

In the wake of three murdered Jewish teenagers in Israel, another issue has taken center stage: Jewish revenge killing.  A Palestinian teenager was burned alive, and it appears as though the culprits were Israeli Jews.  That savage murder has struck the soul of the nation because that’s not the way Jewish people are supposed to behave.

Today’s Israel Hayom includes two opinion pieces dealing with the issue: “How do we deal with the shame?” by Uri Heitner and “When the margins become the center” by Dr. Shlomo Yishai.  Both of them raise serious questions that deserve answers, but let’s be sure to identify who the real culprits are.

Yes, it is dangerous when radicals on either side of the political spectrum break out in a fit of anger; it’s more dangerous when radicals assume political power; and it’s more dangerous still when political leaders allow sores to fester to the point that people begin to believe that they must take matters into their own hands. That’s the situation Israel faces now.

Trying to appease critics in the West, Israeli leaders have failed to perform their most basic task which is to protect their people. A prime example of this is the release of known terrorists in order to pacify Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Mahmoud Abbas knowing full well that they would kill again. All of this was done to achieve “peace” when everyone who knows anything realizes that you can’t have peace while one side has as its stated objective the total annihilation of the other. Both the Palestinian and Hamas charters call for Israel’s destruction, and they talk about it openly among themselves. Only fools believe that Palestinians want peace.

MK Yariv Levin understands the situation better than most.  He says,

“Let's not delude ourselves that only Hamas was to blame for the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. Palestinian society as a whole was responsible, even if the attack was carried out by Hamas.

The news of the attack was received by the Palestinian public, both in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, with great joy and celebration. This was not shocking, given the fact that nothing unites Palestinians more than their shared hatred of Jews and Israel and their desire to establish a Palestinian state in the entire land of Israel, which runs contrary to the self-delusions of many Israelis who are trying to resuscitate the fallacious peace process.”

So, while I am in complete agreement with those who argue that cold-blooded murder doesn’t justify cold-blooded murder, I hasten to add this caveat: those who feel trapped believe that they have no choice but to take action themselves, and they aren’t the only ones to blame.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is guilty, too, and so are those who support idiotic arrangements that have no hope of success while all the evidence points to the crying need for increased security in an increasingly volatile and dangerous Middle East.  They are guilty of ignoring reality and striking deals the consequences of which were totally and absolutely predictable.  That’s what leads to vigilante justice, and as long as political leaders in Israel stay the present course, they can expect more of the same.

Israeli leaders must think they have no choice but to go along with mind numbingly stupid edicts from the likes of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and EU leaders.  They are wrong.  They may not know it, but the Israeli people sure do, and more and more each day, they are telling them so with their actions.

Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.

In the wake of three murdered Jewish teenagers in Israel, another issue has taken center stage: Jewish revenge killing.  A Palestinian teenager was burned alive, and it appears as though the culprits were Israeli Jews.  That savage murder has struck the soul of the nation because that’s not the way Jewish people are supposed to behave.

Today’s Israel Hayom includes two opinion pieces dealing with the issue: “How do we deal with the shame?” by Uri Heitner and “When the margins become the center” by Dr. Shlomo Yishai.  Both of them raise serious questions that deserve answers, but let’s be sure to identify who the real culprits are.

Yes, it is dangerous when radicals on either side of the political spectrum break out in a fit of anger; it’s more dangerous when radicals assume political power; and it’s more dangerous still when political leaders allow sores to fester to the point that people begin to believe that they must take matters into their own hands. That’s the situation Israel faces now.

Trying to appease critics in the West, Israeli leaders have failed to perform their most basic task which is to protect their people. A prime example of this is the release of known terrorists in order to pacify Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Mahmoud Abbas knowing full well that they would kill again. All of this was done to achieve “peace” when everyone who knows anything realizes that you can’t have peace while one side has as its stated objective the total annihilation of the other. Both the Palestinian and Hamas charters call for Israel’s destruction, and they talk about it openly among themselves. Only fools believe that Palestinians want peace.

MK Yariv Levin understands the situation better than most.  He says,

“Let's not delude ourselves that only Hamas was to blame for the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. Palestinian society as a whole was responsible, even if the attack was carried out by Hamas.

The news of the attack was received by the Palestinian public, both in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, with great joy and celebration. This was not shocking, given the fact that nothing unites Palestinians more than their shared hatred of Jews and Israel and their desire to establish a Palestinian state in the entire land of Israel, which runs contrary to the self-delusions of many Israelis who are trying to resuscitate the fallacious peace process.”

So, while I am in complete agreement with those who argue that cold-blooded murder doesn’t justify cold-blooded murder, I hasten to add this caveat: those who feel trapped believe that they have no choice but to take action themselves, and they aren’t the only ones to blame.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is guilty, too, and so are those who support idiotic arrangements that have no hope of success while all the evidence points to the crying need for increased security in an increasingly volatile and dangerous Middle East.  They are guilty of ignoring reality and striking deals the consequences of which were totally and absolutely predictable.  That’s what leads to vigilante justice, and as long as political leaders in Israel stay the present course, they can expect more of the same.

Israeli leaders must think they have no choice but to go along with mind numbingly stupid edicts from the likes of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and EU leaders.  They are wrong.  They may not know it, but the Israeli people sure do, and more and more each day, they are telling them so with their actions.

Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.