Thursday, June 29, 2006

Terror starts small and gets worse if not stopped

The lessons of Givat Ada

Givat Ada is a small community on Israel's coastal plain.

In 1936, Arabs destroyed vineyards and other crops in the town. Evidently, their hatred for Jews outstripped their supposed love of the land.

While this was hardly the only instance of Arab vandalism against agriculture - in fact, this was at the beginning of a huge wave of Arab tree destruction - it is important to see what happens when smaller crimes are not dealt with swiftly and properly.

Givat Ada suffered a much worse crime two years later. Three Jewish kids were kidnapped, their whereabouts unknown:

In 1940, their remains were found in an Arab village. A trial in 1941 of eight Arabs accused of the crime ended up in acquital as some witnesses recanted their testimony.

Barely two weeks after the kidnapping, Givat Ada was subject to a much more public and brazen attack. 200 armed Arasb arrived and killed three residents, including a mother of two:

In the space of two years, attacks went from arson to secret kidnapping/murder to open warfare against civilians. The acceptance of one level of violence naturally ends up empowering the terrorists to do more.

An absurd concept that has gained currency in the world today, seemingly only applicable to Israel, is the idea of "proportionate response." Somehow, when a terror act is committed, Israel is expected to pull its punches and only react in a proportional manner, in a similar fashion as the original crime.

This is exactly wrong.

The proper reaction to terror is swift and uncompromising disproportionate response. Anything less invites the terrorists to do more and more. When the terror leaders know with near certainty that they will still be alive after any of their attacks, they have no incentive to stop. In fact, they have a disincentive to stop - they know that they can get away with more next time.

Israel would do well to learn the lessons of Givat Ada.