As the Israeli wall surrounding Gaza proves unable to prevent murders and abductions carried out by Palestinians, and as the Israel Defense Forces enter Gaza in response to these acts as well as rockets landing on Israeli towns, I dug into my archive and came up with two items from 2001 worth revisiting.
First, walls have only limited utility. Here is how I put it in "[Building a Wall and Israel's] Quick-Fix Mentality": "Terrorists can also go over a fence in gliders, around it in boats, or under it in tunnels. They can ignore it by firing mortars or rockets. They can pass through checkpoints using false identification papers. They can recruit Israeli Arabs or Western sympathizers." For an update of how tunnels can render walls useless, see "Terrorists sneaked in via tunnel; attacked 3 targets simultaneously" in yesterday's Ha'aretz. For the IDF's blindness to this problem, see "Fence of Deception" in today's Yedi`ot Aharonot.
Second, I five years ago offered some advice to Israelis about responding to Palestinian terrorism, published in "Preventing war: Israel's options." Replace "Yasir Arafat" and "the PLO" with "Hamas" and it applies to today's crisis:
- Bury suicide bombers in potter's fields rather than deliver their bodies to relatives (who turn their funerals into frenzied demonstrations). Freeze the financial assets of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, the PLO, and the PA.
- Prevent PA officials (including Arafat) from returning to the PA.
- Permit no transportation of people or goods beyond basic necessities.
- Shut off utilities to the PA.
- Then: implement the death penalty against murderers.
- Seize weapons from the PA and make sure no new ones reach it.
- Re-occupy areas from which gunfire or mortars are shot.
- Raze the PA's illegal offices in Jerusalem, its security infrastructure and villages from which attacks are launched.
- Capture or otherwise dispose of the PA leadership.
- Destroy the PA.
- Reach separate deals with each Palestinian town or village.
Comment: My 2001 advice was ahead of the curve; now, it is operational. (June 28, 2006)