Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israelis Sunday in retaliation for the death of the terrorist Samir Kuntar, for which Israel has not confirmed responsibility. “The Israelis should be justifiably worried,” the Hezbollah chief said. “They should be worried along the border, inside [Israel] and outside.” He continued, “The response is coming no matter what…We cannot forgive the shedding of our mujahideen blood by the Zionists…anywhere in the world.” Nasrallah’s vow came six days after an initial threat that he issued on the occasion of Kuntar’s ceremonial funeral in Beirut, in which he said, “Samir is one of us and a commander of our resistance and it is our right to retaliate for his assassination in the place, time and a way we see appropriate. We will exercise this right, God willing.” In response to these comments, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said on Monday, “Even across our borders, in the face of the threats heard in the north, we stand ready for every challenge...Our enemies know that if they try to disturb the security of Israel — they will be faced with harsh results."
Kuntar, who was establishing a terrorist front in the Syrian Golan Heights, was killed in an airstrike on a Damascus suburb on December 19. Kuntar was released from an Israeli jail in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, having been imprisoned in 1979 for the brutal murder of three members of an Israeli family and an Israeli policeman. In the commission of his crime, he killed the father and bashed the 4-year-old daughter Einat’s head with the butt of a rifle against rocks. The mother, hiding in a crawlspace, smothered her 2-year-old daughter Yael to death in an attempt to keep her quiet so as to avoid giving away their hiding place.
Israeli military officials told The New York Times in May that Hezbollah had moved most of its military infrastructure into the civilian neighborhoods of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon, hiding its valuable materiel behind human shields. There are thousands of potential Hezbollah targets that Israel could strike in southern Lebanon, and approximately 400 in a village of 4,000 residents alone. A senior Israeli military official was quoted as saying, “We will hit Hezbollah hard, while making every effort to limit civilian casualties as much as we can. [But] we do not intend to stand by helplessly in the face of rocket attacks.”
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has killed more Americans than any terrorist organization other than al-Qaeda, and was the leading terrorist murderer of Americans before 9/11.
A senior Palestinian official said that some members of Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, want to escalate the ongoing wave of terror against Israelis by orchestrating suicide bombings, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
The official, who remained anonymous, warned in an interview with Israel Radio that the Tanzim terrorist group, which was formed by Yasser Arafat in 1995 and carried out multiple lethal attacks against Israeli civilians during the second intifada, will “sooner or later” have to take part in the current spate of assaults.
“We have no choice. And when it happens – all of the rules of the game will change,” he said. “Hamas will feel more free to act as well. What’s happening now is just the tip of the iceberg.”
The official explained that a return to suicide attacks might come if various Palestinian terrorist factions join the wave of violence, which has hitherto been characterized by lone-wolf attacks, and begin vying for popular support. A study in Mosaic last month found that over the past decade, an average of 59% of Palestinians believed that suicide bombings against civilians were often or sometimes justified. A poll released earlier this month revealed that two-thirds of Palestinians support knife attacks against Israelis.
According to the official, the majority of Fatah’s leadership is content to “wait and see which way the wind is blowing” in regards to the current spate of violence. The PA, which Fatah runs, is bound under the terms of the Oslo Accords to act against anti-Israel incitement and terror.
According to Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service, 24 people have been killed and 259 wounded in over 150 terrorist attacks since September. A number of Israeli security experts and Palestinian activists have largely attributed the attacks to ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders, including Abbas and other PA officials. (via TheTower.org)
The first seeks to interpret the Paris shootings as a response to Western foreign policy—or more specifically, to Western imperialism. This can either refer to the supposed imperialism of recent years or go as far back as the Crusades.The second dwells on the jihadists’ fundamental opposition to liberalism itself. Thus, the West is not on the receiving end of violence for what it does, rather it experiences these sporadic outbursts of brutality based on what it is.
Both arguments are deployed in opposition to one other, yet both contain an element of truth.
First of all, Paris may very well have been “blowback” for France’s role in bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Hitler’s production of the V-3 cannon was “blowback” for the Allied assault on Nazi Germany. Blowback is invariably what happens when a country wages war—what it is not is a moral judgement on the decision to go to war itself (though the argument is often disingenuously deployed as if it were).
At the same time, it is also true that Le Bataclan concert hall in Paris was a place where, in the jihadist vernacular, “hundreds of apostates had gathered in a profligate prostitution party.” This sounds a lot like the misogynist statements put out in the past by jihadists, such as those who unsuccessfully placed a bomb outside London’s popular Ministry of Sound nightclub in 2004, the casus belli in that instance being “those slags dancing around.” It should be clear from reading them that it is the existence of liberal democracy, rather than any particular policy pursued by the liberal democracies, which these budding totalitarians find so repugnant.
Despite these two propositions being in seeming opposition to each other, how Europe’s democracies inoculate themselves against jihadist violence will depend to a certain extent on how successfully Western governments grapple with the central tenets of both arguments. What sort of foreign policy ought the West to pursue in order to minimize the threat from jihadist violence? And how will the West build a confident liberalism at a time of widespread suspicion and distrust?
To continue reading this article in The Tower Magazine, please click here.