Responsibility for terrorism

Generally the Israel Government considers the ruling or sovereign authority of any territory to be responsible for any attack from its territory.  Under the International Law of War (Third Geneva Convention, article 5) it is permissible for a sovereign state to take appropriate action against the place of origin of an unlawful combatant.

Thus, whenever a missile is fired from Gaza, whichever terrorist organization claims credit, the Israel Government orders the IDF to attack Hamas installations, because Hamas is the responsible governing authority in Gaza.  Similarly with any attack from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Government is considered responsible because it is the sovereign authority in Lebanon.

But, in relation to terrorist attacks emanating from the Palestine Authority this rule is not followed.  Considering these “lone wolf” attacks, the Israel Government only carries out retaliation against the guilty individuals, such as destroying their houses.  This is a mistake since it allows the PA to literally get away with murder.  While our citizens are being murdered on a daily basis, the PA, that is both inciting this terrorist violence and rewarding the terrorists who carry it out, is not being held responsible.

We should demand that after each attack a counter-attack must be carried out against PA facilities in order to establish deterrence against such terrorist attacks.  For example, for attacks on Israelis lining up at a rail station in Jerusalem, the road/rail transportation system of the PA should be attacked.  Now, this may conflict with Israeli Government policy that seeks to support PA Pres. Abbas and also might anger our supposed ally the President of the United States.

But, the chief responsibility of any elected Government is to protect the lives of its citizens, which this Government is demonstrably not doing effectively.  I submit that if this Israeli Government does not hold the PA responsible for terrorism emanating from its territory, then another Government will be elected to replace it.

(An edited version of this posting was published in The Jerusalem Post letters column on 27/11/16)

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