This is not 1967. We now have radical regimes on Israel's borders: Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. We now have a radical Iran calling for the extermination of the state of Israel and hastening toward possession of the atomic bomb. As for how too many commentators see the security situation, contrast the furor last year over the Israeli interception of that Turkish flotilla ferrying banned items to Gaza (disguised as "humanitarian aid") with how much attention has been paid to the Liberian-flagged ship intercepted this week as it headed to Egypt with similar "humanitarian aid" for Gaza—i.e., about 2,500 mortar shells, 75,000 bullets, and six C-704 anti-ship missiles. It is rich to criticize Netanyahu for ignoring changed circumstances facing Israel, then overlook the threats to Israel's very existence, whose protection is his prime responsibility. Those threats have multiplied over the last decade; the security parameters of any settlement must now be a principal element in the minds of the Israeli people and their leaders.
For decades now, when the Palestinians have resorted to arms, this has been oriented to the murder of innocents, to violence inflicted against noncombatants. Article 15 of the Palestine Liberation Organization's charter states that the objective is to achieve the "elimination of Zionism in Palestine." Public and religious leaders lionize Palestinian suicide bombers in the media, in schools, and from the pulpit, and name public squares after them. What do they think this accomplishes, other than to further encourage attacks like the one just perpetrated? Where are the critiques of those leaders who have prepared the ground for such murders with their incessant incitement to hatred and their glorification of violence and terrorists, who are presented as heroes and role models on their way to earning eternal fame? In the last several years, two summer camps have been named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the deadliest single act of terrorism in Israel's history—the 1978 bus hijacking that killed 38 civilians. With continuous messages like this, is it any wonder that people can go on terror rampages like the one that took place this month?
A massacre is a massacre is a massacre. There are no circumstances to explain it and no words that can put it into proportion. As Israeli President Shimon Peres remarked: "It indicates a loss of humanity. There is no religion in the world or any faith that allows these kinds of horrible acts."
The Palestinian Authority often speaks words of peace to the world in English, but at home it teaches incitement and hatred and celebrates terrorists. The "road map" outlining the terms for the Israeli-Palestinian relationship includes a provision that "all official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel." The incitement to hatred and violence is not an accident, not a misunderstanding, and it does not happen randomly. It is a weapon of political warfare.
There would be no better signal of the Palestinians' willingness to have a permanent peace with an Israeli state than for them to begin to educate their people for peace. Israel needs a viable Palestinian state but one that must also allow for the security of Israel in ways that only the Israelis can appreciate. For they are the ones who have to look at the pictures of the three Fogel children soaked with blood. The family approved the release of the photos because they understood that this is the only way to underscore why a secured state is necessary: to protect against people who can commit and celebrate such an atrocity. It is why their hope lies not just in a separation of two states for two peoples, but in a separation that is both sensible and secure.