Givat Hadagan is ours! That smug report came over the command center's network.
"It was a tough struggle, and we won!" the senior commander declared.
"We shall prevent ludicrous provocations by the settlers," the prime minister asserted.
He said this at the end of the "day of battle" against ardent Jews — pioneers, young women carrying infants, and settlers. It was a battle against children, against youths demonstrating at the Ramat Gan terrorist bomb site. It was a battle against Arutz 7, a battle that trampled the rules of democracy.
The government's propaganda machine works full blast to break the spirit of these people, to isolate and weaken the stirrings of national life still present in the hearts of so many. The premier and foreign minister incite against the settlers, accusing them of diverting the Israel Defense Force and police from the battle against terrorism, implying that they are a small minority tearing the nation apart.
But in fact it is the government that is diverting the IDF, police and other security services from seriously dealing with terrorism. The IDF command knows that no conclusions have been drawn from the first stage of the agreement with the Palestinians (Gaza-Jericho), but it remains silent. Its members know there isn't any possibility of preserving security in the face of Palestinian terrorism without the IDF having full control of external and internal security in the Palestinian zones.
This means the right to engage in preventive action and hot pursuit, as needed, anywhere in the area. It is something that could seriously prod the Palestinian Authority into finally taking some steps against Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
But the IDF leaders remain mute, and so they are responsible for the consequences of the terrorism striking at us, no less than the political echelon.
As a soldier and commander who has fought in each of Israel's wars, in the most desperate and fateful battles and campaigns, I say that an IDF command that fights Jewish women and children whose safety was abandoned by the government in the Oslo II agreement, and that cooperates with its worst enemies against part of its own people, can no longer win. It will not be capable of standing up to the real foes, should it have to.
But it is not only the IDF command that the government has impelled to cooperate with the PLO; our security services, which until this cooperation began were deemed among the best in the world, have also been shackled.
This government has caused our future security to be, according to Oslo II, totally dependent on Yasser Arafat's will and his orders to combat terror. Yet up to now, Arafat has not extradited a single terrorist to us, despite his commitment to do so. Detentions by the P.A. have been described by responsible sources as "totally useless propaganda arrests."
More than 3,000 Palestinian intelligence officers, all terrorists, are now operating illegally in Judea and Samaria, but Arafat has not ordered them to move against Hamas' operational cells, nor does he intend to in the foreseeable future.
The Palestinian intelligence apparatus deals mainly with the local political opposition, not with terror. Shaving off the beards of two senior Hamas preachers, too, was intended to humiliate political rivals. There's no connection here with the murder gangs operating against us.
Cooperating with the PLO also endangers Jewish settlers. An example: The Palestinian security service, with the knowledge of our own security establishment, collects information on the settlements and the access roads to them. And nobody among us as much as utters an objection. The obedient cooperation, on instructions from the prime minister, goes on.
Most worrisome is the government's vitiation of the top ranks of the sensitive security services, which are no longer capable of fighting terrorism effectively. This government is forcing the higher echelons in the security services to cooperate with the terrorist leadership as though it is their partner in preventing terror. That it is a totally useless pursuit has been proved by the massacres in Dizengoff Street, Beit Lid, Ramat Gan, Jerusalem, Kfar Darom, Netzarim, Hadera, Afula and elsewhere. But our men meet with their new partners, dine with them in expensive restaurants, travel around the country, dip in Zichron Ya'acov's cool pools and toast each other in Eilat's air-conditioned bars. Real pals. And with "pals" one doesn't fight, even when it's necessary.
And the terror goes on — not despite the cooperation but because of it.