Amid the domestic strife over the government's proposed judicial reform, Israelis received a stark reminder this week of the danger that a Palestinian state would pose to Israel's existence.
In a frightening development, Palestinian terrorists near Jenin in northern Samaria fired two rockets at the nearby Jewish community of Shaked. Fortunately, no one was injured, but that in no way diminishes the importance and severity of the incident, which demands an immediate Israeli military response.
Simply put, the Jewish state must take action to prevent Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) from developing an effective capability to fire rockets, which would further amplify the threat to Israeli cities throughout the center and north of the country.
Consider the following: The distance from Jenin to Haifa is just 49 kilometers; to Tiberias it is 43 km.; and to Afula, it is less than 17 km. If the Palestinians in Samaria succeed in replicating the technologies developed by their terrorist comrades in Gaza, they could easily turn Israel's North into a shooting gallery.
And that, it would appear, is precisely what they have in mind.
Indeed, the attack earlier this week was reportedly just the latest in a series of recent attempts by a Hamas-linked group called the Al-Ayyash Battalion. While thus far their efforts have been crowned with failure, there is no reason to assume that will continue.
But Hamas is not the only band of thugs working on perfecting rockets.
On May 17, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a paper by Yoni Ben-Menachem titled "Islamic Jihad Is Trying To Establish a Rocket Force in Judea and Samaria." It noted that the Palestinian terror group is aiming to create the necessary infrastructure in Judea and Samaria in order to manufacture and fire rockets. The report came just days after Shin Bet director Ronen Bar said at a press conference, "In the last few weeks, we thwarted a squad in the Jenin refugee camp area, which had already started producing rockets and a launcher to fire rockets from Samaria towards Israel."
Clearly, a concerted effort is underway by various Palestinian factions in Judea and Samaria, one that must be stopped at all costs.
Over the past two decades, we have all seen the havoc, fear, and trauma periodically caused by Palestinian terrorists based in Gaza, whose rockets have reached Tel Aviv. Israel cannot and must not allow Judea and Samaria to turn into another Gaza, which would mean possibly contending with rocket attacks simultaneously from both areas in any future conflict.
It is therefore essential for Israel to nip this threat in the bud.
Left to their own devices, it is only a matter of time before the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria either develop or acquire the technology needed to bombard the Jewish state.
The fact that Palestinian terrorist organizations in Samaria have been able to work on developing rockets is a direct result of the Oslo 2 Accords, which placed cities such as Jenin under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which has done virtually nothing to curtail this activity and must be held accountable. Through its inaction, it is in effect an accomplice in this dangerous trend.
The potential emergence of a Palestinian terrorist rocket brigade in Judea and Samaria serves to underline just how foolhardy it would be to establish a Palestinian state in the area, which would place Israel at grave strategic risk. Unfortunately, this simple and obvious truth continues to escape senior American decision-makers, who continue to prattle on about the need to create a Palestinian state.
Just this past Sunday, in an interview on CNN, US President Joe Biden said, apparently with a straight face, "I'm one of those who believe that Israel's ultimate security rests in a two-state solution."
Thankfully, a majority of Israelis know better, and even many of those who once supported the idea of creating "Palestine" have come to realize what a dangerous act of folly that would be. We must continue to say no to "Palestine," both now and in the future, in order to ensure our existence.
For far too long, successive Israeli governments have failed to clamp down on Palestinian terror with the firmness that is required, allowing our foes to build up their capabilities and threaten Jewish life and limb. But the warning signs are flashing and are there for all to see.
Unless Israel undertakes a wide-ranging and comprehensive counter-terror operation in Judea and Samaria, it may only be a matter of time before the rockets begin to fly.