Columnist Gwynne Dyer Claims Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Operations Serve To Distract From “Seizing Ever More Palestinian Land”

July 11, 2023

Gwynne Dyer is at it again. The columnist with a long history of publishing anti-Israel opinion pieces has once again shared his latest thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a commentary which appeared in The Hill Times, The Telegram, Winnipeg Free Press and The PEI Guardian on July 6, 7 & 10 respectively entitled: “Israel is ‘mowing the lawn’ again, but with malice aforethought.”

In his latest column, fresh off Israel’s counter-terrorism operations in Jenin, located in Judea & Samaria (often called the “West Bank” by the news media), Dyer accused Israel of engaging in a fruitless and bloody endeavour, ostensibly for little more than scoring political points at home and abroad.

Dyer wrote that Israel’s operations, often referred to as “mowing the lawn” (so named because Israel is forced to regularly attack Palestinian terrorism infrastructure) is all a façade.

“They know perfectly well that the raids achieve nothing except to bring in more young recruits for the Palestinian resistance movement-of-the-month: Lion’s Den, the Jenin Brigades, or whatever’s next. But they’re IDF soldiers and they have to look like they’re doing something about the ‘terrorist threat,’ so out come the lawn-mowers,” Dyer wrote in his column.

At first glance, Dyer’s assessment seems not without reason. After all, Israel has regularly entered Palestinian towns and villages in order to uproot terrorist infrastructure, and attempt to arrest operatives with Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). But upon further inspection, Dyer’s assessment is not only cynical, but profoundly superficial and fatuous.

While it’s true that of all Israel’s repeated “mowing the lawn” counter-terrorism operations have not succeeded in ultimately and definitively halting Palestinian terrorism, does that mean that Israel should simply do nothing, throw up its hands, and accept the inevitability that groups like Hamas, PIJ and others should have free reign to murder and maim Israelis?

Jenin is more than just a town. It has been called an “epicentre” of terrorism, and over the last year, Palestinians from Jenin were responsible for an estimated 50 terrorist attacks inside Israel. Dozens of Israeli civilians have been murdered so far this year alone. Palestinian terrorists in Jenin have not operated in a silo; they have received significant financing, training and arms from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Even though Israel’s operations in Jenin and elsewhere have not eliminated Palestinian terrorism, it is false to say that they have accomplished nothing.

In fact, during this latest operation in Jenin, in addition to identifying and targeting a number of Palestinian terror operatives, it also seized sizeable weapons caches used by PIJ, which undoubtedly would be used in some form by the Islamist extremist group.

Israel destroyed the weapons, depriving PIJ of them, but not before finding that they were part of a larger military fortification, which included a mosque turned into a terrorist hideout, which also included an underground tunnel.

Dyer does not acknowledge any details of these counter-terrorism operations, presumably because they distract from his major thesis: that Israel conducts these steps only to distract from the Jewish State’s apparent attempts to continue “seizing ever more Palestinian land, which is more easily done when Palestinians and Israelis are busy killing one another.”

Not only does Dyer’s thesis presume that Israel should accept ongoing Palestinian terrorism against its civilians, it also makes the claim that violence between Israelis and Palestinians is apparently caused by Israel’s counter-terrorism operations.

This neat and tidy assessment – that Israel should simply refrain from defending itself, lest it cause Palestinian terrorism – is not uncommonly heard, but if there is one group that doesn’t seem to follow it, it is Palestinian terrorist groups themselves, who are nothing if not consistent in their ideology.

These groups do not simply see themselves as opponents of Israel’s presence in Judea & Samaria, lands won by Israel in 1967 following its defensive victory in the Six Day War, but rather are violently opposed to the very concept of Israel as a Jewish State, and see it as a holy duty to wage war against the country until it is destroyed.

Whatever one’s views on the specific military tactics used by Israel in its attempt to challenge Palestinian terrorist infrastructure in Judea & Samaria, there is no doubt that not only does Israel have very a legitimate rationale for defending itself, it also has a moral responsibility to protect its citizens from violent Palestinian groups who eagerly murder innocent Israeli civilians because they see it as their religious obligation to do so.

Palestinian terrorists will not lay down their weapons if Israel discontinues its “mowing the lawn” operations, and assessments like those of Dyer which appear to suggest that violence will slow if Israel stops its counter-terrorism operations are simply not grounded in reality, but fantasy.

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