Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Strategy for Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat - Daniel Pipes, PhD

Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy sadly fits the classic description of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The identical assumptions – land-for-peace and the two-state solution, with the burden primarily on Israel – stay permanently in place, no matter how often they fail. Decades of what insiders call "peace processing" has left matters worse than when they started, yet the great powers persist, sending diplomat after diplomat to Jerusalem and Ramallah, ever hoping that the next round of negotiations will lead to the elusive breakthrough.

[T]oday's Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Labor, and Likud are lineal descendants of Husseini, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky. Varying ideologies, objectives, tactics, strategies, and actors mean that details have varied, even as the fundamentals remained remarkably in place. Wars and treaties came and went, leading to only minor shifts. The many rounds of fighting had surprisingly little impact on ultimate goals, while formal agreements (such as the Oslo Accords of 1993) only increase hostility to Israel's existence and so were counterproductive.

Contrary to [Yitzhak] Rabin's slogan, one does not "make [peace] with very unsavory enemies" but rather with former very unsavory enemies.

The time is ripe for a new approach, a basic re-thinking of the problem.

This brings us to the key concept of my approach, which is victory, or imposing one's will on the enemy, compelling him through loss to give up his war ambitions. Wars end, the historical record shows, not through goodwill but through defeat. He who does not win loses. Wars usually end when failure causes one side to despair, when that side has abandoned its war aims and accepted defeat, and when that defeat has exhausted its will to fight. Conversely, so long as both combatants still hope to achieve their war objectives, fighting either goes on or it potentially will resume.

Th[e] historical pattern implies that Israel has just one option to win Palestinian acceptance: a return to its old policy of deterrence, punishing Palestinians when they aggress. Deterrence amounts to more than tough tactics, which every Israeli government pursues; it requires systemic policies that encourage Palestinians to accept Israel and discourage rejectionism. It requires a long-term strategy that promotes a change of heart.

Inducing a change of heart is not a pretty or pleasant process but is based on a policy of commensurate and graduated response. If Palestinians transgress moderately, they should pay moderately; and so on.

Of course, these steps run exactly counter to the consensus view in Israel today, which seeks above all to keep Palestinians quiescent. But this myopic viewpoint formed under unremitting pressure from the outside world, and the U.S. government especially, to accommodate the PA. The removal of such pressure will undoubtedly encourage Israelis to adopt the more assertive tactics outlined here.

True peacemaking means finding ways to coerce Palestinians to undergo a change of heart, giving up rejectionism, accepting Jews, Zionism, and Israel. When enough Palestinians abandon the dream of eliminating Israel, they will make concessions needed to end the conflict. To end the conflict, Israel must convince 50 percent and more of the Palestinians that they have lost.

The goal here is not Palestinian love of Zion, but closing down the apparatus of war: shuttering suicide factories, removing the demonization of Jews and Israel, recognizing Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and "normalizing" relations with Israelis. Palestinian acceptance of Israel will be achieved when, over a protracted period and with complete consistency, the violence ends, replaced by sharply worded démarches and letters to the editor. Symbolically, the conflict will be over when Jews living in Hebron (in the West Bank) have no more need for security than Palestinians living in Nazareth (in Israel).

An Israel victory liberates Palestinians. Defeat compels them to come to terms with their irredentist fantasies and the empty rhetoric of revolution. Defeat also frees them to improve their own lives. Unleashed from a genocidal obsession against Israel, Palestinians can become a normal people and develop its polity, economy, society, and culture. Negotiations could finally begin in earnest. In all, given their far lower starting point, Palestinians would, ironically, gain even more from their defeat than the Israelis from their victory.
[Commentary Magazine]


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