Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reframing The Arab Israeli Conflict

The existing approach of a "peace process," which goes back 30 years, is not working. It can be improved, which the Trump administration is doing, but it ultimately will crumble because it depends on Palestinian acceptance of Israel, which has not come about, and isnot coming about. And that is the problem that needs to be addressed, a problem that cannot be addressed by diplomacy. It needs to be addressed in a very different way.
I'd like to take a step back into history before proposing the new approach. Please consider two sets of three dates. The first three are 1865, 1945, and 1975 – the end of the Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. All of those were conclusively ended wars. They ended the fighting, nothing more followed. The South never rose again. The Germans didn't try to conquer Europe again. And Americans didn't return to Vietnam.
Then, three other dates: 1918, 1953, and 1967 – the end of the First World War, the Korean War, and the Six-Day War. Those were inconclusive. The Germans did try again. Any day, the Korean War could restart. Hostilities did resume between the Arabs and Israel.
The difference between these two sets of dates lies in the losers' sense of defeat. In the former triad, that sense existed; in the latter, it did not. Losing a round of a war is not tantamount to feeling defeated. Defeat means the loser giving up on war goals. That's what we Americans experienced in 1975. Victory means imposing one's will on the enemy. The enemy gives up; the winner prevails.
Applying this analysis to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one finds that for 45 years, from 1948 to 1993, the Israelis sought victory. After that, meaning since the Oslo Accords were signed, they have not. Israelis have tried various other approaches – appeasement, unilateral withdrawal, putting out brush fires – but not sought victory.
The peace process has been dominated in those years by an emphasis on diplomacy, on assuming that what PLO leader Yasir Arafat said on the White House lawn in September 1993 was valid – that the Palestinians now accepted Israel, that the war was over. But it wasn't, and it isn't. It continues. So, what is needed is an approach that confronts the irreducible problem of Palestinian rejectionism.
As Elliott Abrams pointed out, there's a delusion among Palestinians that they can defeat Israel, that they can cause the Jewish state of Israel to disappear. That fantasy needs to be broken.
That is what the U.S. government, as a great power, needs to deal with. I'm suggesting that it should adopt a policy encouraging the Israelis to win. To win, as in 1865-1945-1975, to end the conflict by causing the Palestinians to understand that the jig is up and they lost. When they're really upset they can write a strongly worded letter to the editor. Enough with the UN resolutions against Israel; enough with building up militaries; enough with the campus BDS. Enough. Over. It's done.
I'm hoping that some American president – this one or a future one – will say to his staff, "You know, diplomacy isn't working. We've been at this for decades, it's not going anywhere. Is there an alternative?" And yes, there will be another alternative, what we call Israel Victory.
Let me emphasize that this is an approach, not a policy. We're not saying two-states or not two-states. The point is, Israel needs to convince the Palestinians that it's over. The conflict has been resolved by the objective facts in that Israel is a flourishing, powerful state whereas the Palestinians have oppressive and dysfunctional polities.
It's a long-term effort. The goal is not to change policy in the next few months. But it is, with time, to put something else on the table that fits the historical pattern. You don't end wars through negotiating. Think of Vietnam: It didn't end through diplomacy but by the North Vietnamese army coming in and taking over. Wars end when one side gives up.
We have close relations with Israel. As Rep. De Santis said, we share interests and a moral base with it. Therefore, we should help it win.
Ironically, once the Palestinians give up, then they can go on to build something good. When they abandon the foul, irredentist goal of eliminating the Jewish state, they can then build their own polity, economy, society, and culture. In the long run, the Palestinians will gain even more than the Israelis. Yes, the Israelis will not be murdered on their way to the pizzeria, will not face this barrage of hostility at the United Nations and elsewhere. But Israelis already live the good life. Palestinians don't. They live under oppression, backwardness. They will only be able to build once they give up on rejectionism and move on to something constructive.
This offers a new paradigm that pulls us out of the mire of the "processing" that goes nowhere and that, in fact, is counterproductive. Palestinian-Israeli relations are worse today than 25 years ago, when the Oslo Accords were signed. So, we need new thinking. I offer this to you as new thinking, as a way for the "ultimate deal" to be achieved.

Abbas' Ramallah Rant - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi

In his speech to the PLO Central Council in Ramallah on Sunday, Mahmoud Abbas denied the Jewish people's historical and religious link to the Land of Israel, and hence its right to the land. "This is our land since the days of the Canaanites, and in this context we are the descendants of the Canaanites." He maintained that the Jews were brought to Israel in the 20th century as part of a Western colonial endeavor "that has no connection to Judaism." 

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a visiting AIPAC delegation in Jerusalem on Monday that in Mahmoud Abbas' speech on Sunday, he reengaged with ideas for which he had in the past been accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. "To say that Israel is the result of the Western conspiracy to settle Jews in Arab lands? To say that the Jewish people have no connection to the Land of Israel? He said exactly what he had been accused of years ago with anti-Semitism and denial of the Holocaust. These are exactly the things that block us [from making any progress]."

In his words, he denies our return to our homeland, even though Abu Mazen [Abbas] also knows very well that the Koran itself mentions the recognition of the Land of Israel as our land."  


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