Daniel Pipes says Israel has to win and Palestinians lose for there to be peace

Historians in the News
tags: Israel, Daniel Pipes, Palestie



Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org@DanielPipes), has served in five presidential administrations. © 2016 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

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.

The time is ripe for a new approach, a basic re-thinking of the problem. It draws on Israel's successful strategy as carried out through its first 45 years. The failure of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy since 1993 suggests this alternative approach – with a stress on Israeli toughness in pursuit of victory. This would, paradoxically perhaps, be of benefit to Palestinians and bolster American support. ...

The False Hope of Finessing Victory

Why did things go so wrong in what seemed so promising an agreement?

Moral responsibility for the collapse of Oslo lies solely with Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the rest of the Palestinian Authority leadership. They pretended to abandon rejectionism and accept Israel's existence but, in fact, sought Israel's elimination in new, more sophisticated ways, replacing force with delegitimization.

This said, the Israelis made a profound mistake, having entered the Oslo process with a false premise. Yitzhak Rabin often summed up this error in the phrase "You don't make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavory enemies."[2] In other words, he expected war to be concluded through goodwill, conciliation, mediation, flexibility, restraint, generosity, and compromise, topped off with signatures on official documents. In this spirit, his government and all its successors agreed to a wide array of concessions, even to the point of permitting a Palestinian militia, always hoping the Palestinians would reciprocate by accepting the Jewish state.

They never did. To the contrary, Israeli compromises aggravated Palestinian hostility. Each gesture further radicalized, exhilarated, and mobilized the Palestinian body politic. Israeli efforts to "make peace" were received as signs of demoralization and weakness. "Painful concessions" reduced the Palestinian awe of Israel, m­­ade the Jewish state appear vulnerable, and inspired irredentist dreams of annihilation.

In retrospect, this does not surprise. Contrary to Rabin's slogan, one does not "make [peace] with very unsavory enemies" but rather with former very unsavory enemies. That is, enemies that have been defeated.

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.

Thinkers and warriors through the ages concur on the importance of victory as the correct goal of warfare. For example, Aristotle wrote that "victory is the end of generalship" and Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that "In war, there is no substitute for victory." Technological advancement has not altered this enduring human truth. ...




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