By Efraim Inbar
July 19, 2017
Edwin Marcus, 1944.
Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK
Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a
similar caucus in the U.S. Congress.
caucus hopes to sensitize the Israeli public, as well as politicians in Israel
and abroad, to the need to attain a decisive victory over the Palestinians.
Professor Daniel Pipes, the scholar behind this project, argues convincingly
that a peace settlement will only be possible after the Palestinians realize
that the 100 years of struggle against Zionism has failed.
date, the Palestinians (not only Hamas) still entertain hopes that the Zionist
enterprise can be dismantled. Israel's victories on the battlefield against Arab
armies, its success in containing terrorism and the prosperity of the Jewish
state have not yet cemented a sense of defeat among the Palestinians. Therefore,
the Palestinian Authority continues the campaign to delegitimize Israel.
Elements in Palestinian society even believe that Jewish society will inevitably
crumble under the pressure of terrorist attacks and internal tensions.
Many Palestinians still
entertain hopes that Israel will crumble under pressure and disappear.
view that Israel will eventually disappear, just like the Crusaders in the 12th
century, is widespread. The Palestinians are encouraged by the indiscriminate
financial and diplomatic support they get from abroad and are pleased with the
enhanced regional influence of Iran, which pledges the destruction of Israel.
The assumption that their desire for a state leads to concessions needed for a
peace settlement with Israel remains to be proven.
into consideration the nature of the "peace partner," the protracted
struggle is likely to continue unless a new pragmatic leadership emerges. Alas,
such a leadership is not in the offing, leaving Israel no choice but to wage a
limited war on the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
rejectionism is encouraged by financial and diplomatic support from
Israel is in a state of war, not in a peace process. This truth is not palatable
to the international community that emphasizes diplomacy and wants to believe
that the Palestinians are interested in peace. This predicament constrains
Israel's military freedom of action in the pursuit of victory. Its ability to
inflict pain on the Palestinians -- which is what war is about -- is limited. It
is often accused of exercising excessive force by a liberal press that is
inherently averse to any use of force.
Israel is torn by a permanent dilemma. On the one hand, it tries to buy calm,
and time, by providing economic means to sustain the weak Palestinian economy.
Jerusalem understands that hungry neighbors attract international criticism of
Israel and could turn into a security problem. On the other hand, it needs to
punish the violent Palestinians to create deterrence, and to affect their
behavior and aspirations. It is not easy to balance the first effort, basically
a short-term consideration, with the attempt to deliver a costly defeat to the
Palestinians that might bring an end to the conflict faster.
Palestinian reluctance to adopt realistic foreign policy goals and Israel's
hesitation to use its military superiority to exact a much higher cost from the
Palestinians are the defining features of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Israel Victory" project seems to focus on the second feature. It
seeks to change the thinking about the conflict after decades of "peace
process'" that offered the Palestinians plenty of carrots (economic aid,
international recognition and Israeli territorial concessions) to no avail. The
lobbies established in Jerusalem and Washington are supposed to free Israel from
some of the constraints affecting its use of force. Israel has imposed upon its
military many restrictions to ensure the highest moral standard for its troops,
more than any other army in the world.
Israel's short-term pursuit of
'economic peace' is prolonging the conflict.
even within the self-imposed constraints and the international legal framework
of armed conflict, Israel can exact a higher price from misbehaving
Palestinians. Moreover, the Israeli government must realize that its short-term
policy of "economic peace" is prolonging the conflict, which carries
future costs for Israeli society.
is not easy to find the golden path between inflicting pain and refraining from
pushing the Palestinians into a desperate position where they have nothing to
lose. Only good strategists can devise such a calibrated use of force. The late
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin advocated using measured force, an art that is the
prerequisite for diplomatic action in our neighborhood. Under the current
circumstances, Israel must adopt a patient strategy of attrition in which
measured use of force will over time bring a change in Palestinian attitudes. At
this stage, additional Israeli concessions to demonstrate good will only signal
Israeli weakness and whet Palestinian appetites.
states must tell the Palestinians to stop dreaming about the 'right of
we must recognize that use of force against the Palestinians, while extremely
important, is not enough to turn them into neighbors ready for peaceful
coexistence. Diplomatic pressure is also needed. Responsible states, primarily
in the West, must tell the Palestinians in an unequivocal manner to stop
dreaming about the "right of return" -- an act of faith for most
Palestinians. Israel must also convince its friends in the West to demand from
the Palestinians a clear recognition of the right of the Jews to
self-determination. And such statements must be issued also in Arabic.
Use of force and diplomatic
pressure can induce attitudinal change in societies. Yet it is a slow process.
Attaining victory in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires