Peace Process or War Process?

[Middle East Quarterly] Daniel Pipes - Will trying harder or being more clever end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Palestinians interpreted previous Israeli efforts to "make peace" as signals of demoralization and weakness. "Painful concessions" made the Jewish state appear vulnerable, and incited irredentist dreams of annihilation. Each gesture by Israel further exhilarated, radicalized, and mobilized the Palestinian body politic to war. Wars end not through goodwill but through victory. Peace nearly always requires one side in a conflict to be defeated and thus give up its goals. Since 1993, the Arabs have sought victory while Israelis sought compromise. But to survive, Israelis eventually must return to their pre-1993 policy of convincing Palestinians and others that the Jewish state will endure and that dreams of elimination must fail. Israel need only deter the Palestinians, not the whole Arab and Muslim populations, which take their cues from the Palestinians and with time will follow their lead. Palestinian acceptance of Israel means overhauling the educational system to take out the demonization of Jews, telling the truth about Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and accepting normal commercial, cultural, and human relations with Israelis. Diplomacy aiming to shut down the Arab-Israeli conflict is premature until Palestinians give up their anti-Zionism. When that happy moment arrives, negotiations can re-open and take up anew the Oslo issues - borders, resources, armaments, sanctities, residential rights. But that is years or decades away. In the meantime, an ally needs to win. The writer is publisher of Middle East Quarterly and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

2009-09-25 08:00:00

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