Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe
October 14, 2009
In an important article in the current Middle East Quarterly, Daniel Pipes reviews the terrible failure of the 1993 Oslo accords, and homes in on the root fallacy of the diplomatic approach it embodied: the belief that the Arab-Israeli war can “be concluded through good will, conciliation, mediation, flexibility, restraint, generosity, and compromise, topped off with signatures on official documents.’’ For 16 years, Israeli governments, prodded by Washington, have sought to quench Palestinian hostility with concessions and gestures of good will. Yet peace today is more elusive than ever.
“Wars end not through good will but through victory,’’ Pipes writes, defining victory as one side compelling the other to give up its war goals. Since 1948, the Arabs’ goal has been the elimination of Israel; the Israelis’, to win their neighbors’ acceptance of a Jewish state in the Middle East. “If the conflict is to end, one side must lose and one side win,’’ argues Pipes.
Diplomacy cannot settle the Arab-Israeli conflict until the Palestinians abandon their anti-Israel rejectionism. US policy should therefore be focused on making them abandon it. The Palestinians must be put “on notice that benefits will flow to them only after they prove their acceptance of Israel. Until then – no diplomacy, no discussion of final status, no recognition as a state, and certainly no financial aid or weapons.’’
So long as American and Israeli leaders remain committed to a fruitless Arab-Israeli “peace process,’’ Arab-Israeli peace will remain unachievable. Let the newest Nobel peace laureate grasp and act upon that insight, and he will do more to hasten the conflict’s end than any of his well-meaning predecessors.
HKO comments: our unwillingness to tolerate short term pain has again led us to longer term pain. Ralph Peters has noted that short term ferocity is the most humane way to fight a war. The unwillingness to acknowledge that there can be no peace until Israel’s right to exist is both acknowledged and respected has been the common thread to many past well intentioned failures. Every day that goes by with out this acceptance should cost the Palestinians – otherwise it pays to delay peace inevitably. If Israel’s existence is not accepted there is no substitute for victory.