With the decision makers in Jerusalem agreeing to a cease-fire just one week after finally giving the green light for a military response to the unbearable daily rocket attacks against a large portion of the country, it would be interesting to know if the same decision makers had a clearly defined long-term goal when Operation Pillar of Defense was launched.

By this I do not mean a military goal, which I’m assuming they had, but rather a long-term diplomatic or political objective. My gut feeling, unfortunately, is that other than trying to achieve some peace and quiet, there was no serious plan to radically alter the playing field or to effect a long-term change of direction.

Although I’m not against a little peace and quiet and Israel is certainly justified in doing whatever it must in Gaza or any place else to prevent enemy attacks and hopefully attain some of that peace and quiet, unfortunately the same worn-out approach of reacting to Arab aggression in order to achieve nothing more than some temporary tranquility in the region will not prevent the next flare-up with Hamas, Hezbollah or whoever in another six months, one year or two years.

It’s simply inevitable as long as Israel continues to play a game of make-believe by pretending that the whole dispute with the Arabs is based upon land and therefore by solving the land issue, reconciliation with the Arabs is ultimately possible.

Although such an assumption provides hope, and perhaps because of this has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by nearly the entire world, the truth is that the dispute with the Arabs has nothing to do with land. Had it really been a land issue it would have been solved years ago. Anyone familiar with the situation knows this, as well as the bitter fact that the larger Arab world will never reconcile itself to having a Jewish state in the heart of the Middle East. True, this may not sound nice and it’s certainly not politically correct, but that’s just the way it is. Israel needs to accept this fact, internalize it and stop pretending that things are otherwise.

Moreover, by finally admitting the truth Israel will be released from its own shackles, and will be able to start heading in the opposite direction. Politically speaking this means first declaring that the Oslo process and the foolish discussion of the two-state solution to be history, and then planning for the eventual implementation of Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria.

Although it certainly would have been easier had Israel chosen this path years ago, long before it raised the expectations of the world by recklessly supporting the division of its own land, it’s never too late to change direction. It might be difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Although anyone who advocates such a change of direction will probably be accused of being an “extremist,” that’s no reason to turn back, especially if such attacks come from all the gurus who predicted a new Middle East with the launch of the Oslo process, or from those who promised enduring security for the south with the implementation of the Gaza Disengagement.

They were wrong in every way possible, even if they never admitted it or apologized for their mistakes.

Thus, anyone who feels the burning need to raise his voice and speak the truth, regardless of how it may resonate in the ears of certain people, should not be deterred for fear of attack by those who have continually and unrepentantly led us astray.

The point here is not to blame but rather to help initiate a badly needed change of direction. Moreover, the real voice of the Jewish people in Israel must be heard. The average, regular Jew knows that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people and that all the historical lies and distortions that are bantered about, as well as all the slanderous incriminations that are hurled against Israel, cannot change this fact.

Furthermore, the Jewish people were not brought back to the land of Israel after an incredibly long and bitter stay in exile merely to strive for the attainment of a nice, quiet American-type lifestyle on the western tip of Asia. We’re here for a purpose, whether we like it or not. Moreover, the longer we avoid really understanding and internalizing this truth and instead merely spend our time trying to emulate America and achieve that ever-elusive peace and quiet, the longer the bloody and senseless wars with the Arabs will continue.

Although obviously the previous claim cannot be proven empirically as it falls with the realm of faith, the opposite approach of just skidding along and attempting to survive in a very difficult neighborhood, equipped with no greater goal than the attainment of some sense of western normalcy, has clearly proven ineffective in realizing even this somewhat limited goal.

Likewise, as much as we repeatedly try to convince the Arabs to join us in this endeavor, they’re simply not interested. As Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Thus, if Israel is seriously committed to its own long-term survival as a sovereign nation in this part of the world, it must try a different approach. The question is, how much suffering must there be, for both Jews and Arabs alike, before we finally change direction?

The writer is a freelance author living in Jerusalem. http://yoelmeltzer.com

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