After a lengthy disappearance from Israeli social and political discourse, the idea of victory, of triumph, has once again surfaced and is quickly gaining attention and traction.
What do we mean by victory? The achieving of critical national aims, while at the same having our adversaries understand that their goals and objectives are unattainable, that they have thereby been defeated.
While victory is being manifested in a variety of contexts – ideological and political, as well as the need for future military victory – in all cases it stems from the same root cause. That cause is frustration with accommodation and with “keeping a lid on things,” and the realization that halfway measures are tantamount to eventual defeat.
We have allowed ourselves to be picked apart and weakened through appeasement, turning a blind eye and kicking the can of obligation down the road of inertia.
We have allowed ourselves to suffer a potential “death by 1,000 cuts.”
The rediscovery of victory must be seen as one of the consequences of the fatally flawed Oslo process, and the 25-year exercise in wishful thinking and reality perversion that it ushered in. It has become clear to all but the most obtuse or the truest of true believers that the so-called peace process has only succeeded in blaming, condemning, even demonizing and potentially delegitimizing Israel, with nothing to show for all the pain and suffering.
We are further away from any realistic outcome; the goals of the Palestinians have not changed a bit, nor have their tactics and priorities.
This sorry state of affairs has led the Left to propose a divorce from the Palestinians, which would entail a scenario in Judea and Samaria that would be an even more threatening variation of the situation in Gaza.
The Right has proposed alternatives, the most compelling of which concerns various iterations of applying sovereignty to all or part of these areas.
However, in both the visions of the Left and Right, closer examination exposes significant problems and vulnerabilities.
All of this has set the stage for the reintroduction of victory. Victory is not a plan, but a mindset that will eventually lead to a plan. In the case of dealing with the Palestinians, victory is about making sure that the Palestinians realize that their goals are not only untenable, but, more importantly, unattainable.
Victory here is an ideological triumph that, ironically, sets the stage for a more realistic opportunity for a viable peace.
When the Palestinians realize that they cannot win, that they cannot achieve a right of return, or a state, not to mention the destruction of Israel, only then will there be a greater likelihood of their willingness to agree to something acceptable and enduring.
This idea of victory has been the driving vision of the Israel Victory Project, which has raised the mantra of ideological victory in a Knesset Caucus and with panels on major campuses throughout Israel. As Israel’s largest grassroots Zionist organization, Im Tirtzu has been proud to sponsor these panel sessions, which have discussed the potential for such an outcome.
We have done so because victory offers a positive direction for Israeli thought and action; ultimately it can lead to the most beneficial outcome for all parties, Israeli and Palestinian alike.
Another facet of victory that is being increasingly discussed involves Israel’s orientation toward any possible military confrontation that might erupt either in the north or in Gaza. There is a growing bottom-up demand from our citizens that Israel not be dragged into another indeterminate, limited confrontation with the goal of deterrence for some time period, until the next round of hostilities.
This “mow the grass” approach has only allowed Hezbollah to build a truly alarming arsenal of smart missiles and for Hamas to grow its network of attack tunnels.
The “keep a lid on things” approach has lessened our deterrence and has eroded our qualitative edge. With Iran lurking as both the puppet master and possible cavalry to rescue its proxies, we only expose ourselves to further vulnerability by fighting in effect battles of attrition.
Only with a quick, decisive and game changing victory, particularly over Hezbollah, will we be able to stymie Iran and establish a deterrence that might have beneficial ripple effects in the Sunni world and even possibly Turkey. Israel would also have the diplomatic cover from the Trump administration in the US for such a posture, particularly if it were seen to be crippling Iran.
While we hear occasionally pronouncements from the IDF about the idea of decisive victory, the only way for it to happen is if the citizenry insistently demands it. If, God forbid, war breaks out, we are prepared to help rally our fellow citizens to demand such a victory from our political and military leadership.
As a grassroots movement made up largely of current and recent students, our focus is on what Israel will look like in 10, 20 and 30 years, not just next year. We are committed to Zionist values, and we know that the Zionist vision can only be preserved and enhanced through strength and resolve.
A focus on victory offers the opportunity for that continued and even enhanced strength. We encourage our fellow citizens to reacquaint themselves with this compelling mindset.
Counterintuitively, the path to peace in our region lies through Israeli victory. Now is the time to embrace it.Matan Peleg and Douglas Altabef are the CEO and chairman of the board, respectively, of Im Tirtzu.
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