The Israel Victory Project

Daniel Pipes says it’s time to convince the Palestinians that they have lost.

Prof. Daniel Pipes and MK Yaakov Perry at the Knesset event on July 11 (photo credit: ASHLEY PERRY)
Prof. Daniel Pipes and MK Yaakov Perry at the Knesset event on July 11
(photo credit: ASHLEY PERRY)
DANIEL PIPES, the founder and president of the Middle East Forum, traces back what he describes as “28 years of frustration and futility” in the Israel-Palestinian peace process to the moment in December 1988, when PLO leader Yasser Arafat met American conditions and “accepted United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, recognized Israel’s right to exist and renounced terrorism.”
Pipes argues that this all ended last year when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334. He says now is the time to ask, “What comes next?” To this end, Pipes has formulated what he calls “The Israel Victory Project,” in which he proposes simply an Israeli victory and a Palestinian defeat. That is to say, he insists that Washington should encourage Israelis to take steps that cause the Palestinian leadership to realize that no matter how many UN resolutions are passed, or how much terrorism they perpetrate, their dream of eliminating the Jewish state is over, that Israel is permanent, strong, and tough.
After the leadership recognizes this reality, Pipes suggests, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict. Palestinians will gain by finally being released from their century-old rejectionism to focus instead on building their own policy, society, economy, and culture.
However, the Middle East Forum has not left the victory concept in the realm of theory and academia but is actively taking steps to propagate this notion on both sides of the Atlantic.
In April, the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) was launched on Capitol Hill by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) in cooperation with the Middle East Forum (MEF) to help formulate US policy. This policy was perhaps best expressed by Rep. DeSantis at the opening event when he said, “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, as we share common national interests and possess similar national values. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence.”
The concept, as Pipes put it, was to ensure that Israel’s greatest ally, the US, would allow the Israelis the space to do what was necessary to win and finally end the conflict, within “legal, moral and realistic constraints.”
The CIVC has since added around twenty other Congressmen to its ranks and has held various events in Washington to press this worldview, in addition to meetings with administration officials.
Nevertheless, for this strategy to be successful, there would need to be a corollary within Israel itself.
Soon after the CIVC was launched, MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu), after meeting with Pipes and MEF Director Gregg Roman, received permission to open a sister caucus, the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC).
FORER THEN reached across the aisle to MK Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid) to become his co-chair, creating a bipartisan chairmanship of the caucus, which now has representation from both the coalition and opposition.
The KIVC was launched on July 11 in the Knesset by MKs Forer and Perry with the cooperation of the MEF. Both Pipes and Roman were in attendance and spoke at the opening.
The emphasis of the KIVC was that the roots of the century-old conflict were not about borders, settlements, refugees or Jerusalem.
The essence of Palestinian rejectionism, which was characterized first by Yasser Arafat and then by Mahmoud Abbas saying no to generous offers by the Israelis on the terms of peace, was the one caveat that no Palestinian leader for 100 years was prepared to countenance, starting with Haj Amin al-Husseini, which was the recognition that the Jewish people have a right to sovereignty and a nation state in their ancestral homeland.
“This is not an issue of Left or Right, or about borders or any particular solution,” Forer said at the opening of the KIVC on July 16. “If there is no understanding or recognition of who won and who lost, there is no possibility of progress.”
“We need to promote the idea that the victory of the Jewish people is in building its state and holding national sovereignty in this land and that is not negotiable and must be recognized by the Palestinians. Those who stand against this idea push peace further away.”
Former head of the Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, MK Perry agreed. “Both Palestinians and Israelis should recognize each other’s right to exist, and this is not unfortunately happening at this moment,” MK Perry said. “We should be proud of our victories and they should lead to something realistic and implementable. The purpose of our victory should be to ensure a better future for all Israelis.”
Pipes and Roman also met with many senior politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, as well as other prominent decision-makers and opinion- shapers to press the victory concept during their recent visit.
The MEF also wanted to show that it was not just the political leaders who support the Israel Victory Project, but average Israelis.
DURING HIS presentation at the KIVC, Roman released the findings of a poll conducted by Rafi Smith in late June for the IVP. The results demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public was in favor of the IVP principles and the need for a clear Israeli victory and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.
Roman further declared that a fund has been created to implement the vision of an Israel victory called the Israel Victory Fund, to which civil society organizations can apply for funding to further the project concept.
“Wherever there is resistance and rejection of the right of Israel to be the homeland of the Jewish people, there must be a price for this rejectionism,” Roman said. “We will be going on the offensive against these entities and assist the fight against them.”
The idea is now to bring the two caucuses together for a joint meeting in the fall to share ideas and promote the vision of how to implement an Israel victory. This will potentially be the first ever such shared undertaking and cooperation between two caucuses in the Knesset and US Congress.
At the KIVC, Pipes stressed the differences to his approach in the US and in Israel, especially as an American citizen. Even though he was pressed to do so during one press conference, he said he was not coming to Israel to make practical recommendations about a resolution to the conflict, rather stressing the need for a new paradigm to end it.
“This victory process is good for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Prof. Pipes said.
“It offers an alternative to the never-ending and never resolved peace process. It is not enough to recognize Israel; the Palestinians must also recognize it as the Jewish state and this is necessary for the process.”
“There is a necessity to say to the US government and to say to the Israeli government that to take steps to win this war, they need to convince the Palestinians that it’s over – they lost.”
Pipes is hoping this new paradigm will finally break the impasse of negotiations and ensure a better and more peaceful future for both Israelis and Palestinians.