Ukraine Russia war marks the end of the post-conflict world - opinion

It’s an opportunity for Israel to seek victory.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, last week. There is barely a speech where Zelensky does not pepper it with talk of victory, says the writer. (photo credit: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, last week. There is barely a speech where Zelensky does not pepper it with talk of victory, says the writer.
(photo credit: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

For many years, the Western world has avoided and even abhorred the use of terms like victory and defeat. However, the invasion of Russia into Ukraine has demonstrated that the types of wars that were regularly waged during the 20th century are not a thing of the past, even in the heart of Europe.

Most importantly, with the return of these types of conventional wars, the concepts of victory and defeat have returned not just to the lexicon but also the military strategy.

There is barely a speech where Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky does not pepper it with talk of victory. These speeches, which have been screened in well over a dozen parliaments, have been very well received and accepted.

On the battlefield, it is clear that this national steely determination has already driven back Russian forces from many parts of Ukraine and ensured that the Kremlin’s war aims have shifted dramatically.

If Russia is ever to enter into an honest diplomatic dialogue, it will only be because it understands that it can no longer achieve its military aims.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits an area damaged by Russian military strikes, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 29, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits an area damaged by Russian military strikes, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 29, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

What can Israel learn?

This should teach us in Israel something about how to end our conflict, which has reared its ugly head in recent weeks with terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of 17 Israelis.

While the comparison between the Russian Federation and Palestinian terrorist groups in terms of size and military capacity is wildly unequal and inappropriate, the motivation to extinguish an existing state that binds both is not.

Palestinian violent rejectionists have acted against Jewish sovereignty, whether the idea of it during the early parts of the last century or the fact of it from 1948 onwards, for over 100 years.

They clearly do not seek peace, dialogue or compromise. This is attested to by the rejection of numerous offers of peace and statehood.

As has been famously stated on many occasions, the Palestinians want a state far less than they seek the destruction of the one Jewish state.

Almost every sector of Palestinian society has been enlisted to achieve these war aims, whether educational, building, construction, social welfare, diplomatic, legal, or other. All are appropriated for this sought ultimate end, to ensure the end of Israel in its current form.

Thus, Israel needs to force the Palestinians into disavowing these aims once and for all.

This will not be an easy process but neither is the sight of Palestinian terrorists launching incessant barrages of rockets onto Israeli civilian centers or hacking to death passersby on the streets.

ISRAEL’S TACTICS or doing just enough to prevent as many of these attacks as possible, through security forces capabilities, fences near or on the Green Line or capitulation to the constant demands of terrorist organizations in order to buy some quiet has not blunted the annihilationist desire that permeates the Palestinian leadership and parts of the people.

Israel needs an unabashed strategy that breaks the will of Palestinian violent rejectionists to continue fighting.

This is far from impossible, but requires a cast-iron determination and resilience, an understanding of what motivates and drives the Palestinians to continue the conflict, and the building of an unceasing strategy to fight on multiple planes, whether diplomatic, economic or military, until the proverbially white flag is raised by the Palestinians once and for all.

Once that happens, a diplomatic solution can then be achieved, because it takes off the table the hope that Israel will eventually be driven out through time, pain, bloodshed and steadfastness. This hope, desire and dream ensures that no Palestinian can accept any normative peace proposal.

The Palestinian leadership can then turn their attention inwards and build a better society for its people, democratic and flourishing. All the resources that were previously directed towards Palestinian war aims can now be directed towards Palestinian societal development and progress.

However, the onus is on the Israeli leadership to make a choice.

Israel can continue to wonder how and why the conflict continues or it can choose to end it.

It can return the terms of victory and defeat to its lexicon and to develop military strategies to win again, as it did in 1948 and 1967.

Through the speeches of Zelensky, the West has understood that it does not live in a post-conflict reality, and unfortunately, wars have to be won or lost.

Israel should see in this an opportunity to finally defeat those who seek to end its existence, to wipe it off the map.

A growing movement is calling for Israel to win again, as was witnessed by our recent convening of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus, with MKs from across the spectrum, senior military and security officials, leaders of national NGOs, and other decision-makers and opinion-shapers. 

We need to heed these calls.

The writer is a deputy Knesset speaker, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu Knesset faction and co-chairman of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus.