Despite offers of statehood ever since the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995, amplified by then-prime ministers Ehud Barak and, even more by Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Arab leaders have consistently refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The question is, why?
They insist that all of what was “Palestine” belongs to them and that Israel must be destroyed; it’s explicit in the PLO Covenant and the Hamas Charter. Still, logically they could take whatever Israel offered, and do whatever they wanted later. The answer is provided by Henry Kissinger’s perspective of the war in Vietnam.
“The North Vietnamese and Vietcong, fighting in their own country, needed merely to keep on being forces sufficiently strong to dominate the population after the United States tired of the war. We fought a military war; our opponents fought a political one. We sought physical attrition; our opponents aimed for our psychological exhaustion. In the process, we lost sight of one of the cardinal maxims of guerrilla war: the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win.”
That is the strategy of the PLO, Hamas, and Jihadists. As they see it, they are in a war of attrition which requires constant terrorism and no compromises. As long as Israel does not destroy them – and instead negotiates with them – they see this as winning. And they continue to receive support.
Israeli Arab political parties, despite their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, decided to become members of the Knesset not only for the financial rewards, but also to support Israeli concessions in the Oslo Accords, and legitimize the arch-terrorist, Yasser Arafat. Although criticized by Hamas, the PLO argued that they should take advantage of every opportunity to consolidate power as a tactical move, while continuing to support terrorism and promote antisemitism as a strategy.
In their view, the Arab population in Israel will increase and become more powerful and influential in Israeli politics and society. They will continue to demand “ending the occupation of Palestine” and the removal of Jewish communities from “West Bank settlements” that are “illegal according to international law” as well as their “right to self-determination” as a sovereign state; the “two-state-solution (2SS)” and the “Right of Return” (to Israel) for Arabs in UNRWA facilities in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel.
The PA/PLO continues its “pay-for-slay” policy, and all of this is supported by America, Canada, the EU, United Nations agencies, and others around the world.
As Israel is pressured to make more concessions, there are predictions that Israeli society will disintegrate due to internal disputes over how to deal with “the Palestinian” issue, especially “the occupation.” Terrorism will create a national despair that will destroy any sense of well-being and security. As a result, Israel will become more isolated and weaker, and Jews will become demoralized and emigrate. Weary of constant terrorist attacks, Israel will surrender.
In addition, as Muslim populations in America and Europe increase and become more powerful, they will exercise greater influence on their governments to support Arab and Palestinian demands for the 2SS. This is evident as organizations such as the American Muslim Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are feted by politicians and security agencies.
Oslo Accords led to lack of coherent strategy
The GOI and IDF do not seem to understand that we are in a war – and have been for a century. Thanks to those who brought us the Oslo Accords and the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria, we ignore or are confused about what’s happening and we lack a coherent strategy.
Moreover, left-wing critics of the government and the protest movement against judicial reforms have undermined national solidarity. Instead of offering solutions, they attack the government – especially ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
Ben-Gvir, however, has defined what the conflict is about. It’s not about a “two-state solution,” and “Palestinian humanitarian and civil rights;” and it’s not about “the settlements.” It’s about our safety and security. It’s about ending Palestinian terrorism and the Arab/Muslim agenda – aided by the EU and UN agencies and others – to destroy Israel.
Some Jewish and Israeli leaders castigate Ben-Gvir as a demon, but he is a voice of the silent and the victims of terrorism. That takes courage. And he has focused on what Kissinger observed: When you are in a war, you cannot allow the enemy to initiate attacks and then respond. The enemy needs to pay a high price, and you must win decisively. Israel can and must win this war. Our survival depends on it.
The writer is a PhD historian.