What will Israeli and US leaders do when the Palestinian issue returns?

When it was clear that Biden would be the next president, the PA decided on a strategy to try and fool the international community once again with talk of reforming its “Pay for Slay” payments.

THEN-SENATOR JOE BIDEN talks with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2005. (photo credit: DAVID FURST/REUTERS)
THEN-SENATOR JOE BIDEN talks with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in 2005.
(photo credit: DAVID FURST/REUTERS)
While this upcoming election is understandably focused on the economy and the coronavirus, an issue long in the background is beginning to emerge. Over the last couple of weeks, the Palestinian issue has emerged from its seemingly moribund status just in time for the new American administration.
It is certainly no coincidence that in the days leading up to US President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Palestinian Authority did everything possible to bring attention to its issue. After four years of appropriate and relentless pressure by the US president Donald Trump’s administration, the PA sees new opportunities with a new president and some old faces in the American government.
When it was clear that Biden would be the next president, the PA decided on a strategy to try and fool the international community once again with talk of reforming its “Pay for Slay” payments and holding presidential and parliamentary elections.
In addition, and undoubtedly coordinated, pro-Palestinian groups like B’Tselem have been pushing reports for shock value comparing the situation in Israel and Judea and Samaria to “apartheid,” using its useful idiots in the media, like the extreme-left The Guardian as a willing mouthpiece to multiply the lies and distortions.
We have also seen an uptick in violence from both Gaza, where the weekly rocket attacks and cross border shootings continue at a raised pace. Terrorist or attempted terrorist attacks have also become far more frequent, with the vicious murder of Esther Horgen the most prominent.
It should be clear to Israeli leaders and citizens alike that the Palestinian conflict is returning, and we should be aware of this. Our leaders, especially during an election campaign, should be providing solutions.
While few imaginative ideas have been raised in recent years, and many Israelis merely see themselves through the prism of land, concessions and the two-state solution to the conflict, few have a plan for resolving the conflict itself.
However, over the years, there has been a building realization that the only way to end the more than 100 year violent rejection of Jewish sovereignty in its ancestral and indigenous homeland is for this rejectionism to end. Before talk of land, borders or Jerusalem, the Palestinians must accept that the war against the Jewish state is over and they have lost.
This is an idea promulgated by Prof. Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum. The basic concept is that for the conflict to end, Israel must emerge victorious. Historically, wars and conflicts have rarely been ended through negotiations unless one side, usually the aggressor admits that it is unable to achieve its war aims, its will to attain them has been broken.
That the Palestinians still talk of ultimate victory, the end of Israel and a constant denial of Jewish rights and history demonstrates that they still maintain hope of persevering.
This hope must be dashed.
Thankfully, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi appears to understand this and the victory paradigm has become very much embedded in new IDF thinking and strategies.
In the political sphere, this understanding is also growing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and challengers like Gideon Sa’ar, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman and Benny Gantz have all talked of victory over the Palestinians in recent years.
“My vision [of Israel victory]: no concessions... Everything I do, I do from a position of strength. Great strength and power,” Netanyahu said during a radio interview in 2019.
“An agreement may be possible in the future, but only after Israel’s victory is clear and absolute,” Sa’ar wrote in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post a few months ago.
These are all important statements that should now become concerted action.
An Israel victory is not just important to ensure Israel’s long-term stability, it is also good for Palestinians. When freed of their leaders violent rejectionism, the Palestinian economy would have millions freed up from payments to terrorists and their families, regular incitement in the media and religious and education system. Instead of focusing energies and resources on battling Israel in the military, diplomatic and economic sphere, the Palestinians could refocus on building up their institutions and polity.
It is a win-win situation for all.
Nevertheless, as Israeli leaders and would-be next prime ministers, we should expect our national security and safety should be paramount. We can not afford to let the conflict which has been bubbling along for a number of years, suddenly reach boiling point again, which needlessly ends in further loss in life.
The conflict needs to end, and there are really only two options. Either Israel wins or the Palestinians win, and we know what the latter looks like. It is not something we can countenance.
This election need to be more than just about the economy and coronavirus, because hopefully both will be solved in the coming months. However, we can not ensure another 100 years of violent conflict and constant attacks in many arenas.
Whomever wins in the upcoming election needs to push for an Israeli victory and an end to the conflict.
The writer is an IDF military commander (res.) and CEO of Mivtachi Israel, an organization of former senior IDF officers.