What Is My Peace Plan for Israel?

News Abroad

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. This article is cross-posted at the National Post and at DanielPipes.org.

My peace plan is simple:  Israel defeats its enemies.

Victory uniquely creates circumstances conducive to peace.  Wars end, the historical record confirms, when one side concedes defeat and the other wins.  This makes intuitive sense, for so long as both sides aspire to achieve their ambitions, fighting continues or it potentially can resume.

The goal of victory is not exactly something novel.  Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese strategist, advised that in war, "Let your great object be victory."  Raimondo Montecuccoli, a seventeenth-century Austrian, said that "The objective in war is victory."  Carl von Clausewitz, a nineteenth-century Prussian, added that "War is an act of violence to compel the enemy to fulfill our will."  Winston Churchill told the British people:  "You ask: what is our aim?  I can answer in one word:  Victory -- victory -- at all costs, victory, in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be."  Dwight D. Eisenhower observed that "In war, there is no substitute for victory."  These insights from prior eras still hold, for however much weaponry changes, human nature remains the same.

Victory means imposing one's will on the enemy, compelling him to abandon his war goals.  Germans, forced to surrender in World War I, retained the goal of dominating Europe and a few years later looked to Hitler to achieve this goal.  Signed pieces of paper matter only if one side has cried "Uncle":  The Vietnam War ostensibly concluded through diplomacy in 1973 but both sides continued to seek their war aims until the North won ultimate victory in 1975.

Willpower is the key:  shooting down planes, destroying tanks, exhausting munitions, making soldiers flee, and seizing land are not decisive in themselves but must be accompanied by a psychological collapse.  North Korea's loss in 1953, Saddam Hussein's in 1991, and the Iraqi Sunni loss in 2003 did not translate into despair.  Conversely, the French gave up in Algeria in 1962, despite out-manning and out-gunning their foes, as did the Americans in Vietnam in 1975 and the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1989.  The Cold War ended without a fatality.  In all these cases, the losers maintained large arsenals, armies, and functioning economies.  But they ran out of will.

Likewise, the Arab-Israeli conflict will be resolved only when one side gives up.

Until now, through round after round of war, both sides have retained their goals.  Israel fights to win acceptance by its enemies, while those enemies fight to eliminate Israel.  Those goals are raw, unchanging, and mutually contradictory.  Israel's acceptance or elimination are the only states of peace.  Each observer must opt for one solution or the other.  A civilized person will want Israel to win, for its goal is defensive, to protect an existing and flourishing country.  Its enemies' goal of destruction amounts to pure barbarism.

For nearly 60 years, Arab rejectionists, now joined by Iranian and leftist counterparts, have tried to eliminate Israel through multiple strategies:  they work to undermine its legitimacy intellectually, overwhelm it demographically, isolate it economically, restrain its defenses diplomatically, fight it conventionally, demoralize it with terror, and threaten to destroy it with WMDs.  While the enemies of Israel have pursued their goals with energy and will, they have met few successes.

Ironically, Israelis over time responded to the incessant assault on their country by losing sight of the need to win.  The right developed schemes to finesse victory, the center experimented with appeasement and unilateralism, and the left wallowed in guilt and self-recrimination.  Exceedingly few Israelis understand the unfinished business of victory, of crushing the enemy's will and getting him to accept the permanence of the Jewish state.

Fortunately for Israel, it need only defeat the Palestinians, and not the entire Arab or Muslim population, which eventually will follow the Palestinian lead in accepting Israel.  Fortunately too, although the Palestinians have built an awesome reputation for endurance, they can be beaten.  If the Germans and Japanese could be forced to give up in 1945 and the Americans in 1975, how can Palestinians be exempt from defeat?

Of course, Israel faces obstacles in achieving victory.  The country is hemmed in generally by international expectations (from the United Nations Security Council, for example) and specifically by the policies of its main ally, the U.S. government.  Therefore, if Jerusalem is to win, that starts with a change in policy in the United States and in other Western countries.  Those governments should urge Israel to seek victory by convincing the Palestinians that they have lost.

This means undoing the perceptions of Israel's weakness that grew during the Oslo process (1993-2000) and then the twin withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza (2000-05).  Jerusalem appeared back on track during Ariel Sharon's first three years as prime minister, 2001-03 and his tough stance then marked real progress in Israel's war effort.  Only when it became clear in late 2004 that Sharon really did plan to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza did the Palestinian mood revive and Israel stopped winning.  Ehud Olmert's debilitating prime ministry has been only partially remedied by Binyamin Netanyahu over the past year.

Ironically, an Israeli victory would bring yet greater benefits to the Palestinians than to Israel.  Israelis would benefit by being rid of an atavistic war, to be sure, but their country is a functioning, modern society.  For Palestinians, in contrast, abandoning the fetid irredentist dream of eliminating their neighbor would finally offer them a chance to tend their own misbegotten garden, to develop their deeply deficient polity, economy, society, and culture.

Thus does my peace plan both end the war and bring unique benefits to all directly involved.

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james joseph butler - 5/16/2010

Reading Pipes, one can't help but be reminded of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's seal, with its Indian imploring the white man to "Come over and help us."
If only those Palestinians, with their "fetid irredentist" dreams, could see the light. Their "misbegotten garden" would bloom anew when their beneficient semitic cousins would turn the faucet on. Their "deeply deficient polity" would be a model of comity if they would just sign the unconditional surrender. Look at the 21st century American Indian community; prosperity and health.
Pipes' "civilized person" who knows how good a complete Israeli victory would be is either another ignorant American or an atavist like him.

Elliott Aron Green - 5/15/2010

Omar, since you know so much about
Zionist ideology, can you give us the name of a Zionist ideologue or historian or geographer who stated that Israel's Biblically assigned borders ran from the Nile to the Euphrates or to the Taurus Mountains or all of Arabia?? Maybe you can find one or two eccentric Zionist ideologues, historians, or geographers who share your belief. Just give us at least one name. Or better two or three. Can you do that much? And if you find them, give us quotations plus page references, book titles, etc. Can you do that? If not, then please let us know the source of your all-knowing esoteric wisdom. Perhaps we too can find the key to truth.

omar ibrahim baker - 5/14/2010

“From the Nile to the Euphrates” is BUT , according to Zionist ideology, the second most MODEST, the less ambitious, idelogical claim that Israel finds it tactically inopportune to air now with its present stress on historical Palestine.
Other Zionist doctrinarians and Jewish theologians deem the historical "Land of Israel" to be bounded in the North by the TAURUS mountains , presently in Southern Turkey, and to include most of the Arabian Peninsula to the South with from the NILE, in the West, to the Euphrates in the East and everything in between.
You DO KNOW THAT Elliott, do you NOT?
Kindly spare us the pseudo scholarship!

Elliott Aron Green - 5/12/2010

To clarify what the Bible actually says about the southwestern border of the Land of Israel. In demarcating the future borders of the Land of Israel, the Book of Numbers [BaMidbar] 34:5 uses the Hebrew term "Nahhalah Misraym" [נחלה מצרים (literally = TO the stream of Egypt]. A "nahhal" is a stream or creek or small river or even a seasonal creek or "wadi" [in Arabic], dry part of the year. The Nile is not a "nahhal". It is a "nahar". A "nahar" is a broad river that flows into the sea, like the Nile. The translation "river of Egypt" is misleading and lends itself to malicious misinterpretation by the ignorant and/or not so ignorant. A better translation would be "stream of Egypt". The term refers to the Wadi al-Arish.

Elliott Aron Green - 5/12/2010

As a supplement to what Art E wrote, let's not forget Arab collaboration with the racist German Nazis, and especially Arab collaboration in the Holocaust. Here the role of the chief Palestinian Arab leader, Haj Amin el-Husseini stands out.

The Bible, in talking about the extent of the Kingdom of David and Solomon, says that it stretched from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. The River of Egypt in the Bible is not the Nile. The term refers to what is now called the Wadi el-Arish in Sinai west of Rafiah. In ancient times, that was the northeastern border of the Egyptian Empire. The Kingdom of David and Solomon controlled parts of Syria, called Aram in the Bible, reaching the Euphrates in the northeast, although not controlling the river along its whole length. So informed people who know the historical geography of The Land of Israel know that the ancient kingdom of Israel did not stretch from
"the Nile to the Euphrates."

Elliott Aron Green - 5/12/2010

Omar, you speak of "foreign powers" willing Israel into existence. In fact, although Britain made a commitment to foster development of the Jewish National Home [San Remo, 1920; League of Nations, 1922], the UK cynically and cruelly violated that commitment repeatedly. In the 1947-1949 Israeli War of Independence, Britain went so far as to send its troops, artillery, tanks and aircraft into battle on the Arab side [battle of Jaffa/Yafo; battles in Jerusalem; aerial battle over Sinai; 1949]. Maybe the British Empire appreciated the Arabs as fellow imperialists, since none of the lands now claimed as Arab was Arab before the Arab conquests of the 7th century, except for those in the Arabian Peninsula.

Then, you reach the heights of absurdity with your claim of: "overwhelming Western, particularly US unconditional support"

This claim is more than absurd perhaps, at a time when the US president holds a special animus towards Israel to the point of open racist demands that Jews not be allowed to live in parts of Jerusalem, whereas Jews have been the absolute majority in the city since the mid-19th century, for more than 150 years. The Obama administration is seeking to impose apartheid against Jews in Jerusalem, a city made significant to the world because of the Jewish history here. Albeit that this has been US policy since the 1967 Six Day War, no previous president has been so vehement and hate-ridden in trying to impose this policy as Obama, to the point where he neglects and even encourages the looming and emerging danger to the world of an Iranian Bomb. Those who actually believe in "unconditional support" by the United States for Israel are either very ignorant and ill-informed OR not quite sane, not quite capable of processing the available information, as well as being deluded by propaganda and psychological warfare. Is Omar aware of the hundreds of millions given by the USA to the Palestinian Authority and to Hamas in Gaza?? This is not to mention the many billions given over the years since 1951 to support and subsidize a high price of oil [through the Foreign Tax Credit granted to ARAMCO]. The tax credits granted ARAMCO helped to enrich Saudi Arabia. The Saudis too turn around and help finance the PLO/PA, Fatah, Hamas, etc. Omar, you are a smart fellow. Why can't you shed your many illusions and delusions??

art eckstein - 5/9/2010

The only people talking about annihilation are Omar's friends, Hamas and the Iranian mullahs. What an ignoramus.

omar ibrahim baker - 5/9/2010

Which diatribe answers neither of the two questions by an, though much feebler, alter ego of Mr. Pipes!

art eckstein - 5/8/2010

From somebody who supports Hezbollah with its Nazi salutes, its gross anti-semitism (29 episode TV program showing Jews eating Arab babies), and its missiles intentionally aimed at civilians, this is rich coming from Omar.

omar ibrahim baker - 5/7/2010

Rereading Pipes is refreshing and illuminating: here we have an open, PR free, myth iconoclast Zionist baring his heart and opening his mind for all to see.
Peace, to sustain an intrinsically alien and aggressive foreign supplant ,a colony established by alien colons and populated by alien colons and their descendants, to be achieved through relentless conquest and continued disregard and violation of the inalienable human rights of the indigenous population it dislocated, dispossessed , disfranchised then supplanted!

Which is make up free, PR free, sincere, “honest” Zionism as truly IS!

To the innate amorality and arrogance that springs out of Pipes one should add, in all fairness, a great deal of “honesty “in that though he was forthcoming as to his, a genuine Zionist, Zionist outlook and aspirations in historical Palestine, without defining it, he overlooked two points for a more comprehensive depiction of ultimate Zionist aspirations in the fields of:
1-His vision as to the ultimate, or at least phase two, geographical spread of “ The Land of Israel”!
Is it from the Nile to the Euphrates, or something more or something less?
2-His plans for and about the 5-6 million Palestinian Arabs still dwelling in their homeland and in partial possession of their legitimate properties.

Hopefully Pipes’ sudden attack, temporary bout?, of “honesty” will continue for him to tell us all his answer about those two outstanding points

Peter Kovachev - 5/3/2010

Ha, I knew we'd eventually agree on something, Omar! I too "...sincerely hope that the Israeli/Jewish/Zionist establishment will adopt Pipes' vision." And while I share your hope, I'll go with Prof. Pipe's much more realistic and happier prediction. My own prediction is that many more Arabs will dance in the streets at a decisive defeat of the PA, Hamas and Hezbollah than those who danced on 9/11.

omar ibrahim baker - 5/3/2010

Reading Pipes , in this instance, is truly heartwarming Not for the tautologies he reiterates incessantly about what victory is all about BUT for the utter blindness cum ignorance that permeates his vision for the historical significance of past present and future events in Palestine.

For the past he chose to ignore that Israel is a foreign implant NOT only in the sense that foreign powers willed its establishment in Palestine and have since ensured its survival and sustenance but also in the sense that it was established by FOREIGNERS in every sense of the word: when Israel declared its “independence” in 1948 some 70% of its Jewish population was FOREIGN born!
As such it is indisputably a colony that, though born at the era of decolonization, will meet the fate of all colonies ranging from Indo China, to Algeria to the South Africa of the Apartheid doctrine; whose nature and doctrine Israel is increasingly resembling and emulating.

Re the present Israel, despite overwhelming Western, particularly US unconditional support and abnormal Arab disunity, has failed to impose its will.

Re the future I am happy that Pipes is neglecting and discounting the fact that the issue of Israel as an aggressive and pernicious foreign implant in the region, i.e.as a colony and as such an alien disconnected entity , has morphed into a regional issue and is on its way to become a universal issue pitting all democratic, progressive and anti colonialist/imperialist forces all over the world against the racist colonialist relic that Israel is!
That burgeoning regional identification with the Palestinian cause , however, would in no way decrease Palestinian resistance and rejection that he reluctantly lauds, when they were fighting Israel practically on their own, as ”the Palestinians have built an awesome reputation for endurance“ will only be reinforced and doubled with genuine regional assistance and regional identification with their anti Zionism cause as their own.

Be that as it may about which we are bound to differ with the Pipes of this world two outstanding topics of peculiar interest stand out in Pipes’ vision about “peace”:

a-his total disregard and contempt for “international”/universal “will” and “legality” starting with his deliberate non recognition of the facts that:
1-even pre 1967 Israel was
“illegitimately” holding lands that were NOT allocated to it by the UNGA Partition of Palestine resolution .
More so post 1967.
2-Israel has consistently and since inception, still does, refuse to implement UNGA resolutions about the inalienable Rights of Return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland
3-universal rejection of Israel’s de jure annexation of Arab/East Jerusalem and its de facto annexation of the Syrian Golan
4-universal rejection and condemnation of Israeli Settlements construction and expansion activities including, most recently, the International Court of Justice condemnation of the Wall
5-universal recognition and condemnation of Israel’s aggressive nature as in the UNSC sponsored Goldstone Report.
The importance of all these elements of the nascent universal perception of Israel is that, with innumerable other international condemnations, they form the solid legal and ethical grounds and the driving force behind the burgeoning universal DELEGITIMZING of Israel campaign.

b-the total absence in Pipes’ vision of what kind of regional environment will Israel be living in and what kind of “peace” will Israel enjoy should his vision of total Israeli victory, i.e. total Palestinian/Arab/Moslem defeat and submission, be realized

c-the total absence in Pipes’ vision of what kind of Israel will be able to achieve such an outcome as he favors and advocates and what kind Israel will outgrow there from; if ever attained.

I sincerely hope that the Israeli/Jewish/Zionist establishment will adopt Pipes' vision for that will inevitably and ultimately lead to the total collapse and ruination of all their projects in designs on Palestine!

Arnold Shcherban - 5/3/2010

of pipes of this world cannot be overrated.