INTO THE FRAY: Gaza-The collapse of “the land-for-peace” concept

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column:

Gaza-The collapse of “the land-for-peace” concept

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Israel must convey that it will consider the continuation of the “March of Return” an overt act of war, and all the participants in it, enemy combatants—who must expect to face all the risks that entails.

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

JERUSALEM HERALD:–The-Collapse-of-The-Land-for-Peace-Concept

Several short excerpts:

… this wasn’t a fight against the occupation. This wasn’t a march for peace. This wasn’t resistance to the settlement enterprise. This was…the desire to annihilate Israel—as the march’s organizers publicly declared—and the crazy shouting of the march’s participants. “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud,” which is the Muslim battle cry, from days of old, to slaughter Jews. Not Zionists. Not Israelis. Jews. – Ben Dror Yemini, YNet, April 4, 2018.

The mass demonstrations that took place over the weekend on the fence separating Gaza from Israel, underscores two points of grave significance. The one relates to past decisions made by Israel; the other to future ones it will have to make…With regard to the past, it is clear that the formula of land-for-peace has failed dramatically, disastrously and definitively.

“Land-for-peace” has failed both Jew and Arab

…The events of last Friday have proven just how unfounded the high hopes of peace and prosperity, back then, were. For the process that was set in motion in mid-1994 has-predictably—brought only trauma and tragedy to Jew and Arab alike, precipitating three devastating wars, with a fourth widely deemed inevitable…However, although it has imposed several serious security challenges on Israel—such as suicide bombing, overhead rockets, underground terror tunnels, lone-wolf knifing and ramming attacks—what it has wrought on the Palestinian-Arabs is far worse—particularly in Gaza, where it all began.

A March to destroy Israel 

Yihya Sinwar, Head of Hamas in Gaza: “…eat their livers”
Yihya Sinwar, Head of Hamas in Gaza:“…eat their livers”

… as Gatestone’s Bassam Tawil aptly points out in his “A March to Destroy Israel”: “Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar… did not hide the real goal behind the ‘March of Return’—to destroy Israel”…Significantly, Tawil’s grim diagnosis closely reflects the appraisal by left-leaning columnist Ben-Dror Yemini (see introductory excerpt) that the March was a manifestation of the “the desire to annihilate Israel—and.. to slaughter Jews. Not Zionists. Not Israelis. Jews”   

“We will eat the livers of the Jews”

Hamas boss: Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas boss: Ismail Haniyeh

One needs little imagination to picture the ghastly consequences should even a tiny fraction of the frenzied mob, pressing against the fence, were to burst through and overrun a single Israeli community close to the border, butchering the residents, ravaging the women, and razing the homes. After all, it was none other than Sinwar himself who unabashedly pledged publicly that the invading Gazans would “eat the livers” of Israelis they encountered.

Misguided moderation

Gazas stockpile tires to burn to provided smokescreen for rioters
Gazas stockpile tires to burn to provided smokescreen for rioters
In confronting this impending danger, Israel must avoid the intellectual pitfall of thinking that matters can be contained by adopting moderation as a policy guideline. Quite the reverse is true. Nothing could coax the Palestinian-Arabs more into sustaining and escalating their action than the belief that Israel’s response will be “moderate” a.k.a. proportionate. Indeed, nothing could motivate them more than the conviction that Israel will refrain from undertaking punitive measures that will inflict unacceptable – a.k.a.

disproportionate—cost on them.

Avoiding the prognosis of the “algorithm”

There is a conceptual “algorithm” that clearly illustrates why moderation will propel the conflict to spiral out of control, into levels of violence previously unimagined—or at least into levels of violence well above those that moderation was intended to prevent…For if one is confronted by violence from hostile antagonists, and one confronts it with minimal force to contain it, the result will not create deterrence but only immunize the aggressors against fear of their opponents’ response and motivate them to initiate greater violence in the next round—which, if again, is only confronted by minimal force, will again not deter but only immunize against fear and herald yet another round of (greater) violence…Clearly then, moderation is liable to undermine deterrence and precipitate the very outcome it was intended to prevent.

“March” is an act of war; the participants, enemy combatants

Clearly, Israel cannot allow the sustained specter of large, potentially violent—even lethal—mass demonstrations to endure for long. After all, this will inevitably draw off and pin down large numbers of troops, which will severely disrupt other IDF activities. This could obviously be used as a distraction or diversion to facilitate perpetration of other terror activities.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,
Best wishes,

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