One good thing Rabin did at Oslo was to mitigate the capitulation. Beilin originally worked out with Abu Mazen unconditional Israeli surrender to the PLO, but Rabin added into the subsequent accords a degree of gradual reciprocity. Netanyahu later claimed that as his own achievement.

A reciprocal peace process only exists in the minds of its supporters. Why does any country agree to peace? Not because of goodwill, or there would have been no war in the first place. Rather, peace is a product of cost-benefit analysis: continued fighting is not worth the goal. If the fighting subsides, its new lower level may be perceived as corresponding to the goal. For example, most Israelis don’t want Judea and Samaria at the price of hundreds of terrorist attacks per year, but are fine with holding the territories if there is a single attack annually. Polls indicate spikes in popular support for ceding the territories after major terrorist attacks.

The peace process cannot involve gradual pacification, as this diminishes pressure on the aggressor—and the aggressor ceases to want peace. This is equally true of Israel and Hamas. Normally, peace ensues after devastation peaks.

A gradual peace process will constantly be violated, and each side grow increasingly dissatisfied with the other. In the spiral of violence, cause and effect are never clear-cut, and mutual accusations abound. Each side is certain the other has violated the agreement, and both soon view the agreement as void. This was the case with Oslo accords.

The Israeli demand for the Palestinians to rein in their terrorists as a precondition of peace is absurd. The peace—or rather, the Israeli capitulation—is only attributable to those terrorists. Most Jews did not oppose their own terrorists—Irgun and Lehi—to live peacefully with the British. The “Season” was largely a show, as many kibbutzim sheltered the right-wing fighters nominally hunted by the Left. Jews did not curb their own terrorism, but we want the Palestinians to fight their terrorists, who are vastly more numerous and entrenched than Irgun and Lehi. Palestinian terrorist groups are diverse, and many of them are very small, with diversified funding. It would take an utterly lawless, repressive, large, and well-trained Palestinian police force to root them out. Realistically, terrorism can only diminish slowly, over the years—or perhaps decades—as guerrillas see other opportunities for social advancement, mostly in the economic and professional spheres. Arafat’s policy of providing them with sinecures is unsustainable and makes terrorism a prestigious occupation, which is sure to result in more terrorism. Fatah and Hamas demonstrated their inability to curb terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively—through no fault of their own.

This systemic inability to eliminate terrorism precludes the “peace under fire” scenario. Theoretically, Israel could withdraw from the liberated territories while terrorist attacks continue, satisfy the Palestinian demands, and expect the other side also to leave her alone.

That won’t happen because any Palestinian can easily make a pipe bomb and bring it into Israel to rectify past grievances; someone like Iran would always be there to aid them. Israel won’t violate the peace agreement with retaliatory strikes, and will be thus limited to absorbing the blows. Passive defense never works, and Israeli security would collapse under Palestinian terrorist bites, however insignificant each of them is.

Peace is only possible with a state. Unruly territories need to go through the state-building phase before they can promise peace to anyone. Palestinians are now in an impossible situation: they cannot build a state because they are at war, and they cannot end the war because they have no state to impose peace on the population.

Pacifying the West Bank is no trouble for a strong state. Overcrowded refugee camps must be dispersed, its residents offered resettlement in villages. UNRWA aid must be eliminated: Palestinians should work hard for living rather than plot against Israel while sitting idly on welfare. All nationalist organizations and charities must be closed. All the opinion-makers, from imams and librarians and up must be expelled; they are less than one percent of the population. Liberal studies in local universities must be banned. Preferably, the entire population should be relocated to Jordan and Lebanon, but if they stay, they must still be controlled efficiently.

Israel’s only option for peace is to annex the West Bank.