Positive signals build mental reflexes. So far, the guerillas have gotten only positive signals. They ousted Israel from Lebanon, then from Gaza, almost from Judea and Samaria. They got a state in all but name and various concessions. They gave nothing in return. Why stop?

The cost of guerilla warfare is negligible. The Saudis subsidize suicide bombers, and rockets are made with common fertilizer. Even better, war is profitable: it brings donations.

Palestinian militants do not want a tiny, unviable state. They want to remain the focal point of the world’s attention and to spearhead Arab resistance to the West. That can be achieved through war, not nation-building in some jerkwater state.

The Palestinian risks are small. Israel and the West have already approved their state, and revocation is unlikely. Humanitarian concerns will not permit an economic blockade or even cessation of aid. The international media have a track record of constraining Israeli reprisals. Why shouldn’t the Palestinians fight?

The incentives for war are even more pronounced for Hezbollah. War is its only reason for existence. Its members, professional soldiers, cannot easily return to farming. Donations are implicitly conditioned on Hezbollah’s military visibility. Military successes or even actions attract volunteers to Hezbollah. New guerillas quickly replace the ones killed. Hezbollah runs no risk of being depopulated.

Hezbollah need not achieve any particular results. Continuing resistance is a result in itself. Hezbollah wins in war and loses in peace.

The range of goals is virtually infinite. The Arabs need not stop at Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. Galilee, heavily populated by Arabs, is also a natural place for them to defend. The partition of Jerusalem, the return of the 1948 refugees and their third-generation descendants, and compensation are other likely objectives. Guerillas will fight for any goal instead of disarming and going back to the civil life they long ago forgot.

People settle for peace only when they have something to lose from war. Arabs will only agree to peace if they know that continued hostilities will mean the end of the Palestinian state, expulsion of the Palestinians to Jordan, and massive application of Israeli firepower.

Iran cares about positioning itself as the Muslim leader, not about the Palestinian state. Nothing that happens to Palestinians would concern the Iranians. To stop Iran from fanning the war, Israel should threaten Iran’s leadership role and humiliate it militarily. Muslims must know that a country can play their leader only so long as Israel tolerates it. Goodwill does not beget peace; credible threat does.

Do not talk or make diplomatic moves. The Arabs seek exactly that kind of publicity. When attacked, retaliate cruelly, issue a short statement, then say nothing. Do not ask the Arabs for anything, especially for peace. Do not attempt militarily impossible tasks, like destroying a guerilla army in a foreign territory. Deal with the Arabs as with nasty flies: kill any number when necessary and without regret, but otherwise pay them no attention. Make no concessions. Ignore the Arabs. That is the real cruelty they cannot stand.