Arab Israeli conflict: Israeli vacillation provokes Muslims

Israeli vacillation is costly and politically detrimental in the Arab Israeli conflict

Delaying the military showdown makes the Israeli Arab conflict chronic and harder to cure

In the conflict with Arabs, Israel should not vacillate

The Israeli Defense Force wins wars; the Israeli government is generally good at the conflict negotiations with Arabs. Only the absence of an Israeli grand strategy lets the conflict drag on for almost six decades of Israeli-Arab history. There is no end to the Arab Israeli conflict. Jews may choose to shrink their borders, or Israel may choose to expand at Arabs' expense. In the latter case, Jews have the relatively easy military choice of Palestine and South Lebanon, the politically incorrect choice of Jordan, and the hard military choice of taking the Sinai from Egypt. Israel could give in to all Arab demands about the conflict. Israeli settlers may leave the Palestinian territories, confine themselves to a network of defended Jewish settlements, or maintain control over the whole Palestine, thus perpetuating the Arab Israeli conflict in the history. Jews currently have the means to sustain any Israeli policy in the conflict with Arabs. Moderately foolish Israeli policy is better than no policy, and would end the Arab Israeli conflict sooner. Nothing is so costly in Jewish lives, material, reputation, and public resolve as Israel's constant wavering in prosecuting the conflict. Israeli policy in her conflict with Arabs must be devised by the government, agreed upon by the Knesset and unambiguously fixed as the Basic Law of Israel.

Israeli vacillation in the conflict provokes Arab enemies

The most prominent fact about the Arab-Israeli conflict conflict is that Jewish vacillation causes Arabs to heat up the war. First, the Israeli wavering curve’s nadirs offer the Arabs clear clues of what Israel might accept to resolve the conflict. Israel's subsequent greater demands to Arab countries are not credible and induce the Arabs to demand ever further concessions from Israel. Second, indecision causes Arabs to become afraid of Israel. Having a powerful but unpredictable Israeli neighbor leads Arabs to beef up their military arsenals and launches a spiral of violence in the Middle East conflict.

Israel’s errors recall Germany’s before World War I: concentration of military might, regional dominance, absence of clear political objectives, and aggressive, unpredictable policy that threatened potential enemies. Many Israelis claim they do not intend to threaten the Arabs, but Arab Israeli conflict is not about facts. The issue at hand is Arab perception of Israeli intentions in waging the conflict.

Israelis must state their political objectives clearly in terms of Israeli self-interest, follow a predictable policy in resolving the Israeli conflict with Arabs, and stop panicking Israel's neighbors who never know what Israeli is up to at any given moment. If, however, Israel decides upon the aggressive course in the Middle East conflict, do not threaten the Arabs. Establish the timeline and attack the designated Arab targets immediately. Do not let the Arabs prepare for Israeli attack and the U.S. and the U.N. intercede. To delay aggression would greatly increase the cost for Israel of prevailing in her conflict with Arabs.

Vacillation in prosecuting the Arab-Israeli conflict damages the Israeli psyche, too. Israeli government officials in office must stop stating their private views on the Arab-Israeli conflict publicly. If their views differ from the Israeli policy, let them leave the government and promote their solution to the conflict with Arabs. People remember the most far-fetched political suggestions. In the present case, the alternatives are Arab-Israeli peace at almost any cost versus Israel keeping the Palestinian territories at almost any cost. That polarizes and radicalizes Israeli society, both left and right Jews ignoring the middle options, but middle options are the reasonable ones in many conflicts. Though most Arabs did not demand a Palestinian state thirty years ago, now even most Jews with any understanding of the Arab Israeli conflict agree to the Palestinian state. Israeli society must agree on a path to resoluton of the Arab-Israeli conflict — offense, defense, or peace for territorial concessions to Palestinians and Syrians — and stop wavering.

Vacillation is costly and politically detrimental to Israel in her conflict with Arabs

Jewish oscillations between the desire for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict at any cost and the desire for Israel's expansion create ineffective policy for Israeli government. Israelis today are discussing about the equivalent of Sadat’s 1972 peace solution to Arab Israeli conflict. Menahem Begin was looking to give up the Israeli ownership of Sinai in return for Arab recognition of de facto Israeli jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories and ending the conflict. In the end, Sinai bought Israel a dubious end of the conflict with Egypt, but Egypt was ready to accept Israel anyway, a matter of Arab acceptance of Middle Eastern political reality which now included Israel. Therefore a moderate Egypt asked Israel only for the return of the Sinai, and Islamic fundamentalists would disregard the peace agreement with Israel, anyway, and perpetuate the Arab Israeli conflict. Consequently, Israel would have risked little by keeping Sinai, valuable not only for unprecedented for Israel depth of defense, but also as the approximate extreme of Eretz Israel, theoretically the ultimate goal of Israeli policy in the conflict with Arabs. Egypt would eventually have agreed to divide the Sinai with Israel, if not immediately then after some years, and would hardly choose to perpetuate the Arab Israeli conflict. As almost every country has at one or another point of its history, Egypt acquiesced to force, and would have done so in the conflict with Israel. Only decades ago, the British re-shaped Egypt as they wished — look at its straight, arbitrarily drawn borders. In the current conflict, Egypt abrogated its claim to Gaza and the Negev in favor of Israel. Partition of Sinai would have left Israel with oil wells in the isthmus, the reserves the Israelis were exploiting when the Camp David accords transferred the Sinai to Egypt. Israeli leaders submitted to international pressures and lost sight of Israel's primary objective in the Arab Israeli conflict. Concessions have not led either to resolution of Arab Israeli conflict or Israeli dominance.

Delaying the major military solution makes the Arab Israeli conflict chronic and harder for Israel to cure

Long neglected problems, like chronic illnesses, require harsher solutions than were available initially - since 1864, 1880, 1947, 1948 or whatever other date we relate the conflict origin to. Although some kind of Israeli coexistence with indigenous Arabs was once possible, today that Israel and the US have given the Palestinian Arabs hope for their own state, Jews have no painless way to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is an article of faith that Israel must either give Palestinian Arabs the territory or destroy the Palestinian settlements and exile them far away — not to refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries, or the conflict would be perpetuated. Jordan and Lebanon, unhappy with Palestinian refugee camps as a source of anti-government and Palestinian terrorist unrest, would readily accept an Israeli ultimatum to disallow them. Forced cultural assimilation of Palestinians should accompany deportation: Palestinians are not sufficiently different from Arab Muslims to constitute a distinct culture. With demise of Palestinians, Arab-Israeli conflict would lose its impetus.