Is Peace Possible in the Middle East?
Put simply, we often have to do what we would prefer not having to do. In private life, such constraints may be financial or medical, but the ultimate purpose is survival — just as it is in the realm of national existence, even if this means having to stay on a permanent war footing. If you have to take insulin, then you have to take insulin, or die. If you have to pay down a mortgage, then you have to pay down a mortgage, or lose your house. And if you are dealing with an enemy that has a 1400 year history of conquest and spoliation, and which is committed to your annihilation, then you must remain in a state of perennial military readiness and be prepared to defend yourself in perpetuity. Clearly, this is not a pleasant option but, unfortunately, there is no other feasible alternative. What is true for people is also true for a people. I, for one, cannot see the value in pretending otherwise.
Israel cannot afford to capitulate, not only to its self-declared enemies but to its own passionate yearning for peace. Falling backwards over the possibility of peace is a bungled negotiating paradigm, as Oslo made painfully clear. Any Israeli politician still hooked on Oslo represents a threat to his country. The same applies to the Israeli left — Kadima, Labor, Meretz, Haaretz, the peace constituencies, a treasonable professoriate and many NGOs — who are essentially a pack of useful jewdiots, victims-in-waiting of their own self-immolating policies.
Similarly, any Western diplomat addicted to untenable proposals and implausible assumptions about the achievement of a stable and long-lasting peace in the Middle East represents a threat to Israel as well, and, indeed, to the entire region. When EU foreign policy chief and resident gargoyle Catherine Ashton asserts that there is “no alternative to a negotiated deal,” she displays only ignorance and bad faith, weeds which spring from the mounting dung heap of EU policy-making and British anti-Semitism. Ashton is not referring specifically to Mahmoud Abbas’ threat to declare statehood unilaterally, which would make a modicum of sense if she were. Like her blinkered counterparts — Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Ross, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and others — she is insisting on a wider program that envisages what is both counter-productive and impossible.
In the international theater, it is fair to assume that the United States will never form a friendly alliance with Russia or China but must stay alert and maintain a credible deterrent capability, regardless of commercial exchanges and temporary reciprocities. On the level of the individual, as I have argued, one does not resist the need for medication or medical procedures if one desires to prolong one’s life. It is no different in the Middle East, in particular with respect to the survival of the Jewish state.
Is peace possible in the Middle East? Will Israel manage to arrive at an entente cordiale with its implacable Muslim enemies, whether on its own initiative or with the coercive “assistance” of the West? The answer is no. Or not in the foreseeable future. Militant Islam is not about to go away anytime soon, and neither is Palestinian faux-irredentism, anti-Semitism, or anti-Zionism. “Radical Islam,” writes British historian Andrew Roberts, “is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli state, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years.”
Israel does not have the luxury of losing a war, any more than it does of achieving a false peace. It is not — or no longer — in a position to rely on a slip-now grip-later political system, but needs to react with strength, intelligence, and dispatch. It cannot accede to the Olmertian velleity of being “tired of winning.” It cannot trust the security guarantees of its ostensible Western allies or the United Nations, which are not worth the paper they’re scribbled on. It must, to quote Melanie Phillips, “stop conniving with the premise of their enemies that the Middle East impasse would be solved by establishing a state of Palestine to which the settlements — and thus by extension Israel — are the obstacle.” This is a false narrative that needs to be decisively countered. Israel must also parry the subtle blandishments of the “normalcy tilt,” that is, once memories of terrorist atrocities begin to fade, that life will continue in the cafés and on the beaches of Tel Aviv as per usual. For Israel, with its precarious foothold at the very epicenter of the Dar al-Harb, or Islamic House of War, is not a “normal nation” nor will it ever be.
It is the destiny of the Jewish nation to be constantly in danger of sedition from within and aggression from without. Apart from incendiary violence, it must confront a world-wide disinformation campaign pivoting on what David Harris calls the two “maladies,” namely, the “confirmation bias” (valorizing information unfavorable to Israel, irrespective of its untruth) and “reverse causality” (switching cause and effect, so that Israel is made responsible for the actions of its enemies). Such meretricious impulses or tropisms appeal to both anti-Semites and anti-Zionists and have become the common property of both Jew and Gentile, some Israelis and many non-Israelis, alike.
It is an open question who is more contemptible, the Jew who lights the fire under the cauldron or the cannibal who throws him into it — all, of course, under the sign of “peace,” which is only a synonym for eventual eclipse. It needs to be candidly said. The enemy is threefold: an Islamic aggressor who will not relent, of whom the Palestinians are the advance column; the reptilian Jew who contrives against his own people; and their Western enablers, primarily in Europe and the current American administration. For each of these, peace is only subversion by another name and war by other means.
Israel’s survival, however, is indeed possible, even if peace is not. But it should begin to act in certain demonstrable ways. It must demobilize its homegrown Quislings and intellectual vandals, with argument, reason or, if need be, the application of legal force where appropriate. There is no excuse for hostile NGOs spreading harmful propaganda on the European dime. There is no justification for state-supported leftist professors brazenly undermining the very country that pays their salaries. It serves no purpose to cosset Muslim groups and firebrands who seek to bring down the state, or to turn the other cheek when rockets fall on its civilian communities. In addition, Israel must take control of the explanatory narrative, or, in a current slang expression, “change the diskette.” And the debacle of military unpreparedness and poor leadership, as during the 2006 Lebanon War, must be avoided at all costs.
Forget peace. It’s not going to happen. And it is not a risk worth taking since unchecked sentimentality is the most ruthless of serial killers. Camp David is the inevitable precursor of the Intifada. The situation is admittedly distressing but it is by no means unrelievedly desolate. For Israel will prevail if it succeeds in preserving a reasonable degree of internal unity, and remains confident, steadfast, realistic, and, above all, vigilant.