Amplify’d from sultanknish.blogspot.com
No matter the outcome of the statehood bid for the Palestinian Authority, the only sure loser in this scenario is an Israeli government which has once again allowed itself to react to events, rather than dictating them. The price for defeating the statehood bid is almost certain to be more concessions. Whether Abbas gets his UN vote or gets blocked at the gate by Obama, he can still count on more Israeli territory extracted under pressure.
The terrorist game has always been fairly simple, create a crisis and force Israel to react, and then collect their winnings. The Israeli game has been to point at the terrorism and lawbreaking on the enemy side and expect the world to finally acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority has lost its credibility and force it to negotiate honestly. After decades of terror and lies this clearly isn't going to happen, but that hasn't stopped the Israeli government from playing that one card over and over again.
Israel is full of engineers and generals all pointed at the wrong goal, and easily undermined by a shift of terrain that once again forces them to make concessions to enemies that are dumber, but who do take the initiative.
The difference between the magnificent triumph of the Six Day War and the near apocalypse of the Yom Kippur War was the difference between taking the initiative and waiting behind passive defenses for the approval of the international community before taking action. The lesson of both wars is that Israel does not have enough territory, population or resources to be passive. But its current hyper-passive alertness is nearly as awful as pure passivity would be.
Over and over again, the enemy counts on provoking an Israeli reaction and leading it into another lose-lose scenario in which whatever it does, it loses. Passivity allows the enemy to claim victory and a last minute overreaction results in condemnation and forces Israel to write more checks in the form of concessions.
Israel made the mistake of paying too much attention to its image problems and not enough to its military ones. It hasn't won the image war and it's rapidly losing the military one. No Muslim army ever succeeded in cutting Israel in half, even during the Yom Kippur War, but it is on the verge of allowing itself to be pressured into creating a contiguous Palestinian state that will cut it in half.
No Muslim army has managed to seize half of Jerusalem since 1967, but that too is now a mandate on the table. The negotiations and concessions have already cost Israel more territory than any war since 1948 when it was low on weapons, had militias instead of an army, was under an arms embargo and was also on the edge of civil war.
Israel's problem isn't its image, it has an image problem because it has a terrorist problem. If Israel were Sri Lanka or Turkey, then the world might shrug and the story would be reported on Page 5B, but Israel's enemies are an alliance of Islamist petrodollars and the red brigades of the left who have more people, access and resources. The longer the situation drags on, the more material they have to work with, and the more they can make this seem like a raw bloody wound that has to be solved for the sake of regional and world peace. And the more Israel debates, the more it inflates.
Israel has lost its own left, it isn't going to win over the international left, or the Jewish left, the majority of whom with a few exceptions think the world would be a better place if it were to be destroyed.
The American and European foreign policy establishments can't let go of Israel, but they can't stop torturing it either. It's a powerful piece in a game that they don't dare commit to, and in the game of half-measures that they play, it's a piece that does more harm than good. And the Israeli government is playing that same game of half-measures, which also do more harm than good. Everyone wants to keep their options open, to take the high road and kiss the olive branch-- but that road leads down to the abyss.
What Israel needs to do most of all is stop talking, stop reacting and stop playing defense while waiting for a referee to recognize all the fouls committed by the other side and call the game in its favor. The only referee likely to do that is the omnipotent One, and there's no word on when He intends to to blow the whistle. The more Israel reacts to the disruptions, the more they persist and trap it in a game of Catch 22 ball that it can't win.
The peace is not winnable, the war is, and only war can bring about some kind of manageable peace. As long as Israel holds on to the belief that passive defenses, barriers and blockades and bar lev lines will maintain some sort of liable status quo, its position will keep on degrading until it is at risk of being unsalvageable.
Israel has trapped itself in a lose-lose scenario, it needs a strategy that doesn't depend on illusions, on the failures of the other side finally becoming apparent or on tinkering with the status quo so it doesn't hurt so much. It needs to plan for victory, rather than looking for ways to manage defeat. And it may have to get much more desperate before it is ready to commit to the kinds of risky strategies that it has become famous and infamous for.
Bad leadership and international pressure has trapped Israel in a downward strategic spiral of reactive policies leading to image problems, leading to more reactive policies, leading to more disruptive assaults, and more image problems. Breaking out of that spiral will take hard work and risks, but it isn't impossible. What it requires is serious thinking of how to secure a future for Israel that does not depend on the goodwill of its enemies. That is the fundamental error and question that it faces today. And it will likely not find its way to that new independence until its back is once again up against the wall.Read more at sultanknish.blogspot.com
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