In an article titled "The Only Solution is Military," I wrote back in April 2002 that "if Israel is to protect itself, it must achieve a comprehensive military victory over the Palestinians, so that the latter give up their goal of obliterating it. Ending the Palestinian assault will be achieved not through some negotiated breakthrough but by Palestinians (and Arabic-speakers more generally) concluding that their effort to destroy the Jewish state will fail, and so give up this ambition."
Now Victor Davis Hanson, a military analyst whose writings move me, whose facts inform me, and whose ideas teach me, has effectively written in National Review Online that I am wrong: "Israel cannot achieve strategic victory [over the Palestinians] - given world opinion and its own moral code, which prevents permanent annexation on the lines of a Tibet, Cyprus, eastern Germany, or Soviet-controlled Japanese Islands - by daily defeating just the forces Hamas, Hezbollah, or Mr. Arafat's stealthy cadres sent at them." Instead, he argues that the key to Israel's fortunes lies in "the resolve of the United States." Read his analysis for the full case he makes, but it boils down to American assertiveness causing extremists to begin to look around and "What they see cannot give them comfort."
Hanson is right that what the U.S. government does immensely affects the Palestinian-Israeli war now underway. Still, I stick by my belief Israel can, through grit and determination win as well as lose that war. Or, as I put it in May 2002, "are Palestinians really supermen? Can it be true that they respond to the destruction of their society by redoubling their efforts? More exactly, is it correct to extrapolate from the recent past that the more battering they take, the more determined they become? Merely to ask this question is to answer it. Of course not-Palestinians have the same responses to suffering as the rest of us." I continue to see that when Palestinians find their efforts are not working, they lose heart. If the Israelis persist, this trend one day will translate into a victory for them. (June 15, 2003)