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Israeli strategy

Reader comment on item: Pipes criticises Middle East leaders

Submitted by Bob Copps (Canada), Feb 13, 2005 at 15:29

The Israeli government is forced to make the best of a bad deal, to accept a hypocritical truce, essentially a strategic withdrawal, by an implacable enemy. Militarily, the best option would be turn this retreat into a rout, destroy the enemy's infrastructure and punish its recalcitrance.

But this would be a diplomatic error and would only increase the resolve of the country's enemies. The key to success is the development among the Palestinians of a free and growing bourgeoisie which is capable of benefitting from the peace more than the various, and competing, autocrats are capable of benefitting from the terror.

The elements of this bourgeois tendency, including both the merchants, manufacturers, and financiers, on one side, and their employees and the families of their employees on the other, will not necessarily be subjectively disposed toward peace with the Jews, but their prosperity will tend to condition their political decisions.

In each of the truces that have briefly held in the past, the Palestinians have seen their standard of living improve, only to be seriously compromised by the terrorists. Sooner or late the lessons must sink in, that Israel is not going away, and that prosperity depends on peace.

The lesson seems clear: The Israeli government must use all diplomatic and military decisions to encourage policies among the Palestinians which will enable their citizens to use their natural economic talents to thrive. First among these policies is financial freedom, second political freedom. In a free economy, individuals will learn that their best hopes for personal success is in their own efforts, not in sharing in the collective plunder of their enemies.

In time, if the people who hold the trump cards are patient enough, there will be arise the Palestinians a class of people with the resources and authority to create a lasting peace with Israel in order to bolster their own personal prosperity, and the benefits from this will be shared by all.

The current truce, with all its warts, is a step or two along a path with many detours. Success might require centuries, but I believe it is the only way to achieve peace without slaughter.
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