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True--but Understandable

Reader comment on item: Poll: Israelis Want Victory, Preferably without Paying the Price

Submitted by Stephen Berman (United States), Jun 19, 2021 at 22:40

I think we have to remember that the Israelis are the ones who will pay the price for a more intensive armed conflict. It is rather easy one to say that they should escalate the conflict until they win. But this will cost lives. People think twice before sending themselves, their husbands, wives, and children into potentially deadly combat. If 80% of Israelis want total victory, it should hardly be surprising that the percentage goes down when one factors in the sacrifices they must make. Would we expect that the likelihood that many of them will die or lose family and friends to these battles make the percentage go up?

I think it is the size of the decline in support that may be surprising (though I have no standard of comparison) and, perhaps, that means something important. One thought I had is that military conflict is not the only way to defeat an opponent. There are at least a few other ways.

Perhaps the Abraham Accords caused many Israelis to believe that economic and cultural shifts within the Arab world, added to Israel's present level of military pressure, may be enough to demoralize Israel;s opponents to the extent that they are willing to give up. Though I think this would be more likely to happen if Trump were still present, the Abraham Accords rest more upon economic realities than they do on Trump. Regardless of how completely people accept the standard ideas about climate change, the long term trend for hydrocarbon fuels is downward. It has been going down for years and the decline will continue as solar, wind, and nuclear gain ascendancy. And this probably will occur at about the same rate whether the US President is a Democrat or a Republican. Though Israel now has oil and gas (and tons and tons of shale), the Israeli technological way (plus tourism) is the economic future for the Arabs and the Arab economic elites know that...they have known that for years. I suspect that even the Iranian economic elites know that, but they have much less relative power in Iran. As more Arab countries increase co-operation with Israel, even if they do not join the formal Abraham Accords group, I think that Arab culture will be driven more and more toward accepting Israel and working with Israel.

The Palestinians will become the only Arabs wanting to destroy Israel and they will become increasingly isolated and demoralized until they finally give up and accept a reasonable solution, which could be a 2 state solution with no Palestinian right of return or, perhaps, "no additional state solution" with Gaza becoming a part of Egypt and most of the West Bank becoming a part of Jordan, with the inhabitants of those regions becoming citizens in either Egypt or Jordan with no claim on Israel or Israeli citizenship. So the hope may be to stay the present course and hope there is a rising tide of Arab rapprochement with Israel that will make the Palestinians realize their cause is hopeless. I do not know whether this can work but if it can I would prefer it to having my friends and family killed in more intense war.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

"Israelis are the ones who will pay the price for a more intensive armed conflict": and Palestinians too, even more, in the short term.

"military conflict is not the only way to defeat an opponent": I do not say it is. Economics, diplomacy, religion, and other means have a role to play.

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