If you will it, it is no fanciful dream -Theodore Herzl
In the prevailing political reality in Israel today, it has become more and more common to dismiss political programs that oppose Israeli withdrawal from territories beyond the 1967 Green Line as "unrealistic" or "impractical."
However, in light of the dismal failure of the alternative approach - that endorses such withdrawal – one cannot avoid broaching the question of whether any particular political philosophy should be labeled – or rather libeled – as "unrealistic".
It would appear that the answer to this question should be divided into two parts. The first relates to the manner in which "reality" is perceived and how it should be dealt with; the second relates to the nature of the criterion by which one should determine whether a particular course of action is indeed "unrealistic".
There are two countervailing approaches toward "reality" and the appropriate manner in which to relate to it. According to one approach - that which appears to have been adopted by all recent Israeli governments – the prevailing reality is seen as a constraint which dictates the objectives of national policy. According to the other – that which characterized Zionism and its extraordinary achievements throughout most of its short history – the prevailing reality is seen as an objective which national policy aspires to change and to mold.
But by what yardstick can any given policy be deemed "unrealistic," or impossible to implement? This should be reasonably simple, especially when repeated attempts to implement a particular policy have failed miserably, time and time again.
This, of course, is exactly what has occurred – for almost a decade-and-a-half of disaster, death and destruction - from the Oslowian policies of flight and faint-heartedness, to its subsequent and more radical derivatives - including the latest ill-begotten off-shoot, a unilateral "disengagement" that has vindicated all the most ominous forebodings of its opponents: Intensified Qassam bombardments, increased motivation of terror organizations, escalated smuggling of deadly armaments into the abandoned Gaza Strip, the rise of Hamas to power, the emergence of al-Qaeda cells in the "territories" and so on.
Victims of peace
In light of these repeated failures and the thousands of unnecessary casualties, perversely branded "victims of peace," and in light of the ascendancy of Palestinian radicals and marginalization of moderates, it indeed requires gross obtuseness and galling effrontery to adhere to the forlorn claim that there is anything remotely "realistic", "pragmatic" or "enlightened" in a policy likely to result in the formation of a stronghold of Islamic radicalism on the fringes of the heavily populated coastal plain, commanding the runways of Ben-Gurion International Airport, adjacent to the length of the trans-Israel highway, and atop vital water sources, which desalination cannot possibly replace in the foreseeable future.
When every Israeli concession begets greater Arab extremism, when each conciliatory gesture is interpreted as continuing capitulation, and merely whets Arab appetites for further concessions, only the blind or the foolish will not acknowledge the inescapable conclusion: If the Jewish people does not rise up and claim control of its ancient homeland - in its entirety - it will lose control of its ancient homeland – in its entirety. Any attempt to deny this inevitable consequence is the very epitome of "unrealistic" wishful thinking.
Of course one should not underestimate the immense difficulties involved, and the huge efforts required in order to "rehabilitate" political philosophies that reject withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, not to mention those that advocate retaking control of Gaza. However, if the Jewish people wish to survive as a sovereign national entity, there is no alternative but to adopt this position.
To be sure, great acumen and tremendous resources, both spiritual and material, will be needed to escape the stranglehold of the all-pervasive but misleading assumption, which has acquired almost axiomatic status, and has tyrannically dictated the conduct of the on-going endeavors to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and according to which the establishment of a Palestinian state is both unavoidable and indispensable for a cessation of hostilities.
This is a task of daunting dimensions and calls for qualities not readily evident in the current political leadership; qualities which will allow the uprooting of the pernicious influence of the accepted norms relating to the conflict, and the rejuvenation of the stale, lithified patterns of thinking as to its resolution; qualities that will facilitate the promotion of end-state scenarios for the region, which do not include the emergence of a new Arab entity between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
Seeking real leadership
Furthermore, it is a task that demands a leadership with the intellectual prowess, ideological commitment, and oratory skills that well exceed those manifested in the Israeli polity today. Intellectual prowess is needed to formulate cogent and compelling alternative paradigms to replace those of retreat and surrender which have characterized the conduct of Israeli governments since the early 1990s; ideological commitment must compel our leaders to adhere to these new paradigms, giving precedence to the long-term national interest over short-term personal interest.
And they must possess the oratory skills and eloquence (i.e. the verbal "arsenal") to repulse attempts, from home and abroad, to discredit alternative policy options that advocate a brand of Zionism more assertive and self-confident than those that have characterized the actions of the Israeli policy-makers over the last decade and half.
These, then, are the attributes required to facilitate the design of policy based on truth rather than political correctness. We need a policy that sees the prevailing reality not as a restrictive constraint, but as a challenging objective; a policy whose point of departure is not the existing reality and modes of managing it, but the desired reality and modes of attaining it.
Its formulation and implementation demand a leader who will not only act according to the defining Zionist maxim "If you will it, it is no fanciful dream" in regard to the Jewish state; but who, in regard to the Palestinian state, will act according to the converse maxim which necessarily follows from it: "If you will it not, it is indeed a fanciful dream."