Photo: Gettyimages
Netanyahu and Abbas. No new initiative
Photo: Gettyimages
Shaul Arieli

For Israel's leaders, it all about victory

Op-ed: With a leadership loyal to the perception of 'conflict management,' it won't come as a complete surprise if Israel is required to launch another military campaign – in order to win it in advance.

History shows that winning a battle in which neither side managed to destroy its enemy is first and foremost a defeat to the rival's consciousness. This leads to a change in its policy and conduct, more than anything else - the casualty ratio, the occupation of land, the damage to infrastructures and the economy, etc.



It wasn't a wrong slip of the tongue by former chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon, the current defense minister, when he announced during the second intifada that there was a need to "burn the Palestinians' consciousness."


The Israeli government's decisions in the past three weeks, as well as its ministers' declarations, prove beyond any doubt that Israel won. For example, the decision to cut the education budget by more than half a million shekels to fund the expenses of the conflict was approved by the government with inconceivable lightness and was justified by Education Minister Shai Piron, who explained to us that "there was a war."


Piron's statement matches his doctrine that "the vision of the Greater Israel must not be narrowed down" and completes the policy of his predecessors, Ministers Limor Livnat and Gideon Sa'ar, who saw the Education Ministry as a tool for enforcing their political and social faith even on those who did not vote for them.


Cutting the education budget will justify the education system's attempt to avoid dealing with the trend of ignorance, lack of curiosity, hatred, racism and incitement which have spread in almost every one of its corners. Another generation will spend time in this system simply in order to "get to all the material" and report for the next war in a bid to fulfill the dream of the education ministers, who are seeking to "take possession of the land from its inhabitants and inherit it."


And if anyone thought that the conflict with Hamas, which rules out any fundamental compromise, will motivate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political proposals in a different light, Netanyahu's statement about the "political vision," accompanied by the declaration of 3,800 dunams of villages in the West Bank as "state" lands, clarified that they have not learned a thing and haven't forgotten a thing.


The lack of hope in the peace process with Netanyahu will continue to put Abbas and his policy in a ridiculous light in the eyes of the Palestinian public. It will reiterate that as far as Israel is concerned, Abbas ("the featherless chicken") gets his "wings" only by achieving a ceasefire and maintaining the security calm in the West Bank, even when the village's lands will be appropriated to expand the Israeli settlements.


Why Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman explained that this is Gush Etzion, and that the Palestinians already agreed in the Geneva Initiative and in Annapolis that it would stay under Israeli sovereignty. As usual, he forgot that we are talking about a permanent agreement and land swap.


In the "victory" week, we didn't even get to witness some kind of an attempt to restore the damage caused to the relations with the United States by Netanyahu and Lieberman. No agreement to a peace conference, no new initiative. After all, these are unnecessary, as Netanyahu explained again last week that the conflict is unsolvable, and Ya'alon's doctrine, that it is our fate to live by the sword, is still valid.


So it seems that even the IDF's recommendation to restrain the pressure on the Gaza Strip, which stems from the understanding that the state's leaders are loyal to the perception of "conflict management," despite the fact that every year it blows up in their face in an expensive and bloody military campaign, will not fall on open ears.


So it won’t come as a complete surprise if Israel is required to launch an operation again in order to win it in advance.


Colonel (res.) Shaul Arieli is a member of the Council for Peace and Security and one of the Geneva Initiative negotiators.


פרסום ראשון: 09.16.14, 20:47
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