Israel Must Stop Waging Tit-for-Tat Warfare

Despite maintaining one of the best air forces and armies in the world, Israel persists in fighting tit-for-tat wars rather than crush-or-be-crushed wars. The trouble is that tit-for-tat warfare, especially in the Middle East, does not work.

If the Israelis want to beat the Palestinians they will have to do it by crushing them in their heads, in their hearts, and in their souls.

It was swords, not sermons, that swept Islam from Arabia to Africa, Indonesia, and India. It was swords, not sermons, that enabled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to rid Spain of 700 years of Moorish rule. And it was swords, not sermons, that enabled a coalition of European armies led by Jan III Sobieski, the King of Poland, to turn back the Muslims at the gates of Vienna on September 11, 1683. If only we contemporary Infidels had the will and the courage to do today what we our ancestors did so successfully 333 years ago.

The Israelis must stop playing the game in which the Palestinians attack them and the Israelis counterattack the Palestinians. Over and over and over again.

If Israel wants to end this useless cycle, it will have to emulate Napoleon’s admonition to his marshals and generals: “If you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna.” Similarly, Similarly, “If you set out to vanquish the Palestinians, vanquish the Palestinians.”

Better still, Israel must follow Winston Churchill’s Second World War dictum: ‘Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.’”

I am not suggesting that Israel start a war in order to effectuate the words of Napoleon and Churchill. But if its neighbors start a war like the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which Israel almost lost, the Jewish state will have to go for broke.

I cannot remember the last time Israel’s leaders uttered the word victory. (Nitzakhon in Hebrew.) Nor can I remember the last time they ordered the Israel Defense Force to cease fighting only after it achieved victory in the Churchillian sense.

Israel’s leaders have never issued such an order because they worry about world public opinion, especially the criticism that Israel doesn’t do enough to prevent Arab civilian injuries and deaths. Suffering from amnesia when it comes to Israel, world public opinion forgets that it is not the Israelis who store weapons, ammunition and fighters in Palestinian homes, schools, and hospitals.

The only way to make the Palestinians sue for peace is to make them lose their will to fight. And the only way to do that is to employ disproportionate force. No country has ever defeated another country without using disproportionate force.

When the Palestinians are finally vanquished, Israel will determine the agenda and the outcome of the negotiations. If the two sides agree on a two-state solution, for instance, Israel will draw the boundaries, determine the extent of Palestine’s demilitarization, and let or not let East Jerusalem become the capital of Palestine.

Eventually, an Israel-Palestine peace will come. It will be a cold one, to be sure, but it will be peace nonetheless.

Edward Bernard Glick of Portland, OR  is the author of Between Israel and Death and a professor emeritus of political science at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is also a former truck driver and machinist's helper.