A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Jerusalem Issue Brief Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Former Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Forces

Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says mainstream public opinion, and the rest will follow. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many afflicting the Middle East, and it is by no means the dominant one.

The Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability. Today the watchword is “weakness.” The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. The problem is not Abbas’ actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others have called for more foreign assistance for the Palestinians. This strategy has no chance of success if it is not linked to reforms. Unless the Palestinians are first convinced through education to give up the extremism which informs their
national and religious aspirations, they cannot be expected to be full partners in building a vibrant Palestinian economy.

The central conflict of the Middle East is not territorial but ideological; not about borders but about Islamic Jihadism and Western liberty. No ideology, least of all radical Islam, can be defeated by concessions, which encourage, energize, and inspire Jihadists. Those who wish for peace must face and assimilate this fact, and realize that territorial concessions, or any concessions in any realm in the struggle against militant Islam, have been consistently counterproductive.

From Oslo to Annapolis, we have engaged in a top-down strategy. We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. I propose we replace this approach with a bottom-up strategy in which the PA first proves its willingness and ability to govern.

September 2, 2008 | 2 Comments »

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  1. The Georgian situation is exacerbating the mid-east problems.

    Stratfor- Sept 2, 2008

    Should America create difficulties for Russia in the present situation, the Russian response would strike at the heart of American strategy in the Islamic world. In the long run, the Russians have little interest in strengthening the Islamic world — but for the moment, they have substantial interest in maintaining American imbalance and sapping U.S. forces. The Russians have a long history of supporting Middle Eastern regimes with weapons shipments, and it is no accident that the first world leader they met with after invading Georgia was Syrian President Bashar al Assad. This was a clear signal that if the U.S. responded aggressively to Russia’s actions in Georgia, Moscow would ship a range of weapons to Syria — and far worse, to Iran. Indeed, Russia could conceivably send weapons to factions in Iraq that do not support the current regime, as well as to groups like Hezbollah. Moscow also could encourage the Iranians to withdraw their support for the Iraqi government and plunge Iraq back into conflict. Finally, Russia could ship weapons to the Taliban and work to further destabilize Pakistan

  2. I think Yaalon is more of the problem than its cure. He outline dretreaded clichés worn out concepts and has no real vision for a future or if he has one no clear concept as to how to attain it. Notice at no time did he mention completing population transfer begun in 1947. Not once did he mention Jewish State with Jewish values. He still must believe in the Oslo accords as he refers to area A and B for autonomy trial etc. Nobody will fight in the future for a state based on his concepts of western values and essentially at some time dividing the Land ,if the Arabs do as he suggests. He speaks of moderate Islamists without mentioning who they might be. He pleads for others to step up with sanctions and other means against Iran. He infers that Fatah is good and Hamas is bad. Where the hell was he during hist stint as OC IDF, he was essentially fired but never resigned as a protest to Sharon’s or Barack’s policy. Israel careerist Officers have changed since 73, we have raised a cadre of yes men and personal careers above principles. These guys always start to blab when out of Uniform.. I think this Kibbutznick is looking for political offers. I could go on and on and pick the all thing apart but for what purpose. What we don’t need today is any authoritative position is Yaalon and those like him.