INTO THE FRAY: An imperative precursor for victory-A diplomatic “Iron-Dome”


Israel requires a massive strategic public diplomacy offensive to generate the freedom of action required for victory-oriented policy

Wars usually end when failure causes one side to despair when that side has…accepted defeat, and when that defeat has exhausted its will to fightDaniel Pipes, A New Strategy for Israeli Victory, Commentary, December 14, 2016.

This will be my third and final column in a trilogy addressing the recently established    Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC). For my previous two columns, see here and here.

To recap briefly

Readers will recall that the CIVC, launched  by Reps. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH), and initiated by the Middle East Forum, headed by its president Daniel Pipes, is an enterprise that departs sharply—and laudably—from the disproven conventional wisdom on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Thus, rather than advocating that the resolution of this conflict is contingent on ongoing and ever-more generous Israeli concessions, CIVC promotes the view that this can only be achieved by an unequivocal Israeli victory—and a commensurate unconditional Palestinian acknowledgement of defeat.

While I warmly commended the initiative’s proposed paradigmatic shift, I laid out several considerations that must be addressed if this welcome enterprise is to be converted from the conceptual to the operational, and transform its benign intention into effective action.

Pipes correctly diagnoses that the most effective (indeed, arguably, the only) way to end protracted conflict is by inflicting defeat on one side which “exhaust[s] its will to fight”. Elsewhere, specifically referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he aptly observes: “The Oslo Accords and other signed pieces of paper have made matters much worse”, warning: “The farce of negotiations, therefore, needs urgently to end.”

He then asks: “If no more negotiations, then what?”, with his blunt response being to recommend “breaking the Palestinians’ will to fight”.

However, in the Israeli-Palestinian context, breaking the will of the Palestinians alone is unlikely to be sufficient for heralding in a more amicable attitude in the future. Indeed, arguably the most crucial point I endeavored to convey was that, given the external centers of agitation in the surrounding Arab countries and in the wider Muslim world, unless further steps are taken to permanently extinguish the resurgence of any future hope of prying loose the Jewish hold on land they consider Arab, the will to resume fighting will probably reassert itself.

“Kinetic” vs. “non-kinetic” routes to victory

I concluded last week’s column by drawing a distinction between two different paths for achieving victory.  The one I deemed “kinetic” and the other “non-kinetic”.

The former entailed the use of naked military force on a massive scale inflicting commensurately massive death and devastation on the Palestinian-Arabs; while the later entailed setting up a comprehensive system to induce large-scale emigration of the Palestinian-Arabs by means of generous material incentives to leave, and commensurately daunting material disincentives for staying.

Pipes appears to acknowledge this sort differentiation in the modes by which victory can be accomplished and defeat imposed. He writes: “Defeat can result either from a military thrashing or from an accretion of economic and political pressures” and points out that “…it does not require total military loss or economic destruction, much less the annihilation of a population”.

I have, of course, no argument with him on this. After all, what Pipes designates “a military thrashing” on the one hand, and “an accretion of economic and political pressures” on the other, correspond closely to my “kinetic” and non-kinetic” routes to victory.

However, I feel compelled to reiterate that, in the Israeli-Palestinian context, exhausting the Palestinian will to fight will not ensure lasting peace.  Indeed, in any post-victory reality (whether “kinetic” or “non-kinetic”), which does not definitively preclude the emergence of some self-governing state-like (or quasi-state) entity for the Palestinian-Arab collective, tangible and enduring potential for re-kindling “resistance” will always remain.

Hamas’s man in Ankara?

The reason for this pernicious potential is not only the ample centers of external agitation that exist today in the Arab and Muslim world but also the tenuous state of incumbent regimes, particularly Egypt and Jordan, which would immediately border any such entity.

Little imagination is needed to foretell the destabilizing effect a resurgent Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and/or a declining monarchy in Jordan would have on a Palestinian administration, installed pursuant to a perfidious surrender to the “Zionist entity”.

An ominous illustration of the menacing prospect was provided this week by Turkey’s ever-more authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, at the provocatively titled Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Forum in Istanbul. With utter disregard for the recently concluded rapprochement agreement with Israel, Erdogan launched into an inciteful diatribe against the Jewish state, denouncing its control of its capital as an intolerable affront:  “As a Muslim community…each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us”. He urged his co-religionists to flood the city’s holy sites and echoed a call he made several months ago, in which he called on Muslims to support the Palestinian cause and protect Jerusalem from “Judaization” by Israel.

This is hardly unexpected as Turkey strongly supports Hamas, and even after the reconciliation agreement with Israel—and in gross violation of it—continues to allow the   organization’s military arm to operate within its territory.

Stark imperative

Clearly then, even if Israel imposes unconditional surrender on the Palestinian-Arabs in Judea-Samaria and Gaza, this would not impact the enmity, or the will, of their supporters and sponsors in Ankara, Tehran and Doha—or conceivably, in Egypt and Jordan should ascendant Islamist elements become increasingly dominant.

With regard to the latter, Efraim Inbar warns “…changes within neighboring states can be rapid. Unexpected scenarios, such as a return of the Muslim Brotherhood to the helm in Egypt or the fall of the Hashemite dynasty… might take place.

The crucial nature of this caveat is heightened by the critical strategic significance of the territory designated for any prospective self-governing Palestinian-Arab entity and the dire consequences that would ensue should it fall to hostile elements – see here and here.

Accordingly, there is only one way to ensure that the Palestinian-Arab population will not be subjected to externally sourced influences to reignite their will to fight, and to ensure that they will not be exposed to incitement, agitation and cross-border insurgency.  Put bluntly, this is to ensure that there is no population which can be impacted by all (or any) of these pernicious pressures.

Last week, I raised the question of how this stark imperative is to be best addressed.  Picking up on Pipes’s terminology, is this to be done via “a military thrashing entailing economic destruction, [even] the annihilation of a population” (i.e via the “kinetic” route); or via “an accretion of economic and political pressures” (i.e. via the “non-kinetic” route)?

Victory by “accretion of economic & political pressures”

For well over a decade, I have been advocating adopting the latter course for a variety of reasons – both moral and practical.  I have designated this comprehensive policy prescription The Humanitarian Paradigm. This, as do virtually all other major alternatives to the two-state formula currently being proposed, entails the coercive dismantling of the current Palestinian regimes, while providing individual non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs the opportunity of a better and more secure life elsewhere.

This latter objective—of inducing large-scale emigration—is, as mentioned above, to be accomplished by means of generous material incentives to leave and commensurately daunting material disincentives for staying.  Such disincentives would include the phased denial of services currently provided by Israel such as water, electricity, fuel, tax collection and so on, while the option of substantial relocation/rehabilitation grants would obviate any humanitarian crisis such denial is liable to precipitate.

In this regard I was greatly heartened to see that Pipes himself explicitly invokes some of the measures I propose—significantly, some of the harsher ones. Thus, in his prescription for victory, he urges that in face of continuing Palestinian violence, Israel should, inter alia, “dismantle the PA’s security infrastructure” and “reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies”.

A myopic viewpoint

Pipes rightly laments the flaccid attitude that Israel has routinely displayed on the Palestinian issue.  Referring to his proposed measures, he writes: “Of course, these steps run exactly counter to the consensus view in Israel today, which seeks above all to keep Palestinians quiescent”, warning that this is a “myopic viewpoint”. (His view coincides with warnings I have  given repeatedly that: “successive governments have shied away from taking decisive action against the Palestinian-Arabs in an effort to avoid confrontations in which Israel can prevail, thereby precipitating a confrontation in which it may well not.”

Pipes diagnoses—again rightly—that this myopia is the product of “unremitting pressure from the outside world, and the U.S. government especially, to accommodate the PA.” prescribing that: “The removal of such pressure will undoubtedly encourage Israelis to adopt the more assertive tactics outlined here.”

I concur entirely, with the only question being: How, and by whom, is the said removal of pressure to be achieved? After all, given the scope and momentum of this “unremitting pressure”, its “removal” is unlikely to occur without significant proactive endeavor from Israel itself.

This brings us to the crux of the problem: Israel’s abdication from any effective action in the field of public diplomacy and the international battle for hearts and minds.

Irrefutable “political algorithm”

After all, what is the major obstacle precluding the “adopt[ion] of more assertive tactics? What is the source of “unremitting [international] pressure …to accommodate the PA.”

Little analytical acumen is required to trace the roots of both of these elements to the perceived legitimacy of the “Palestinian narrative”, according to which the Palestinian-Arabs are an authentic national entity—and hence entitled to everything that such an entity merits, including statehood.

Now, as long as this narrative is perceived as legitimate, Palestinian “resistance”  will be seen as a legitimate endeavor to achieve the legitimate objective of statehood—while “assertive” Israel efforts to thwart that endeavor will be seen as “disproportionate” measures to deny that objective i.e. enforce  illegitimate “occupation”.  As long as this (mis)perception prevails, Israel will always be hamstrung in its measures to combat the Palestinian-Arab “resistance”—and international pressure will remain “unremitting”.

Accordingly, it is virtually an irrefutable “political algorithm” that in order to remove the unremitting international pressure and facilitate the kind of assertive measures Pipe’s prescribes, it is essential to discredit the legitimacy of (i.e. delegitimize) the Palestinian narrative.

This is undoubtedly a formidable task, and a necessary condition for its accomplishment is to acknowledge its magnitude—lest efforts to do so prove inadequate.

A diplomatic iron-dome

In this regard, I have long advocated a massive Israeli investment in a strategic public diplomacy offensive (1% of state budget, or a billion dollars annually) to confront, contend and counter international pressures and generate the freedom of action required for measures of the kind Pipes proposes.

The objective of this sizeable (but in no way, unaffordable) investment would be to configure a diplomatic “iron dome”, whose function would be to intercept the inevitable incoming barrages of demonization and delegitimization against Israel, once it adopts an assertive pro-victory strategy.

But beyond its defensive role, such a strategic diplomatic initiative would be tasked with an offensive one: To aggressively undermine, discredit and ultimately de-legitimize the Palestinian narrative, by exposing the mendacious myths that comprise it, and which provide the fuel that drives the assault on the Jewish state and its right to exist.

Moreover, it should provide and promote a cogent policy alternative for implementation, given the negation of the notion of Palestinian nationhood and the rejection of Palestinian statehood. In this regard, not only is the previously mentioned “Humanitarian Paradigm” the only “non-kinetic” policy blueprint that allows Israel to address both its geographic and demographic imperatives for it to endure as the nation-state of the Jewish people, but it can be shown to be  the most humane of all options if it succeeds, and the least inhumane, if it does not.

Hence, as I did last week, I would urge the authors of the CIVC to adopt it as their preferred victory strategy.


Of course the crucial question for many would be: Can Palestinian nationhood, and the accompanying demand for statehood, be removed from the political agenda? In this regard, allow me to conclude with a quote from Pipes himself, who wrote:  “Palestinian [national identity] is superficially rooted and…it could eventually come to an end, perhaps as quickly as it got started.”

Ensuring such an outcome is essential to achieving the lofty goals of the bold venture he has initiated.

Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

May 11, 2017 | 11 Comments » | 65 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. given the external centers of agitation in the [near/far] Muslim world, .. the will to resume fighting will probably reassert itself.

    Here this (Big Government) guy shlügs his own, oft-repeated plan of paying Arabs to leave.

    Unless they’re moved out beyond ~100 light years away from Earth, their incitement to violence will still occur within the lifetimes of the Jews remaining in Israel.

    Indeed, the only place those Arabs could be exiled to wherein their agitation would be effectively neutralized would be ~1,000,000,000 light years away: By the time when their propaganda video could reach the terrestrial Arab viewing screens, life as we know it, on this planet, would have ended.

  2. xx

    What a coincidence….. One of my very last posts in the past couple of days incorporates much of what Sherman and Pipes say, minus the payoffs to move. It includes the reservoir of surrounding Arab countries, and also point out that it would take 100 years before the matter is settled and proper peace might be gained. Plus a bit more I can’t recall now.

    I don’t write as repetitively, as pedantically or as voluminously as Sherman but I’m moderately satisfied that HE agrees with ME.. (swollen ego here).

  3. How can they be prevented from taking the money and then coming back or being killed by Hamas or PA to prevent them from taking the money and leaving? How can arabs living in Gaza or areas a and b avail themselves of such an offer?

  4. I never have thought much about the notion of paying the Arabs to leave. Because that becomes a bidding war in which the various Moslem states will pay them to remain.

    My idea for resolving the issue permanently:

    1) Terminate Israeli payments to and cooperation with the so-called Paletine Authority. Then start dealing separately with the numerous hamulas — extended families that are in fact the real powers in all of the Arab cities of that comprise Area A and much of Area B in both Shomron and Yehuda. You won’t even have to bribe them to take over. They will seize local power and run it for their own benefit, just as they have done for centuries.

    2) Scrap all talks with foreign entities about what parts of Area C will settled by Israeli Jews and how many at a time. There already are more than 700,000 Jews resident in Area C of Shomron and Yehuda, and in the parts of Jerusalem annexed in 1968. A 4% Jewish population increase each year will double the Jewish population every 18 years. (72/4=18, for those of you who don’t know much about city and regional planning.) Instead of arguing, just build and settle, settle and build.

    And if you want to win friends and influence people among the newly-ruling hamulas, let some of their construction contractors get rich building quality housing for Jewish families. From what I learned about real Arabs while my wife and I lived and studied in Jerusalem, money means power the same as it does in the mean, cold and brutal streets of Chicago.

    Would anything about the above serve the cause of international democracy? I couldn’t care less. For the Jewish nation, all I care about is power, national independence, and victory wherever our people are threatened.

    And despite that Israel seems to be loved by everybody in the USA other than the liberals on the left and a relative handful of real-life Nazis on the right, get close to Russia, China, India, Japan and anyone else in he world who practice their own nationalism.

    And remember, there is power and there is defeat. Build power and you won’t be defeated. And don’t weep over the downtrodden of humanity. If the situations were reversed, they wouldn’t give a shit what happens to the Jews. That’s the way it was in Europe when the Nazis looked as though Hitler would win his war. That’s just the way things are. So don’t agonize over what to do about tikun haolam. Fuck tikun and fuck haolam.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  5. @ ArnoldHarris:
    That’s Mordechai Keidar’s plan

    Arutz Sheva Exclusive
    ‘Israel Should Divide the PA into Emirates’
    Renowned expert slams ‘lamentation orgy’ over Hamas-Fatah deal, states that pact could be used in Israel’s favor to disarm Hamas.

    “…”Each of these emirates should be based on the local clans, which are powerful – which are loyal to themselves, unlike the PLO.”

    I have no problem with trying that in the short run. I don’t believe any solution that leaves the Arabs in place will bode well for us in the long run. But, I am not an ideologue. My mind can be changed by facts on the ground. Unlike some people.

    Incidentally, it was interesting to find that the machine let you use a four-letter word without inserting a star in place like that. Reminds me of the joking admonishment:

    “Don’t say, ‘[insert four-letter word of your choice]’ in front of the c-h-i-l-d-r-e-n (spelled out)”

    I am in full agreement with your general sentiments however.

  6. ArnoldHarris Said:

    “…And don’t weep over the downtrodden of humanity. If the situations were reversed, they wouldn’t give a shit what happens to the Jews. That’s the way it was in Europe when the Nazis looked as though Hitler would win his war. That’s just the way things are…”

    And that’s how it was during the Black Plague in Europe during the 14th century. I wish I could find it, but I remember reading an article online about how Jews, cleanliness being built into the religion, were less susceptible to the plague and, helping strangers also being built into the religion, Jews helped many gentiles who became ill, at risk to our own lives, only to be turned on, scape-goated and massacred by way of thanks.
    Like you, I’m so glad I’m not religious. If Stalin and his minions hadn’t turned on the Jews, I’d probably still be a Stalinist. Now, my number one concern is: “But, is it good for the Jews?”

    The following joke can be found in a number of places. I googled for it:

    “Several centuries ago the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy.There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community so the Pope offered a deal.

    He would hold a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy. If the Pope won, they’d have to convert or leave.

    The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, both sides agreed that it would be a “silent” debate.

    On the chosen day the Pope and rabbi sat opposite each other. The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

    The rabbi looked back and raised one finger and shook it at the Pope.

    Next the Pope waved his finger around his head.

    The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.

    The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

    The rabbi pulled out an apple.

    With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.

    Later the cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.

    The Pope said, “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger, shaking it to remind me there is still only one God common to both our beliefs.”

    “Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God is all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God is also right here with us.”

    “I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.”

    “He beat me at every move and I could not continue.”

    Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he’d won.

    “I haven’t a clue,” the rabbi said. “First, he told me that we had three days to get out of Italy so I shook my finger saying no.”

    “Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I told him that we were staying right here.”

    “And then what?” asked a woman.

    “Who knows?” said the rabbi. “He took out his lunch so I took out mine.””

    hmmm. Too pious and placid Not angry enough. I prefer this version:

    “One Pope, in the Dark Ages, decreed that all Jews had to leave Rome. The Jews did not want to leave, and so the Pope challenged them to a disputation to prove that they could remain. No one, however, wanted the responsibility… until the synagogue sexton, Moishe, volunteered.

    As there was nobody else who wanted to go, Moishe was given the task. But because he knew only Hebrew, a silent debate was agreed. The day of the debate came, and they went to St. Peter’s Square to sort out the decision. First the Pope waved his hand around his head. Moishe pointed firmly at the ground.
    The Pope, in some surprise, held up three fingers. In response, Moishe gave him the middle finger.
    The crowd started to complain, but the Pope thoughtfully waved them to be quiet. He took out a bottle of wine and a wafer, holding them up. Moishe took out an apple, and held it up.
    The Pope, to the people’s surprise, said, “I concede. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”
    Later, the Pope was asked what the debate had meant. He explained, “First, I showed him the Heavens, to show that God is everywhere. He pointed at the ground to signify that God is right here with us. I showed him three fingers, for the Trinity. He reminded me that there is One God common to both our religions. I showed him wine and a wafer, for God’s forgiveness. With an apple, he showed me original sin. The man was a master of silent debate.”
    In the Jewish corner, Moishe had the same question put to him, and answered, “It was all nonsense, really. First, he told me that this whole town would be free of Jews. I told him, Go to Hell! We’re staying right here! Then, he told me we had three days to get out. I told him just what I thought of that proposal.” An older woman asked, “But what about the part at the end?” “That?” said Moishe with a shrug, “Then we had lunch!””

    “My grandpa used to tell this joke, one day I heard someone else tell it with almost an exact opposite punchline. I’ve never tried to type it out before, so sorry if this sucks, but here’s how I first heard it:
    A man goes to prison and the first night while he’s laying in bed contemplating his situation, he hears someone yell out, “44!” Followed by laughter from the other prisoners.
    He thought that was pretty odd, then he heard someone else yell out, “72!” Followed by even more laughter.
    “What’s going on?” he asked his cellmate.
    “Well, we’ve all heard every joke so many times, we’ve given them each a number to make it easier.”
    “Oh,” he says, “can I try?”
    “Sure, go ahead.”
    So, he yells out “102!” and the place goes nuts. People are whooping and laughing in a hysteria. He looks at his cellmate rolling on the ground with tears in his eyes from laughing so hard.
    “Wow, good joke huh?”
    “Yeah! We ain’t never heard that one before!”
    And here’s the other punchline that threw me for a loop after years of hearing this joke:
    So, he yells out “102!” and the place is dead quiet save for a few groans. Confused, he looks at his cellmate who is just shaking his head.
    “Hey, what happened?”
    “Well, some people can tell a joke, some people can’t.””

    SZ: The second punchline is the one I knew and was looking for. Reminds me of my discovery that the old joke: A young man walks up to an old man and asks the way to Carnegie Hall. “Practice, my boy, practice,” while it fell flat because it’s such a cliche everybody grew up with, on American ears, got laughter from classical musicians who grew up abroad, particularly Asia. So, since, apparently, surprise is a key factor in what makes a joke funny, I thought, well, for an American audience to laugh, the old man should probably answer that age-old question with subway directions!

  7. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    SZ, I freely admit that I got the idea of using the hamulas to take the place of governing the Arabs of Shomron and Yehuda, from careful readings of Professor Kedar’s “Eight State Solution”. So he’s the man who should get credit for one of the best ideas of Middle Eastern governance. There are others who have made made it their business to carefully study the role that the hamulas have played in Eretz Israel over many centuries. I also think that local rule by the hamulas would be better governance for the Arabs, in contrast to the notorious misrule of Fatah and Hamas.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  8. I have long advocated a [$1B/yr] Israeli investment in [propaganda]

    Government spending is not “investment”.

    It is WASTE.

  9. @ ArnoldHarris:
    Certainly could be fun to watch liberals’ little mouths drop open in confusion if we tell ’em, yes we’re opposed to the “Two State Solution” but we look with favor on the “Eight State Solution.” Huh, What? And from the mouths of “racists.” I’ve met American Jewish Two Staters who never heard of Area C, much less A and B, and I met an Irish guy, not Jewish, very pro-pal, unconsciously super anti-semitic, even a holocaust denier, but embarassed when I called him on it, who thought Gaza is still occupied and that Israel was always called, “Palestine.” Serious. “Hallucinatory.” I forget which Jewish historian came up with that. Was it Lipstadt? Best word to describe them.

Comments are closed.