Are We Tired of Fighting?

The fantasy that Israel will live in blissful harmony with its neighbors when a Palestinian state is created is a powerful one.

Tags: Ehud Olmert
Att'y Steven M. Goldberg

"We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies."   Ehud Olmert, addressing the Israel Policy Forum, 2005.
With those four short sentences, Ehud Olmert succinctly captured the sense of exhaustion that weighs heavily on those who believe Israel has no choice but to agree to the so-called "two state solution."   Who can blame them? Who can withstand the  constant criticism from the international community, including the European Union, the United Nations, and even some in the United States?  Who wants to endure another intifada, more terrorism and perhaps another full-fledged war?   Isn't it time to bend a little so that Jews can lead normal lives?

 It is easy to understand how such unrelenting pressure has enervated Israeli leaders and drained them of the will to fight.

The voices clamoring for a Palestinian state are more insistent than ever.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is fixated with making the creation of a Palestinian state a priority as American foreign policy flounders everywhere else in the world. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been pursuing the same obsession for years.

The mandarins of the of American Jewish establishment, including Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamanation League and David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, sanctimoniously chastised Israeli leaders Naftali Bennett and Danny Danon for having the temerity to call the concept of the two-state solution an abject failure.  The fantasy that Israel will live in blissful harmony with its neighbors when a Palestinian state is created is a powerful one.

Unfortunately, however, history teaches that the two-state solution is a dangerous illusion.  The evidence is overwhelming that Arab hostility to Israel is not caused by the absence of a Palestinian state.  After all, there have been numerous efforts to create one, and all of them have been violently spurned by the Arabs.

A Palestinian state already exists and is called Jordan.
Such failed efforts include the Peel Commission's recommendations of 1937, the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the absurdly generous offer made by Prime Minister Ehud Barak that was brokered by President Clinton at Camp David in 2000, and the even more preposterously generous offer made by Prime Minister Olmert that was rejected by Mahmoud Abbas in 2008.

From 1948 to 1967, there was nothing to stop the creation of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Of course, the glaringly obvious but inconvenient truth is that a Palestinian state already exists and is called Jordan.  Creating another one accomplishes nothing except jeopardizing the security of the world's one and only Jewish state.

Further, it is almost impossible to conceive of a people less deserving of statehood than the Palestinian Arabs, who are divided between Hamas, which openly espouses genocidal intentions towards the Jews worldwide, and Fatah, which continues to preach anti-Jewish incitement and hatred in its schools, mosques and media.  It is sheer fantasy to believe that statehood will magically render pacific such a primitive and bloodthirsty people.  After all, Egypt, Syria and Iraq are all states, and not one can be held up as a bastion of civilization.
Unpleasant as it is to acknowledge, there is nothing that Israel can do to abate the hatred of the Arab world and the disapproval of much of much of the international community. The cause has nothing to do with Israel's "occupation" of the 'West Bank' (in truth, the liberation of Judea and Samaria), or any other policies of Israel's government.  Israel was the focus of calumny and the victim of repeated violence long before the Six Day War of 1967.  The simple reason Israel is under siege is that, as the Jew among nation, it is the target of mankind's most ancient prejudice.

Carving a Palestinian state out of the Land of Israel will do nothing to alleviate the vicious hatred to which the Jewish State and its people are subjected; indeed, it will only provide another launching pad for rockets, missiles and terror attacks, and the world will still find a way to blame Israel.  As long as anti-Semitism afflicts the human race, Israel will not know true peace and Israelis cannot afford to get tired.  There is no alternative to remaining vigilant and fighting every act of aggression.

If all this seems pessimistic, it isn't.  On the contrary, there are manifest reasons to believe the Jewish nation will prevail.  One need only compare the tragic condition of the Jews 70 years ago to the present reality.  If, in 1943, someone told a Jew in a Nazi concentration camp that, 70 years later, there would be a jewish state that would be militarily formidable, economically successful, technologically cutting-edge and culturally advanced, he would have considered it to be an impossible miracle.

Intermittent wars, terrorism, political opprobrium from anti-Semitic countries and  constant psychological pressure would seem like a small price to pay for such a miracle.  Yet that miracle has come to pass.  The Jewish people are in an enviable position, and are prevailing against all odds, even though it is far from easy.

Israel can achieve even greater miracles in the future, but to do so the Jewish people cannot succumb to exhaustion.   We must take not be too timid to defend ourselves preemptively against the Iranian nuclear threat.  We must resist the pressure to surrender strategically vital territory that is also our birthright, but instead stand on our historical, legal and biblical rights to our ancient homeland.

We must recognize that, as between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, the conflict is a zero sum game.  We must be unafraid to declare that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there is room for only one state, and it will be a Jewish state.  We must be willing to say "no" to Barack Obama, John Kerry, Tony Blair and the weak-kneed leaders of the American Jewish establishment who would endanger Israel's survival by carving it to pieces.

It means taking whatever steps are necessary to protect the Jewish citizens of Israel from the murderous assaults of their enemies, including military force against external enemies and expulsion of internal enemies who would commit violence against our people.  It means summoning the determination to survive, even if it means being unpopular.

Israel and the Jewish people can do better than follow the advice of Ehud Olmert, perhaps Israel's worst Prime Minister.  They would do better by following the example of a non-Jewish leader of a different country whose existence was threatened.

On May 13, 1940, just three days after becoming Prime Minister of England, at a time his country was very much in danger from the Nazi onslaught, Winston Churchill did not advocate succumbing to exhaustion.  Instead, Churchill promised his people nothing but "blood, toil, tears and sweat." His avowed aim was "victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory no matter how long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."

The opinions in this article are of the writer and not of the organizations in which he holds senior positions.