The Israel Victory Project (IVP) of The Middle East Forum (MEF) made headlines this week when huge billboards went up along the Ayalon Freeway in Tel Aviv depicting a happy Hamas leader Ishmail Haniyeh wearing a bikini.
‘Shukran (Thanks in Arabic) Israel’ a banner above the image of Haniyeh carrying a suitcase full of dollars read.
The billboards mark the beginning of a campaign which demands a radical change in Israel’s policy of appeasement vis-a-vis the Palestinian Arab terror movements, especially in Gaza, under the slogan ‘Enough being scared. Demand victory for Israel’.
“Victory means imposing one’s will on the enemy; history teaches that conflicts end when one side gives up. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict will end only when Palestinians realize they cannot achieve their goal of eliminating the Jewish State of Israel,” Daniel Pipes president of MEF and founder of IVP said.
The billboard campaign coincided with the publication of a poll conducted in Hebrew by New Wave Research.
The poll with 703 likely Jewish voters and a 3.7 percent margin of error showed that a large majority of Israelis no longer believe in the so-called peace process and think Israel is losing the protracted conflict with the Palestinian Arabs.
The survey found that a staggering 84 percent of Jewish Israelis say it's somewhat or very important "to achieve victory in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," according to MEF which added that “58 percent deem it very important, 26 percent somewhat important.”
“It’s time to stop managing the conflict and begin winning it,” 70 percent of the participants in the survey think while 76 percent think “negotiations with the Palestinians should take place only after they consistently show they accept Israel."
“Between 79 and 82 percent of Israelis agreed that the Israeli security establishment is too timid vis-à-vis the Palestinians” while “82 percent say the Israeli government is too soft in its policies towards Hamas,” according to the pollsters.
“These numbers suggest a sense of exasperation not just with the Palestinians but also with Israel's government and even its semi-sacrosanct security establishment,” Pipes wrote in an op-ed.
“West Bank and Gaza Palestinians hang like an albatross from Israel's neck. They alone, not Iran, Turkey, Syria, or Israel's Arabs, spur the global phenomenon of anti-Zionism, with the attendant anti-Semitism, United Nations resolutions, and economic boycotts,” the MEF president claimed.
The poll, furthermore, found that a staggering 91 percent of Jewish Israelis think that the Palestinian Arabs will benefit when they would stop waging war against Israel.
Chances that the PA's leaders will change course in the conflict with Israel are close to zero, however, as became apparent from other developments this week.
First, there was the visit of a high-level Hamas delegation to Tehran where the delegation met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the first time since 2012 when Hamas entered into conflict with Syria and Iran over its anti-Assad stance in the civil war.
Hamas leader Ishmail Haniyeh, who was banned from traveling to Iran by Egypt, said that he expected very important results from the visit.
Hamas wants “the axis of resistance” and hoped to reach a “joint defense alliance” with Iran and apparently, the delegation got what it wanted.
Khamenei praised Hamas and said “victory will not be achieved without resistance and struggle” while he added the Palestinian cause would remain the "first and most important issue" in the Islamic world.
Khamenei’s advisor Ali Akbar Velayati later said that the meeting between Khamenei and the Hamas leaders was a “strategic turning point in relations between Iran and the Palestinians and that the region would see more victories in favor of the resistance front.”
At about the same time PA leaders in Ramallah started to threaten they would end participation in all agreements with Israel.
PA chief negotiator and PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that the PA “is putting in place mechanisms to cancel all agreements signed between the PA and the Israeli side.”
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas later confirmed Erekat’s statement and announced he had formed a committee which would advise him how to implement the decision.
Abbas has threatened to end cooperation with Israel numerous times but this time he seems to be serious and reportedly again tries to reach out to Hamas over possible reconciliation.
Canceling of the agreements with Israel and ending cooperation with Israel over alleged violations of the Oslo Accords and other agreements will aggravate an already volatile security situation and deal a new blow to the ailing Palestinian Authority economy.
Khaled al-Batsh, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, this week predicted there will be another confrontation between the Arab terror groups and the Israeli security forces.
He could be right.
Iran is clearly pulling the strings in Gaza and is not interested in a ceasefire with Israel and wants the war of attrition to continue until it is ready for a multiple-front war against the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, said that he’s seeking calm (with Hamas) but that the Israeli military is ready to launch another large-scale military operation against the Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. This time around it will be one they have never seen before, Netanyahu promised.
The Iranians could play the chess game they invented, Middle East expert Mike Evans wrote this week.
Evans compared the situation now with the hostage crisis which cost Jimmy Carter his presidency in 1980.
He called upon Netanyahu to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s proxies Hamas and Hezbollah to prevent the multiple-front war.