Alex Selsky
Alex SelskyCourtesy

There was a now famous retort by Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlain when the latter, as prime minister, allowed Hitler to take Czechoslovakia in order to attain some semblance of peace. “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war,” Churchill said, prophetically.

For too many throughout history, the panacea of peace is extremely alluring. Many believe that if they give enough up or compromise enough, they will be met in equal measure by the other side.

In the context of the over 100 year war of violent Palestinian Arab extremism against Jewish sovereignty, appeasement and compromise have been met with ever more violence.

The Second Intifada came on the heels of the extremely generous offers made by President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak at Camp David and then at Sharm el-Sheikh. The Second Lebanon War was mere months after the Disengagement from Gaza.

Compromise, negotiation and allowing the Jewish State’s honor and position to be pushed back further and further are met with war, time and time again.

Regardless of this equation, which is seemingly without exception, Israeli leaders continue to believe and hope that this time things will work out differently.

So too, with the present day. Israel once again misses an opportunity and conveys weakness in the fight against Palestinian Arab terrorism and Palestinian Arab rejectionism.

With the Palestinian Authority on the verge of collapse, instead of taking advantage of this and demanding a high strategic price in exchange for its rescue, Israel again does not stand up to pressure, both international and domestic, and continues to rescue the PA at the low price of a false temporary quiet.

This week another summit was held in Sharm el-Sheikh of senior representatives from Israel, USA, Egypt, Jordan and the PA, following on from a previous summit about a month ago in Jordan, with the aim of discussing the future of the collapsing PA.

There is no doubt that Israel is not interested in the collapse of the PA. Security coordination is important and Israel does not wish to return to managing the civilian population by itself, and rightfully so. But the opportunity must be taken, and conditions must be placed on the authority before there is talk of saving it from collapse.

It must be remembered that the Palestinian Authority is the body that produces terrorism and only afterwards it helps a little in the fight against it. The PA continues daily incitement against Israel and an open call for the continuation of the armed struggle, including among children and teenagers.

Terrorist attacks continues to emerge from its territory, senior officers of the PA incite and encourage and become heroes when their children go out to carry out terrorist attacks with their encouragement. It continues to pay the families of the terrorists and is not willing to give up these payments even despite the Israeli government's offsets.

The PA continues to initiate anti-Israeli diplomatic activities in the United Nations and the ICC, to call for boycotts against Israel, to viciously attack Arab countries that normalize relations with Israel, and in every way to show the world that its path is not towards peace, but towards war. Not to accept defeat and recognize the end of the conflict and that the State of Israel as a Jewish state, but to the continuation of the armed struggle and the continuation of refusal and opposition to all solutions.

The collapse of the PA is the opportunity to charge its leaders a high price for their rescue. Precisely now, when the PA is weak, when political and economic support for it is at a low ebb, when the Americans and Europeans are busy with Ukraine and the Arab countries are busy with Iran, and when it is already clear to the whole world that it is collapsing because of its rejectionism and corruption and not because of Israel - Israel must lead a stubborn line even towards the United States and its allies who really want security in the region.

The PA must be forced to cease its armed struggle, to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, to stop inciting and encouraging terrorism, to stop taking over Area C contrary to the Oslo Accords, to make brave decisions and start living. This must be forced on the PA with economic and diplomatic levers., until it is forced to give up.

This would be the Israel victory that needs to be the strategic end game of all Israeli policy-shapers and decision-makers. If not, the conflict will endure, and the bloody toll will increase.

Unfortunately, once again, Israel is doing the opposite.

Again, Israel gives benefits and freezes development in Judea and Samaria, and this only to receive a false temporary quiet. We learned that benefits and prizes only encourage continued pressure and violence. We must not keep repeating the same mistakes. We have war and dishonor.

It is necessary to work for a long-term strategic shift in the conduct of the Palestinian Authority and not just to maintain quiet in the short term, and this should be demanded and strived for in every situation and at every opportunity, until the Palestinian Arabs give up, accept defeat, and the conflict can finally end.

Alex Selsky previously served as an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, a member of the Executive Board of the World Zionist Organization. He is a lecturer in the Department of Politics and Communication at Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, and a member of the Israeli Victory Project.