Anyone in Israel for winning?
As Israelis go to the polls, not one of the leading parties offers the option of winning the war against the Palestinians. It's a striking and dangerous lacuna.
First, some background. Wars are won, the historical record shows, when one side feels compelled to give up on its goals. This is only logical, for so long as both sides hope to achieve their war ambitions, fighting either continues or potentially can resume. For example, although defeated in World War I, Germans did not give up their goal of dominating Europe and soon again turned to Hitler to try again. The Korean War ended over a half century ago but neither north or south having given up its aspirations means fighting could flare up at any time. Similarly, through the many rounds of the Arab-Israeli conflict -- wars in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982 -- both sides retained their goals.
Those goals are simple, static, and binary. The Arabs fight to eliminate Israel, Israel fights to win the acceptance of its neighbors. The first is offensive in intent, the second is defensive. The former is barbaric, and the latter civilized. For nearly sixty years, Arab rejectionists have sought to eliminate Israel via a range of strategies: undermining its legitimacy through propaganda, harming its economy through a trade boycott, demoralizing it through terrorism, and threatening its population via WMD.