The negotiation fallacy keeps the Palestinian-Israeli conflict going

Gregg Roman:
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The negotiations fallacy is especially evident in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The crux of the conflict is simple: Israel wants to survive; the Palestinian leadership wants to destroy it. Some Palestinian leaders make no secret of this. Hamas leaders' open incitement to violence spawned the so-called "stabbing intifada," and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praises the Palestinian "martyrs" and names streets after them. Others talk peace but demand a Palestinian "right of return" to Israel, a requirement that would effectively eviscerate the Jewish state by allowing millions of Arabs of Palestinian descent to resettle permanently within Israel's borders. But no matter their angle, all Palestinian leaders preach hatred towards Israel.

American policy has long been to prevent Israel from achieving a decisive military victory over its adversaries. In 1956, President Eisenhower forced Israel to abandon its territorial gains from the Suez Crisis. Similarly, following the 1967 Six Day War, the U.S. helped engineer a U.N. resolution calling on Israel to return unspecified "territories occupied" in the war. The Reagan administration stopped Israel from obliterating Yasser Arafat's PLO forces in Lebanon in 1982, and, most recently, the Obama administration pressured Israel to limit its objectives in its 2014 war with Hamas. These concessions, which are often unilateral and irreversible, include settlement freezes, prisoner releases and forfeiture of territory.

Such policies deliver pernicious results; American "restraint" of Israel encourages its enemies to take risks. Much like government bailouts encourage banks to make high-risk, high-payoff investments by removing the consequences of failure, Israel's adversaries need not fret over irrevocable loss because they know the international community will admonish Israel for any gains it achieves.

Moreover, restraining Israel legitimizes and nourishes Palestinian rejectionism, defined as the refusal to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty and right of Jews to live in their ancestral homeland. Because it knows there will be no consequences for its sophisticated propaganda war, the Palestinian Authority can continue to demonize Israel. "To become a normal people, one whose parents do not encourage their children to become suicide terrorists, Palestinian Arabs need to undergo the crucible of defeat," writes Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes.

When Israel has licensure, without American opprobrium, to unleash its military might after a Palestinian rocket or terror attack, as when Liberman ordered over 50 airstrikes on Hamas military infrastructure in Gaza in response to one rocket, the Palestinians retreat. The fear of crushing defeat is a potent weapon in neutralizing Palestinian resistance.

America's handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict is preventing the kind of metamorphosis in Palestinian thinking about Israel that peace requires. It's time for Washington to allow Israel to demolish the Palestinian dream of a one-state solution, free of Jews. As Ronald Reagan said regarding the US fight against communism, the only way to "win is if they lose."
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This policy has the perverse effect of prolonging the conflict which means more people will be killed on both sides.  It is based on the liberal fantasy that Israel is only one or two concessions away from striking a deal with genocidal maniacs.  This is based on the false premise that the Palestinians who openly claim their goals of no Israelis in Israel don;t mean what they say.

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