Thursday, December 21, 2023

  • Thursday, December 21, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said that if Israel would reduce the intensity of its Gaza campaign, that could reduce the risk of broader conflict with Iran and its regional proxies.

There may be reasons for Israel to change its methods, but assuming that it will cause a reduction in hostility from the other side is definitely not one of them.

For years, I have discussed what I call the If/Then fallacy. So many people who really do want peace make a completely wrong assumption: that conciliatory Israeli actions will lead to conciliatory Arab responses without signed agreements mandating that response.

There are many examples. Back in 1988, people said that if Israel offered a peace plan than no one would fault Israel is the Palestinians rejected it.  Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was assumed to lead to a stop in rocket attacks from Gaza. Israel's withdrawal from the Blue Line in Lebanon was said to end Hezbollah's very reason for existence. 

Last year, Israel negotiated a maritime border agreement with Lebanon, and "experts" said that this would stop Hezbollah from attacking Israel because it has something to lose. 

How has that worked out since October 7? How many nations would support Israel wanting to reclaim the disputed areas in the Mediterranean because Hezbollah resumed firing rockets and murdering Israelis?

The if/then fallacy assumes that Israel's enemies are rational actors who respond to goodwill gestures or conciliatory actions with their own goodwill. It is Westerners applying their own moral standards towards people who most certainly do not share them. 

Peace Now's entire existence is based on the idea that if Israel withdraws from the territories, then the world will be on Israel's side should war break out. We see in Gaza now that the world's sympathy with Israel has a time limit, and the world really expects Israel to live and cooperate with terror groups dedicated to its destruction. If/then doesn't work.

Even Israel had bought into its own if/then fallacy:  If Israel would loosen up restrictions on Gaza, then there would be less friction and Israel would be more secure.  Yet October 7 occurred at the very moment when Israel had allowed more imports and exports to Gaza, and more movement between Gaza and Israel, then at any time since before the Hamas takeover of the sector. 

If/then logic says October 7 should have been impossible.

The same people who insist on the goodwill portion of the if/then fallacy have a flipside version: if the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, it would unleash a torrent of terrorism against the US. They were wrong even then.

 Israel lives in a region where goodwill isn't respected - but strength is.  Israelis would much prefer if this wasn't the case, but sadly, it is. That is one reason why Arab reaction to the Gaza war has been so muted on the diplomatic front (the other being that most Arab governments see the Muslim Brotherhood as the same existential threat to them that Hamas is to Israel.) 

In the Middle East, goodwill gestures never lead to peace. But unwavering strength leads to deterrence, and with luck and the proper leadership, that can lead to peace.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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