On the Cusp of Peace; How Israel’s Big Missed Opportunity Will Haunt it for Ages
The big problem with appeasement is that it achieves the inverse of what it sets out to do; instead of more peace, it brings more war and death. For Israel it is worse; one false step into the waters of appeasement could mean the end of the Jewish State. But Israel has shown a knack for understanding the difference between masochistic appeasement and nation-building sacrifice. The goal for Israel is more stability, security, and–quite simply–peace. So Israel wins the Six-Day War and sovereignty over Jerusalem, but still cedes control of the Temple Mount to alleviate aggression. Israel also relinquishes the Sinai Peninsula for peace with Egypt. Israel even left Gaza in 2005 with–ill-advised–hope for peace. But those moments pale in comparison to Israel’s big missed opportunity in its most recent war with Hamas. A miss that will haunt it for ages.
In the most recent war, Israel was more precise than any military in the history of warfare. That they were more precise while combating terrorists–where they would have been well within their rights to indiscriminately fire back–is even more impressive. Despite all this, Israel was castigated internationally as well as in the press.
This most recent war was telling because it made it abundantly clear that no matter what Israel does, it will be blamed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood firm and put the rest of the world on notice; we will not stop until Israelis are safe. Through his response, he compelled Hamas to recognize the obvious; agree to a ceasefire, or risk the end of your tunnels and your power structure.
For this daring “Israel Against the World” stance, Israelis rewarded their prime minister by ousting him in the new “Anybody, but Bibi” coalition government. Israel’s big missed opportunity is almost impossible to comprehend given its history; while on the doorstep of possible peace and destroying Hamas’ power, Israelis are sacrificing the opportunity simply due to their hatred of the long-tenured Prime Minister.
Israel’s Big Missed Opportunity; Israel Almost Went Full Heel
Many did not realize it, but Israel was indeed on the cusp of peace. Israel was on the cusp of peace bizarrely and ironically because even the most pacifistic Israelis, Zionists, and even liberal Jews wanted more war. Israel was decimating Hamas at a time when Iran was having trouble making rent. If there was ever a time for Israel to go all-in and try to wipe out one of its strongest and most deadly foes, now was the time. The vast majority of Israelis wanted it. Even pacifist Jews recognized this time was different thanks to the social media pogrom. These Jews, who always want to avoid war, finally saw just how many people wanted Jews dead for being Jews.
The response by many was, “screw it; if we’re going to be treated like the bad guy, let’s be the bad guy.” This is Israel’s big missed opportunity; Israel almost went full heel. All Israel had to do was maintain that level of ferocity for a little while longer and it would ensure more peace. That is why Hamas was so eager and willing to listen to Joe Biden’s plea for a ceasefire; if Israel kept going, Hamas had no defensive recourse. But Israel stopped short, to the chagrin of 82% of Israeli Jews.
But why was Israel winning in a way never before seen? Why had even the most dovish of Jews finally decided now was enough? Because Israel was bullying the bullies. Instead of playing weak and softhanded, Israel was walking tall, carrying a big stick, and walloping anybody who decided to pick a fight. It worked because bullies do not respond to weakness, bullies respond to strength. And Bibi exuded more strength than at any time in recent memory. With Israel’s back against the wall, with its main ally contemplating not even sending vital reinforcements, Bibi curled his hand and told the world, “Just bring it.”
Did the Opportunity Really Already Pass by Israel?
That is the strength of a true leader. When things looked their worst, Bibi responded with all the strength he and Israel could muster. This strength petrified the rest of the world. Jew-haters the world over did not know how to respond. It is why we saw lying video after lying video about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the thought went that maybe if we perfectly executed this social media pogrom, we could weaken Israel. But the IDF on Twitter refused to wilt. Bibi refused to wilt. And Zionists everywhere strapped on helmets and battled however they could. Israelis and Diaspora zionists were united behind a common goal; saving Israel.
Without chinks in the defenses, the antisemites floundered. No matter what they did, no matter what they said, Israelis and Zionists smacked them back. The unified front kept countering, and the counters kept finding exposed chins, solar plexus, and floating kidneys. The unified front was not just working but, in fact, dominating. After years, centuries, and millennia of Jews having no one single thing to rally behind, Jews finally found their guiding light; Eretz Yisrael. The Bible teaches that iron sharpens iron. Well, all the years of Jew-hate finally turned the iron of the Magen David into a diamond-plated shield.
What Makes Israel Strong?
But that diamond-plated shield was only possible because Jews everywhere–inside and outside of Israel–were pulling in the same direction. The new coalition government dismantles that unity. It straps 18 different ropes to the Jewish shield and lets everybody pull in whichever direction they wish. The unity is now gone. That sense of “us against the world” has reverted to “Jew against Jew.” This is the obvious result of the “Anybody, but Bibi” government. It is a shanda.
Many Jews won’t admit it, but Bibi made Israel strong. He went after Obama; subverting him whenever Obama’s tactics were harmful to Israel. But as Jews were once–finally–on the cusp of destroying Hamas, Jews became their own worst enemies. Now, after Israel’s big missed opportunity, the only hope is that Israel’s enemies do not take advantage of this fracture.
And Israel is weaker because of this fracture, because of hatred towards Bibi. If Israel wants to once again accomplish something earth-shattering, it needs to recognize its true enemy is not the prime minister, but those that wish to destroy it. Israel, right now, can choose peace… or endless war. Israel’s big missed opportunity is that it is choosing the latter, all because of hatred for somebody that made Israel a world power.