How to bring peace to the Middle East

July 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm 2 comments

Stop talking about peace

for a while

By Ralph Dobrin
Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click:  type: how to avoid Armageddon

I am no warmonger, but all the incessant talk about peace in the Middle East that has been clogging the airwaves, cyberspace and print for many years, has conversely brought more and more bloodshed, strengthened the fanatics and turned jihad into a global threat.
Of course I want a world with peace. I yearn for peace, not just for myself but for my family, my grandchildren and all the people of Israel, as well as all the other people in the world. I want to have a good relationship with all the Arabs surrounding Israel, that is based on respect, trust and commercial and cultural cooperation. But anyone with eyes in his head can see that peace has receded further than ever before ever since those heady days when Messrs Rabin, Peres and Arafat received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

An oft-repeated saying in Israel is: “It’s with your enemies that you make peace.” True enough, but those enemies must want peace, otherwise how can you make peace with them. Israel has many kinds of enemies. With some of them, like Mr. Abu Mazen, the President of the Palestine National Authority, one can talk and shake hands and even banter. But he has no real power to make sweeping decisions and changes, and anyway his sincerity about living in peace with Israel, is not totally credible. Mr. Abu Mazan can’t even make peace with his fellow compatriots in Hamas and the other Jihad movements.

Meanwhile, Arab rockets fall in Israel’s southern towns and villages, while near Israel’s northern border, the Hizbollah terrorist organization has more than quadrupled its former daunting arsenal of rockets, and has built itself a solid network of fortresses and underground tunnels which will make any future outbreak of fighting between them and Israel far more difficult than it was in the last war with them. And all this contrary to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 which mandated the presence of 15,000 foreign troops under the auspices of the United Nations, whose job it is to ensure that no supply of arms enter Lebanon unless authorized by its Government. Nasrallah is clearly preparing for a future round of fighting, yet still the talk of peace continues.

Of course I want a world with peace. I yearn for peace, not just for myself but for my family, my grandchildren and all the people of Israel, as well as all the other people in the world. I want to have a good relationship with all the Arabs surrounding Israel, that is based on respect, trust and commercial and cultural cooperation. But anyone with eyes in his head can see that peace has receded further than ever before ever since those heady days when Messrs Rabin, Peres and Arafat received the Nobel Prize for Peace.

An oft-repeated saying in Israel is: “It’s with your enemies that you make peace.” True enough, but those enemies must want peace, otherwise how can you make peace with them?

Syria has been the main conduit for Hizbollah’s colossal, clandestine arms build-up. It has established sites for the development of nuclear weaponry, which Israel blasted in 2007, yet until the uprising against Assad, the talk of peace persisted with them. This would mean returning the Golan Heights, from which they had tried to launch two invasions against Israel.




Even before the regime change in Egypt and the hugely increased influence of radical Islam, I couldn’t visit Cairo or Alexandria without risking my life as an Israeli. Till now, at least, the peace treaty with Egypt had been better than nothing, but it nevertheless has always existed amid deep hostility among the Egyptian populace, due in part, to continuous, strong anti-Israel rhetoric in the state-controlled media, which now often erupts with mob hysteria.

Since the mid-nineties, following the peace treaty with Jordan, which I hesitate to visit for the same reason that I avoid visiting Egypt, every time that Israel has made a gesture towards peace, like moving completely out of Southern Lebanon or the Gaza Strip – including all the settlements – that’s when the fighting really erupts. Each time Israel makes a gesture for peace, like providing electricity to the Gazans, the rockets and ambushes continue, aimed sometimes perversely at the check points which enable the flow of goods into Gaza. In Israel’s gestures for peace it continues to weak itself militarily, causes deep rifts within its own population, and drives peace further away. Can the reason for this be because Israel’s gestures are seen as a sign of weakness. In any conflict, no matter who is the enemy, perceived weakness encourages further aggression and lessens the incentive to make peace, especially if your adversary is by nature, belligerent and implacable.

So what should Israel do?

The present situation is totally unsatisfactory. Israel’s towns and villages in the south are intermittently attacked with rocket fire on a daily basis since it evacuated the whole of the Gaza Strip, sure that this would improve relations. Israel does what’s natural for any country under attack and that is to try to deter and also prevent the attacks. Pin-point retaliatory attacks on rocket launchers often kills non-combatants. Israel’s military incursions cause severe disruption for a few months and again the rocket attacks resume — each time with more effectiveness. Sometimes homes in Gaza are destroyed by these attacks and families endure fatal losses. Israel continues to be condemned more frequently in the United Nations and the international media, than all the other rogue nations in the world put together. The only time the condemnation in the United nations abated was during Israel’s various withdrawals from Gaza, areas in Judea and Samaria and southern Lebanon. But each Israeli withdrawal resulted in even more violent attacks from these areas.

During the period of the inanely-called Arab spring – during which Arabs have killed more fellow Arabs who were non-combatants than Israel’s tally of Arab non-combatant deaths in all its wars – Israel has enjoyed some respite in the halls of the U.N.

For years people in Israel have said: “Let the army win,” meaning that against a band of terrorists, the Israeli Army, which a generation ago was able to defeat three powerful Arab armies within six days, shouldn’t have too much trouble if given a free hand. With all their incredible fighter bombers and tanks they could probably flatten Gaza in half an hour if they used even a fraction of their available fire power. But the consequences for Israel could be very damaging. It wouldn’t be unlikely that all Israel’s cities and strategic landmarks would come under enormous barrages of rocket fire from Iran and a number of Arab countries and entities, as well as a serious insurrection from the Arab citizens of Israel. At a certain point invasions could conceivably be launched from the neighboring countries.

Undoubtedly, if it came to the crunch, Israel could unleash a horrendous response, and Israel’s adversaries know this. But the losses and damage in Israel would be more severe than ever before. Equally damaging in the long-run could be the break off of diplomatic and commercial relations with scores of countries and over-the-board embargoes and boycotts could seriously weaken Israel. Without international commerce, world bank loans, vetoes in the Security Council, supplies of ammunition and raw materials … and food (Israel once grew most of its food), Israel could eventually conceivably be brought to surrender (assuming that Arabs could tolerate anything less than obliteration of state and citizens).

Israel’s adversaries know that a major strategic weapon on their side is the distinct possibility of world-wide embargo and boycott against Israel. That’s why they continue to wage war – so as to provoke a massive Israeli response on Gaza, which could lead either to full-scale war with the entire Arab world, bolstered by Pan-Islamic support. With their culture of death, they are only too happy to sacrifice more and more of their people, including women, children and babies to the cause of Israel’s ultimate destruction. So Israel refrains from letting its army win the war in Gaza. That’s why Israel allowed the Hizbollah in the north to reach their ability to hold Israel at bay and terrorize its northern citizens for over a month two years ago. Any other independent country facing murderous aspirations of neighboring peoples would be free to act accordingly. Israel can’t. She has become too dependent on others’ fair-weather friendship.


In 1948 Israel had about two or three friends in the community of nations – friends willing at least to send arms and ammunition. Israel had to be as self-sufficient as possible. Most of the country’s food was grown here. People lived frugal lives and learned to conserve everything – water, electricity, clothes and the monthly budget. For brief periods there were countries like Czechoslovakia (at the behest of the Soviet Union) and later France, that were friendly enough to sell arms and other essentials for national survival. At that time Israel’s only real long-lasting friend abroad was world Jewry.

However, circumstances have changed. Israel’s population has grown ten-fold since then. Israel’s people shed their spartan lifestyle over a generation ago. That’s how the march of history has evolved in many parts of the world during the last six decades. The food on Israel’s tables now comes mainly from outside sources. The small percentage of food grown here, is invariably cultivated by Arabs or foreign workers from Thailand. Under normal circumstances, this might make sense as part of an overall socio-economic mindset and policy. But Israel has never enjoyed normal circumstances. At any moment additional battle fronts can break out – even full-scale war with other countries. In such circumstances Israel must be sure of having sufficient supplies of food, oil, water and other basic commodities, as well as ammunition.

It is precisely because we are dependent on other peoples for all the above – apart from water which is also becoming scarce – we are unable to act against military aggression with a free hand.
It is probable that Israel could have stopped the accelerated wave of terror that came with Yasser Arafat’s return to the region (intended to foster peace) after his return from exile in 1994 – by retaliating in a far more vigorous manner than has been the case. But in order not to cross the point that is assumed the limit of what the international community will tolerate, Israel habitually “holds its punches” when retaliating to terror or any other form of warfare.

(Had Mr Arafat and every person calling himself a Palestinian, known that any attack on Israel – lethally executed or even botched – would result in an unbearably, prolonged ruthless punishing counter-attack, they would have pursued a far less murderous approach. Possibly Arafat would simply have settled down to creating a viable state. There was even talk of turning Gaza into a Middle Eastern Singapore! The lives of the Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would have been much, much better.)

But a policy of ruthless reaction in response to armed aggression, by today’s Israel is just not possible. In order to enjoy a high standard of living – with one or two cars for most families, a TV set and computer in every room, frequent trips abroad, and all the other contraptions and modalities that represent modern life – Israel needs bi-lateral commerce and friendly relations with as many countries as possible. Israel couldn’t last very long without supplies of oil, food and the money that comes from international trade.

Also Israel’s main supplier of arms and funds, the USA, which has also used its power of veto on numerous occasions in the UN Security Council on behalf of Israel, clearly has the final word regarding the extent of Israel’s retaliation. Not acceding to the USA’s suggested limits could spell unhappy results for Israel. With world leaders doing little more than prattle about Iran until recently, Israel, which faces a prospect of extinction if Iran develops nuclear weaponry, would probably have acted alone years ago, if not for American refusal to countenance any military attack on Iran — at least till the present time. 

It is probable that with a less vibrantly capitalist economic policy, (I am definitely no communist) Israel could be in a better position to weather international sanctions and boycotts at least for a few dry months. That could quite possibly be all the time that Israel would need in order to dictate its own retaliatory needs and then get back into international favor again. (I am not suggesting that Israel should have divested herself completely of all luxury items and that the population should all be living in unheated two-room apartments with one TV set per apartment building. Unfortunately, however, a heated market economy has nurtured rampant consumerism – and been nurtured by it – and has led to a very much more vulnerable Israel.)

This has led to an Israel that has to be more compliant with what others demand of her in regard to the scope and nature of her responses to murderous intentions of the neighboring peoples. Had Israel been able to implement more fully punitive military engagements, there would be a lot less turnoil in the Middle East today. It would have been a much better place for everyone. There might even have been an independent republic in the region called “Palestine.”

Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click: type: how to avoid Armageddon




Entry filed under: Blogroll, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Stormier times ahead. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The shame of disloyalty The value of demonstrations

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Norma Nation  |  July 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

    You have clearly and thoroughly explained the reasons Israel has not responded in full force when attacked, as she has the right to do so by international law.

    What Israel should have done is great hindsight. What can Israel do today to assert her independence and become a truly democratic country that doesn’t bend to the dictates of her products and services suppliers around the globe, such as the USA? There must be a solution in order that Israel can determine her own national well being and security without fear of global reprisal. This won’t be simple, but what are the initial steps that can, and should be, taken now?

  • 2. tiranman  |  June 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    My deepest sympathy with the assyrians & give them gratitude for their support of Israel would be nice for Israel to incorporate them they are mentioned in the torah IF i’M CORRECT? however their are many stateless people the Jews were made homeless by Romans(Who can blame them for taking back their ancestral homeland
    The maronite Christians living in Lebanon who are the original christians .aside from the middle east the Indians of north central & south America the aborigines the Mauris etc etc Tibet & how many in China India & especially within the Ex USSR T


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