The Israel-Palestinian conflict, writes Max Singer, cannot be resolved through compromise, but only through a decisive victory by one side or the other. But Singer does not envision the Jewish state winning on the battlefield of war; rather, the necessary triumph must be moral and psychological:
Israel’s essential goal is to continue to exist in its homeland, and the Palestinians’ essential goal is the elimination of Israel. Thus, if one side wins, the other side loses. There is no way Israel can continue in peace and at the same time be eliminated. The two essential goals clash, making compromise impossible. “Victory” is not a matter of declarations and celebrations. It means achieving your essential goal. Nor is “defeat” groveling and humiliation: it is giving up your central goal because you realize it cannot be achieved.
The Palestinians will have been defeated when they become convinced that Israel cannot ever be destroyed. That defeat would be tantamount to an Israeli victory, and it is required for peace to be possible. [Currently], a Palestinian who wants to argue for the advantages of peace can’t get anywhere so long as his audience believes that continued Palestinian resistance just might eventually defeat Israel.
To help bring about such a change in mindset, the U.S. can do much without expending blood or treasure:
A key component of U.S. strategy . . . should be a campaign of assertive truth-telling. . . . A major part of Israel’s problem is that most of the diplomatic world accepts key falsehoods about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab world. [For instance], there has never been any “Palestinian territory” anywhere. That being the case, there cannot now be “occupied Palestinian territory.” [Moreover], the Palestinian belief that the Jewish people are European colonialists invading the area with no historical claim or right is entirely false. . . .
While Israel has expressed these truths frequently, its diplomatic policy has been to put more emphasis on trying to appease the consensus by showing a willingness to negotiate, limiting settlement in the West Bank, and limiting criticism of the Palestinians and assertions of Israeli rights—as if those were useful ways to advance negotiations. It is time for Israel to challenge the international diplomatic assumptions more vigorously by assertive truth-telling.