The problem with Israel’s security perception is that Bennett, who said that Defense Minister Ya’alon and the entire military suffer from conceptual fixation, is right. And so is Ya’alon, who accused Bennett of political pandering.
True, the most sophisticated weapons will not work if the military is plagued with conceptual fixation. But when the person who makes that claim suggests no alternatives other than to “accept reality, get out of there once and for all and open new horizons for the Arabs with security oversight” – in other words, a contradictory and glossed over version of the very same conceptual fixation – then Ya’alon is also right and Bennett’s word are nothing more than cynical politics and childish whims bereft of loyalty and integrity.
We cannot separate our security perception from how we perceive ourselves in broader, geopolitical terms.
The handshakes of Rabin and Netanyahu with the head of the Organization for the Liberation of the Entire Land of Israel from all the Jews (Arafat) and the signing of the Oslo Accords put Israel put Israel into a morally inferior position. For the first time in its history (and in Jewish history) Israel recognized the sovereignty (as it were) of another nation over Israel’s Biblical heartland. From that cursed historical moment, we turned ourselves into colonialist occupiers of our own Land. Israel lost its sense of justice and the snowball of loss of legitimacy rapidly gained speed.
Until that collapse, all of Israel’s governments had clearly understood the implications of recognizing the sovereignty of the ‘Palestinian nation’ over Israel’s heartland. “I am a Palestinian,” former PM Golda Meir explained, fully aware that affording legitimacy to foreign sovereignty would necessarily lead to the loss of legitimacy for Israel’s sovereignty on both sides of the Green Line.
After so many years of all-out war and total boycott of the PLO – a successful policy that brought about a parallel boycott of the PLO by the US and many European countries – the Oslo architects understood that in order to afford legitimacy in the eyes of the Israeli public to the collapse that they initiated, they must enlist the approval of the Israeli Holy Grail: the security ethos, or the IDF.
Senior officers took part in the negotiations and contributed their security expert halo to the brilliant idea that claimed that surrendering Israel’s heartland to an armed terror organization would bring peace and security to our country. There was not even one righteous person in the entire Senior Command who opposed the move and refused to cooperate with it. (As opposed to what took place just a few years ago, when Netanyahu ordered Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to prepare to attack Iran. The two refused. In other words, senior defense officials are certainly capable of refusing orders when it serves their interest. The fact that Netanyahu did not fire and prosecute the two puts all the responsibility for Iran’s current victory, its military buildup, its expanded influence in the Mid East and its quick and easy nuclear viability whenever it so chooses – squarely on Netanyahu’s shoulders).
In the two decades that have passed since the Oslo Accords were signed, all the main establishments in Israel – including the defense establishment –promote only those people who toe the Oslo line. A very thick layer of media and cultural personalities, academics, various research institutes, politicians, economists and mainly military brass – owe their personal and financial status to their alignment with the Oslo Newspeak.
Nobody – Right or Left – dares venture past the borders of the Oslo fixation. It makes no difference that Israelis still remember how they went shopping in Gaza. Tens of our soldiers killed in Gaza with every armed clash and missiles that threaten all of Israel’s cities seem preferable to the average Israeli to a return to our previous reality. Why? Because. Because no public figure dares to truly challenge the Oslo Fixation. No little boy is shouting the truth and we have become accustomed to praising the Emperor’s New Clothes. Bennett is also extremely careful to speak strictly within the boundaries of Politically Correct. The contradictory quote at the beginning of this article (laughably proposed as an alternative for conceptual fixation) is a blatant example of glorious Osloidian euphemism).
During the Defensive Shield Operation, Tel Aviv was bombarded by missiles for two weeks and the IDF could not stop it. After he gave a long, boring debriefing to the Knesset, I asked the Deputy Chief of Staff if he can tell me “who is the enemy”.
I never got a clear answer.
The simple answer should have been ‘Hamas’. But the implication of that answer would be that in order to win the war, Israel would have to destroy the Hamas. And that would have forced the IDF to rule Gaza once again. This would have meant the final collapse of the Oslo concept. And the Deputy Chief of Staff had built his career on aligning himself with Oslo. That is why Israelis must sacrifice the best of their sons time and again in Gaza: Not to win – but simply to preserve the Oslo concept.
“For me, Oslo means that you can forget that you are a Jew,” said the young writer Dorit Rabinian when the Oslo Accords were signed.
The root of the issue is identity. The attempt to flee it is the energy that motivated the Oslo process. It is impossible to emerge from the Oslo fixation and develop a new military strategy without re-connecting with our identity.
Of course the army must be made more effective, quick, sophisticated and triumphant. We must endorse and thank all those who are working in that direction – especially the current Chief of Staff.
But when you have decided to forget who you are, even your Chief of Staff cannot identify the enemy. And when you cannot identify the enemy, you cannot win. And when there is no victory, the war doesn’t end. And when the war doesn’t end, peace does not begin.