Yes, Israel wants peace — after it gets rid of the Palestinians

Billboards posted across Tel Aviv showing Palestinian leaders blindfolded and on their knees reveals what many Israelis think.

A billboard put up by the far-right Israel Victory Project in Tel Aviv shows blindfolded Palestinian leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas. The caption reads: 'Peace is made with defeated enemies.' (Oren Ziv)
A billboard put up by the far-right Israel Victory Project in Tel Aviv shows blindfolded Palestinian leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas. The caption reads: 'Peace is made with defeated enemies.' (Oren Ziv)

Over the last week, pedestrians and drivers in Tel Aviv caught a glimpse of an especially disturbing billboard that had been posted across the city. The billboard, erected by the far-right group, Israeli Victory Project, showed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blindfolded and on their knees on a backdrop of destruction. The caption read: “Peace is only made with defeated enemies.”

By Sunday morning, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai had ordered the billboards taken down, saying the images “incited the kind of violence reminiscent of ISIS and the Nazis.” But what was actually disturbing about the billboard was not the incitement. Israel does not need cheerleaders when it comes to the violence it metes out against the Palestinian people. What is particularly nauseating is the way in which the billboard lays out for all to see the darkest, sickest aspects of Israel’s collective gaze vis-à-vis our neighbors.

Firstly, the text itself. “Peace is only made with defeated enemies.” Anyone who hopes to bring his enemy to his knees (and blindfolded, no less) has no interest in a peace deal — he is solely interested in submission. That is the bitter truth at the heart of all the “peace talks” and negotiations with the Palestinians: Israel wants to bring Palestinians to their knees and force them to accept disgraceful deals of defeat, all while thanking the Israelis for the “painful concessions” we have been forced to bear.

That Abbas is seen raising his hand in defeat, like something out of an execution scene, reveals yet another truth: Israel has never truly distinguished between the various Palestinian political streams or their approach to the Israeli occupation. To Israel, there is no real distinction between the leader of a movement that believes in armed struggle and one who ensures the continuation of security coordination with Israel in order to prevent buses from blowing up in the heart of Israeli cities.

The truth is that everyone must be brought to their knees. All must submit.

After 50 years of brutal military occupation and over 70 years of oppression, what is the significance of the defeat that the Israeli Victory Project believes Israel must aspire to? The total destruction in the background provides the hint. Defeat means the Palestinian people must wallow in death and decimation while the “most moral fighter jets” in the world circle above them. This, according to the sign, is Israel’s strategic goal. And if this is the goal, then the valley of death that Israel has established in Gaza is a resounding success.

And yet the Palestinian people refuse to submit and continue to fight for their liberation. At what point, then, does Israel decide that the Palestinians have been defeated enough to “make peace?” And how does one achieve this final, absolute defeat? Is it through the ongoing murder of unarmed protesters near the Gaza fence? By continuing the policy of home demolitions? By accelerating ethnic cleansing in the West Bank? By multiplying the number of Palestinians in administrative detention? By continuing to destroy the Palestinian economy? How many more Palestinian children have to sit in Israeli prisons — some without trial — so that Israel can officially announce the defeat of the Palestinian people? How many more Palestinian children must lose their eyes for us to bask in the defeat of the enemy?

Yes, Israel wants peace — after it gets rid of the Palestinians
Palestinians take part in the ‘Great Return March’ demonstration at Israel-Gaza fence, near the Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza City, October 4, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

When absolute defeat is the goal, all means are justified. This was precisely what settler leader Uri Elizur had in mind when he wrote his now infamous article — in which he essentially advocated the genocide of the Palestinian people — and which Ayelet Shaked, who was only months away from being appointed Justice Minister, shared on her Facebook page in 2014:

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people… What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

After we get rid of an entire people — including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure — perhaps then we will conclude that they have been “properly defeated” and we can finally make peace.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

9 responses to “Why Hamas is staying out of Israel’s fight with Islamic Jihad”

  1. Bruce Gould says:

    Re Gaza, I’d like to make a point that Ian Lustick makes in his new book, “Paradigm Lost: From Two State Solution to One State Reality”, University of Pennsylvania Press. Here’s a map of Israel from the Israeli government website:

    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Israel-Size-and-Dimension.aspx

    It shows Gaza as part of Israel, it just has a different color. It’s all one state, there’s only one political entity that has the ultimate power between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Here’s another map:

    https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/Maps/Pages/Topographical-map-of-Israel.aspx

    Farshteyn?

    • Bruce Gould says:

      Or perhaps more to the point, letter to Gaza are sent through Israel – Israel handles the mail for Gaza, Israel maintains the population registry for Gaza and the West Bank. It’s one state with different rights for different populations.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_the_Palestinian_territories#Mail
      “… international letters addressed to Gaza are routed through only Israel.”

      https://gisha.org/en-blog/2011/11/14/the-population-registry/
      “Israel continues to control the Palestinian population registry which is common to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Any change made in these records requires Israel’s approval, including the registration of births, marriages, divorces, deaths or address changes…Palestinian passports are issued by the Palestinian Authority only to residents who are listed in the Israeli-administered population registry. “

    • Bruce Gould says:

      Or perhaps more to the point, letter to Gaza are sent through Israel – Israel handles the mail for Gaza, Israel maintains the population registry for Gaza and the West Bank. It’s one state with different rights for different populations.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_in_the_Palestinian_territories#Mail
      “… international letters addressed to Gaza are routed through only Israel.”

      https://gisha.org/en-blog/2011/11/14/the-population-registry/
      “Israel continues to control the Palestinian population registry which is common to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Any change made in these records requires Israel’s approval, including the registration of births, marriages, divorces, deaths or address changes…Palestinian passports are issued by the Palestinian Authority only to residents who are listed in the Israeli-administered population registry. “

    • Lewis from Afula says:

      So how come it is illegal for an Israeli to cross over the border into Gaza ?
      If it is all 1 state, it should be OK to do so.
      Unless, your talking nonsense again ?

      • Ben says:

        As ‘David’ elsewhere reminded you:

        As correctly declared by Human Rights Watch in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains belligerently occupied by Israel. “Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

        Also: As the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has declared: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.” The ICRC thus unequivocally stated that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law embodied in the Geneva Conventions. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.

        • Lewis from Afula says:

          Israel
          VACATED
          LEFT
          EXITED
          WITHDREW FROM
          RETREATED FROM
          Gaza in 2005. End.

          • Ben says:

            Do you need the truncated version?

            “..bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life…the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

        • Itshak Gordine says:

          As soon as Hamas and Islamic Jihad behave well, the blockade imposed by Israel AND their Egyptian brothers will be lifted. No need to write a novel citing Human Right Watch which is a hostile association to the State of Israel. How funny to see leftists and beautiful souls supporting terrorist organizations that are not secular.

          • Ben says:

            I see. Human Rights Watch is “hostile” to the state that perpetrates the human rights violations that Human Rights Watch watches. Got it.