A century ago, pioneering Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote a seminal essay titled “The Iron Wall.” Presciently, he observed that until the Arabs were absolutely convinced there was no alternative to accepting the presence of Jews in the Holy Land, they would revert to “Plan A,” the eradication of the Jews.
Since the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, some Muslim states have accepted the reality of Israel’s existence, to the great benefit of Arabs and Jews alike. But many Palestinians have clung resolutely to the fantasy of genocide.
The horrific events of Oct. 7 demonstrate that Palestinians are no closer to accepting reality than they were the first time Israel was attacked in 1948. Now, the Jewish state’s task is to convince the Palestinians that there is no Plan A and they must look to Plan B, which is coexistence with the Jews.
Jabotinsky was right: Only then can there be peace.
Of course, Jabotinsky wrote in early 20th-century terms that are highly controversial today, such as not using “colonialism” as a dirty word. But old-fashioned rhetoric should not blind us to his keen insight into how to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews, which Jabotinsky didn’t believe was possible in 1923 but hoped could occur in the future.
Jabotinsky proposed an “iron wall” that unfailingly would protect Jews so that the Palestinians would accept they could not be eradicated. At that point, peace would be possible—a phrase echoed in the Iron Dome and Iron Beam defensive systems that are doing so much to protect the modern state of Israel.
But on Oct. 7, that 21st-century iron wall was breached by Iranian-sponsored Hamas terrorists who were so vicious that the entire civilized world has been shocked by footage of Israelis being raped, tortured, and burned alive.
That such savagery could still explode out of the Gaza Strip after two and a half years of outreach and economic support from President Joe Biden demonstrates Jabotinsky’s thesis that some Palestinians will accept neither “kind words” nor “bread and butter” if they believe they still can destroy the Jews.
Although there is broad agreement that Hamas must be wiped out after committing such atrocities, and clearly Hamas deserves it, the fact of the matter is that the terrorist group that governs Gaza is a symptom, not the root problem.
Useful idiots in America, notably in Congress, the media, and academia, who condone and even celebrate Hamas’ savagery, feed the delusion that Israel can be destroyed and perpetuate the violence that prohibits peace.
Case in point: A recent video from the United Nations (funded by U.S. taxpayers) depicting a Palestinian child lamenting the deteriorating living conditions in Gaza after Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel—notably at the United Nations Relief Works Agency school where the child’s predecessors were taught to hate Israel with such ferocity that they could take pleasure in beheading Jewish babies.
If the Biden administration continues to insist misguidedly on aid for the Palestinians and the U.N. agencies supporting them, which we know will lead only to more attacks, Israel’s supporters in Congress must insist that such aid is stripped out of all legislative funding vehicles going forward.
The United States can be a key actor in creating circumstances that could lead to peace, but not if our leadership continues to pay lip service to the Palestinian “cause.” After this latest terrorist attack, America should make crystal clear that our priority is strengthening Israel so that its defenses can’t be penetrated.
Our unshakable alliance, if sustained over time, can convince the Palestinians that there is no future in the region without the Jews. At the same time, Congress can insist on strategically mapping the U.S.-Israel security partnership (which will become the next Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries, due to be implemented in 2029) in such a way that the metaphorical iron wall becomes a reality.
That leaves us with the problem of Iran’s Islamist regime, which is using the Palestinians as proxy cannon fodder to attack Israel without bearing the brunt of the retaliation.
Biden’s foolishness, not only in funding the Palestinians but in allowing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue to flow to Tehran by not enforcing economic sanctions, has been laid bare.
If the president refuses to reverse course and rigorously enforce the sanctions, on Day One of a new presidential administration those sanctions should be redoubled to starve the Iranian regime of resources.
In 1923, Jabotinsky ended his historic essay on a hopeful note, writing that one day “both peoples can live in peace, like good neighbors.” Sadly, such a happy outcome seems as distant today as it did then.
But if we heed his wisdom, we might finally get there.
On Monday, from 1 to 4 p.m., The Heritage Foundation will hold a conference marking the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel alliance in the context of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.
Our goal should be to recommend policies that ought to be implemented now so that when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel alliance, we also can celebrate peace.
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