The Israeli military in an elaborate ruse last week tricked Hezbollah in order to avoid an escalation of hostilities along the northern border that would have led to many deaths, especially on the Lebanese site.
Unimpressed by the concern for human life, Hezbollah, which initially was taken in by the ploy, said the entire affair only served to demonstrate that the “once-legendary” Israeli military was now a “feeble” shadow of its former self.
And this is an important point for anyone serious about brokering any kind of genuine peace anywhere in the Middle East.
Those seeking to avoid confrontation, rather than demanding capitulation at the tip of a sword, are viewed as weak, if not cowardly. And if you’re going to go so far as offer appeasement, you might as well roll over and play dead.
Israel’s brightest minds have for the past few decades fooled themselves into thinking that pragmatic concessions would placate their foes and, at the very least, engender calm. But moves like releasing jailed Palestinian terrorists or withdrawing all the Jews from Gaza have only resulted in more violence and a protracted conflict.
And that’s because in the eyes of Arab Muslim culture, Israel demonstrated weakness.
It’s one of the key reasons that the Palestinian leadership will in English make vague statements about being committed to peaceful compromises, while in Arabic they will tell their people that they remain dedicated to defeating Israel and forcing a “peace” on their terms alone.
They wouldn’t survive otherwise. Genuine compromise with Israel, giving up their more hard-line demands for the sake of a mutually-beneficial outcome, would be a death knell (politically, and possibly physically) for the Palestinian leadership.
Because, as Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah clearly indicated, victory over the enemy is far more important than stability in the authoritarian Middle East.