From appearances the Israeli government has decided the time has come to act decisively and end the conflict once and for all before the old guard loses its control and is pushed from power by younger and more aggressive leadership. In the past five years many of the old lions have wandered off the playing field making an appearance here and there still reliving their old rivalries and people listen if only to remember. Soon those memories will crystalize the legacies of the leadership which has ruled the roost, in some cases ruled just a bit too long and their legacies may pay for their refusal to slide quietly into the shadows only to emerge as elder statesmen who also serve a purposed. Often that purpose is to come out and save the new leadership from itself and at other times to make a bold statement which either rallies the people at a crucial point or to give a last shot hope to relive their influential days and remind all why they prefer to remember the old leaders fondly. Often if a leader had been at the head of a party so long that only the few can remember who their predecessor was, it is past time for some change. Unfortunately any leader who has survived that long at the head of a party it is often due to their suppression of those who might challenge them either though subordinating them or by destroying their credibility and squashing all opposition. This is a weakness of a Parliamentary system which has no limit on the number of years one is permitted to hold the position of Prime Minister. When anybody is permitted to hold that position indefinitely then they can ride at the top of their party over decades which stymies the younger leaders from attaining the top position and eventually forms an oligarchic echo chamber which places a stationary grasp on the reins of power preventing change or growth from below which is nearly impossible to toppled from within. This creates a catastrophic change from without leaving a vacuum at the top of the Party as the Party will eventually fall and find its support became as old and unable to adapt as that leadership had become.
Such systems often come about because a situation comes about which defines elections and supports a particular view for the public for as long as the condition remains unchanged. Such situations are often defined by a conflict such as the rule of Sir Winston Churchill becoming Prime Minister of England for the duration of World War II as he had proven to be the man who recognized the threat and had warned about the errors being made and thus had all the appearances of being the man destined to lead England through the war. This he did and has received mostly acclaim but has also faced some critiques far less complimentary. Still, once the war had ended England moved on and Churchill did return to hold the office of Prime Minister briefly but proved to be the man of the hour whose hour had passed. But what will happen if the situations remain static or slowly escalating but never quite boiling over? Then the man of the hour can become the man of the decade and even the indispensable man leading until the situation finally is relieved or it changes drastically thus ending the ability to continue the crisis situation as impending and thus allowing for half measures and other acts which do little to change the situation, often a dire situation, but also perpetuating a stagnation which becomes unhealthy for the nation.
So, what are the signs of such a leadership? There will be measures and action often taken against those who challenge the status-quo and pose a threat to bring the long challenge to a head which will demand actual solutions instead of halfway acts which only serve to kick the can down the road. This can have been observed in the Arab Palestinian leadership where even when the man at the top is replaced it is by his trusted and longtime second in command. This was exactly what occurred when Yasser Arafat died and Mahmoud Abbas became the man of the hour. Now we are watching the slow replacement of Mahmoud Abbas as he steps down from one of his myriad of leadership positions and even is permitted to all but appoint his successor, Saab Erekat. We will likely see other familiar names become more prevalent as Mahmoud Abbas slowly sinks into the sunset to enjoy his ill-gotten booty retiring to somewhere most likely in Europe or elsewhere that he believes will allow him a long retirement. The other alternative is this change has been forced upon him as younger and more aggressive segments of the society are beginning to beat the drums of change. Once that tune starts to escalate and you have held the position basically defined as President for Life, well, then your life may become chopped off such that you are replaced through a coup. After these coups come, they retain the forms of the apparatus of the former governance leaving them in place; many of the affirming ‘yes men’ remain in place as they can be counted upon to be supportive and not actually seeking ultimate power. Then the new leadership will give the ‘old guard’ a choice of early retirement or the less healthy forced retirement. The wise take the early retirement and usually retire to distant shores where they will be welcomed and granted safe keeping.
So we will now be able to watch as Mahmoud Abbas will slowly give over his multitude of positions of power possibly holding to his leadership of the Fatah Party simply because he would then be allowed to have a security detail guarding him from any unforeseen acts of greater permanence if situations appear to be calling for his return as the new leadership does not meet expectations. Often leaders who self-terminate their hold on power get to live longer though they will face getting up each morning for the rest of their lives not being the man of the hour with all looking to them for favor and decisive leadership. Of course continued leadership demands that there be no decisive leadership, just the appearance of such. These types of situations are what likely spawned the coining of the phrase, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” Often these apparent leaders who appear to rule because they are the one who has proven to be most understanding and decisive in addressing the problems of the hour despite the fact that the crisis never ends and only seems to remain just slightly more desperate as the months tick by. The people are placated by the sacrifice of those who are a threat to the leadership of the determined leaders while power is distributed to people the leader trusts to serve the status-quo and retaining the man of the hour as the man of the decade or even decades. These support staff are often well taken care of and every once in a while one must be sacrificed in order to allow for the man at the top to scapegoat them as the reason decisive actions were not taken when the opportunity was present and the man of the hour faced that hour. When facing that hour, that critical moment where everything hinges on the actions or lack of actions of the leadership, the one who desires longevity over all else will allow that moment to pass while a real leader who really desires to be the man of the hour and be remembered for taking that opportunity no matter the result and caution to the wind, they act. Real leaders seek to have such moments where they face the crucial test as that is what defines them.
Such leaders are the great ones remembered for all time. They faced the greatest test of their lives and acted. Some come through victorious and are lauded before they pass slowly into a satisfied retirement and others fail and bring ruin for which the people often must find a leader who can repair the damage. Strangely enough that can be the same person who failed but who has convinced the people that they have learned and grown as a result of their error and are also capable of presenting a clear path back. Often this requires them to succinctly define their failure and promise to make the necessary repairs no matter how painful, preferable personally painful but often also for the people and the nation, but necessary after systemic failures. Then there are the lingerers, the leaders whose greatest share of efforts are to perpetuate their importance and holding of positions of leadership. They come into prominence by presenting themselves as the solution to the biggest problems facing the party, group, community, company and even nation and they appear to have a firm grasp on the problems of the day and prove themselves as the sole person qualified to face such threats or problems competently. Such leaders are often great at defining the problem and stating a clear path to the solution and ameliorating the problem and seeing the way beyond where calmer waters prevail. These leaders will always have ready a plan which will work and they like reminding all that they are the person of this hour and after all, who are you going to trust? In most nations there is a time limit or term limitation of the service of any person to lead in a democratic form of government, be it a republic, parliamentary or some other representative governance, for a set period and not beyond. There are many ideas on how best to limit such rulers, be it two terms, a decade or whatever limitation is put forth in the constitution, charter or other delineating definition of the workings of the national governance. Omitting limitations on holding positions of power can lead to stagnation in the governance which is potentially more dangerous than having the wrong person at the helm as the wrong person somehow chosen as the leader is usually removed at the next elections if not sooner. But what if the person placed in the highest office is mainly interested in not taking any risks which might force them from power and you have a recipe for stagnation where the pressing situation is the permanence of the situation.
This may be the situation which has been present in the Arab-Israeli situation and there are positions galore which appear to place their greatest promise in promoting a permanent standoff where neither side desires an end to the problem because once a solution is found then their usefulness as the uncontested leader eventually ends as the situation boils over, often at home when the people have had enough of living with an apparently stagnant threat they know should have been resolved ages ago. The problem with the Arab-Israeli problem is that powers that exist beyond the problem have advantage in fomenting permanence of the problem thus retailing their importance to their often dependent side of the contest. This has been true of both sides in the Arab-Israeli problem, none of the powers that be desire a conclusive resolving of the problem thus they perpetuate the problem by limiting the more powerful side and supporting the more vulnerable side. This is further perpetuated by the Arab League because they will only accept one solution, the end of Israel as the state for the Jewish people and a place for the Arabs who are referred to not as the Arabs they are but as the Palestinians who the other Arab nations refuse to allow to live within their lands as giving them equal rights would remove their man-made unique identity which is wielded like a maul bashing and denting Israel but never delivering that final knockout as doing so would normalize the Arab Palestinians and thus allowing their return to within the Arab peoples body, something they know they must avoid as these Arabs have been transformed into a weaponized people incapable of living in peace with their neighbors. The Arab nations know that without Israel they would be facing the so-called Palestinians in their own backyards. Thus they must keep the problem static.
The United Nations, particularly their human rights divisions, have built a multi-trillion dollar a year business around the Arab-Israeli conflict and thus have a financial reason to perpetuate the situation. They use a similar method as does the Arab League, checking Israeli use of power to prevent a resolution while granting the Arab Palestinians with immunity while blaming Israel for the terrorism and all other situations perpetuated by those outside powers with the greatest influence. The Europeans have also taken a decisive side but also the more difficult side. They have realized that they, in a moment of moral weakness, they temporarily did a moral act, they allowed for the Jews to reconstitute their homelands and now they wish to erase their moment of decency. The Europeans, and the Arabs and Muslims and almost everywhere that Jews resided prefer that the Jews be subjugated. This is not possible if the Jews have a refuge where they rule the lands, Israel. When the Jews were spread across the world in small communities shared amongst the world the world received the benefit of the Jewish inventiveness and work ethic and they served the purpose in each nation under the control of their ‘betters’ who had been empowered by G0d to rule the Jews who were a fallen people no longer deserving of Hashem’s love. The return of Israel and the empowered Jew puts to a lie the forsaken argument and places the Jews on an even relationship with the other nations. How can a world predicated on the Jew as weak and dependent on the protections provided by the ‘others’ who were their betters now have a strong military and the capability of self-determinations and self-rule? This was something which was not to be permitted and thus it became necessary to clip the wings of the Jewish state and even erase it should the opportunity present itself. Be aware that if the European nations had the military advantage and could destroy Israel through use of arms without their own nations facing grievous losses we would be witnessing a new Crusades to return Jerusalem and the Holy Lands to their proper shared control with Islam and Christianity sharing the spoils of a destroyed and burning Israel and the subjugation once again of the Jews. That is but one of the meanings of “Never Again.”
Still, Israel is partly to blame for her situation as she has allowed these outside forces to have sway over her and allowed their neutering of Israel’s right to control her borders. Israel had not fully shaken off the yoke of slavery before the nations of the world. Israeli leadership reflects the state of mind of all too many of the people who still believe that they must gain the favor of others. They have yet to realize that such is a fool’s game played at the risk of their homelands. Israel has the might, the right and the International Law all on her side to once and for all end the Arab ‘Palestinian’ false claims against her and to enforce her borders, her legal and recognized by treaties and Charter of the United Nations to at the very least the lands, all of the lands, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Further, since the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are actually Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi, Yemeni and also Saudi Arabian roots and have taken up arms against Israel then Israel has the right as a nation to evict these peoples unless they pledge legally their subservience to Israeli rule and swear they will no longer lift up arms against the State of Israel. Those who hold positions of power within the Fatah, Palestinian Authority, PLO, PLC, PNC, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or any other terrorist or separatist movement making claim against Israel are to be given status as persona non grata and exiled from the State of Israel, given airfare and movement of their personal property and, if Israel wishes to clean its collective conscience for this act, a remittance to cover some of their costs for separation from their position of prominence which had allowed them to steal billions of dollars over the years from the very people they claimed to represent. End of the Arab-Israeli conflict unless and until one or more of Israel’s neighbors decides they wish to annihilate the Jews and destroy Israel again. Then, this time, should any of Israel’s neighbors decide to wage war, then Israel should respond and not stop their advance until the other side surrendered and accepted Israeli terms for peace. This time Israel should dictate the terms of the cessation of hostilities and ignore the calls by the rest of the world leaders especially by those claiming to be the best of friends Israel has ever had. Then when the adversary who initiated this war had offered complete surrender and agreement with the Israeli dictated terms including the new boundaries as losing a war, even against Israel, has to hold the potential for loss of lands or all the world is doing is resetting the conditions which existed at the start of the last war to give the adversaries of Israel the same opportunity time after time to destroy Israel and never have to pay for their failures in an offensive war. That is not how it works for any other nation and should not be the way it works for Israel as a country. If the world decides they desire to remove Israel from the United Nations, Israel should send each nation supporting such a move a thank you card and use the monies saved to give her people a small tax break. Then Israel needs to remove every last United Nations minder from within her border, dissolve every United Nations recognized NGO which does not drop all ties with the United Nations and resolve to never again cooperate with any United Nations’ probe, study or other pursuit without first being granted permission from the government as the United Nations should then be treated as they have proven themselves to be, a foreign party interested largely in the destruction of Israel by any means.
Israel needs a leader, a real leader who can withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous opportunists (forgive me Shakespeare) and exercise her dominion over her lands on her actual and defined borders under the San Remo Conference and all concomitant treaties which would leave defined from within the British Mandate and presumably enforceable by the British Crown all the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea on her eastern and western boundaries, the Blue Line with Lebanon to the north and the Negev, Sinai border as recognized by Egypt and Israel by peace treaty, and leaving Gaza for all those Arabs desiring of retaining the separatist definitions of being an Arab Palestinian. Those remaining Arabs residing east of the 1949 Armistice Lines and not currently holders of an Israel citizenship identifying documents will be permitted to remain within Israeli borders and retain those lands on which they have proper and recognized deed and will be permitted to apply for Israeli citizenship after a period of five years in which no family member was involved in any act of terrorism or felonious criminal activities. Once so approved an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel and the showing of a meaningful knowledge of Israeli history will be required in order to become a full citizen of the State of Israel. Those desiring not to travel such a route may remain as resident aliens and will be treated with respect to land ownership over that which they have recognized deeds and remain within the law and not posing any threat to the State of Israel. Should they be found to be aiding or committing of terrorism or other violent felonious acts they may face exile from the lands of Israel in lieu of a prison term. Should they accept exile their return within Israel will result in their being incarcerated to serve the full sentence of which they were adjudicated to serve. These are the powers all other states possess and how other nations end defensive wars taken against them from without and how they treat similar threats from within. Israel is not asking for anything beyond her rights as an equal amongst nations. Israel is demanding to be seen, treated and respected as an equal amongst nations and those who desire to demean and subjugate or destroy Israel or her Jewish flavor can expect similar in return from Israel. Israel is prepared to receive in kind as she gives and give in kind as she receives from each and every nation no more and no less. This is the promise any true leader of Israel and her people deserve and a growing number of her people are beginning to demand. Such a leader will be found and elected to prove up to such an immense challenge and should they fail then another should be sought. It will take a person with an unbendable will and a knowledge of where Israel is and where she deserves to be and have the plan to achieve exactly that and the willingness to face the slings and arrows of outrageous oppositions from both without and within. Of the two the forces from within will prove the undoing of many and will take a true leader in every sense of the title. This will be the kind of leader who sets their sights on this lofty goal, moves ever more determined to achieve that high set goal and once the job completed and the results cemented will simply retire to their farm in the Galilee or their herds in the Judean Hills or their winery overlooking the Kinneret, or their solar farm in the Negev Desert. That will also be a true leader who will be remembered as were the greats of Biblical fame.
Beyond the Cusp