Interview with Daniel Pipes about the Gaza War: “Israel needs to pursue policies that convince Palestinians their goals are hopeless”

Interview with Daniel Pipes about the Gaza War: “Israel needs to pursue policies that convince Palestinians their goals are hopeless”

Global Review had the pleasure to have another interview with Daniel Pipes, expert on Islam and counterjihad about the Gaza war. Daniel Pipes (born September 9, 1949) is an American historian, writer and political commentator. He is the president of the Middle East Forum (MEF) which was the mastermind of the Victory Project which has now incorporated as a strategy in the IDF strategy. Daniel Pipes is  also publisher of its Middle East Quarterly journal. His writing focuses on American foreign policy and the Middle East. He is also an Expert at Wikistrat.

After graduating with a PhD from Harvard and studying abroad, Pipes taught at a number of universities including Harvard, Chicago, Pepperdine, and the U.S. Naval War College. He then served as director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, before founding the Middle East Forum. His 2003 nomination by U.S. President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace was protested by Arab-American groups, and Democratic leaders, who cited his oft-stated belief that victory is the most effective way to terminate conflict.

Pipes has written a dozen books, and served as an adviser to Rudolph Giuliani´s 2008 presidential campaign. He was in 2008–11 the Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Stanford University´s Hoover Institution.

Daniel Pipes supports more Israel´s Right point of view, while Global Review has a different position, but we want to give all sides a fair chance to bring their arguments.

Daniel Pipes has his own blog at:  http://www.danielpipes.org

Global Review: What do you see as the most important causes of the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel; and why did it take place just now?

Daniel Pipes: It appears that Hamas sought to take advantage of a misstep by Mahmoud Abbas (calling and then canceling legislative elections) to build its popularity on the West Bank. Other factors probably include exploiting a local real estate issue in Jerusalem, testing the Biden administration, taking advantage of political uncertainty in Israel, and winning Tehran’s favor.

Global Review: Hamas did indeed win popularity in the West Bank at the expense of the Palestinian Authority headed by Abbas; does this mean it might take power there and complete the ring of fire against Israel?

Daniel Pipes: No: the Israeli government will do all it can to prevent Hamas from taking power in the West Bank. That should suffice to keep it out.

Global Review: Do you agree with those who say that Israel won the war militarily and Hamas won it politically?

Daniel Pipes: Partially. Israel’s military success is unarguable. The political battlefield is much less clear. But the most important question is whether this fourth round of fighting will lead Israelis to make sure there is no fifth round. I think that is likely, in which case Hamas would be the big loser.

Global Review: This was the first time Hamas managed it to incite the Israeli Arabs. What does this mean for Israel?

Daniel Pipes: In all, I see this as positive for Israel because it wakes the Jewish citizens to the pending crisis on their hands with their Muslim compatriots, something I have long predicted but which they have been unwilling to confront.

Global Review: The Right in Israel says that the previous blockade of Gaza was too lax and needs tightening. The Left says that Israel should win over the Gazan people by improving their lives, leading to a revolt and the overthrow of Hamas. Which of these, or some other option, do you favor?

Daniel Pipes: I favor the Right’s view. The Left’s view was tried in 1993; it’s called the Oslo Accords and it failed dismally. Palestinians have a full century’s record of caring far more to pursue their anti-Zionist passions than to improve their own lives. They constitute the most radicalized population on earth.

Global Review: Hamas explicitly seeks to eliminate the Jewish state, but how can it do this? Military conquest appears illusionary. Is the goal to terrorize Israel, ignite conflicts between Israeli Jews and Arabs, terminate foreign investment, demoralize Israeli Jews, and make them flee Israel?

Daniel Pipes: Yes, that is precisely the goal, harassing Jewish Israelis to the point that they abandon the country. Unfortunately for Hamas, this tactic has completely failed, what with Israelis scoring very high on happiness rankings, enjoying a developed economy, the rule of law, democracy, and a high level of personal security. Hamas, in its fanaticism, seems unaware of this situation and keeps using the same, futile and abominable methods. 

Global Review: Most outside powers support a two-state solution, as do the Israeli Left and the PA; does it still have relevance when neither the Israeli Right nor Hamas want it?

Daniel Pipes: In the short term, no, the two-state solution has no relevance for the reasons you state: most Israelis fear it and most Palestinians want to eliminate Israel. But in the long term, the two-state solution continues to offer the only potentially satisfactory resolution of one of the globe’s most intractable conflicts. When Palestinians suffer defeat and no longer believe they can eliminate the Jewish state of Israel, then the prospect opens for a two-state solution. But that is many years or decades away.

Global Review: If not a two-state solution, then what? Today’s situation prevailing into the distant future, a one-state solution, the return of Egypt to Gaza and Jordan to the West Bank, or something else?

Daniel Pipes: Those are, exactly, the short-term alternatives. Personally, I prefer the Egypt-and-Jordan option.

Global Review: The number of Israelis living in the West Bank has grown to 450,000. Do they obstruct a two-state solution?

Daniel Pipes: Not at all, assuming that Jews can live in a Palestinian state just as Palestinians live in the Jewish state. Such an assumption is imperative; to expect otherwise – that close to a half-million Israelis must pack up and leave the West Bank – implies that Jews have not yet been accepted, in which case the conflict continues.

Global Review: Are demands for sanctions against Israel to stop its settlements in the West Bank inherently antisemitic?

Daniel Pipes: Yes, of course, given that those making such demands do not make similar demands on Morocco in Western  Sahara, Turkey in northern Cyprus, or China in Tibet and that there is no solution,  East Turkestan.

Global Review: Please explain the concept of Israel Victory that you originated and the Middle East Forum promotes.

Daniel Pipes: Wars end when one side gives up; for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to end, Israel needs to pursue policies that convince Palestinians their goals are hopeless. Doing so will obviously benefit Israelis but even more Palestinians, who can finally begin to build their polity, economy, society, and culture.

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