After the battle of Gettysburg, Union General Meade could have crushed the army of General Robert E. Lee. Instead, after the battle he sent President Lincoln a message saying, "We got them off our land."
Lincoln responded, "It's all our land."
Rather than thinking like Lincoln, Israel today insists on the defeatist thinking of a General Meade. We retreat behind what we delusionally believe to be 'secure borders' and congratulate ourselves for 'getting them off our land' by retreating from our land. But it is all our land and we may no longer believe it but they do. They believe it is their land and they will take it from us.
Lincoln understood that there was no alternative to winning the war. Either the Union was preserved or America would be destroyed. While many Democrats and military men pressed for compromises, he had the vision to press on. At one time Israel's leaders understood what Lincoln did, that retreat was death. Today Israel's leaders continue to believe they can retreat with honor. That there is a compromise that will avoid confrontation.
But there is no such compromise. We either recognize that it's all our land or lose to those who do.
The uncompromising position is the most difficult one to take and even more difficult to maintain in the face of setbacks. It is so difficult because not only does it demand extraordinary resources and risks, but there is no certainty of success. Compromise always seems more appealing because it appears to be less of a gamble. Compromise says, "I win some, you win some. I lose some, you lose some." It's not just the seemingly higher moral ground, but it's the safer bet. The problem is that when war is a zero sum game, compromise is simply self-destruction. You cannot compromise with those whose endgame is your destruction. You can only fight them or slowly cut your own throat.
The Civil War dragged on endlessly under weak generals whose battle plans focused on defeating armies that refused to fight on their terms. After all this time Western military forces have gained some strategic ground in understanding how to fight guerrilla forces and insurgencies but the political leadership continues to lack the will to fight such wars. The average politician is still in love with phrases such as "The Middle Way", "A Political Solution" or "Peace with Honor."
Peace is a virtue when offered to those who are willing to live in peace. Peace however is a crime when offered to those who are unwilling to live in peace. Political solutions in a zero sum game only help the enemy and draw more blood and deliver more pain. That is exactly what Israel has done in the face of the terrorist threat and in the process has turned the Intifada that began as a political problem into a grave threat to Israel's existence.
For a decade and a half Israel's leaders have been giving away the country while promising security. Yet their security promises consist of repetitions of, "We got them off our land." But of course we didn't. We just got them off the part of our land that we haven't given away yet.
Our enemies understand that their struggle with us is a zero sum game, one in which they will either gain everything or lose everything. They do not need to win on the battlefield because they know that their occasional killing sprees are only a means to continue forcing Israel to seek a political solution. While the Arabs are overmatched by Israel on the battlefield, Israel is overmatched by the Arabs when it comes to politics as long as they hold the twin trump cards of oil and terrorism.
After a decade and a half of compromises, surrenders and political solutions, proclaiming "It's All Our Land" has become one of the most difficult things to say in Israeli politics. Peres repeatedly taunts the right by demanding that they present an alternative to negotiations. Each time the right has failed to do so, it has failed to simply say, "It's All Our Land." This was once the theme of Betar and the Likud. If Israel is to perish, "Let's Make a Deal" will be the theme of the victorious party. If Israel is to survive, "It's All Our Land" will be the theme of the victorious party.