No such thing as victory
This list attempts to establish basic political principles, which together form a constitution that outlines a balanced and responsible diplomacy that is weighed down by as few concepts as possible. And here are the principles, for which I feel a responsibility to take a risk by identifying myself with these "Sarid principles"
The primary difficulty with the future - as we know - is deciphering it, figuring out what the new day will bring. A lucid and predictable future would make life a lot easier and more secure.
Despite the difficulty, all of us try our best to penetrate the fog and get as clear a view as possible of the near and far horizon. Sometimes we predict correctly and sometimes we're wrong, but some of us - those for whom this list is intended - make far more mistakes than others.
This list attempts to establish basic political principles, which together form a constitution that outlines a balanced and responsible diplomacy that is weighed down by as few concepts as possible. Personally speaking, I have noticed that the mistakes I made took place every time I abandoned these principles and was tempted to judge reality by temporary events, instead.
And here are the principles, for which I feel a responsibility to take a risk by identifying myself with these "Sarid principles":
l In today's world, there is no way to hold a country or nation under occupation without getting immersed up to the neck in bloody armed conflict (which doesn't affect the amount of force expended in this occupation).
l The brutality of the continuing occupation is not preventable, regardless of the original intentions of the occupier. Every attempt to strengthen occupation by trying to create demographic changes in the occupied territory is destined from the start to fail completely and will involve national and human tragedy.
l Every armed struggle for national emancipation will gain legitimacy sooner or later as long as it isn't aimed at civilians - and sometimes, alas, also when civilians are hurt.
l Every assassination of a national leader only generates a new leader, generally a more extreme one. Every leader who is tried and jailed ends up in a stronger position, and in most cases becomes a national hero. Every national conflict ends in dialogue and negotiations.
l People with "blood on their hands" participate in every negotiation that concludes a national conflict, and national conflicts do not end without a general release of prisoners.
l An occupying nation will never invest on the day after the war even one-eighth of what it invested in the war itself.
Each of these principles requires examples and explanations worthy of taking up an entire book, which I will want to write at the first opportunity. Such a book could be a type of instruction guide for politicians who decide issues of war and peace, life and death. But not only for them: It would also guide all the analysts, who usually join the march of foolishness, almost without moving, in a conditioned reflex. When people constantly run after the events of the moment - even if they are dramatic - it's very easy to lose direction.
It's completely clear that some people will immediately begin a feverish search for examples that could refute these principles. There's no doubt that here and there it's possible to identify exceptional instances, but they can't destroy the general principles. I must emphasize that it would be wrong to look for disproving examples in the entire history of humankind. They must be found, if at all, in the new era, so they can be relevant to our times.
It's also clear that people who have a deterministic approach think - sometimes with justification - that they do not have free will. They must prove, of course, why one event will succeed in a time and place in which the vast majority of others failed.
None of these principles are sensationally novel. There may be some novelty in the general picture, in the entire constitution, which ought to be placed on the desks of diplomats and analysts, or hung on their office walls.
Some people will complain about the amount of principles and the reasons for them. They might say, "What can you do? Life is complicated and you need a lot more than one way to get yourself out of this mess." (It's preferable, of course, not to relate to it at all.) But it is possible to condense the entire guide to one concept: In conflicts based on occupation, there are no winners or losers. Sustainable victory is an unattainable goal - and that's it.
The writer is a Meretz MK and former education minister.
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