Ten Years Since Oslo: The PLO’s “Peoples War” Strategy and Israel’s Inadequate Response

, September 1, 2003

No. 503     4-18 Elul 5763 / 1-15 September 2003

  • Israel and the PLO have been confronting each other according to completely different paradigms of conflict.

  • Since the late 1960s, the PLO has adopted a “people’s war” paradigm that continued to guide its policies even after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

  • According to the “people’s war” paradigm, borrowed from Marxist-Leninist traditions in China and Vietnam, conflict is waged on both the political and military levels, but for militarily weaker guerilla groups, political conflict is more important, especially the delegitimization of an adversary and the division of his society.

  • Prior to 1993, Israel largely responded to the PLO militarily as a terrorist threat, but not politically. After 1993, with the PLO “renouncing” terrorism, Israel embraced the PLO leadership and ignored the signs that the PLO was still engaged in political warfare against it (incitement, reluctance to alter PLO Covenant, UN votes, textbooks). Israeli governments later complained about these symptoms of political warfare, without identifying the cause.

  • Established Israeli traditions place undue emphasis on the narrowly-framed military approach to the detriment of the political, which leaves Israel particularly vulnerable to broad-based strategic deception. Israeli policy-makers must reexamine the assumptions upon which they have based political and military policy over the last decade.


Misunderstanding the Enemy’s Strategy

What is of supreme importance is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
The Art of War, Sun Tzu1


On September 13, 1993, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House Lawn. Shimon Peres for the State of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles, while President Clinton, Secretary of State Christopher, and Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev looked on. The purpose of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) was to initiate a peace process between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. A decade has passed since that optimistic event, and Israel has suffered 1,080 casualties: 256 from the signing of the DOP in September 1993 to September 2000, and 824 from September 2000 until June 1, 2003.2 Proportionately to its population, this number would represent the equivalent loss for the United States of about 49,000 citizens. The human cost to Israel of the adventure of the Oslo Accords has exceeded the War of Attrition on the Suez Canal (1968-1970). A protracted condition of war has dealt a devastating blow to Israel’s economy. It has permanently changed many lives and aggravated social tensions. These facts compel us to ask serious questions. Is Israel better or worse off for having entered into this arrangement? Has there been a policy failure? If we do not have peace, then what do we have, and where is it leading?

Israel’s misfortune stems from a failure to understand the enemy’s strategic goals and its choice of means and methods. In retrospect, it is clear that Israel’s leadership has seriously underestimated its adversary’s consistency of purpose and commitment. Speaking frankly and for the record, several members of the Palestinian leadership have stated that they entered into the peace process in bad faith.3 One example will suffice. The late Faisal Husseini (1940-2001), whom the media fondly designated a “Palestinian moderate,” declared in an interview on June 24, 2001, in the Egyptian (Nasserite) newspaper Al Arabi, that the Oslo Agreements constituted a “Trojan horse,” whose essence was deception. He said in clear language that the PLO had entered an agreement for the purpose of gaining a foothold in the Land of Israel from which it could wage a sustained guerilla war that eventually would destroy the Jewish state and replace it with an Arab Palestine. On this occasion, Husseini gave a faithful restatement of the Phased Strategy that the PLO adopted in June 1974. This program, known also as the Strategy of Stages, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state in any part of the country that becomes available, if necessary through a negotiated process.4

You are dragging me into talking about what we refer to as our “strategic” goals and our “political” goals, or the phased goals [author’s emphasis]. The “strategic” goals are the “higher goals,” the “long-term goals,” or the “unwavering goals,” the goals that are based on solid pan-Arab historic rights and principles. Whereas the “political” goals are those goals which were set for a temporary timeframe, considering the [constraints of] the existing international system, the balance of power, our own abilities, and other considerations which “vary” from time to time.
When we are asking all the Palestinian forces and factions to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as ‘temporary’ procedures, or phased goals, this means that we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them [author’s emphasis]….
Our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations.5

Any intention of becoming “partners for peace” or a future good neighbor is not to be found here. It is noteworthy that this naked declaration of bad faith did not stimulate serious discussion in Israel nor did it have a lasting impact. On the one hand, Israeli policy-makers, by not taking such clear statements at face value, were in denial. On the other hand, the type of government that the PA has become may explain the occurrence of such statements. The PA is not a democracy but rather a totalitarian state in the making.6 Hannah Arendt has written that one of the characteristics of this type of regime is that, while it operates in many respects like a secret society, it is absolutely frank about declaring its true goals.7

Despite such disturbing events like the occasional bus bombing and the ongoing anti-Semitic incitement, it has been generally assumed that, with the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993, the PLO initiated a new era by renouncing terror, accepting the reality of Israel, and engaging in the constructive enterprise of state-building. Israeli and American leadership could not face up to the frequent recurrence of terror, regarding it as an act of nature, such as a thunderstorm or an earthquake, about which nothing could be done. One could not formally recognize the “inconvenient reality” of terror without calling into question the entire “peace process.” Furthermore, coming to terms with reality would imply adopting a course of action other than maintaining the status quo. Because of this entrenched mindset and patterns of political correctness, one would hardly dare raise the possibility in public that acts of terror and violence perpetrated against Israel’s civilians and society were an integral part of Palestinian strategy – the rule rather than the exception.

During the period that has been referred to as the “Total Liberation Phase” (1969-1974), the PLO culturally and politically found its place in the ranks of other socialist anti-colonial liberation movements.8 As Barry Rubin has pointed out, the organization wanted to wage a “people’s war,” following the example of Marxist-Leninist guerillas in China, Cuba, and Vietnam. He described the goals of this people’s war and how the PLO understood its strategic goal at that time. The following statement is remarkably consistent with Feisal Husseini’s views, expressed above:

The PLO’s target in Israel, however, was not merely a government but the people themselves. Thus, since the PLO was at war with a society – not an army or simply the post-1967 occupation – every aspect and member of Israeli society was a legitimate target. The PLO’s aim “is not to impose our will on the enemy,” explained the PLO magazine Filastin al-Thawra in 1968, “but to destroy him in order to take his place…not to subjugate the enemy but to destroy him.”9


Lessons of the Socialist Liberation Movements

The PLO looked to the examples of other liberation movements in its endeavor to find allies, expertise, and arms, particularly within the socialist world. The experience of China, Cuba, and Vietnam were of special importance. They drew inspiration from the Algerian revolutionary experience and received expert advice in presenting their case.10 Until they had consulted with the Algerians, the main Palestinian propaganda theme was “throwing the Jews into the sea.” Under Algerian guidance, they introduced different terminology and themes. Further, although the French army had won the war against Algeria, “the Algerian victory over France was to a considerable extent achieved as a result of public opinion in France itself and in major NATO countries turning against the French in Algeria – in response to a remarkably skillful propaganda campaign carried out by the FLN.”11 This was an example of the effective use of propaganda as a tool of political warfare (which resembled the Vietnamese model, described below). After the Six-Day War, Muhammad Yazid, who had been minister of information in two Algerian wartime governments (1958-1962), imparted the following principles to Palestinian propagandists:

Wipe out the argument that Israel is a small state whose existence is threatened by the Arab states, or the reduction of the Palestinian problem to a question of refugees; instead, present the Palestinian struggle as a struggle for liberation like the others.
Wipe out the impression…that in the struggle between the Palestinians and the Zionists, the Zionist is the underdog. Now it is the Arab who is oppressed and victimized in his existence because he is not only facing the Zionists but also world imperialism.12

During the 1970s and 1980s, the elite of the PLO developed close ties with the Soviet Union and with countries of the Eastern Bloc, such as the German Democratic Republic and Romania.13 The relationship between the PLO and the Soviet Union was somewhat different, because of Moscow’s objective of penetrating and increasing its political influence in the region.14 Although the relationship between the PLO and the USSR dated from the 1960s, it was only in 1974 that the PLO formally opened an interests office in Moscow. In exchange for Soviet aid, the PLO extended its full support to Moscow, which later included public approval of the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.15 Many Palestinians received training in warfare, espionage, and indoctrination in Communist countries.16 One notable example, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the current Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, received his doctorate from Moscow’s Oriental College in 1982.17 While it may not be possible to ascertain the exact type of training each individual may have received in these socialist countries, their collective experience left them with commonly held views regarding military doctrine, which they continue to hold.

In 1970, while the PLO’s relations with the Soviet Union “remained distant and marked with suspicion,” China and Vietnam “reached out” to the PLO, inviting Yasser Arafat and Abu Iyad for a discrete visit. Zhou Enlai (Chou En-Lai) received the two in China and granted them his country’s full support.18 In Vietnam, where they remained for two weeks, their gracious host was General Vo Nguyen Giap (b.1912), the master of insurrectionary warfare of his generation. It is reported that Abu Iyad asked the Vietnamese why public opinion in the West considered the Palestinian armed struggle to be terrorism, while the Vietnamese struggle enjoyed praise and support.

In response, the Vietnamese counseled the PLO to work for their goals in phases, which would conceal their real purpose, permit strategic deception, and give the appearance of moderation.19 They also coached the Palestinians on the manipulation of the American news media.20 Giap exhorted Arafat: “Fight by any method which can achieve victory…. If regular war can do it, use it. If you cannot win by classical methods, don’t use them. Any method which achieves victory is a good one. We fight with military and political means and with international backing.”21 With these words, General Giap described the essence of a people’s war.

This was not the first high-level Palestinian visit to North Vietnam. In 1964, Fatah, before its takeover of the PLO, sent Abu Jihad, the man who would eventually head the PLO’s military operations, to China and North Vietnam, where he studied the strategy and tactics of guerilla war; he testified that these visits affected his military thinking for years to come to such an extent that he later preached the need for “a people’s liberation war.”22 It is noteworthy that Fatah translated the writing’s of General Giap into Arabic, as well as the works of Mao and Che Guevara.23 Similarly, the PFLP, which would also merge with the PLO, included the writings of Mao and Giap as part of the military training of their fedayeen in the late 1960s.24


People’s War: Military Operations as an Adjunct to Politics

According to Stefan Possony, a highly influential American strategist, a people’s war is a “clash of societies” which includes both political and military dimensions, having violent and non-violent manifestations. Possony had a significant influence on President Ronald Reagan, through his identification of the strategic vulnerabilities of the Soviet Union and how they could be exploited (see Appendix). His insight was that a “people’s war is a political conflict, with military operations an adjunct to politics.”25

The means and methods of a people’s war are probably the finest available for asymmetrical warfare, which enable an insurrectionary movement to fight against a militarily superior adversary. It is a matter of vital importance that Israeli policy-makers understand its principles and operative doctrine, because it is this type of war which the Palestinian Authority has been waging against Israel. The signing of the Oslo accords brought no break with the Palestinians’ violent past, but rather there was a distinct continuity of thought, goals, and tactics. In this discussion, special attention will be devoted to the subject of people’s war and the evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each side.26


The Historical Background of a People’s War

In order to understand the nature of a people’s war, it is necessary to describe its origins and development. The doctrine of people’s war rests on a foundation of Soviet military theory to which Asian thinkers added their own innovations and refinements. The successful application of this doctrine ultimately resulted in the victory of the Chinese Communists over the Nationalist Chinese and the birth of the People’s Republic of China. A generation later, Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, who defeated both the French and the Americans, made his own contributions.

Harriet Fast Scott and William F. Scott have analyzed Soviet (Marxist-Leninist) military theory and its special terminology.27 This body of thought provides a structured ideological framework that binds the main political objective to its military implementation. In Soviet theory, the broadest category of basic thought, called “doctrine,” forms the ideological foundation from which policy and implementation are derived.28 Although this system of structured thought first was set in place in the early 1920s, it served as the basis of military theory even after the Soviet Union became a superpower with a large conventional and nuclear capability. While Soviet communism may not be a world force today, the legacy of its military doctrine is alive and well. The Soviet Unified Military Doctrine, which also reflects the influence of German military thought,29 runs on two tracks: political and military, with the political taking precedence over the military. Its major political objective, it should be recalled, was the victory of communism over capitalism.

When, in the 1920s, the Soviet Union exported this model of military doctrine, it was based on the idea of mobilizing the support of the urban proletariat. This approach did not work in China where this population group was very small, and the Nationalist government (KMT-Kuomintang), which had the advantage of a well-trained conventional army (with German advisors), was generally able to hold the important cities. After suffering serious losses in Hunan in August and September 1930, Mao Tse-tung made the “single most vital decision in the history of the Chinese Communist Party.” He dropped the line laid down by Moscow in favor of a new approach.30 Unable to confront his adversaries by conventional means, Mao Tse-tung decided to mobilize the peasants, move the war to the countryside, and preserve his forces through mobility and retreat.

Mao advocated prolonged war because “there was no other reliable way to weaken and exhaust a stronger opponent.”31 Here, the human dimension becomes paramount. Good strategy and tactics would compensate for relative weakness, and the contribution of a talented general could tip the balance. In contrast, the tendency in the West has been to consider military advantage in the form of hardware and firepower, which is not always a reliable indicator of real strength.32 Lin Piao (1907-1971), who until his death was Mao’s designated successor, further developed the idea of people’s war by advocating the application of its principles on a global scale, namely, laying siege to the world’s capitalist countries by taking over the world’s countryside. According to this view, North America and Western Europe represented the cities of the world, and Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the world’s countryside.33

The Vietnamese, particularly under General Giap, remained within this basic tradition of guerilla warfare but were more pragmatic. Giap did not automatically accept the Chinese approach and ideological constraints.34 In a retrospective interview, he stated that guerilla warfare was only one aspect of people’s war. In his personal understanding of the term, “A people’s war is characterized by a strategy that is more than simply military. There is always a synthesized aspect to the strategy, too. Our strategy was at once military, political, economic, and diplomatic, although it was the military component which was the most important one.”35

One of Giap’s innovations was the manipulation Western news media in a manner that turned the freedom and vulnerability of open democratic societies to his advantage. He grasped that the impact of events viewed through the prism of the media could be decisive. For example, in 1954, only four percent of the French forces in Indochina were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. However, the shock of this setback in metropolitan France – as distinguished from the event itself – shattered domestic support for the French war effort.36 Although the 1968 Tet Offensive was a Vietcong defeat, and American casualty rates were relatively low, its manipulation in the American media had a strategic impact very similar to that of Dien Bien Phu.37 Further, General Giap adeptly utilized the medium of television (with the aid of eager American helpers) in order to undermine domestic American support for the Vietnam War. He said: “In 1968 I realized that I could not defeat 500,000 American troops who were deployed in Vietnam. I could not defeat the Seventh Fleet, with its hundreds of aircraft, but I could bring pictures home to the Americans which would cause them to want to stop the war.”38

In this review of Marxist-Leninist military thought, we have noted the precedence of political over military doctrine. As noted above, the major political objective of the system that produced this type of warfare had been to ensure the victory of communism over capitalism. However, in 1988, the Soviet Union officially decided to repackage and disguise its major political goal. The faithful would no longer speak of the “class struggle.” Instead, they would use a deceptively elegant new term for the same thing, the “struggle for peace.”39


People’s War and Its Operative Doctrine

In 1970, Stefan Possony described the characteristics of people’s war as follows:40

  • People’s war is a long drawn-out or protracted revolution. Its unavoidable duration is exploited by guerillas to bankrupt their opponents politically, morally, and economically.41…The most practical objective of guerilla warfare is to create chaotic conditions in the target country and prevent effective, efficient, and good government.

  • The key concept of a people’s war is to build up dual power by means of guerilla warfare. Dual power means the existence of two sets of power institutions, authorities, and government-like administration functioning side-by-side competitively.

  • The transition of power from government No. 1 to government No. 2 is to be accomplished by withdrawing the loyalty of the population from the pre-existing government and bestowing it on the emerging government, while simultaneously providing it with legitimacy. This transition constitutes the revolutionary process.

  • Victory means that one or the other government prevails. Defeat means that one or the other government (or regime) disappears [author’s emphasis]. The transfer of loyalty depends in large measure upon the success of violent guerilla operations.42

Some of its tactical methods include:

  1. The use of propaganda to deprive its enemy of its legitimacy and outside support….Propaganda, especially if it is attended by conquest, is the prime method through which legitimacy is withdrawn and attributed to a new power elite.43 In this context, propaganda has a special purpose: “As the war appears and disappears from the news but for years continues to rage, world public opinion is being conditioned to accept rebel victory as inevitable and pre-destined.”44
  2. Destroying the enemy’s economy.
  3. Promoting anti-militarism and encouraging defections from the army, stimulation of desertion and mutiny.45
  4. Mass terror as a “psychological” operation to weaken the enemy’s forces and morale, and strengthen the guerillas.46
  5. Securing intelligence and denying intelligence to the enemy.47


Beyond these specific tactics, there are several basic principles which an insurgent group must observe: 1) staying in existence; 2) modifying the pace of hostilities; and 3) securing and maintaining safe sanctuaries and mobility. The foremost aim of an insurgent force, whether it is violent or non-violent, is to avoid annihilation, for which purpose it must avoid visible organization, concentration, and battle. The insurgent force is not interested in speed, but in long-term survival and growth – it must reckon in decades.48 With regard to the pace of hostilities, “the war goes away and returns. Strategic management can be improved by alternating the centers of gravity, re-escalating and de-escalating, multiple diversions, changes of targets, and through concealment and propaganda.”49


Manifestations of the Palestinian “People’s War”

The present conflict with the Palestinians has the basic characteristics of a people’s war. It is part of the original Phased Strategy. Based on an extended time-frame, its method is to defeat Israel by demoralizing its citizens and undermining its ability to fight, by attacking the rear (civilian society), destroying its economy, and promoting dissension in order to undermine its moral and social cohesion. Therefore, let us devote some attention to the varied effects of a people’s war upon Israeli society and its ability to stand up to this type of insurrection.


The Use of Economic Warfare to Bankrupt an Adversary

While evidence of Israeli economic hardship appears daily in the news media, there is little awareness that the current adversity results only partially from the world economic crisis or local mismanagement, but rather has been caused intentionally. News reports warn of the collapse of the public health system and statistics show the rising number of unemployed. A decade ago, it was assumed that the “peace process” would foster ties of economic interdependence that would establish the foundation of future peace and prosperity. The Palestinian violence that began in September 2000 has had serious economic consequences, including the closing of businesses and factories, the near collapse of tourism, and the ruin of joint investment projects which were designed to provide a livelihood for Palestinian wage earners.50


Terror and Internal Mobilization

According to Possony, “terror is the second most important guerilla operation. Selective terror hits the enemy’s muscles, nerves, and brain. The terrorization of the civilian population as a mass is aimed at achieving cooperation and support, and at obtaining recruits. Mass terror is a ‘psychological’ operation to weaken the enemy’s forces and morale, and strengthen the guerillas.”51

During the implementation of the Oslo Agreements in the 1990s, Israelis frequently complained about incitement in the Palestinian media and the hatred of Israel contained in Palestinian textbooks. From the perspective of a “peoples’ war,” incitement in the media and schools is part of the internal mobilization of Palestinian society for continuing long-term conflict and preparing it to make sacrifices associated with war. Palestinian incitement and schoolbooks were thus indicative of the intent of the Palestinian leadership to wage continuing conflict and were not simply an aberration of the peace process.

In fact, the process was accompanied by continuing terrorism. According to the Israel Defense Forces’ spokesperson, from September 2000 until the end of June 2003, there were 18,000 terrorist events in Israel, including unsuccessful attempts52 – an average of eighteen attempts a day. If the illegal weapons shipments on the captured Santorini and Karine-A ships and other arms deliveries had reached their destinations, the Palestinians would have been able to neutralize the effectiveness of tanks and certain types of aircraft, and duplicate the missile threat under which the Hizballah has placed northern Israel.53 This worst-case scenario represents the real war from which Israelis have been sheltered thus far. While guerilla forces, making use of low technology, can and have scored decisive victories,54 the technological ability of the PA has been steadily improving.

According to plan, the building of a conventional army is the stage which follows guerilla warfare. The people’s wars in China and Vietnam began as guerilla operations, but conventional armies ultimately finished the job. The PLO’s 1974 Stages Strategy was based on the premise that in its final stage the PLO will induce the Arab states to join a wide coalition of conventional armies that will attack and vanquish Israel. This scenario repeated itself years later. Just before the 1982 Lebanon War, the PLO began organizing its units in southern Lebanon into regular military formations, indicating their readiness to shift from guerrilla warfare to conventional military organization.55 These Palestinian formations were to be a part of an Eastern Front coalition including Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. In the 1990s and today, television news programs show the PA forming such an army, this time under the pretext of building a force to fight against terror. The Palestinians have admitted to 39,000 in the Palestinian police, well above the 30,000 limit, and it is probable that the numbers are much higher. The commander of the Palestinian police in the West Bank was the same Haj Ismail who headed the PLO’s military formations in southern Lebanon in the early 1980s. The Americans and Europeans have financed the project, and the CIA has provided expert training that ultimately was and may again be used against Israel in the Palestinian people’s war. (In this respect, the precedent of America’s training of Islamic fighting forces in Afghanistan should be borne in mind.)



The delegitimization of Israel has been a central motif of Palestinian propaganda in international bodies, such as the United Nations, starting with Yasser Arafat’s first address to the UN General Assembly in 1974 and in the campaign to seek UN adoption of the infamous 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution. As mentioned above, the purpose of the propaganda struggle is the ultimate transfer of legitimacy from the State of Israel to the Palestinian state, namely, the process of “replacement.” Indeed, in his first UN address, Arafat systematically attacked the legitimacy of Israel as a “racist entity” that was founded in the “imperialist-colonialist concept.” He then proceeded to talk repeatedly about the legitimacy of the PLO.

This was reminiscent of a much earlier struggle that the Jewish people faced. The Church Fathers developed the principle of supersessionism, with the Church, the “New Israel,” replacing the “Old Israel,” namely, the Jewish people and religion which, according to their teachings, had become obsolete and its covenant, abrogated.56 The “Palestine Covenant,” whose goal is to replace the Jewish state, is a hateful expression of recycled supersessionism. Ironically, while both Protestant and Catholic churches have rejected supersessionism and anti-Semitism, Palestinian agitators and apologists have become eager cultural scavengers. An extension of supersessionism may be found in Palestinian fabrications of a counterfeit historical narrative of the ancient and recent past in order to claim the legitimacy that rightfully belongs to the Jewish people.57

Finally, it was already clear in 1993 that the PLO was going to continue its political war to delegitimize Israel, regardless of any bilateral agreement between the two sides. Within three months of the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993, the PLO renewed its assault on Israel at the United Nations General Assembly with nearly twenty anti-Israel resolutions. For those pursuing a “people’s war” strategy, negotiations are just an extension of continuing conflict and not an opportunity for two peoples to reach a new rapprochement. This process was epitomized at the UN Conference Against Racism at Durban (September 2001), where the supersessionist principle played a role in the larger Palestinian project to delegitimize Israel by eliminating references to the Holocaust and replacing them with Palestinian suffering under Israeli “Nazi-like oppression.”58



While peace movements reflect a legitimate expression of opinion in all democratic societies, the Israeli peace movement was of particular interest to the PLO. Each side, however, viewed the other party very differently. On many occasions, while Israeli peace movements sought to open a genuine dialogue to explore ways of ending the conflict, Palestinian leaders frequently admitted that helping those peace movements was a way of promoting anti-militarism and dividing the society of their Israeli adversaries. Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli Arabs after the outbreak of Palestinian violence, “If you want to help us, do it by providing supplies [to the PA] and by [holding] peace demonstrations with the Israeli peace movements.59


Securing Intelligence and Denying Intelligence to the Enemy

In the conduct of a people’s war, an insurgent group must have excellent intelligence in order to operate effectively. The PLO has displayed resourcefulness in gathering intelligence and acquiring a sophisticated understanding of Israeli society.60 It used Israeli-Arab politicians, like Ahmad Tibi, as advisors to Yasser Arafat. PLO leaders maintain close ties with Israeli NGO’s and former Israeli officials from both the civilian and military sectors. On many occasions, PLO leaders have received advice from these Israelis on how to deal diplomatically with Israeli governments. At the same time, they dealt ruthlessly with Palestinians suspected as “collaborators,” who were frequently executed in public lynchings by groups like the Tanzim, in order to set an example.


Competing Loci of Authority

The PA has endeavored to undermine Israeli sovereignty via competing bodies of authority, most notably in the Arab towns and cities of the Galilee, areas under full Israeli sovereignty.61 Many have become unsafe for Jews and, for reasons of security, government agencies frequently cannot provide services.62 The wave of illegal construction in Jerusalem, organized in part by the Palestinian Authority, with the Saudis paying for the legal defense of the offenders, represents a similar challenge.63 Orient House served as the PA’s quasi-municipal offices in eastern Jerusalem, enjoying a type of immunity and protected by its own guards, until closed by the Israeli government. It gave the PA a semi-official presence where foreign dignitaries could be received and contacts with Israeli sympathizers maintained.


Establishing Secure Sanctuaries and Building Mobility

The IDF has made considerable efforts to prevent the enemy from achieving secure sanctuaries and building mobility. Accordingly, the closing of Dahaniya Airport and the Port of Gaza, erecting the barrier fence, reducing the number of VIP passes for PA dignitaries, as well as the extensive use of roadblocks, have been and are crucial for Israel’s security. Such defensive measures were not intended to inconvenience the civilian population but became necessary when Palestinian leaders did not honor their obligations.


Israel’s Response to the “People’s War”

While Israel has done remarkably well in facing the military challenge, its political performance has been lacking. Israel does not have a well-developed political tradition with regard to the conduct of affairs of state, including foreign affairs, often following Moshe Dayan’s dictum that “Israel does not have a foreign policy. It has only a defense policy.”64 Unfortunately, its enemies have taken advantage of this vulnerability. Its major weakness results from the absence of well-defined political goals and political talent to match its military capability. This situation derives in part from an out-dated view that security is primarily a military matter. Thus, while the PLO waged its struggle according to a “people’s war” paradigm, which gave primacy to the political struggle with Israel over its terrorist campaign, Israel responded only militarily to the PLO until the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. After 1993, the Israeli government embraced the PLO because it declared its renunciation of terrorism, even though it was still committed to its program of political warfare against the State of Israel.

During the two decades which preceded Oslo, the PLO, with the coaching of socialist politicians such as Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria, worked purposefully to acquire the attributes of political respectability. On November 13, 1974, Yasser Arafat addressed the UN; in July 1979, Kreisky received Arafat in Vienna as a chief of state; and, in December 1988, Kreisky, with the tacit support of the U.S. State Department, organized a meeting for Arafat with several American Jewish leaders in Stockholm.65 After 1993, Arafat became a frequent visitor to the Oval Office and in December 1994 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. While Israel’s prestige seemed to improve globally as well, this proved to be only temporary. The moment the PLO created an impasse in the negotiating process, Israel’s diplomatic position worsened, while Palestinian achievements accumulated.

At the same time, Israel’s political posture was weakened by two self-inflicted disabilities: the decision to stop defending Israel’s case abroad and to downgrade the traditional relationship with diaspora Jewry. A decade ago, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres formally decided to end whatever information policy Israel may have had.66 As a result of this decision, Israel dropped its weak defenses, while the Palestinians made effective use of the considerable expertise and sophistication they had gained over the years. Seizing this opportunity, they intensified their own aggressive efforts to destroy Israel’s legitimacy by using propaganda as a “method of political warfare.”

Furthermore, the Oslo process resulted in denigrating the support and lobbying efforts of diaspora Jewry. It became conventional wisdom that the diaspora was no longer important for Israel, as leading Israeli author A. B. Yehoshua told American Jews: “We don’t need you.”67 Similarly, Dr. Yossi Beilin of the Foreign Ministry informed an American audience, “You want me to be the beggar and say we need money for the poor people. Israel is a rich country. I am sorry to tell you.”68 This change of attitude showed neglect and contempt and helped erode one of the Jewish state’s traditional pillars of political support. Nearly a decade later, Professor Steven Windmueller described the effects of this program of deconstruction:

Following the Oslo Accords, a [new] reality became significant. A number of Jewish civic and community relations’ organizations began to dismantle the institutional infrastructures that traditionally lobbied for Israel. The effect of these structural changes in the mid-1990s can best be understood in the context of a whole generation of young American Jews unable to effectively articulate the case for Israel to their peers. Possibly more disturbing…is the corresponding decline in the levels of commitment on the part of this generation of American Jews, who are increasingly unwilling to view Israel as an integral component of their Jewish identity and focus for communal responsibility.69

An additional reason for Israel’s political weakness may be related to the heavy representation of former generals in the political decision-making apparatus. Many of these men have neither served an apprenticeship in the civil service, business, academe, nor have acquired the skills, knowledge, experience, and accountability demanded of civilian political leaders. Having spent their adult lives waging war, some retired generals desperately want to conclude their careers as peace-makers, and some have tended to act unilaterally without consulting seasoned and experienced political figures. Occasionally, they have shown a serious disregard for the democratic process.

When dealing with the Palestinian challenge, Israeli policy-makers focused narrowly on military aspects of the threat they faced, like dismantling the terrorist infrastructure or collecting illegal firearms. However, Israeli leaders did not respond to the political challenge that the PLO posed with its continuing use of a strategy of stages. And while Israeli military intelligence repeatedly warned about Arafat’s failure to dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad, until early 2001, any questioning of the PLO’s intentions to reach real peace (as opposed to its sticking to the 1974 Strategy of Stages for Israel’s eventual elimination) was seen as a minority view.70

Over the past decade, the great hope of most Israeli policy-makers has been to reach a settlement with the Palestinians at all costs, to prefer a “bad peace” to a “good war,” even at the price of “painful sacrifices.”71 It seems that they have considered a settlement to be a type of panacea. Further, Israel’s policy, based on short-term improvisation, has not taken into account the likelihood of a “protracted conflict,” while the doctrine of people’s war makes skillful and deliberate use of the dimension of time. As a result, a decade later, Israel’s human and economic capital has been considerably depleted, while the enemy has augmented its political and military strength. By following such a policy, Israel has also been put at a serious disadvantage by forfeiting much initiative to others, while Arafat and his organization have been following a plan and have demonstrated consistency of purpose.72 In this context, Hannah Arendt offers a valuable insight:

It has been one of the chief handicaps of the outside world in dealing with totalitarian systems that it ignored this system and therefore trusted that, on the one hand, the very enormity of totalitarian lies would be their undoing and that, on the other, it would be possible to take the Leader at his word and force him, regardless of his original intentions, to make it good. The totalitarian system, unfortunately, is foolproof against such normal consequences; its ingeniousness rests precisely on the elimination of that reality which either unmasks the liar or forces him to live up to his pretense.73

The role of the United States in Israel’s current predicament must come under consideration. Writing just after the end of the Clinton administration and at the beginning of the Bush presidency, Barry Rubin described American policy which in the short term appears to be neutral, but over the longer term fails to advance the cause of peace and stability in the region:

In terms of long-term strategy toward the region, it is fair to say the United States has remained largely in what may be called a mediation-of-peace-agreements-mode despite abundant evidence that such agreements may not be achievable in the foreseeable future (and, if achieved, cannot be expected to be honored by the leaders with which Israel negotiates).74

The American policy of condemning the “cycle of violence,” claiming to be “even-handed,” and “pressuring both sides,” represents a moral compromise and the propagation of a fiction necessary to keep a bad piece of business going. Although such things are never admitted publicly, the implied price of this approach could well be tolerating some “acceptable level” of Israeli civilian terror victims. The main beneficiary of this approach is the Palestinian Authority and not Israel, for the very basic reason that they are reaping the benefits of a fraudulent transaction. Just as the U.S. pressured Israel to accept Egyptian violations of the armistice agreement after the War of Attrition in 1970, namely, moving missile launching pads closer to the Suez Canal, the American administration has followed this paradigm with the Palestinians in the Oslo era.75


Oslo Gave the Palestinians a Territorial Base

We adopt the experience of another people to our own particular circumstances. The topographical conditions here are not the same as in Algeria or Vietnam. We should not leap beyond the limitations imposed on us by the military, material, and natural conditions, but we can overcome these limitations, and we shall do so if we adapt our strategy to them.
– Yasser Arafat, late 1960s.76

Since its early days, during the “Total Liberation Phase” (1969-1974), the PLO did not have the viable option of waging a sustained guerilla war against Israel. The main accomplishment of the Oslo accords was to give the PLO a territorial base that provided a viable option for waging a sustained guerilla war against Israel for the purpose of achieving its strategic objective. “Victory, in this contest,” it should be recalled, “means that one or the other government prevails. Defeat means that one or the other government (or regime) disappears.”77

In view of this new situation, it is necessary to reevaluate the basic assumptions of Israel’s policy. The fact that Israel faces a people’s war means that there is no “peace process” in the generally accepted meaning of the term, nor is a genuine settlement in prospect. There is no deal to be done. Instead, there is a condition of a protracted, decades-long war whose purpose is to weaken the Jewish state in order to destroy it. Negotiations and occasional pauses take place mainly as a tactic subordinated to the enemy’s greater goal and to enable it to take territory without a struggle.78 As David Makovsky wrote, the consequences of this type of encounter, as in the case of the Taba negotiations, have been to raise the cost to Israel of a settlement in a future negotiation. This is called “moving the concessionary baseline.”79 Such negotiations also provide the other side the opportunity to consolidate gains and the legitimacy of being in the company of respectable partners.

According to this analysis, Israel’s policy-makers have seriously underestimated the determination and ability of the enemy and have viewed relative strength too much in terms of hardware. If one takes into account the opposing strategy with its integrated military and political doctrine, Israel’s advantage seriously weakens. If Israel wants to assure its own survival, it must defeat the enemy’s strategy and its people’s war. Specifically, there is an urgent need to reassess the threat facing Israel and to prevent the enemy from augmenting its strength and implementing its strategy. Israel must meet the challenge by devising its own unified doctrine with clearly defined and stated political and military goals. Some of these should be: 1) to assure the survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and to protect its citizens; 2) to defend its legitimacy proactively, and; 3) to complete the process of integrating the Jewish state into the structure of the democratic world.


Appendix: The Strategic Thought of Stefan T. Possony

This essay has made extensive use of the writings of Stefan T. Possony (1913-1995), a little-known but extremely important American strategist. Born in Vienna in 1913, he received his doctorate there in 1930 in history and economics. He moved to Paris in 1938, the year his first major book, Tomorrow’s War, was published, and he worked as a psychological warfare advisor to the French Foreign Ministry and as an advisor to the French Armed Forces. Advance units of the Gestapo briefly captured him when Paris fell, but he escaped, fleeing across the Pyrenees and then to the United States in 1940, where he initially worked at Princeton University alongside Einstein at the Institute for Advanced Studies. Possony studied a broad a range of twentieth-century problems, including communism, psychological warfare, and strategic targeting.80 During the Second World War he was aware that Nazism would be defeated, and that communism was the next challenge. He played a key role in the process of influencing Emperor Hirohito to agree to Japan’s surrender, thus overruling the military caste of Imperial Japan. While Director of International Studies and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he was affiliated from 1961, his ideas of space-based systems of anti-missile defenses and the use of directed-energy weapons from space caught the imagination of then Governor Ronald Reagan of California, who adopted them when he was elected president in 1980. (Possony and his coauthor, Jerry Pournelle, a writer of science fiction, published The Strategy of Technology which directly inspired the Strategic Defense Initiative.81) One of Possony’s prot?g?s, Richard Allen, became National Security Advisor to Reagan in 1981. He was the contact for Possony in the White House.82 (White House Chief of Staff and later Secretary of State Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., was another former Possony prot?g?.) President Reagan adopted Possony’s view that the U.S. and the West should use their technological supremacy to work for victory in the Cold War.83 Other Possony ideas are clearly recognizable in the Reagan administration’s comprehensive strategy for the deconstruction of the Soviet Union.84 His analysis of insurgent warfare and communist military doctrine has been of particular relevance here.

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The author wishes to acknowledge the kind help of: Gregory Copley (Defense and Foreign Affairs Publications, the International Strategic Studies Association, Washington, D.C.); Cecil B. Currey (Lutz, Florida); Rivkah Duker Fishman; Manfred Gerstenfeld; Raanan Gissin (Prime Minister’s Office); Amnon Lord; Zvi Marom; Moshe Yegar; Jerry Pournelle (Los Angeles); Michelle Ben-Ami, Librarian, American Jewish Committee, Jerusalem; staff of the American Cultural Center, Jerusalem; and Linda Wheeler, Reference Librarian, Hoover Institution (Stanford, California).

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1. Sun Tzu, Art of War, Samuel B. Griffith, tr. and ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 77.
2. http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0cc40. Between September 29, 2000, and June 1, 2003, Magen David Adom treated a total of 5,456 casualties as follows: 688 killed, 478 severely injured, 685 moderately, and 3,605 lightly injured, among them 11 MDA staff members; http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0ia50.
3. E.g., Arafat’s speech of May 10, 1994, in a Johannesburg mosque. Yossi Melman, “Don’t Confuse Us with the Facts,” Haaretz, August 16, 2002. Also, Yael Yehoshua, “Abu-Mazen: A Political Profile,” MEMRI Special Report 16 (April 30, 2003).
4. Yossef Bodansky, Arafat’s “Peace Process,” ACPR Policy Paper 18 (1977):4.
5. http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP23601.
6. The PA has not held general elections since 1996. The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in Washington on September 28, 1995, specifies in Chapter I, Article III, Paragraph 4: “The Council and the Ra’ees [President] of the Executive Authority of the Council shall be elected for a transitional period not exceeding five years from the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement on May 4, 1994.” It should be noted that in January 1996 Arafat was elected by a majority of 87.3 percent, which was exactly the same percentage as the January 1947 Communist election victory in post-war Poland. After he took power in 1959, Fidel Castro also promised democratic elections in three years.
7. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 2nd ed. (New York: Meridian Books, 1959), p. 378.
8. Hussam Mohammad, “PLO Strategy: From Total Liberation to Coexistence”; http:/pij.org/site/vhome.htm?g=a&aid=4282. See also Gerard Chaliand, The Palestinian Resistance, trans. Michael Perl (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972).
9. Barry Rubin, Revolution until Victory? The Politics and History of the PLO (Cambridge, Mass.: H.U.P., 1994), p. 24.
10. Raphael Danziger, “Algeria and the Palestinian Organizations,” in The Palestinians and the Middle East Conflict, Gabriel Ben-Dor, ed., (Tel Aviv: Turtledove, 1979), p. 348.
11. Ibid.
12. Ibid., pp. 364-365. See particularly the subsection, “Some Diplomatic and Propaganda Techniques,” of Richard Pipe’s chapter, “Some Operational Principles of Soviet Foreign Policy,” in M. Confino and S. Shamir, The USSR and the Middle East (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Press, 1973), pp, 18-20.
13. See Baruch Hazan, “Involvement by Proxy: Eastern Europe and the PLO, 1971-1975,” ibid., pp. 321-40.
14. See Ion Mihai Pacepa, “The Arafat I Know,” Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2002.
15. Neil C. Livingston and David Halevy, Inside the PLO (New York: Morrow, 1990), p. 141.
16. Yuval Arnon-Ohana, The PLO: Portrait of an Organization (Hebrew) (Tel Aviv, 1985), p. 107. “Muhammad A-Sha’ar, PLO representative in Moscow, declared in February 1981, ‘many hundreds of Palestinian officers at the rank of division commanders have graduated Soviet military academies.'”
17. See “Palestinian Leader: Number of Jewish Victims in the Holocaust Might be ‘Even Less Than a Million…’,” MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis Series 95, May 30, 2002; http:memri.org/bin/opener.cgi?Page=archives&ID=IA9502.
18. Abu Iyad [Salah Khalaf] with Eric Rouleau, My Home, My Land, trans. Linda Butler Koseoglu (New York: Times Books, 1978), pp. 65-67.
19. Ibid., 69, and Yossef Bodansky, “Arafat’s ‘Peace Process,'” p. 4. In June 1974, the PLO adopted the “Phases Program/PhasedPlan” in a series of resolutions at a meeting of the Palestine National Council held in Cairo. Bernard Lewis, “The Palestinians and the PLO; A Historical Approach,” Commentary 59 (January 1975):45, 48.
20. Abu-Iyad, p. 69, as quoted by Yossef Bodansky, p. 4.
21. Al-Dustur (Amman, Jordan), April 14, 1970, quoted by Cecil B. Currey, Victory at Any Cost; The Genius of Viet Nam’s Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap (Washington: Brassey’s, 1997), p. 277. See also Joseph Farah, “Vietnam All Over Again in Mideast?” WorldNetDaily, December 17, 2002; http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30025.
22. See entry of Khalil al-Wazir in Guy Bechor, ed., The PLO Lexicon (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 1991), p. 90. See also “Biography of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad),” Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, Philip Mattar, ed. (New York: Facts on File, 2000).
23. Y. Harkabi, “Al Fatah’s Doctrine,” in The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, eds. (New York: Penguin Books, 1991), p. 395.
24. Chaliand, The Palestinian Resistance, p. 158.
25. Stefan T. Possony, People’s War; The Art of Combining Partisan-Military, Psycho-Social, and Political Conquest Techniques (Taipei: World Anti-Communist League, 1970), p. 85 [Hereinafter, P.W.].
26. See Sun Tzu, Art of War, p. 84, “Offensive Strategy,” verse 31: “Therefore I say: ‘Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.'”
27. Harriet Fast Scott and William F. Scott, eds., The Soviet Art of War; Doctrine, Strategy and Tactics (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1982. For a modern and recent history of the Soviet Union, see Mikhail Heller and Alexandr Nekrich, Utopia in Power; The History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Present, trans. Phylis B. Carlos (New York: Summit Books, 1986).
28. Marshal A. A. Grechko has defined military doctrine as “an officially accepted system of views in a given state and its armed forces on the nature of war and methods of conducting it and on preparations of the country and army for war.” Scott, Soviet Art of War, p. 4.
29. Mikhail V. Frunze (1885-1925), who became chief of staff of the Red Army in May 1924, had described the Unified Military Doctrine in a publication that first appeared in June 1921. Scott reports that he had been strongly influenced by the writings of the German generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, ibid., p. 28. See also, “Some Soviet Techniques of Negotiation,” in Philip E. Mosely, The Kremlin in World Politics; Studies in Soviet Policy and Action (New York: Vintage, 1960), p. 40. Mosely wrote in 1951: “Through Lenin and Stalin, Soviet thinking has fully absorbed the Clausewitz maxims that national strength and strong alliances determine the effectiveness of national policy in peace, and that in war one must never lose sight of the aims of policy for which it is waged.”
30. Mao Tse-tung on Guerilla Warfare, trans and ed., Samuel B. Griffith (New York: Praeger, 1961), p. 16-17, and Art of War, p. 47. Mao and Chu Teh, with whom he founded the Red Chinese Army, made this decision together.
31. Stefan T. Possony, A Century of Conflict (Chicago: Regnery, 1953), p. 235. With regard to this principle, Mao drew on the thinking of Mikhail V. Frunze and Mikhail N. Tukhachevsky, Marshal of the Soviet Union (1882-1945).
32. Scott, Soviet Art of War, p. ix.
33. “Lin Piao on “Strategy and Tactics of a People’s War” (1965), in Martin Ebon, The Life and Writings of China’s New Ruler; Lin Piao (New York: Stein and Day, 1970), pp. 228-29. This passage may be found in Lin Piao’s key policy statement, “Long Live the Victory of the People’s War!” (1965). Sun Tzu had written: “The worst policy is to attack cities. Attack cities only when there is no alternative.” Art of War, p. 78. See also Conor Cruise O’Brien’s comments on Lin Piao, On the Eve of the Millenium; The Future of Democracy Through an Age of Unreason (New York: Free Press, 1994), p. 138.
34. Currey, Giap, pp. 319-21. For historical background, see Ho Chi Minh, “The Party’s Military Work among the Peasants; Revolutionary Guerilla Methods,” in Armed Insurrection, A. Neuberg [pseud.], ed. (New York: St. Martin’s 1970), pp. 255-71. This title was first published in 1928 as Der bewaffnete Aufstand.
35. “Interview with Vo Nyugen Giap, Viet Minh Commander,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/peoplescentury/episodes/guerillawars/giaptrasnscript/html.
36. Currey, Giap, p. 204.
37. “While in Hanoi, Abu-Iyad was also educated about the strategic impact of the 1968 Tet Offensive – a major military defeat of the Vietcong and North Vietnam that was transformed into a major strategic victory of Hanoi through the sophisticated exploitation and manipulation of Western, particularly American, media and public opinion.” Yossef Bodansky, “Arafat’s ‘Peace Process,'” p. 4.
38. Raanan Gissin, “Low Intensity Conflict with High Resolution: Can We Win?” Justice 31 (March 2002):15-16.
39. David Binder, “Soviet and Allies Shift on Doctrine,” New York Times, May 25, 1988.
40. Stefan T. Possony, People’s War.
41. Ibid., p. 86.
42. Ibid., pp. 87-88. “In this sense, a people’s war is less a seizure of power than a building of revolutionary power and the gradual weakening, perhaps the destruction, of the anti-revolutionary establishment, notably its armed might” (ibid., p. 39).
43. Ibid., p. 44. For background information on the subject of propaganda, see E. H. Carr, “Propaganda in International Politics,” Oxford Pamphlets on World Affairs 16 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1939); and Philip M. Taylor, “Propaganda from Thucydides to Thatcher,” http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ics/arts-pt1.htm.
44. P.W., p. 44.
45. Anti-militarism includes breaches of military discipline, disobedience, desertion, and mutiny, ibid., p. 34.
46. Ibid., p. 21. See Richard Pipes, “Some Operational Principles of Soviet Foreign Policy,” pp. 13-15.
47. Ibid., p. 22.
48. Stefan T. Possony, Waking up the Giant (New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1974), pp. 679-80. “All the guiding principles of military operations grow out of the one basic principle: to strive to the utmost to preserve one’s own strength and destroy that of the enemy.” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, vol. 2 (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1967), p. 81.
49. P.W., p. 45.
50. Amos Harel, “Major General Yaakov Orr,” Haaretz, July 13, 2001. See J. S. Fishman, “The Broken Promise of the Democratic Peace: Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 477, May 1, 2002.
51. P.W., p. 21. “Propaganda is indeed part and parcel of ‘psychological warfare’; but terror is more. Terror continues to be used by totalitarian regimes even when its psychological aims are achieved; its real horror is that it reigns over a completely subdued population….Propaganda, in other words, is one and possibly the most important instrument of totalitarianism for dealing with the non-totalitarian world; terror, on the contrary, is the very essence of its form of government.” Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 344.
52. “Zochrim et Mitchell Techilah?” [“Remember Mitchell at the Start?”] Mekor Rishon, June 27, 2003 (Hebrew).
53. During the Oslo years, the Palestinian leadership was in material breach of the military clauses of the interim agreement, seeking to import weaponry like SA-7 shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles and manufacturing Qassam rockets. The Karine-A weapons ship contained a ton and a half of highly potent C-4 explosives, long ranger mortars (120 mm), and 20 kilometer-range katyusha rockets (122 mm). Dore Gold, “Defensible Borders for Israel,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 500 (June 15-July 1, 2003).
54. “For the remainder of his life, Giap would laugh at a small joke which Ho Chi Minh made about the outcome of the battle. ‘At Dien Bien Phu,’ Ho chuckled, ‘Giap lost not a single tank or airplane.'” Currey, Giap, p. 204.
55. “In the four years leading up to the 1982 war [in Lebanon], it [the PLO] proceeded to upgrade its forces in the south in terms of weaponry and numbers, and transformed them into something closer to a regular army.” Rashid Khalidi, Under Siege: PLO Decision-Making During the 1982 War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).
56. For a definition of supersession, see James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword; the Church and the Jews (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), p. 633, n. 1.
57. On anti-Jewish teachings of Palestinian Christian leaders, see Yitzhak Sergio Minerbi, “Palestinian Christians Ignite Religious Controversy” (Hebrew), Kivunim Hadashim 8 (April, 2003):70-82.
58. Anne Bayefsky, “Terrorism and Racism: The Aftermath of Durban,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 468 (December 16, 2001).
59. “Abu Mazen in Gaza: Stop the Armed Operations,” MEMRI, Special Dispatch 449, December 2002.
60. For an example of the activities of Peace Now in monitoring and reporting on Jewish settlement activity, see Aviv Lavie, “No Mountain Too High,” Haaretz Magazine, June 20, 2002, pp. 8-11.
61. See, for example, Etgar Lefkovits, “Five Held for Trying to Reestablish Jerusalem PA Security Force,” Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2003.
62. Moshe Katz, “It is Also Dangerous Here,” Mekor Rishon, Yoman Shevi’i, July 4, 2003 (Hebrew).
63. Justus Reid Weiner, “The Global Epidemic of Illegal Building and Demolitions: Implications for Jerusalem,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 498 (May 15, 2008).
64. Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Siege (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986), p. 508.
65. Sten Anderson disclosed Kreisky’s role in altering Swedish policy in favor of the PLO at the end of 1974 and in involving American Jews in talks with Arafat. Moshe Yegar, Neutral Policy – Theory versus Practice; Swedish-Israeli Relations (Jerusalem: W.J.C., 1993), pp. 153-54.
66. Yoram Hazony, The Jewish State; The Struggle for Israel’s Soul (New York: Basic Books, 2000), p. 66.
67. Jerusalem Post, April 5, 1996, quoted by Steven T. Rosenthal, Irreconcilable Differences? (Hanover: Brandeis, 2001), p. 175.
68. Washington Post, February 20, 1994, quoted by Rosenthal, ibid.
69. Steven Windmueller, “September 11: Its Implications for American Jewry,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 492 (February 16, 2003). One result of the process described above was that many young Jewish individuals possessing a strong sense of social justice and idealism but weak ties of identification were left vulnerable to the approaches of pro-Palestinian groups which targeted them for recruitment.
70. Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi, “Understanding the Breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations,” Jerusalem Viewpoints 486, September 15-October 1, 2002. In the original Hebrew version of this article, that appeared in the IDF military affairs journal Maarakhot 383, May 2002, it is noted that this analysis was written on the basis of an IDF document called “The Other View,” which the author prepared in August 2001.
71. In contrast, Harold Nicolson, author and diplomatist who was a member of the British Delegation in Paris after World War I, wrote, “it is a bad peace which settles nothing. We must see to it, therefore, that at the end of this war [WWII] we do not make a bad peace. We must learn from past experience.”Why Britain is at War (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1940), p. 113.
72. “In a post-Camp David whirlwind diplomatic tour, Arafat stopped in Jakarta on August 16, 2000, where Indonesia’s former president, Abdurrahman Wahid, urged him to end the conflict with Israel. The reply? ‘Arafat confessed to me that in a hundred years, Israel will disappear. So why hurry to recognize it?'” Yediot Ahronot, May 10, 2002, as cited by David Makovsky, “Taba Mythchief,” The National Interest (Spring 2003):128.
73. Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 384.
74. Barry Rubin, “From One U.S. Administration to the Next; Similarities and Differences in the Push for Arab-Israeli Peace,” AJC Israel/Mideast Briefing (July 3, 2001).
75. Dr. Steven Plaut, “The Third Worst Middle East War,” (November 27, 2003); http.//chronwatch.com/features/contentDisplay.asp?aid=961.
76. Danziger, “Algeria and the Palestinian Organizations,” p. 348.
77. P.W., pp. 87-88.
78. “Such negotiations are not originated by revolutionists for the purpose of arriving at amicable arrangements with the opposition. Revolutions rarely compromise; compromises are made only to further the strategic design. Negotiation then, is undertaken for the dual purpose of gaining time to buttress a position (military, political, social, economic) and to wear down, frustrate, and harass the opponent.” Griffith, Mao Tse-tung on Guerilla Warfare, Introduction, p. 16.
79. David Makovsky, “Taba Mythchief,” pp. 119-29.
80. “His work in the field of strategic targeting was pioneering. Before that, almost all targeting in air warfare was considered a tactical function.” “Stefan Possony; Pioneered Air War Strategy in WWII,” Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1995.
81. “American defense policy at the time was one of deterrence by the development of overwhelming offensive force which would make either side think twice before deploying it. This was appropriately named mutually assured destruction (MAD). Possony argued that this strategy was insufficiently flexible. ‘To stay ahead in the decisive technological war,’ he wrote, ‘The United States must strive for a real option of assured survival.’ Though little of the necessary technology then existed, Possony postulated the very anti-missile ideas including high-energy laser beams fired from satellite battle stations in orbit, advanced satellite radars to give early warning, and a range of decoys which were later to be developed.” “Stefan Possony” (obit.), The Times, May 2, 1995.
82. Personal communication, Jerry Pournelle, May 18, 2003.
83. Martin Walker, “Dark Dreamer of Star Wars; Stefan Possony” (obit.), Guardian, May 5, 1995.
84. See, for example: Peter Schweizer, Victory; The Reagan Administration’s Secret Strategy that Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994).

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Dr. Joel Fishman is an Associate of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. This essay contains some findings from his project, Democracy in Israel, carried out under its auspices.

About Dr. Joel Fishman

Joel Fishman received his doctorate in modern European history from Columbia University in the City of New York. He received a post-doctoral fellowship at the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation where he carried out pioneering work on the postwar era in the Netherlands. More recently, he has published on political warfare, incitement to hatred and violence, and political anti-Zionism. Fishman is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs and editor of the Jewish Political Studies Review.