As rumors swirl around a new peace plan being cooked up by the Trump administration, the Israel Victory Project has quietly, yet forcefully presented a plan of its own to end the conflict.
A new approach developed by the Middle East Forum, a pro-Israel conservative think tank, posits that victory begins at home. Specifically, its initiative, called the Israel Victory Project, argues that the peace process born in Oslo 25 years ago has failed dismally and peace can only be achieved once the Palestinians finally understand that their 100-year war against the right of the Jewish people to self-determination and sovereignty is over and they have lost.
Since its launch in April 2017, the initiative has garnered significant attention both here and in the United States. Events in the Knesset with Knesset Israel Victory Caucus co-chair MK Oded Forer and former head of the Shin Bet Yaakov Peri have attracted more than 100 decision-makers, opinion-shapers, academics. The movement has since expanded its contingent in the Knesset to 26 MKs across Israel’s political spectrum, making it the third largest Knesset caucus.
Although Peri resigned from the Knesset, the group found a worthy replacement in MK Elazar Stern, a former major-gen- eral in the Israel Defense Forces and a head of the Manpower Directorate, and added MK Dr. Avraham Neguise, chairman of the Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, as its new co-chairs.
Members of the US Congress heard IVP’s ideas firsthand, as Forer and Neguise traveled to Washington and addressed congressmen, senior officials and leaders of Jewish and Zionist organizations.
There, they held dozens of meetings with their counterparts in Congress from the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, representing 32 congressmen from both sides of the aisle, pressing the need for a new paradigm to resolving the conflict – which necessitates pressure on the Palestinians. Soon after these meetings, the US administration began taking major steps, such as recognizing Jerusalem and halting funds to UNRWA.
The two caucuses have also worked together on many legislative issues and members of the caucuses were involved in passing the Taylor Force Act in the US and a similar law in Israel, requiring the governments to deduct the amount that the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists from the taxes and funds that Israel and the US respectively collect for the PA.
“The Israel Victory Project has succeeded more than I ever imagined when the Middle East Forum began it in early 2017,” founder and president of the Middle East Forum, and initiator of the Israel Victory Project, Prof. Daniel Pipes said. “In part,this is due to good timing; Palestinian nihilism is prompting more and more observers to seek an alternative to diplomacy.
In part, it results from our carefully not getting into final-status issues, but stopping at Palestinians giving up on their goal to eliminate the Jewish State of Israel. No matter what you think should come next, you are welcome to join the Israel Victory campaign.”
On July 4, the Israel Victory Project will present its thoughts to the public yet again as it will hold a public event in English in cooperation with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center titled “Oslo Failed, Victory Now.” At the event, Prof. Pipes will speak about the Israel Victory Project along with members of Knesset and other decision-makers and opinion-shapers.
According to Gregg Roman, director of the Middle East Forum, with the Israeli-US diplomatic approach most likely doomed to fail yet again, IVP is filling a gap.
“IVP has become a strategic necessity for Israel as it faces growing violent opposition in the region. The Oslo paradigm has clearly failed, and on the eve of a possible Trump peace plan we are providing the Israeli government and the American administration with a viable alternative for when talks break down again, or if they don’t even get off the ground,” he said.
While holding talks and presenting ideas is critical, IVP also recognizes the need to understand the Palestinian, military and diplomatic perspectives, which is why it has held a series of panels at universities around Israel with the participation at the highest level from the world of politics, academia, media and thought-leaders to understand the root of Palestinian rejectionism and what can be done to combat it.
Similarly, it has also conducted a survey examining Israeli attitudes toward the two-state solution, which revealed an overwhelming support for ideas found in the IVP approach.
But for co-chair MK Oded Forer, what Israelis need above all is to understand that previous approaches to peace are passé, outdated and dangerous.
“We need to instill a sense of victory now more than ever as we are being attacked on our northern and southern borders. Victory simply means defeating the enemies’ will to keep on fighting and we are for the first time pushing a far more aggressive stance toward our enemies on our borders and beyond.
“I am delighted that with my American counterparts, the Palestinians have been feeling more pressure over the last year than they have felt since the launch of the Oslo accords 25 years ago,” he added.
To register for the Begin Center event: IVP@meforum.org or 052-862-7034.
This article was written in cooperation with the Middle East Forum.