The recent war in Lebanon has revealed the consolidation of a Resistance Network, in which various political state and non-state actors promote a radical agenda through strategic, cross-boundary collaboration against Israel.
The Resistance Network conducts itself against Israel according to a political logic that is based on a theory of "Implosion", whereby Israel will not be overthrown militarily, but rather will be pressured on a number of fronts that will ultimately lead to its internal implosion as a state. This logic promotes the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of Israel.
This issue of ReViews cites a variety of quotes from leaders of the Resistance Network (including Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and leaders of Hamas) whose statements demonstrate, the Resistance Movement's political rationale based on the theory of "Implosion" that are carried out through the following means: 1) the basic de-legitimization of Israel, and 2) preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution.
The Resistance Network's Theory of Implosion
The theory of Implosion asserts that Israel's strength in relation to its neighbors will not withstand over time and it will implode as a result of internal pressure, demographic trends, and the erosion of its legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
The following quotes demonstrate the Resistance Network's theory of implosion:
- Ahmadinejad, in a speech given at the recent Holocaust denial conference held in Teheran, stated that "Israel is about to crash;" he added: "when I said the Zionist regime must be wiped off, the Zionist media of course harshly blasted me, but everyone must know that just as the USSR disappeared, this will also be the fate of the Zionist regime, and humanity will be free." (Ynet, 12/12/06).
- Referring to a statement made by Shimon Peres in which he said that the war in Lebanon is a battle of life or death for Israel, Nasrallah stated: "[Peres] certainly does not mean that the resistance in Lebanon will enter Palestine, liberate Palestine, and eliminate and destroy the [Israeli] entity. However, he knows full well that this wonderful Lebanese steadfastness ... will destroy the haughtiness, mighty arrogance, and the spirit on which his entity was established, and consequently, this entity will have no future. This is the story of life and death in the battle Israel is waging now" (BBC Monitoring Middle East, 7/29/06).
- Speaking to a conference in Tehran supporting the "Palestinian cause" against the Jewish state, Ahmedinijad said, "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm" (Ha'aretz, 4/16/06).
- In a speech given to cheering supporters on the heels of Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah declared that "in order to liberate your land, you don't need tanks and planes. With the example of martyrs, you can impose your demands on the Zionist aggressors. It (Israel) has a nuclear weapon and the strongest air force in the region, but in truth, it is weaker than a spider web" (YnetNews, 7/31/06).
1) Basic de-legitimization of Israel
One facet of the resistance network's political rationale is the attempt to de-legitimize the basic tenets upon which Israel was created. This includes political, legal, and diplomatic declarations and actions aimed at terminating the existence of the State of Israel by fundamentally rejecting the Jewish right to self-determination and promoting the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamic state instead of Israel. Recent examples include:
- The Holocaust Denial Conference held in Teheran was used as an instrument to undermine the Jewish entity by denying the legitimacy of the creation and continued existence of the State of Israel. At the conference, Ahmadinejad said: "The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall... I tell you now... the Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated." (Memri, 12/15/06).
- At the Holocaust Denial Conference, Iran announced a plan to establish a world foundation for Holocaust studies which is to be eventually based in Berlin and headed by Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin who said: "The resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel" (Memri, 12/15/06).
- In his letter to the American people, Ahmadinejad wrote: "I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum" (CNN, 11/29/06).
- In an address delivered by Iranian president Ahmadinejad on 10/20/06, he stated: "Today, this community, which was gathered by force, and under false pretexts, and whose members were joined to one another by a paper-clip, in order to create a false illusion of a nation...Today, they have fallen apart. I declare here, loud and clear: With God's grace, this regime has lost the philosophy of its existence" (Memri, 10/27/06).
2) Preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution
An additional method for causing Israel's implosion is to prevent it from achieving a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, including the end of occupation through the two-state solution (see: One-State Threat). In order to promote this goal, the Resistance Network works through the following paths: 1) erosion of the unilateral option; 2) undermining the negotiation option; 3) preventing Israel from a decisive military victory; 4) preparing the ground for the dissolution of the PA.
Erosion of Unilateral Option
The Resistance Network uses terror and rocket-fire as a strategy to prevent Israel from achieving political gains from its unilateral withdrawals from Gaza (8/05) and Lebanon (5/00), and in order to prevent additional unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank. Thus, the continuous firing of Qassam rockets erodes Israel's unilateral option and undermines Israel's ability to end its control over the Palestinians.
- When asked about her plan for further withdrawals from Judea and Samaria, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni remarked: "The plan that I'm talking about must provide an answer to the problem of steep-trajectory firing. That is one of the reasons why I prefer a consensual diplomatic process to a unilateral one. I think that after the disengagement, it's absolutely clear that we cannot simply throw down the keys and leave" (Ha'aretz, 12/29/06).
- As a result of the War in Lebanon and the firing of Qassam rockets, Prime Minister Olmert said that the Convergence Plan "is no longer on the agenda." (Ha'aretz, 8/18/06).
- Uzi Dayan, a former deputy chief of staff, referring to the implications of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit on Olmert's convergence plan stated: "Anyone who cannot provide a military solution to the Qassam rockets or resurrect deterrence cannot carry out the Convergence plan in the West Bank, and that is the broader context in which these events must be considered." (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/30/06).
Undermining Negotiation Option
In order to undermine the negotiation option and in order to prevent political progress towards an agreement, the Resistance Network utilizes a number of tactics including: strategically timing violence to coincide with negotiations or other important political events, refusing to recognize and negotiate with Israel, and posing unreasonable conditions for negotiations (including 1967 borders, Jerusalem as capital, right of return, etc.).
- Khaled Mashal said: "if Israel and the U.S. want to end the bloodshed in the region, they must accede to the Palestinians' demands." Specifically, he said, Israel must withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines, release all Palestinian prisoners, accept a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and dismantle all settlements (Ha'aretz, 12/10/06).
- Speaking to thousands of students at the University of Tehran, Haniyeh stated that Hamas would never recognize Israel or accept past Israeli-Palestinian agreements (Ha'aretz,12/10/06).
- After meeting with Arab League chief, Amr Moussa in Cairo, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh demanded the "establishment of a Palestinian state, with June 4, 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, and right of return of Palestinian refugees. He added, "The right of return of Palestinian refugees is holy, no Palestinian can make concessions about it" (Jerusalem Post, 11/29/06).
- In an interview on Al-Jazeera, Khaled Mashal stated that Hamas would not negotiate with Israel. (Memri, 1/27/06).
Preventing Israel from decisive military victory
The goal of the Resistance Network is not to destroy Israel on the battle field, but rather to prevent Israel from achieving a decisive military victory through the use of guerilla and limited warfare. The ability of the Resistance Network to "survive" against Israeli retaliation erodes Israel's deterrence capability and military image. The following statements illustrate Israel's weakened image:
- Jordan's King Abdullah said during an interview with the Tokyo-based newspaper The Daily Yomiuri that "The Lebanon war last summer showed that Israel is not as strong as we had previously thought, and, justifiably or not, the perception in the Middle East is that Israel lost." (Ynet, 12/26/06).
- In President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Qods (Jerusalem) Day speech, he said: "The existence of this regime [Israel] has been based on military threat, on military strength, and on its myth of invincibility. Today, by the grace of God, this myth has been shattered, with the help of the believers in Palestine, and thanks to the self-sacrifice and the belief of the Hizbullah commanders. Today, the Zionists do not feel safe, not even in their homes, [or] anywhere in the world" (Memri, 11/15/06).
- In a speech given after the war in Lebanon, Nassrallah said: "There is no army in the world that can [force us] to drop our weapons from our hands, from our grip. Today we celebrate a great divine, historic and strategic victory." (The Independent, 9/23/06).
Dissolution of PA
During the Oslo process, the Palestinian Authority was established as the cornerstone for the future Palestinian state. However, the Resistance Network continues to struggle against any temporary solution that may allow Israel to create a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, such as the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The dissolution of the PA undermines the establishment of a Palestinian state, and promotes - in light of demographic trends - the establishment of one Palestinian/Arab/Islamic state in place of Israel.
The continuous threats made by Hamas leaders to dissolve the PA, may be interpreted as signs that the Resistance Network is preparing the ground for such a move (see: Dismantling the PA - an Emerging Trend).
- Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas political bureau, declared that Hamas would not hesitate to dismantle the PA if it sees that it "cannot protect the Palestinian people." He added that Hamas won't hesitate to announce the dismantling of the PA and return to the starting point: people under occupation. (Ha'aretz, 3/19/06).
- Members of high and mid ranks in the Hamas movement called the leadership of the movement to resign from the government, return to the armed struggle and dismantle the PA (Al-Hayat, 6/27/06).
- Representatives of Hamas and the Popular Front in the PLC have decided to convene to discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of dissolving it (Al-Ayyam, 8/7/06 and Al-Jazeera, 8/7/06).
- Speaking to the PLC, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called Palestinian factions to sincerely discuss the future of the PA and the possibility of its dissolution. Chairman of the "Third Way" party and former finance minister, Sallam Faid as well as other representatives in the PLC supported Haniyeh's position. (Al-Hayat, 8/10/06).
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