What was taken by force can only be regained by force

Israel only understands force. Its army withdrew from Lebanon (Twice) because it could not defeat Hizbollah.

We should opt for resistance even if it will take many more years before we can liberate our land. Israel will eventually understand it can not continue to hold to the occupied Arab lands by force.

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Israeli counter-arguments to above objection


It has been argued by many, Syrians, Israelis and other parties who take interest in this conflict, that opting for peace is a strategic decision. If it is decided, it will be because the alternatives are worse.  A constant threat of war.  An ongoing antagonism.  There is always opposition to strategic decisions. Attempts to end war or conflicts have always met this charge. "Our enemies understand only violence." It is almost a tautology to say that enemies are those with whom you deal by force, but it is equally true that enemies are those with whom you make peace.

This objection sounds familiar because we Israelis have heard it from our own demagogues. It is heard about Syria. It is heard about Palestinians and it was heard about Egypt when Sadat and Begin made a strategic decision 30 years ago. Those who said it were wrong.

That peace came also from a history of violence. Otherwise, it would not have been necessary.  However, neither country was coerced by the threat of immediate force. They did, of course, act under the fear of future wars.

That peace, between Israel and Egypt, has not yet become friendship, but it is not valueless. It has been largely respected by both countries. Since its signing, neither country fears the other.  Force has ceased to be the sole instrument of communication, yet messages are still, occasionally, understood.


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Syria has already tried “resistance”, by supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. It has gotten her no closer to the Golan, only farther.

In this day and age, when Syria cannot fight Israel with its weaker army, if it chooses to use force it will likely be with its SCUD missile arsenal. If SCUDs begin showering Israeli towns and cities, it may well be perceived by Israelis as a real existential threat, and Israel’s response will be very harsh. Syria will lose much more than Israel, and there is no guarantee that after the international community intervenes, a process will begin that will culminate in the return of the Golan. If anything, perhaps it will highlight Syria’s weaknesses further, and decrease her chances of retrieving the Golan.

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5 Responses to “What was taken by force can only be regained by force”

  1. 6
    Ghassan Karam, Professor, Pace University wrote:

    The objection , as stated, is not logical. I can only assume that the objective is to get back the land and as a result if the only two options are either a peace agreement or a war then why would anyone choose war? It would be irrational by any measure to opt for the more expensive means in order to arrive at the same end.

  2. 5
    Anas Qtiesh, Blogger, N/A wrote:

    @Ghassan Karam
    I believe the objection is based on the belief that Israel is not interested in returning the Golan to Syria. Israeli media has demonstrated several times that they don’t see any value in withdrawing from Golan, hence comes this objection. Of course, Syria is not interested in war and would in fact be the bigger loser out of any war, but this objection arises from the perception that the Israelis are not willing to play ball.

  3. 5
    Bernard Sidi, Organization of Jews in Bulgaria wrote:

    The disengagement from the Sinai and the peace deal between Israel and Egypt alone should make this argument false. Furthermore, it is impossible for the current state of the Syrian army to mount a successful assault on Israel and thus retake the Golan. And that is the reason why Syria supports organizations like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, both of which have no real chance of ever forcing Israel to withdraw form the Golan, nor is that their main goal. If Syria should stop supporting the above mentioned organizations and shows the same willingness to negotiate as Egypt did some 30 years ago then, given the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is logical to assume Israel would withdraw from the heights. There is only one historical example of such a peace deal and the current pro-Syrian argument is contrary to the results of Mr. Sadat’s actions.

  4. 9
    Brad Allen, Researcher, History of the Mid-East wrote:

    Syria can easily take the Golan Heights in a military operation. This is not as complex as many think. In 1973 Syria was able to take the heights but could not hold on to them as Israel resorted to unconventional means to retake them. The Syrians need to learn to fight a war like Israel fights, no rules.

    Taking the heights is not the issue, fighting a prolonged war to hold on to them is the question. Israel will not fight in the Golan, it will fight in Damascus and other Syrian cities to force the Syrian army to retreat. Israel will resort to hitting the infrastructure and civilian targets to make holding on to the heights too expensive and the Syrians may be forced to withdraw again to save the rest of their country.

    Is Syria willing to take the war all the way to recover the Golan. Is Syria willing to sacrifice bombs on Damascus to recover the heights, do the Syrians have the stamina to withstand the destruction that Israel will not hesitate to inflict on Syria to force them to withdraw.

    There is a reason why Syria has invested heavily in Missile and Rocket technologies. And there is a big reason why Syria is investing in arming Hizballah and courting Iran. Alone, Syria is weak, abandoned by its Arab allies in the middle east, Syria is forced to seek other means to build up its confidence and credibility as a player to reckon with. In effect, Syria is rewriting the rules. Someday the balance will tip just enough and Syria will gamble. It has no choice. As Ehud Barak stated a while ago ” we will fight them and then we will sit down with them and talk about the same things”.

    The question is not whether Syria can invade and take back the Golan, the question is at what price.

  5. 11
    Noam Bec, N/A, N/A wrote:

    The question of force is dark and mysterious. It concerns deep underground currents that deal with honor, pride and revenge. All I know is that the only two Arab leaders who managed to get what they want from Israel were president Sadat and King Hussein. Chairman Arafat was almost there but then blew it.

    The simple and easy way to get the Golan heights back would be for President Assad to get on a plane and fly to Ben Gurion airport or invite Netanyahoo to Damascus . Such a move will be welcomed by a vast majority of the Israelis, and Syria will have the Golan back in 3 weeks – no drop of blood shed.

    As long as Assad plays hard to get, and double talks about peace and war at the same time – no one in Israel will offer him anything.

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