Donald Trump, as leader of the free world, inherits the job of proposing the method that will bring “Middle East Peace.” Lucky guy! Every President for many years has focused their “solution” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The most recent episode, as you are likely aware, was to stop Israeli settlement in the West Bank by the outgoing Obama administration.
However, no one ever seems to question the premise. Mr. Bret Stephens has written an interesting piece that Mr. Trump, Mr. Tillerson, and everyone at the State Department should consider.
[Source: On Palestinian Statehood, by Bret Stephens]
For the moment let us leave aside the question of whether or not Palestinians should have their own state. I think they should but I assure you that the State Department will not consult me.
Instead let’s ask the question, as Mr. Stephens posits it, will the “two-state-solution” actually BE A SOLUTION and bring peace. We have been hearing about the “two-state-solution” since I have been able to read a newspaper – and sadly I have been able to read for a very long time. Ask even a more basic question: Does anyone ever inquire of the Palestinians what they would rather do? A June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, and as reported by Mr. Stephens, found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state. Interesting, but the Palestinian leaders will NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN.
[From the Stephens article] Diplomats from some 70 countries assembled in Paris for another Mideast conference, intended to preserve the two-state solution…
The question is: For what? Climate change aside, the cause of Palestinian statehood is the central obsession of contemporary global politics. It’s also its least examined assumption. Would a Palestinian state serve the cause of Mideast peace? This used to be conventional wisdom, on the theory that a Palestinian state would lead to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors…
Today the proposition is ridiculous. No deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah is going to lift the sights of those now fighting in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Nor will a deal reconcile Tehran and its terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to the existence of a Jewish state…
There are many peoples seeking “statehood.” These include Assamese, Basques, Baloch, Corsicans, Druze, Flemish, Kashmiris, Kurds, Moros, Native Hawaiians, Northern Cypriots, Rohingya, Tibetans, Uyghurs and West Papuans — all of whom have distinct national identities, legitimate historical grievances and plausible claims to statehood?
Seriously, have you even heard of most of these peoples and could you give a reasonable explanation of their national interests? I couldn’t!
If so, what gives Palestinians the preferential claim? Have they waited longer than the Kurds? No: Kurdish national claims stretch for centuries, not decades. Have they experienced greater violations to their culture than Tibetans? No: Beijing has conducted a systematic policy of repression for 67 years, whereas Palestinians are nothing if not vocal in mosques, universities and the media.
Lots to think about.
And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.