While the Arab-Israeli Conflict has been going on for 100 years, there have been notable breakthroughs. Peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994, respectively, were watershed moment which were unfortunately followed by the Two Percent War/Second Intifada (2000-2004), 2006 Lebanon War and Gaza Wars of 2008, 2012 and 2014. But in the waning years of the Trump Administration in 2020, Israel forged normalization agreements with several Arab countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Democrats offered a tepid reaction to the new Arab-Israel peace announcements because there was no similar announcement with the Palestinians. However, a review of how Palestinians viewed their Israeli neighbors over the past several years shows interesting movements precisely when such archaic negative thinking is rejected.
Gazans consistently view Israel as an enemy. Palestinian polls show Gazans in favor of armed attacks inside of Israel against Jewish civilians by a majority ranging from two-thirds to over three-quarters, a shocking figure which should alarm the world (imagine if 75% of Pakistanis were in favor of killing civilians in India).
Arabs from the West Bank have a more nuanced attitude towards Israel. Their opinions change depending on current events.
The chart above shows how West Bank Arabs changed their attitudes in regards to launching an armed “Intifada” (blue line) and supporting the killing of Jewish civilians inside of Israel (orange line).
The “Stabbing Intifada” which included running over soldiers and civilians in the summer/fall of 2015 was popular among West Bank Arabs and saw a peak support level for terrorism at 47%.
The Trump administration announcement of its intention to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem saw an uptick supporting terrorism that had been dropping since the 2015 peak.
The lowest support for terrorism occurred after Trump cut funding for UNRWA. UNRWA is much more popular in Gaza where roughly 85% of Gazans get service from the UN agency, compared to only roughly 35% in the West Bank.
Support for Hamas and attacks against Israel spiked shortly thereafter, when Israel botched a military operation in Gaza. Palestinian Arabs widely viewed Hamas as being the victor in the contest, and with that perceived win, support for terror rose.
Support for attacking Israelis among West Bank Arabs declined since then and reached a low with the signing of the Abraham Accords
Interestingly, the Trump years saw a sharp decline in attitudes among West Bank Arabs supporting “lone wolf” attacks against Israeli Jewish civilians. Those four years saw the lowest Israeli death toll from terrorism in modern Israeli history. Meanwhile, the West Bankers support for an armed “Intifada” held somewhat constant.
Ending UNRWA’s mandate and fostering peace with more Arab nations seemingly directly impacts West Bank Arabs abandoning terrorism. Conversely, perceived “wins” for HAMAS in battles with Israel breathes new life for armed conflict. The path towards peace is clear: international peace brings peace while international meddling brings terror.
January 6, 2021 was a spectacle in Washington, D.C. when protesters stormed the U.S. Capital building which was convening to certify the results of the presidential elections. The overrun of the capital came just as Democrats won two Senate run-off seats in Georgia giving the party full control of Congress. One person was shot and killed and members of Congress needed to be escorted to secure rooms as the building was put in lock down. A curfew was imposed on the city.
People bemoan that the United States has become a Banana Republic which cannot peacefully hold elections or have a transition of power. They wonder how a powerful and wealthy country could descend into such chaos. Quickly pointing to President Donald Trump as the instigator for the event is a missed opportunity to expose the root causes of the mayhem. The danger of not exploring it is the casual dismissal of needed changes to society that go beyond January 20th when Trump leaves office and when the world moves passed the pandemic, hopefully in the coming months.
The instigating reasons include the notion that there is theft, the normalization of violent protest and the breakdown of trust and respect. All of this in the backdrop of a broader move to extremist views by many Americans and the relatively newer belief that government actually matters.
People become enraged when they feel deeply wronged, especially when it comes to something being stolen. If rights, liberties, lands or votes are viewed as being stripped away, then people will actively resist such wrongs.
President Donald Trump actively fed the narrative that peoples’ votes were being stolen which was the reason he lost the election, with “Stop the Steal” exclamations. He told his supporters to not even bother voting in the Georgia Senate run-off, as the system wouldn’t let their voices be heard.
This is not new, as Democrats often make claims of “voter suppression.” A conspiracy theory came out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth four years ago when she said as she lost “they were never going to let me be president.” Her backers believed her and held “Not My President” rallies during Trump’s early months in office.
The United Nations also promotes the notion of theft when it comes to Israel. It uses racist language that Israelis are “stealing Arab land” as if dirt can be inherently “Arab” (imagine someone saying that Alabama is inherently “white”). It established a special agency, UNRWA, which promises to enable millions of Arabs to “return” to Israel, actively fueling anger at the Jewish State.
Normalizing Violent “Protests”
The world actively promotes Palestinian “resistance” and normalizes terrorism. The 2% War which began in September 2000 killed and maimed thousands of Israeli civilians is commonly called the “Second Intifada” meaning “uprising,” softening the crimes of the murderers. Left-wing media states that Palestinians are only “resorting to violence” even when all their foundational charters and glorification of terrorists are plain to see.
In the United states, when the Black Lives Matter protests burned cities to the ground the media said that the protesters were “mostly peaceful” despite the videos of massive looting and scenes of charred buildings. The public seemingly gave a pass to the anarchy. When anarchists seized downtown Seattle and declared their alt-left caliphate with a concocted flag, the police were ordered to not engage.
Normalization by definition creates a new normal.
The Loss of Trust and Respect
There has been a continued erosion in the trust of institutions in the United States over several years. Blacks and liberals have distrusted the police for a long time but the nature of distrust has broadened and deepened.
The Internet is a great tool in allowing people to connect and find areas of interest but its use has had broad ramifications for businesses and society.
The personalization capabilities of search engines has allowed people to narrowly focus on topics and points of view that interest them. Such model and migration of eyeballs has shifted advertising dollars from television and newspapers to online giants like Google and Facebook. It forced the legacy media to pivot their businesses from neutral providers of information to highly-biased disseminators of propaganda. The media’s business model became #AlternativeFacts. When the Internet giants then followed suit during this election and shut down opinions which it found offensive, there became a deep resentment to all of the media.
Amid this backdrop, liberal society endorsed the idea that people’s perceptions of race and gender trumped science, undermining the foundation of truth. Even language became “weaponized” as people received daily addenda to the dictionary.
As the foundations of language and science were being shaken, woke society came after America’s founding fathers and institutions.
Kneeling for the national anthem, and the blitzkrieg of tearing down statues of Jefferson and Washington and renaming buildings and institutions were taken by many Americans as not protests but a profound disrespecting of America. The nation’s capital building became a symbol to either defend or mock.
A Move to Polar Extremes and Suddenly Government Matters
Moderate politicians have been forced out of both the Democratic and Republican parties for the past twenty years. The primary system has favored those who can activate a loud loyalist base and targets politicians who have preferred bipartisanship. The test of party purity advanced more extreme right-wing and left-wing politicians, who resemble the talking points of narrow slices of extremist ideology fed on social media and the Internet.
As bipartisan politicians leave Congress and state houses, extremist opinions and laws get enacted. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of the minority as the majority advances its agenda without fear of being voted out of office. When a blue state sees a red state dramatically limiting abortion access, it passes laws allowing for legal abortion up until birth, essentially blessing infanticide.
Extremism doesn’t exist in a vacuum; each side feeds the other. Both sides see that government matters as they adopt extremist laws so it drives people to the polls, with the 2020 presidential election having the biggest turnout in 120 years.
There is not one single thing that needs to be done to become a more perfect union and a more perfect planet. The change of administration and broad vaccinations that are underway will certainly help, but much more needs to be done, as the storming of the U.S. Capital building has been years in the making.
Leaders must stop promoting false narratives of “theft.” While there was certainly a media frenzy against Trump (as there was in 2016), there is no proof of massive voter fraud. Republicans must loudly denounce Trump’s comments, not just Democrats. In other parts of the world, we similarly need to stop inflammatory language such as saying “Arab land” which undermines a chance for peace and the UN promoting the notion that Israel is a “colonialist enterprise.”
Don’t normalize violence and calls for violence. Watching U.S. cities burn and Palestinians blowing up buses and pizza stores and then excusing those actions as “justice” and “natural protest” encourages more violence. Denounce the violence, arrest perpetrators and strip those who call for such actions of any funding.
Build Trust and Respect. It will be difficult for the media to turn back the tide and become neutral providers of information, and social media’s business model is built on giving people what they crave. As such, it is important that the source of all articles and information be included with articles. People understand that Fox tilts right and MSNBC tilts left and can thereby understand that they are only presented with half of the story. Regarding respect, people must understand that revolutions produce counter-revolutions and consider that a casual disrespect of someone or something will likely come full circle.
Embrace the Center. While people encourage the idea of a “wide tent” and talking to the “other side” it must be acknowledged that the fringe must remain on the fringe and not have seats of power. People in the right-of-center and left-of-center can have constructive dialogues of compromise while those at the polar extremes can only battle. If the extreme right or left are aiming to “primary” an incumbent in your district, understand that a vote for such politician will leave them off any committees of significance in the capital.
The capture of the nation’s capital did not happen in a vacuum and it is incumbent on all of us to take actions to reverse course on multiple fronts.
Not long after Donald Trump assumed the presidency of the United States, he made overtures to the Palestinians in the hopes of brokering a peace deal. He invited the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to the White House on May 3, 2017. They discussed tackling terrorism and building economic prosperity for Palestinian Arabs and the promise of working together to build a better future for the region.
Shortly thereafter, on May 23rd, President Trump visited Abbas in Bethlehem and reiterated the need to confront terrorism, “Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded…. The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever. This wicked ideology must be obliterated — and I mean completely obliterated — and innocent life must be protected.”
Just a week later, Trump handed a peculiar gift to Abbas: on June 1 he removed the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
ANO was part of the October 1997 initial class of FTO’s along with HAMAS and Hizbullah. ANO carried out roughly 90 hijackings, assassinations and kidnappings of diplomats, and attacks on synagogues during the period 1974-1992 killing about 300 people to earn the FTO designation. The group targeted people viewed as moderates – including Palestinians – who contemplated the ongoing existence of the Jewish State. When Abu Nidal died in 2002, the group went inactive.
Which begs the question of why Trump took a 15-year defunct group off of the FTO list, right after meeting with Abbas.
Abbas was (and remains) a very unpopular leader among Palestinian Arabs who have wanted him to resign according to each poll taken over the last many years, with 64% holding such opinion at the time of the Abbas-Trump meeting. Abbas polled to come in third in a theoretical three-candidate presidential race at that time!
So Trump threw Abbas a bone to boost his standing among Palestinians, to demonstrate that he could deliver results with the new U.S. President. It was arguably a meaningless gesture as the group was inactive, but it was symbolic in clearing the name of one of the most radical and notorious Palestinian terrorist groups.
In exchange for the Trump pardon of the ANO, Abbas advanced the idea of stopping the pay-to-slay program in which the PA paid the families of terrorists in Israeli jails. The proposal landed with a thud among the Palestinians, with a nearly unanimous 91% of Palestinians standing opposed to messing with the martyr-moolah.
Things then soured at the United Nations.
Abbas met with Trump on September 20, 2017 and voiced optimism regarding the efforts Trump’s team had made with over 20 meetings with Palestinian officials in the first months in office, but he then launched his habitual screed before the United Nations General Assembly with comments about Israeli Jews living in “East Jerusalem” which will “stir religious animosity and may lead to a violent religious conflict,… playing with fire … drag[ing] us into a religious war. This is dangerous, extremely dangerous for you and us,” in a not so subtle threat of a global jihad against Jews.
Abbas further threatened Jews and insulted Trump by declaring at the end of his speech “I salute our glorious martyrs and our courageous prisoners in Israeli jails,” to appease his Arab base. This embrace of terrorism and public challenge of Trump’s demand to stop rewarding terrorism was too much. Less than three months later, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State.
Abbas squandered Trump’s gift of removing an evil jihadist group from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations to gain Palestinian support. Instead, he elected to boost his own jihadi bona fides and stood before the world glorifying Palestinian terrorists who killed Israelis and threatening a global jihad if Jews continued to live in their holiest city of Jerusalem. Trump’s reaction was swift in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas’s political self-immolation continues to burn to this day.
The Israeli-Arab conflict has long been viewed as an intractable problem. The gap between what one side is willing to accept and another willing to give is both wide and deep. Even with such reality, governments around the world verbally encourage direct communication between the parties and state their support of an outcome which both Israelis and Palestinians would endorse.
But those parties then do everything to undermine that very concept.
The United Nations and many Arab countries stated that the basis for a peace agreement was two states along the 1949 Armistice Lines with “East Jerusalem” as the capital, echoing the stated position of one side, the Palestinians. The UN and Arab countries pushed laws that made it illegal for Israeli Jews to live in those lands and promoted a boycott movement of any business that operated east of the Green Line. These were not activities designed to promote Palestinian-Israeli dialogue but to hand the Palestinians everything they sought WITHOUT dialogue.
Further, the Palestinian Authority and Israel had signed agreements specifically stating that Israel controlled most of the “West Bank,” an area known as “Area C” in the Oslo Accords. So not only did the global community hinder dialogue between the parties, it ignored and undermined the agreements already signed by them!
The United States under President Donald Trump moved to reorient the two parties and the global community back to the basic principles of having two parties desirous of peace sit and negotiate treaties which would THEN be accepted by the entire world.
Rather than parrot the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 which gave the Palestinians everything they desired, Trump put forward a plan which Israelis desired. Finally there were two plans made public by third parties which could serve as the starting points for negotiation.
More directly, Trump advanced the Taylor Force Act which precluded handing the Palestinian Authority U.S. money while the PA financed terrorism. Trump also endorsed the Oslo Accords which stated that Area C is Israeli Territory. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited some of those Israeli Territories this week and stated clearly that any product made in those areas should carry the label “Made in Israel,” much the way products made in Puerto Rico and American Samoa are labeled “Made in U.S.A.”
For too long the world gave Palestinians a pass for terrorism and the impression that they will get everything they desire now without negotiating and signing agreements with Israel. The Trump Administration has taken several important actions to refocus the parties towards a roadmap for an enduring peace.
Israel has a long history battling armies and terrorists since the Jewish State declared its independence in 1948. Since September 2000, a total of 1,383 people have been killed by terrorists and many times that number have been wounded.
Yasser Arafat launched the Second Intifada in September 2000 after he was disappointed with only getting 98% of his stated desires from the peace process with Israel. Terrorist attacks became daily occurrences and the death toll and carnage was horrific. In just the last few months of 2000, some 43 people were killed in Palestinian attacks. The toll increased in the following years with 208, 464, 210 and 143 murdered during the years 2001 through 2004, respectively. The reduced number of deaths in the latter years was a direct result of Israel constructing a security barrier to stem the flow of Palestinian killers from areas which Israel had handed to Palestinian Authority rule between 1995 and 2000. The barrier proved critical in saving Israeli lives in the following years.
From 2005 through 2008, a total of 134 people were killed in terrorist attacks, a four year total which was less than 2004 alone. The numbers would continue to improve during the two Obama terms, with 55 fatalities in the 2009 to 2013 period, but escalating to 79 deaths in the second term, with a spike from the stabbing and car ramming intifadas after the peace process under U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry completely failed.
The last four years have been the safest ever.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s strong support for Israel translated into the lowest Israeli death toll from Palestinian terrorism (47 murdered), despite the various dire warnings of the region going up in flames because of the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the move of its embassy to the city and various other pro-Israel initiatives. Year-to-date, two people have been killed by Palestinian terrorists, the lowest one year total ever. The two-year and three-year totals (14 and 28, 2019-2020 and 2018-2020, respectively) are also records for the fewest Israeli deaths from terrorism.
Fatalities from Terrorism
1,025 (Second Intifada)
134 (Security Wall built)
55 (Palestinians hopeful in Obama’s squeeze of Israel)
79 (Failure of Obama peace initiative; Stabbing Intifada)
47 (Trump Administration’s pro-Israel agenda)
Trump administration yields most peaceful period for Israel in decades
President Trump helped make Israel strong which helped make Israel safe. It is a formula worthy of repeating.
Jews are becoming victims again, this time of progressives who see the ashes of Jews as merely fuel for woke causes.
Consider the United Nations Secretary General who was awarded the Theodor Herzl Prize on November 9, 2020 on the anniversary of the pogroms by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) in Germany and Austria in 1938, a night known as ‘Kristallnacht.’ Antonio Guterres said the following at the event:
“This ceremony coincides with the anniversary of Kristallnacht. In remembering that night when so much was broken – synagogues, shops, faith itself – I want to sound a note of hope for repair. It is within our power to emerge from the pandemic with stronger communities, and more cohesive societies, by addressing the inequalities and injustices that have been exposed so starkly.”
Guterres strung together a thought process that started with the killing of Jews and destruction of their property… to today’s pandemic, a virus which attacks everyone… to “inequalities and injustices,” a phrase used by progressives – particularly in the United States – about the need to address income and wealth disparities and the killings of Blacks by police. Guterres did not mention the British White Paper which was initiated on the very same day as Kristallnacht which limited the entry of Jews into Palestine at the request of Palestinian Arabs, directly contrary to the League of Nations (pre-cursor to the UN which he heads) mandate given to the British to facilitate the entry of Jews. That paper enabled the killing of tens of thousands of Jews. Guterres similarly did not mention the many wars Israel has waged for its survival WHILE HE WAS RECEIVING THE THEORDOR HERZL AWARD, named for the founder of modern Zionism. Yet somehow, the head of the UN connected the Holocaust to the current plight of Black Americans.
Guterres wasn’t alone at using the slaughter of Jews as a progressive prop.
“This week, 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened. It was the Nazis warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to a genocide against a whole identity and in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on facts, knowledge, history and truth. After four years of a modern day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team promises a return to norms.”
Amanpour’s rendition of the Holocaust was sanitized of Jewish victims. She decided to cast the most pro-Jewish State president in history, the one who created the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and with a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren as a modern incarnation of Adolf Hitler.
Amanpour has a history of bashing Jews. On January 17, 2019, she claimed that U.S. Congress are slaves to the puppet-masters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. She essentially complimented Rep. Ilhan Omar for calling out the noxious situation.
This is the post-factual media and political world we live in.
Modern-day, post-factual Austria pretends that it was a victim of Nazi Germany and not a willing abettor to crimes against humanity. The slaughter of Jews is recast as a loss to Austria of the cultural and scientific contributions that Jews could have made. We are similarly watching the modern-day, post-factual progressive movement attempt to characterize all anti-Semitism as alt-right (no such thing as Muslim or Black anti-Semitism) and to ignore Jew-hatred in its entirety in a head-long embrace of Victims of Preference, which cannot be Jews as long as Israel exists.
Over the past several years, people on the political left-of-center chose to label those right-of-center as ‘Nazis.’ Actual Nazis, not just ‘depolrables‘ the way Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had called them.
Current Democratic President-elect Joe Biden said that President Donald Trump was “sort of like Goebbels,” referring to Adolf Hitler’s propaganda machine’s mastermind. The left-wing media leveled accusations that Trump welcomed Nazis into the Republican Party. There were slurs by lower level Democratic politicians about Republican rivals in local elections that they were Nazis. And so many American citizens – including employees at Google tasked with fact-checking – condemned conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro (who is an Orthodox Jew), as modern Nazis.
All of this slander despite Trump having an Orthodox Jewish daughter, creating a new position in the State Department to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and being the most pro-Israel president in American history.
Meanwhile, these same leftists simultaneously refuse to call out as Nazis the most anti-Semitic people committed to killing Jews and to destroying the Jewish State.
Palestinian Arabs voted the terrorist group Hamas to a majority of Parliament with the most anti-Semitic foundational charter ever written. The bile in its charter and daily calls to murder Israeli Jews are readily available to see, yet the left-wing media writes that Palestinians are “resorting to violence.” On the rare occasion that the left-wing media labels Hamas as a terrorist group, it calls it a “right-wing” one, even though it is nothing of the sort but a devoutly Muslim one.
We are now at a pivotal time when the Democrats who besmirched those to the right of them as Nazis are about to assume control of the White House. This Biden/Harris ticket said it will reverse many pro-Israel positions taken by the Trump administration. Kamala Harris said the new administration “will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington.” [note that the US consulate was in WESTERN Jerusalem, not East Jerusalem]. The new administration said it is eager to re-enter the JCPOA which gave Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism which has threatened to destroy Israel, a legal pathway to nuclear weapons.
These are all plain and terrifying facts.
If this country truly wants to unify and overcome hate, this administration, the media and every American must finally stop besmirching people with whom they disagree as ‘Nazis’ and simultaneously condemn and punish the terrorists and genocidal maniacs hell-bent on killing Jews and destroying the Jewish State.
It must be especially galling to the left-wing media that an outlandish person like Donald Trump could forge peace deals in the Middle East while its patron saints in the Obama administration could not.
Consider the deliberate twisting of facts in The New York Times on September 24, 2020 about U.S. arm sales to Saudi Arabia. In a “News Analysis” section called “A Fraying Rationale for U.S. Aid to the Saudis in Yemen,” the Times wrote that
“Mr. Trump decided in early 2017 to restart arms sales to the Gulf Arab nations that President Barack Obama had halted in late 2016.”
The sheer audacity of this line in the Times is outrageous.
Obama’s term ENDED in “late 2016.” From 2009 to 2015, the Obama administration sold more weapons to foreign countries than any administration in U.S. history – particularly to Saudi Arabia. Obama’s penchant for arms sales was so egregious that even liberal media firms like Vice were appalled, writing an article as Obama left office in January 2017, “Obama’s Administration Sold More Weapons Than Any Other Since World War II.” The sub-header to the article was “Many were sold to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia.” The article noted that “Under Obama the overall sales, pending delivery of equipment and specialised training for troops, to Saudi Arabia alone has ballooned to $115 billion.” At the time of the article, the war Saudis were participating in in Yemen was well under way with “over 10,000 killed, 2.2 million displaced and nearly half a million children on the brink of famine from the ensuing crisis.”
While the Times was factually accurate that in Obama’s final month of his presidency he halted the sale of precision-guided munitions, it was only of that particular weaponry and only after eight years of selling the Saudis over $100 billion in arms!
New York Times article written to paint Obama and Biden as pacifists and Trump as a mercenary on September 24, 2020, coupling a picture of destruction in Yemen with one of Trump with the Saudis sitting comfortably in the White House striking deals.
The Times article stated that “current and former administration officials, as well as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, say American involvement [in selling Saudi’s weapons] must end.” That’s quite a bit of “malarkey” as Biden would say, having been second in command in an administration that sold $115 billion in arms to the Saudis.
The Times added that “the State Department, starting in the Obama administration, sent a senior level official, Larry Lewis, on frequent trips to Saudi Arabia to advise on civilian harm,” making the Democrats appear worried about the death to civilians, but “the next year Trump administration officials pushed him [Lewis] out of the agency,” making Team Trump appear callous.
The attack on Trump continued to cast him as a simple arms merchant and uncaring of the damage done by the weapons: “Mr. Trump has offered a more transactional rationale [for selling arms to the Saudis]: that the United States should continue to sell weapons for the money. “They have nothing but money. Nothing but cash, and they pay us now.“”
The foreign policy failures of the Obama administration in the Middle East were plentiful, ranging from giving Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, a legal pathway to nuclear weapons; selling more weapons to Arab countries that any administration in history as a counter-balance the blessing of a nuclear-emboldened Iran; watching the arms sales be used to pound Yemen, the poorest country in the world, into sand; watching the plane-loads of cash sent to Iran get funneled into terrorist groups; failing miserably in negotiating between Israel and the Palestinians leading to Gaza wars in 2012 and 2014 and the stabbing intifada of 2015, to name but a few.
While U.S. voters don’t rank foreign affairs high on their priority list, The Times doesn’t want to take a chance.
During this particularly contentious election, The Times is actively recasting Obama and Biden as pacifists and Trump as a cold mercenary when in fact it was the Obama administration which enabled death and destruction in the Middle East and Trump who forged peace agreements in the region.
Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed a thought experiment in 1935 in which he tried to explain a situation of a cat existing in a dual state – both dead and alive – as a way of explaining quantum mechanics. In the experiment, a cat in a sealed box may or may not have been exposed to a poison and killed. Only when the box is lifted, is the cat revealed to be one of the two states. The example demonstrates the divide between reality inside the box which is only known to the cat and the two possible outcomes considered by the blind observer.
The situation of the Israeli-Arab Conflict can be viewed in such a manner, particularly regarding the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995.
Since the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) supported the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland one hundred years ago, the Arab world fought to destroy it. From riots to wars to terrorist attacks, the surrounding Arab countries and Arab residents in Palestine took upon themselves a jihad to annihilate the Jewish State.
The Oslo Accords seemed to reverse that course. On its face, the Palestinians appeared willing to lay down their arms and accept the existence of Israel subject to a variety of terms. Israel signed the agreement and handed the newly created Palestinian Authority several cities to govern. Over the next five years, despite numerous terrorist attacks, the Israelis continued to try to forge a deal together with the assistance of the United States.
Details of the negotiations were kept under wraps, much like Schrodinger’s cat. The world was hopeful that the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs would be able to conclude a lasting peace agreement. To the outside observers, there was the open reality of Arabs killing Jews and a Hamas charter which completely rejected Israel’s existence but the active involvement of the Clinton administration made people hopeful that peace would emerge at the end of the five year interim agreement in September 2000.
However, Yasser Arafat was unhappy to not get every item he desired in the negotiations and launched the deadly Second Intifada, killing and maiming thousands of civilians. President Bill Clinton told Arafat that he missed the best peace deal the Palestinians would ever see and bemoaned “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.”
Arafat smashed the covered Israeli dove egg before it was hatched.
The Arab League tried to put Humpty Dumpty together again and save the Palestinians from the scorn of the world. It put forth the Arab Peace Initiative (API) in 2002 which basically repeated the Palestinians demands, with the promise of the full recognition of Israel by the Arab and Muslim world. While Israel rejected those specific parameters, it began to take steps to give the Palestinians additional land once it secured assurances from the U.S. George W Bush administration in 2004 that it would not have to adhere to exact terms of the API.
U.S. President Barack Obama pivoted and put significant pressure on Israel towards the API once he took office in 2009. Under Secretary of State John Kerry, Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA) worked under secrecy through the Spring 2014 to try to arrive at a final settlement. The world waited to see if the Second Intifada and Gaza Wars of 2008 and 2012 were going to be shadows of the past, and the imagined Obama magic would render Humpty Dumpty viable again.
But it was not to be. The PA signed a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas and Israel refused to hand over the last batch of prisoners as part of “good faith” measures as Kerry had inserted murderers on the list. Within weeks, the situation rapidly devolved into an intense war in Gaza. This time, the Obama administration blamed the failure on Israel, and ultimately allowed a United Nations resolution to pass in the waning days of its administration labeling the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” which Israel illegally occupies.
Humpty Dumpty has now observed to be shattered and dead for the second time. The only change in 2014 from 2000 was the charge of the U.S. administration as to the cause for the failure, which fanned the flames of antisemitism throughout Europe during the 2014 war with Hamas.
The Trump administration recognized the results of the various failed peace initiatives and laid out a new road map to coexistence which more closely resembled the desires of America’s ally, Israel, rather than the API which parroted Palestinian demands. The Palestinians have refused to engage with the administration and no secret talks are enabling the imagination to ponder whether the possibility of peace is alive or dead.
Today, there is no Oslo egg in Schrodinger’s box waiting to be hatched, but a single reality for everyone to recognize.
US President Donald Trump put forward a new Middle East Framework called “Peace to Prosperity” (P2P). It was the first Middle East framework offered since the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 (API). The API was, not surprisingly, heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs’ demands and not Israeli security. It did not advance peace but rather ushered wars from Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014, a war from Lebanon in 2006 and a “stabbing intifada” from the West Bank in 2015.
Unlike the API, Trump’s P2P plan was focused on Israel’s security (and Palestinians’ prosperity), and the Palestinian Authority considered it a non-starter before they even saw it. The acting-President of the PA Mahmoud Abbas has refused to even entertain discussing it.
That is a mistake.
The underlying issue of Israel’s security manifests itself in the plan in a few ways, most notably, that all Palestinian border crossings must be managed by Israel and that a future State of Palestine must be demilitarized. If the PA were to refuse to accept those two principles, there is indeed nothing to discuss regarding any of the other key items for Palestinians such as land, refugees and Jerusalem.
However, if Abbas accedes to those two Israeli security points, he will likely be able to gain much on the other issues that matter to him and to the Palestinians.
Consider the land.
The P2P plan has Israel assuming sections of the West Bank including the entirety of the Jordan Valley. It leaves the Palestinian territory as a patchwork of parcels, with the towns in which Jews reside being annexed by Israel dotted, in between.
However, the Palestinians might be able to obtain almost the entirety of the West Bank if it grants Palestinian citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Jewish towns. This action would be much like the Jewish State’s in 1948 when it granted Israeli citizenship to all of the Arabs. The Jews would make up a much smaller percentage of Palestine than Arabs’ in Israel today.
As the border would be controlled by Israel, only a sliver of land between Palestine and Jordan would be required to be Israeli instead of the whole Jordan Valley, much like the plan assumes Israel having a thin sliver of land buffering Palestinian territory in the Negev and Egypt. The net result would be the Palestinians gaining almost the entirety of the West Bank other than a sliver along the Jordan River.
The willingness to accept Jewish citizens into Palestine might also open a window for Israel to accept many Arab refugees into Israel, rather than just giving them compensation as mapped under the P2P plan. A new Arab spirit of coexistence might stimulate Israel to take as many as 50,000 Arab refugees per year for a number of years, with the balance receiving compensation and settling in a new Palestinian State.
The capital of a Palestinian State could also become more dynamic, with Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem becoming parts of a Palestinian capital.
In short, Palestinians can gain a lot on all of their key negotiating points by working off of the Trump peace initiative if they endorse coexistence and welcome Jews into a new state. In contrast, the current path of continued demonization of Israel and the denial of Jewish history and rights will only further cement the stagnation for Palestinians in regards to both peace and prosperity.
Palestinians should call the Israeli bluff, and see if hundreds of thousands of Jews are willing to live as a minority in Palestine. If the Israelis balk, then the BDS movement will likely advance globally. However, if the Israelis endorse the principle, Israel will be blocked from annexing any land (pro-Arab), while United Nations Resolution 2334 will be deemed moot and the global BDS movement will come to an end (pro-Israel).