The Palestinians' Diplomatic Intifada Will Fail - Aaron David Miller
The Arabs remain Israel's best talking points. Much of the region is melting down right now.
Regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship, I know there's a view out there that Barack Obama is just waiting to stick it to Benjamin Netanyahu. And that now that the president isn't running for anything anymore, he has a chance to be tough. But there are any number of factors that will prevent such toughening.
The more the Palestinians press to isolate Israel, the harder the Administration will work to prevent it. This month the Republicans will take over both Houses of Congress and will likely move to support Israel by sanctioning the PA and introducing more sanctions on Iran.
And let's be clear. The president's real priority isn't the peace process; it's to determine whether he can reach a deal with Iran on the nuclear issue. He'll have a hard enough time selling that one to Congress and the Israelis (along with the Saudis) without opening himself up to charges that he's jamming the Israelis when it comes to not standing up to the Palestinians' diplomatic intifada.
The writer is vice president for new initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
The Dream Palace of the Arab - Bret Stephens
- In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, leaving Mahmoud Abbas in charge and giving him a chance to make something of the territory. Gaza dissolved into civil war within months. In 2008, Israel offered Abbas a state covering 94% of the West Bank. He never took up the offer. Last March, President Obama personally offered Abbas a U.S.-sponsored "framework" agreement. Again Abbas demurred.
- Now Abbas has moved to have "the state of Palestine" join the International Criminal Court, chiefly in order to harass Israeli military officers and politicians spuriously accused of war crimes. The gambit will fail for the simple reason that two can play the game.
- Abbas consistently refuses a Palestinian state because such a state is infinitely more trivial than a Palestinian struggle. So long as "Palestine" is in the process of becoming, it matters. Once it exists, it all but doesn't. This explains why no Palestinian leader will ever accept such a state on any terms. After the endless stream of Palestinian rejections, one begins to sense a pattern.
- What if Western leaders refused to take Abbas' calls? What if they pointed out that, in the broad spectrum of global interests, the question of Palestinian statehood ranked very low? What if these leaders observed that, in the scale of human tragedy, the supposed plight of the Palestinians is of small account next to the human suffering in Syria or South Sudan?
- In that event, the Palestinian dream palace might shrink to its proper size, and bring the attractions of practical statecraft into sharper focus. Genuine peace might become possible.