Topic:

Palestinian Affairs

BRICS Without East Jerusalem

| October 8, 2017

The 43-page Xiamen Declaration issued at the end of the ninth BRICS summit in early September marks an interesting shift concerning Israel. In paragraph 42, it makes the usual references to “relevant” UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and “previous agreements” and calls for “a just, lasting and comprehensive solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Declaration calls for the creation of “an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel” – but contains no reference whatsoever to East Jerusalem.

How Palestine “Occupies” Itself

| October 7, 2017

“Occupation” has become an all-purpose Palestinian tool. On the one hand, the Palestinians claim the Israeli “occupation” makes serious negotiations with Israel impossible. On the other, they claim the “occupation” makes the development of local institutions and civil society impossible. Western and Israeli diplomats have largely avoided criticism of this strategy, possibly because it has become a central tenet of Palestinian identity.

Palestinian Settler-Colonialism

| September 3, 2017

The concept of “settler colonialism” has been applied with almost unique vehemence against Israel. But the fact that Jews are the indigenous population of the Southern Levant can be proved with ease. In contrast, historical and genealogical evidence shows Palestinians descend primarily from three primary groups: Muslim invaders, Arab immigrants, and local converts to Islam. The Muslim conquest of Byzantine Palestine in the 7th century CE is a textbook example of settler-colonialism, as is subsequent immigration, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries under the Ottoman and British Empires. The application of the concept to Jews and Zionism by Palestinians is both ironic and unhelpful.

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

| August 13, 2017

On July 18, 2017, PA President Mahmoud Abbas met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the media, the meeting was productive. “Beijing will create a dialogue mechanism between Israel and the Palestinians, with China being the mediator, and later this year China will hold a peace conference and try to resolve the conflict”, according to Xi. This sounds good, but Beijing has more pressing priorities. It is not interested in forging deals with little chance of success.

It Is Time for Abbas to Take Positive Action

| August 10, 2017

Is Mahmoud Abbas, like Yasser Arafat before him, stalling the peace process out of fear that no agreement would be sufficiently maximizing? By now he should have learned that the best deals are those signed with confidence, in mutual trust and good will; and that he stands to gain a great deal through constructive action rather than destructive antics. Those who lead know that decisive journeys start with a risky first step.

The Over-Dramatization of Israel’s “Dilemma”

| May 28, 2017

Israel is not facing a dilemma about how much, if any, land to give up from the West Bank, because the Palestinians will not agree to take land and cannot be forced to do so. The Palestinian community sees peace with Israel as defeat in their 100-year struggle. Continued Israeli occupation is one of the Palestinians’ best weapons against Israel, and they will not give it up while their war to eliminate Israel continues. Israelis should recognize that since the Palestinians are forcing Israel to continue the temporary but long-term occupation, Israelis need to a) cooperate in reducing the moral and other costs of that occupation; and b) stop telling the world that Israel could choose to end the occupation. The occupation, like the need for military strength and to absorb casualties, is part of the price Israel has to pay to live here. Maturity means being able to go forward with no solution in sight.

Israel Is Still at War

| May 4, 2017

Israel just celebrated its sixty-ninth anniversary. Its citizens can be proud of its many impressive achievements, and particularly the building of a very strong military that has withstood many tests. Yet acceptance by all its neighbors has not, unfortunately, been attained. Israel is still at war.

Palestinians and the Balfour Declaration at 100: Resisting the Past

| March 26, 2017

On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinians have launched a campaign calling for an official British apology and compensation. This effort illustrates the ways in which honor, internationalization, symbolism, and playing on Western guilt shape the Palestinian culture of denial, which impedes progress towards either a stable Palestinian state or peace with Israel.

Becoming Part of Jordan and Egypt: A Palestinian Economic Imperative

| March 15, 2017

Reintegrating into the Jordanian state is an economic imperative for the Arab inhabitants of the Palestine Authority. Only by once again becoming citizens of Jordan will they be able to challenge the economic stone wall imposed by domestic Jordanian economic lobby groups barring West Bank exports. A two-state solution would lead, not to an economy of peace, but to an economy of violence as lobby groups in both Israel and Jordan shut out the Palestinian state’s exports. The Palestinian state would inevitably react by threatening and committing violence to extract the international aid to which the PA has become accustomed.

Trump, the Mideast Conflict, and the Jordanian Option

and | February 6, 2017

Instead of fixating on an independent Palestinian state, the new US administration should look east to the Hashemite Kingdom as a stabilizing influence on Palestinian politics. President Trump has an opportunity to help Jordan prosper while furthering the interests of the US and its allies.