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Media trashes Trump’s plan for peace in Middle East. Here’s why they’re wrong.
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Since before the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, third-party diplomats have tried in vain to broker peace between the Arabs and Israelis. Rather than pursue the same failed solutions, the Trump administration has empowered senior advisor Jared Kushner to undertake a new approach in the Levant which reconsiders years of failed policy and stalled progression.
Despite the bold and innovative approach to peacemaking, the liberal media has pronounced Kushner’s “ultimate deal” “dead on arrival,” arguing that his proposals were “kneecapped” by the president’s insistence on moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Vanity Fair staff writer and Never-Trump extraordinaire Tina Nguyen insists that the Trump administration’s vision for Arab-Israeli peace “will fall flat,” largely because it has “infuriated Palestinian leaders.”
Palestine’s leaders were more or less unequivocal in their condemnations when the White House announced the embassy move, which officials claimed would not undercut Kushner’s work but would instead paint the president as ‘someone who stands by his word, isn’t intimidated by threats, and doesn’t cave to international pressure.’
In December, Vanity Fair’s crack foreign policy team predicted that the embassy move was “expected to set off riots across the Middle East.” They cited Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi to justify their prediction, who voiced his dissent with the announcement:
There is no way that there can be talks with the Americans. The peace process is finished. They have already pre-empted the outcome. They cannot take us for granted.
Yet, the widespread rioting never surfaced, and in reality, it is only the naive and unsuspecting liberal media who consistently take for granted the uncompromising attitude of the Palestinian position. Vanity Fair writer Abigail Tracy argues that Palestine’s goals are limited to seeking “East Jerusalem as the future capital of an independent state.”
In other words, according to the misinformed mainstream media, the Palestinians are graciously willing to share the capital city with their Jewish neighbors. A 2014 poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that an astounding 60 percent of Palestinians agreed that their five-year goal “should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.”
Grand tradition of rejectionism
Palestinians have a grand tradition of rejectionism, and attempts at peace talks are generally followed by periods of hostility and unrest from militantly anti-Israeli segments of Palestinian society. Middle East Forum President and former U.S. Institute of Peace board member Daniel Pipes describes the unbending Palestinian position:
Palestinian rejection or acceptance of Israel is binary: yes or no, without in-betweens. This renders compromise nearly impossible because resolution requires one side fully to abandon its goal. Either Palestinians give up their century-long rejection of the Jewish state or Zionists give up their 150-year quest for a sovereign homeland. Anything other than these two outcomes is an unstable settlement that merely serves as the premise for a future round of conflict.
Deterrence, argues Pipes, is the only policy to produce practical results for Israel. The threat — and use — of force against recalcitrant Palestinians who refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist was effective from the founding of the Zionist state until 1993, when the Oslo Peace Accords were signed. Israeli concessions only inflamed Palestinian resentment, resulting in more Israeli murders in the five years after Oslo than the preceding fifteen.
When Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in 2006, they were rewarded with an endless hail of rockets upon their cities and the rise of an internationally designated terrorist group, Hamas, as the politically ascendant power among Palestinians. Again, reconciliation failed.
The definition of insanity
Despite this abysmal track record, the American left continues to endorse the same tired, diplomatic miscarriages of the past. Calling Kushner’s plan “the ultimate lost cause,” The New York Times contributor Mark Landler criticized the proposals with ad-hominem attacks and misguided predictions:
In delving into the fine details, the White House is turning the traditional formula for peacemaking on its head. Previous presidents, from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, avoided going beyond broad strokes for fear that it would give both sides more to object to. But officials said that was no longer sufficient.
The aides who wrote the plan — Jared Kushner, Jason D. Greenblatt and David M. Friedman — had no experience in diplomacy when they took up their jobs. Mr. Kushner is Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser; Mr. Greenblatt was the chief legal officer of the Trump Organization; and Mr. Friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer.
The president remains optimistic that an aggressive deterrence policy will pay dividends. “The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table very badly,” he said.
Until Palestinians accept the state of Israel — until this most fundamental of concessions is established — Americans cannot hope to alter the course of events in Israel. Pipes concludes that:
For Washington to be helpful means not dragging the parties back again to more negotiations but robustly supporting Israel’s path to victory. That translates into not just backing episodic Israeli shows of force but a sustained and systematic international effort of working with Israel, select Arab states, and others to convince the Palestinians of the futility of their rejectionism: Israel is there, it’s permanent, and it enjoys wide backing.
Although Kushner’s plan has not yet been unveiled, the Trump administration appears to be following this policy prescription closely. Besides planning to move the embassy to Jerusalem, Trump has withheld $65 million in aid to the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees — and threatened to cut more aid if Palestinians refuse to negotiate.
America needs to convince Palestinians that resistance is futile. As long as they continue to reject the right of Israel to exist, they should be starved of any support from Western nations. At least theoretically, the Kushner deal appears to pursue this agenda.
In the face of widespread criticism from the left, Trump must remain resilient and undeterred. Otherwise, his administration will join every other presidential administration in failing to broker peace between Arabs and Israelis.
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