Israel’s construction in smaller settlements has steadily decreased; not so, Washington’s obsessive and misplaced demands for a total freeze.
After decades of war and hostility, relations between Israel and the Gulf states are thawing, and ties with Jordan and Egypt have never been stronger. These developments have elicited dismay from the New York Times, which published an editorial last weekend expressing its concern that Israel and the Arab states might ignore the cause of Palestinian statehood. Jonathan Tobin remarks:
Ever since 1967, any hope of Arab reconciliation with Israel has been frustrated by Palestinian rejectionism. But that is a luxury that Cairo and Riyadh can no longer afford because of the nuclear deal [with Iran] and the rise of Islamist terror groups such as Hamas in Gaza, Iran’s Hizballah auxiliaries, [and] Islamic State. Egypt rightly sees Hamas and Islamic State as direct threats that must be faced. Moreover, Israel’s fears that a withdrawal from the West Bank would lead to a Hamas takeover there are viewed with more understanding in Cairo than they are at the Times.
Contrary to the Times’s assertion that neither Israel nor the Palestinians want peace, the Arab states understand that it is the latter who are unwilling to negotiate, let alone end the conflict for all time. As the Times itself notes, better relations between Israel and the Arab nations do not preclude a peace deal with the Palestinians. But those nations can’t wait for a sea change in Palestinian political culture . . . to occur before they can cooperate with the Israelis to provide for their mutual security.
The outrage here is that when faced with a development that represents genuine progress toward ending the conflict, the Obama administration, its media cheerleaders, and the rest of the left are nonplussed. They’re not only still stuck in an outdated concept about the centrality of the Palestinian problem but would prefer to see Benjamin Netanyahu’s outreach fail than concede that they were wrong.