Economic Improvement Won’t Stop Palestinian Terror

July 11 2018

While the U.S. has not yet released its peace proposal for Israel and the Palestinians, Jared Kushner—who is leading the effort—and other officials have stated that it involves major efforts to bring prosperity to the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza. Yossi Kuperwasser warns that, even if effective, such efforts will not guarantee peace:

Palestinians [who] carry out terror attacks [do so] with ideological motives, and most of them see terror as a justified and effective way . . . to advance their objectives in the conflict with Israel. The terrorists and their families are eligible for significant economic benefits in the form of the salaries that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays them. [Moreover], the commitment of the Palestinian leadership to the struggle against Zionism is greater than the consideration of economic gain, even though the PA is aware that it needs to provide an answer for the Palestinians’ economic needs. As proof, the second intifada erupted in 2000 during a period of impressive growth.

Deciding on the appropriate scope of terrorism reflects the perception of different elements within the Palestinian political system regarding the costs and benefits of various terror activities at any point in time. . . . Economics [may be] a restraining factor, especially in the circumstances of a severe crisis. For example, the economic crisis in 2005 is thought to be one of the reasons that brought the Palestinians to a decision to end the second intifada. [T]he chance that economic temptations will lead to a change in Palestinian national goals is very slight so long as the Palestinian system is led by political movements that do not give priority to the welfare of its citizens. . . .

The . . . U.S. administration criticizes the PA and Hamas for “not acting according to the needs of the Palestinian people.” This reaction indicates a lack of understanding of [their] priorities and superimposes upon them a Western order of priorities, which sees the pursuit of happiness and prosperity as all people’s [primary] goal. . . .

[Nonetheless, it’s necessary not to] diminish the importance of investing in the advancement of the Palestinian economy and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. These are based on ethical motives—from the desire to bring economic prosperity to Israel’s neighbors to advancing familiarity between both peoples.

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More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Jared Kushner, Palestinian terror, Palestinians, Peace Process

 

By Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan, the U.S. Has Freed Israel from “Land for Peace”

March 25 2019

In the 52 years since Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria, there have been multiple efforts to negotiate their return in exchange for Damascus ending its continuous war against the Jewish state. Shmuel Rosner argues that, with his announcement on Thursday acknowledging the legitimacy of Jerusalem’s claim to the Golan, Donald Trump has finally decoupled territorial concessions from peacemaking:

[With] the takeover of much of Syria by Iran and its proxies, . . . Israel had no choice but to give up on the idea of withdrawing from the Golan Heights. But this reality involves a complete overhaul of the way the international community thinks not just about the Golan Heights but also about all of the lands Israel occupied in 1967. . . .

Withdrawal worked for Israel once, in 1979, when it signed a peace agreement with Egypt and left the Sinai Peninsula, which had also been occupied in 1967. But that also set a problematic precedent. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt insisted that Israel hand back the entire peninsula to the last inch. Israel decided that the reward was worth the price, as a major Arab country agreed to break with other Arab states and accept Israel’s legitimacy.

But there was a hidden, unanticipated cost: Israel’s adversaries, in future negotiations, would demand the same kind of compensation. The 1967 line—what Israel controlled before the war—became the starting point for all Arab countries, including Syria. It became a sacred formula, worshiped by the international community.

What President Trump is doing extends far beyond the ability of Israel to control the Golan Heights, to settle it, and to invest in it. The American president is setting the clock back to before the peace deal with Egypt, to a time when Israel could argue that the reward for peace is peace—not land. Syria, of course, is unlikely to accept this. At least not in the short term. But maybe someday, a Syrian leader will come along who doesn’t entertain the thought that Israel might agree to return to the pre-1967 line and who will accept a different formula for achieving peace.

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More about: Donald Trump, Golan Heights, Israel & Zionis, Peace Process, Sinai Peninsula, Syria