Palestinian Complaints about the Balfour Declaration Reveal the Crux of the War on Israel

With the approach of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which falls this Thursday, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, launched a campaign demanding that Britain apologize for the commitment of its then-foreign secretary to support the creation of “a national home for the Jewish people” in the Land of Israel. While London has made clear it will do no such thing, the date will still be greeted with anti-Israel protests. Rick Richman comments:

Peace processors used to believe that Israeli-Palestinian peace was a 1967 issue, negotiating suitable borders; or perhaps a 1948 issue, dealing with the refugees from the Arab war against Israel. It is now clear that it is a 1917 issue—the rejection by the Palestinian Arabs of any Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the ancestral homeland of the Jews. . . .

Instead of referring to “two states for two peoples,” the Palestinians always frame the goal of the process as ending “the occupation that began in 1967.” The reason they invariably add the last four words to that formulation is that they believe there is also another occupation that they want eventually to end as well: “the occupation that began in 1948.” That is the reason they say they can “never” give up an asserted “right of return.” To do so would be to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

President Trump’s administration is currently deliberating a new peace process, despite the failures of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama over nearly three decades. A key to whether there would be any chance for success is whether the Palestinians will agree at the outset that the goal is “two states for two peoples.” One-hundred years after the Balfour Declaration, and 95 years after the international community endorsed it, the Palestinians are still fighting the recognition of any Jewish sovereignty.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Balfour Declaration, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, United Kingdom

If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy