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


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy