In a 2011 speech before a group of Israelis, Barack Obama’s then-national security adviser James Jones averred “that had God appeared in front of President Obama in 2009 and said if he could do one thing on the face of the planet, and one thing only, to make the world a better place and give people more hope and opportunity for the future, I would venture that it would have something to do with finding the two-state solution [in] the Middle East.” As James Kirchick notes, such sentiments have been expressed, in only slightly less-extreme terms, by many other American statesmen, and implied by many more. He comments:
By investing the Palestinian cause with such monumental importance, politicians and polemicists mistake a regional quarrel for a global struggle. Even before the state of Israel was founded more than 70 years ago, Arab regimes and their Western sympathizers began pushing a narrative that the proverbial “Arab street” is stirred by nothing more deeply than the fate of Palestine. Yet, as the so-called “Arab Spring” demonstrated, what really motivates the Arab masses are not Israeli settlements in the West Bank but the daily indignities of their own lives, blame for which lies with their rulers, not the Jews. . . .
The human cost of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is also marginal compared with other contemporaneous world conflicts. Since five Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish state in 1948, the total number of casualties incurred on both sides pales in comparison to the lives lost in the Congolese civil war, the Russian carpet-bombing of Chechnya, or North Korea’s politically engineered famines. As you read this, some one-million Uighur Muslims are languishing in Chinese “reeducation camps,” suffering a fate far more heinous than that endured by the average Palestinian.
The global resources heaped upon the Palestinians appears wholly disproportionate when contrasted to the measly efforts expended upon other stateless peoples, like the Tibetans and Kurds. . . . On the long and growing list of world problems, the absence of a Palestinian state ranks somewhere between the conflicts over Transnistria and Western Sahara, neither of which you are likely to read about on newspaper front pages.