The U.S. Remains Faithful to the Two-State Solution While Ignoring Its Dangers

July 18 2022

In his visit to Israel last week, President Biden affirmed his support for the Jewish state in no uncertain terms, and acknowledged that “the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet he also maintained America’s commitment to the creation of an “independent, sovereign, viable, and contiguous” Palestinian state. Elliott Abrams comments:

An “independent, sovereign” Palestinian state would quickly become a great security threat not only to Israel but to Jordan as well. That is why calls for an independent Palestinian state are empty gestures or simple virtue-signaling unless they confront the security challenge. If you don’t have a solution for the problem of keeping Hamas and other terrorist groups out of power in a new Palestinian state, your demands to establish one are irresponsible. And that is precisely why the “peace camp” in Israel has fared so poorly for the last twenty years.

It’s all too easy for Americans to lecture Israelis on the danger of “maintaining the occupation” which after all is “untenable” or “unsustainable.” But after 55 years, why conclude that it is unsustainable—unless a better option now exists that is also realistic and safe? And why lecture Israelis on its dangers (which certainly exist) when it is they, not Americans, who will bear the risks of coping with a terrorist-controlled West Bank? Israel has faced repeated rounds of conflict in Gaza—even after leaving there in 2005. Those awful little wars would pale in destructiveness compared to a conflict in the West Bank, and the death toll on both sides would be far higher. It’s too easy to repeat old formulas about two states. First, tell us how security for Jordan and Israel would be achieved and maintained. Then give your lecture.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Joseph Biden, Two-State Solution, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount