The Israel-Palestinian Conflict Is Not the Root of the Middle East’s Problems

This week, the rich, powerful, and famous gathered in the Swiss resort town of Davos to talk to each other and be photographed by journalists. One of the numerous sessions featured a conversation between the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and the American secretary of state Antony Blinken. While it revealed little about global affairs, it revealed much about the way some prominent people think about them. Matthew Continetti writes:

On the morning Blinken spoke in Davos, Iran launched missiles into Syria, Iraq, and nuclear-armed Pakistan. War rages. What most interests Tom Friedman, however, are the chances for a Palestinian state. He says it’s the key to peace in the Middle East—a position from which he has not wavered, despite all evidence to the contrary, for more than twenty years. Antony Blinken is more than happy to indulge in this delusion.

In a world filled with crises, the U.S. secretary of state has decided to resume a generations-long quest for the diplomatic Holy Grail: a Palestinian state. Governed by whom? His answer is a “stronger, reformed Palestinian Authority that can more effectively deliver for its own people.”

Where will that come from? Jupiter? . . . A Palestinian state is a nonstarter until Israel defeats its enemies, reestablishes deterrence, and evicts UNRWA from the premises.

It was in the Sunni Arab interest to back the “strong horse” of Israel and its ally, the United States, to ward off the Shiite radicals. Nor is the region disintegrating because the Palestinians remain stateless. It’s falling apart because Israel has been weakened and American power has declined. . . .

The transcript of Blinken’s conversation runs for 6,868 words. Israel is namechecked 23 times. Iran is mentioned just six times.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Thomas Friedman

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy