No, Israel Isn’t the Key to All the Middle East’s Problems

Why has President Biden decided to follow in the footsteps of so many of his predecessors, going back to Jimmy Carter, by trying to come up with a scheme to create a Palestinian state? Michael Oren points to a revealing anecdote:

Shortly after entering office, in 2009, President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, Lt. General Jim Jones, made a startling pronouncement. “If God had appeared in front of the president and said he could do one thing on the planet,” he declared, “it would be the two-state solution.” That is, not eliminate global hunger, end the civil wars then raging across Africa and parts of the Middle East, not even find the cure for cancer. No, the one goal the White House sought above all others was the creation of an independent Palestinian state which would live side-by-side in peace with Israel.

Behind this obsessive focus is a theory known in foreign-policy circles as “linkage.” Oren explains:

Linkage meant, simply, that while the Middle East was rife with violence of every stripe, the core conflict was not between Sunnis and Shiites, Iranians and Arabs, and even among the Arabs themselves, but between Israelis and Palestinians. Solve that—so the advocates of linkage held—and all the region’s other disputes would cease. And the core cause of the Israel-Palestinian conflict was not Palestinian rejectionism and terror, but rather Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the expansion of Israeli settlements.

Forget, too, that the signing of the Abraham Accords without the creation of a Palestinian state definitively disproved linkage. That dogma, defying all logic and flying in the face of 30 years of facts, calls to mind another irrational, myth-based belief: Jew-hatred.

For what is anti-Semitism but the insistence on saddling the Jews with the responsibility for all of society’s ills, plagues, and wars? Similarly, by regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the nub of all Middle Eastern violence, and the Jewish state as that conflict’s core, linkage is itself linked to the world’s oldest hatred.

Read more at Clarity with Michael Oren

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship