The U.S. Promises Palestinians a State While Demanding Nothing in Return

After criticizing Israel’s conduct of the war at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed the need for “a concrete, time-bound, irreversible path to a Palestinian state.” Elliott Abrams comments:

Even if one assumes that creating a Palestinian state is an important goal, what Blinken has done here is to destroy any preconditions. Blinken of course said that new state should live side by side with Israel in peace, but he did not make that a condition of its creation.

If the path forward is “time-bound and irreversible,” there are by definition no conditions that would slow or preclude creating that state. . . . A “time bound and irreversible path” to Palestinian statehood demands nothing of Palestinians. They are not asked to confront hatred of Jews, not asked to end terrorism, not asked to create decent and effective governance. Instead of being asked to reform their institutions and confront the murderers in their midst, they are asked for nothing. And if that is what they are asked for, that is what they will deliver.

This U.S. position would be understandable in many ways were it entirely cynical. . . . The deeper problem with the U.S. position today is that it appears to be idealistic: Blinken actually means what he says and does want a “time-bound and irreversible path” that will create a Palestinian state no matter how great a danger to Israel it presents. If so, he is promoting a policy that does Palestinians no favors and endangers Israelis.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Palestinian statehood

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security