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

February 9, 2024 | Elliott Abrams
About the author: Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and is the chairman of the Tikvah Fund.

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.

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