Israel’s Political Hopefuls Understand What Won’t Work, But Don’t Know What Will

At a recent televised debate among candidates for re-election to the Knesset, the participants astutely identified the problems with their interlocutors’ positions. But when it came to the crucial issue of relations with the Palestinians, none was able to present a convincing solution. To Haviv Rettig Gur, who served as the one non-politician on the panel, the lack of ideas stems from “a broader national bewilderment”:

A majority of Israelis want to separate from the Palestinians. A majority—who overlap a great deal with the previous group—also believe an Israeli withdrawal is unlikely to deliver safety. And so, in a sense, everyone is right.

Hilik Bar [of the Zionist Camp party] insisted that Palestinian independence would increase, not decrease, the political window for an Israeli military response to any post-withdrawal attacks. Ayelet Shaked [of Jewish Home] calmly pointed out that the Gaza situation didn’t quite work out that way.

Shaked insisted the country could “manage the conflict,” leading Yaakov Peri [of Yesh Atid] to retort that instead the conflict was “managing” the country, holding an outsized role in setting the national agenda. . . .

At the end of the day, after a long string of failed peace talks, Israelis no longer believe in the policy narratives of the past. They do not believe peace is attainable in the near term, or that annexation might resolve the fundamental questions of the conflict. And neither, it seems, do the candidates in this election.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza withdrawal, Israeli politics, Knesset, Palestinians


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process