Old-line, Oslo-era “peace processers” Daniel Kurtzer and Aaron David Miller have a prescription for U.S. relations with Israel for 2023. It is a large, threatening hammer, wielded by two people who have a lot of experience failing in Middle East negotiations.
They make three main points:
- First, the U.S. should not provide offensive weapons or assistance to Israel if Israel engages in “malign” actions. In other words, Israel’s security requirements are legitimate only if/when/where Washington says they are.
- Second, the U.S. should be prepared to vote against Israel in “international forums, including the U.N. Security Council and the International Court of Justice.” The administration will be “on the alert for Israeli actions that deserve to be called out and condemned.” In other words, the U.S. will examine Israeli actions, decide when Israel should be condemned, and lead the two primary Israel-hating organizations in the world in that condemnation.
- Third, the US should inform the Abraham Accords countries that their “evident lack of interest in the plight of the Palestinians will… damage their credibility in advancing other regional objectives with the United States.” In other words, countries that have chosen peaceful of economic relations bolstered by agreement on security issues – that specifically makes space for Palestinian leadership if and when Palestinian leadership becomes interested in peaceful relations — risk American support.
This, they think, will produce peace and a “two-state solution.” How long do they get to be wrong?
The Palestinians, on the other hand, were told, “U.S. support depends on its willingness to hold elections, build a responsible democratic government, and curb violence and terrorism.”
“Curb” is not the same as “end” violence and terrorism, and nothing is said about ending the practice of paying terrorists/their families for killing Jews — as required by the bipartisan Taylor Force Act. A desire to hold elections ignores the ongoing Hamas-Fatah civil war and the possibility of elections that will remove the Palestinian Authority in favor of Hamas. “Responsible democratic government” is a ridiculous thought, as Palestinian people are in the streets protesting government cheating, stealing, and repression.
There is simply no evidence that the Palestinian Authority — let alone Hamas — are the least bit interested in the Kurtzer/Miller “peace process.” On the other hand, there are three points of agreement between the two organizations: Palestine from the River to the Sea; the so-called “right of return” for not only the original 1948-50 refugees, but for their multi-generational descendants to places inside pre-67 Israel from which they claim to have come (See “River to Sea,” above), and sovereign control of the eastern part of Jerusalem.
None of these are acceptable to America’s democratic ally, Israel, which has three conditions of its own: “End of conflict; end of claims” meaning whatever territorial agreement is made, it will be the last one — no coming back for more; no right of return, but financial compensation for those who lost property, including Jews who lost property in the Muslim world as proposed by President Bill Clinton; and Israel’s capital located in all of Jerusalem, with freedom of worship for all denominations, as currently exists.
Over a year ago, Hady Amr — then a State Department envoy to Israel and the Palestinians, but now simply envoy to the Palestinians — demanded that Israel “do more” for the Palestinians. He said, “I have never seen the Palestinian Authority in a worse situation,” comparing it to “dry forest waiting to catch on fire.” He did not mention that the 4,000 rockets Hamas rained on the Israeli public and applauded by the PA might have exacerbated any crisis that was already brewing.
Amr insisted then that U.S. policy would not be to twist arms, and “the sides will be expected to take their own initiative.”
But a few months later, Oslo-ist Dennis Ross warned (threatened) that not making concessions to the Palestinians would cost Israel: “With an evolving political landscape in the U.S., Israel needs to show it is not deepening occupation and is not acting in a way that makes a two-state outcome impossible, even as an option. Drifting toward a one-state outcome… is certain to extend the influence of (American) progressives far beyond where it stands today… Israel must also deal with the reality that how it approaches the Palestinians will affect how it is seen in the U.S.”
And now, overt threats.
Threatening Israel will not make the failed “two-state” policies of the past 35 years succeed. The world has changed since the days of Oslo and the Obama administration. Parts of the Arab world have taken a good look at their own people, their own region, the threats they face, and the ally they might have in Israel. It is time to bury Oslo-ism and move into 2023 facing the world as it is.