On Palestinian Statehood

Palestinian Nazis boast their two state final solution.

For the past year Bret Stephens has expended an enormous amount of time and energy bashing Donald Trump. But Stephens must know that only Donald Trump would appoint David Friedman, a Torah observant Jew and proud Zionist, as America’s new ambassador to Israel. Stephens must also understand that only Donald Trump would bring Jared Kushner, another Torah observant Jew and proud Zionist, into the White House as a senior advisor.

No matter how much Stephens abhors Trump he must realize that Trump is good for Israel—very good for Israel—and what is good for Israel is good for America because America and Israel share the exact same values.

Stephens takes time off from Donald to author an excellent article about  the dangerous delusion of a Palestinian state.

By Bret Stephens, WSJ

Diplomats from some 70 countries will assemble in Paris on Sunday for another Mideast conference, intended to preserve the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. The timing is not accidental: With five days to go in the Obama administration, there are whispers that the conference may lead to another U.N. Security Council resolution, this time setting out parameters for an eventual Palestinian state.

The question is: For what?

Climate change aside, the cause of Palestinian statehood is the central obsession of contemporary global politics. It’s also its least examined assumption.

Would a Palestinian state serve the cause of Mideast peace? This used to be conventional wisdom, on the theory that a Palestinian state would lead to peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, easing the military burdens on the former and encouraging the latter to address their internal discontents.

Today the proposition is ridiculous. No deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah is going to lift the sights of those now fighting in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. Nor will a deal reconcile Tehran and its terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza to the existence of a Jewish state. As for the rest of the neighborhood, Israel has diplomatic relations with Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, and has reached pragmatic accommodations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

What about the interests of Palestinians? Aren’t they entitled to a state?

Maybe. But are they more entitled to one than the Assamese, Basques, Baloch, Corsicans, Druze, Flemish, Kashmiris, Kurds, Moros, Native Hawaiians, Northern Cypriots, Rohingya, Tibetans, Uyghurs or West Papuans—all of whom have distinct national identities, legitimate historical grievances and plausible claims to statehood?

If so, what gives Palestinians the preferential claim? Have they waited longer than the Kurds? No: Kurdish national claims stretch for centuries, not decades. Have they experienced greater violations to their culture than Tibetans? No: Beijing has conducted a systematic policy of repression for 67 years, whereas Palestinians are nothing if not vocal in mosques, universities and the media. Have they been persecuted more harshly than the Rohingya? Not even close.

Set the comparisons aside. Would a Palestinian state be good for Palestinian people?

That’s a more subjective judgment. But a telling figure came in a June 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, which found that a majority of Arab residents in East Jerusalem would rather live as citizens with equal rights in Israel than in a Palestinian state. No doubt part of this owes to a desire to be connected to Israel’s thriving economy.

But it’s also a function of politics. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas just entered the 13th year of his four-year term. Fatah rules the West Bank through corruption; Hamas rules Gaza through fear. Humanitarian aid is routinely diverted for terrorist purposes: One terror tunnel stretching from Gaza to Israel consumed an estimated 800 tons of concrete and cost $10 million to build. Every three years or so, Hamas starts firing missiles at Israel, and hundreds of Palestinian civilians get killed in the crossfire. How does any of this augur well for what a future Palestinian state might bring?

But isn’t a Palestinian state a necessity for Israel? Can it maintain its Jewish and democratic character without separating itself from the millions of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River?

In theory, yes. In theory, Israel would be well-served living alongside a sovereign Palestinian state that lived in peace with its neighbors, improved the welfare and respected the rights of its people, rejected extremism and maintained a monopoly on the use of force. In theory, Palestine could be the next Costa Rica: small but beautiful.

But Israelis don’t live in theory. They live in a world where mistakes are mortal. In 2000 and 2007 Israeli prime ministers made good-faith offers of Palestinian statehood. They were met on both occasions with rejection, then violence. In 2005 Israel vacated the Gaza Strip. It became an enclave of terror. On Sunday, four young Israelis were run over in yet another terror attack. The ideal of a Jewish and faultlessly democratic state is a noble one. Not at the risk of the existence of the state itself.

The Paris conference takes place on the eve of a new administration that’s indifferent to prevailing orthodoxies regarding the Palestinians. David Friedman,Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Israel, is unequivocal in his support for the Jewish state, determined to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, unscandalized by settlements and unmoved by suggestions that Israel’s safety requires the empowerment of her enemies. These heresies alone recommend him for the job.

Meanwhile, anyone genuinely concerned with the future of the Palestinians might urge them to elect better leaders, improve their institutions, and stop giving out sweets to celebrate the murder of their neighbors.

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  1. Larry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Sheldan’s first message states that “Bret Stephens was right to bash Trump because he deserved it,” and that Trump “was an unacceptable candidate.” However, he gives no reasons for either of these statements. What did Trump do or not do to deserve bashing? Sheldan doesn’t say. So, this is just his feeling. As for being an acceptable candidate, Trump meets all the Constitutional requirements and was duly elected in the Electoral College, as Constitutionally required. Thus, he was not an unacceptable candidate in either qualifications or national vote preference. So, the “unfortunately” and “we have to live with” are more feelings.

    Barry’s requests for Sheldan to clarify his interpretations of the article’s perspective and request to identify specific issues to back up Sheldan’s assertions resulted in nothing more than personal preferences instead of facts or logic. Sheldan states that Trump won and was right on one issue does not mean that the article writer doing the bashing was wrong. But, Sheldan doesn’t answer Barry’s question to state specifics. Sheldan says that he thinks “many of the other 16 candidates could have beaten Hillary” (which ones? how many is “many”? 51%? 75%? 92%?) “and would have supported the same policies.” For example, which candidate brought up the immigration issue before Trump did? As for other candidates, who, pray tell, might Sheldan have in mind to beat Hillary? He can’t come up with any meaningful numbers because nobody — but nobody! — had any numbers worth paying attention to going all the way up to Election Day (want to go back to 2015 to see some of the silliness? http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/who-can-beat-hillary-clinton-213346) except for the state polling numbers, which were more indicative of the Trumpslide than any others. So, another assertion without facts, logic, or specifics other than Sheldan’s feelings.

    Barry then responded, identifying six issues in an offer that Sheldan could have addressed to counter what Trump was “on the right side of” but Sheldan ignored that opportunity for logic. Sheldan wrote, “I did NOT say that I disagreed with Trump on these issues.” So, again, he dislikes Trump but he not only does not identify why to specific issues requested, with an implied invitation to identify other issues instead, but he falls back on what he likes or doesn’t like. More feelings.

    When Barry, faced with no meaningful reply from Sheldan, suggests cooling “the anti-Trump rhetoric,” Sheldan replies by finding a problem with Barry’s “last comment” (which one?) that “implies that anything Trump will do is perfect.” Nothing that Barry has written so far even hints — much less implies — that Barry (or anyone else I’ve seen here or have talked with or have read so far) thinks Trump is perfect. Sheldan’s rewriting of the statements to fit his preference and then answering his rewrite is not only classic strawman, but is classic SJW behavior, also typically used by gammas (a socio-sexual category) to redirect a debate away from its issue and reassert an indefensible narrative. Then, Sheldan says, “Don’t think that because I am criticizing here that I am part of the ‘anti-Trump crowd’.” This is virtue-signaling instead of logical argument. Again, feelings.

    When my reply recast Sheldan’s nonarguments into a summary and then reminded about the initial reactions of horror to Reagan’s candidacy and election, Sheldan replies about thinking Trump must be perfect. Perfection assertions were not made. This is more recasting the argument to suit Sheldan’s preferred issue so he doesn’t have to face the issue presented: that he has no consequential arguments or reasons, beyond his feelings, of dislike for Trump as candidate and President-elect. His statements about how he is sure other candidates who could have been nominated would follow who-knows-what policies (Sheldan doesn’t state which policies) is more virtue-signaling. The nomination was based on the primary results of the several states, which caused candidates to withdraw in the face of their poor results. But, Sheldan “can’t overlook what he [Trump] did to get there” without stating what Trump did that bother’s Sheldan so much. Feelings. He talks about “the unity of this country” without identifying the contrary point that the Electoral College vote comes from the country and showed the level of unity. Other assertions Sheldan makes about the 2008 election do not represent logical arguments about the 2016 election.

    Sheldan says that he has made “several attempts to clarify” his position but this review shows that the only position he clarifies are his feelings. The only things he’s written are the same kind of perspectives — not logical arguments with facts — that the Boo-Hoo-Hillary-Lost snowflakes are still making. Plenty of Cuckservatives are having trouble facing what they have wrought for several decades, hoping they can mount some opposition, some kind of block or slowdown, but I’m unconvinced by the events so far (Ryan seeing the trouble of his original approach, Congress trying to attend to unimportant issues instead of the top of the list, and so on) that Trump will let them dissemble and prevaricate. He hasn’t even taken the Oath of Office yet and already he’s showing them who’s the alpha (another socio-sexual category). Pay attention.

    Sheldan thinks that describing his lack of arguments and describing his behavior is disrespectful or an insult. No, it’s not. That’s sidetracking again. Using terms with specific meanings, I call a spade a spade, not a shovel. All Sheldan had to do to be taken seriously was address the issues brought up. Barry tried to get you to clarify with logical argument. I tried to point out the inanity of your avoidance of Barry’s questions and then pointed to actual arguments from Jerry Pournelle and Victor Davis Hansen, which Sheldan expressly ignored to complain about respect and insults. Sheldan, evading direct questions about statements you made is more disrespecting and insulting. You may like or dislike a person as you please, but when your statements raise questions, repeatedly citing your feelings does not engender an intelligent discussion.

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    • Barry
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      You bet.

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    • sennacherib
      Posted January 13, 2017 at 1:56 am | Permalink

      Though I stand by my earlier statement, I don’t think you state the general case any better than Larry has above.

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  2. sheldan
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I have noticed that a simple disagreement on Trump has devolved into attacks. I respect that most of the posters disagree with me, but we should be respectful.

    To Larry: That was uncalled for. Instead of politely discussing the subject, you claim that all I am showing is “feeeeeelings” and “having a preference that my notes should end the discussion” (after several attempts to clarify my position). Then you refer to “gamma cuckiness” (whatever that is) and “virtue-signaling.” There is no need to insult someone you disagree with—I don’t think I deserved to be called names.

    To Michael Kennedy: To be more exact, I am more a centrist than someone on the right. I know that grates on those who consider themselves “rightists.” But there are still some of us around, and you should not lump people like me with leftists.

    To Sennacherib: Thanks for the support.

    To Larry again: Yes, I know that we all were fearful of what Reagan would do. Trump is not Reagan.

    To Kishke: Disagree about whether someone else would have succeeded. Hillary was an easy target.

    To Barry: At least you were relatively polite when you disagreed with me. And I am not sure we really are in disagreement about what is to be done.

    The conclusion is that I had no obligation to like Trump or his behavior during the campaign, and the idea that I must go along with the “rightists” reminds me of those eight years ago who insisted that their man was perfect and to go against him was unacceptable. Well, shoving a candidate down the voters’ throats was unacceptable then and unacceptable now. Having said this, Trump is our president and I wish him well. (That is, I hope Barry is right about Trump, notwithstanding the garbage during the campaign.)

    If you still have a problem with my position, there is nothing more that I can say to clarify it. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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  3. Michael Kennedy
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting to see the right (I guess Sheldan considers himself right) adopt the usual leftist meme of the perfect being the enemy of the good. Usually I see that in the fantasy world of the left. I have a couple of leftist children. The only one I can talk to about politics (we don’t agree) was going on about some Texas school board that wanted creation taught along side evolution. That is a position I disagree with and she, of course, thought it was the worst thing in the history of school teaching. I asked her which was more important; kids learning to read and do arithmetic or learn about evolution? She agreed reading and basic math were more important. That’s why we can talk. The others would be going on about evil Republicans. No connection.

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    • Larry
      Posted January 12, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s a reasonable, brief definition of Cuckservative: A professed conservative who has adopted the liberal (leftist, socialist, SJW, etc) perspective, typically with hope that the conservative won’t get bashed — despite already coming through various and ongoing thrashings that have moved the Overton window steadily to the left for literally decades — by the liberals no matter how failed their perspectives have proven. Such adoption has delivered nothing in the cuckservative’s favor because the bashings continue until submission is complete. They’ll even eat their own when any deviation from their narrative happens, however slight.

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  4. sennacherib
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Sheldan on this; “But there is NO rule that I have to like the particular person in the office”.

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  5. Larry
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    So far, instead of logical arguments, all sheldan has shown are feeeeeeelings and a preference that his notes must end the discussion. Instead of gamma cuckiness and virtue-signalling, consider what thoughtful and thought-provoking people, namely Jerry Pournelle and Victor Davis Hanson, have noticed: https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/trumpism-defined-and-other-matters/

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  6. kishke
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I saw that piece this morning, and thought, Stephens might be waking up.

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  7. sheldan
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I think Bret Stephens was right to bash Trump because he deserved it. Whether or not he is pro-Israel, Stephens was right that Trump was an unacceptable candidate. Unfortunately, the voters elected him (and fortunately, they didn’t elect his opponent) and we have to live with the results for four years.

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    • Barry
      Posted January 10, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Why was Stephens right to bah Trump in light of reality????? Does Trump have a personality problem? Sure, but on what issue is he on the wrong side.

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      • sheldan
        Posted January 10, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Just because Trump is the winner of the presidency and happens to be right on this one issue does not mean that Stephens was wrong. I think that many of the other 16 candidates could have beaten Hillary and would have supported the same policies.

        Many of us were indeed “Never Trump,” and probably also voted against both candidates. Just because these were the two candidates put before us does not mean that we have to like one or the other. And just because Trump is to become president does not mean that I have to like the fact (but, as I mentioned before, I would not have liked the alternative either). It is going to be a long four years.

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        • Barry
          Posted January 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          Pretty well what I thought the answer might be. But trump, at the topic sentence level is on the right side of:
          1. Israel
          2.Health care
          3. Immigration
          4. The Islamic threat
          5. Security – in all its aspects.
          6. Taxation

          A metaphor. You are walking in a jungle when a serpent pops up and blocks your path. A fool thinks about the serpent’s rights and the entire history of herpetology. But you have a machete. So, acting in your own interests, you cuts that serpents head off and continue your journey.

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          • sheldan
            Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Maybe to end this thread…I did NOT say that I disagreed with Trump on these issues. My point is that Stephens was right when he said during the campaign that Trump was not the right vehicle to use to implement the changes that were needed.

            Now that he is going to be the president, though, I will have to accept that the voters have spoken, and I will have to respect the office, whether or not I like the person in it. But there is NO rule that I have to like the particular person in the office–just like eight years ago, when I didn’t like the choice the voters made either.

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            • Barry
              Posted January 10, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

              Agreed, but under the circumstances of division we are all facing, much better to cool the anti=Trump rhetoric.

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              • sheldan
                Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

                No problem with that here. The problem with that last comment is that it implies that anything Trump will do is perfect, which I don’t think you want to imply.

                Don’t think that because I am criticizing here that I am part of the “anti-Trump” crowd (i.e., the leftists). I am simply stating that I do not like the man, but I respect that he will be our next president and we have to make the best of the next four years.

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            • Larry
              Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

              He’s terrible! He’s terrible! I agree with everything he’s said on all these issues, but he’s terrible I tell you!

              Give me a break. I remember the same illogic and nonarguments from people back in 1980. Hmm.

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              • sheldan
                Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

                OK, for the last time…

                Do I have to think he’s perfect? Do I have to like the man? Why is it so important for you to make me like Trump?

                I get it. I am sure he will do what he can to improve the mess we’ve had over the last eight years. BUT I am sure that if the voters nominated someone else not so radioactive, they would be following these policies.

                I am pulling for Trump to succeed. But I can’t overlook what he did to get there, and I am not going to pretend that a price has not been paid regarding the unity of this country–a unity that, to be honest, was threatened eight years ago. I am saying that we could have done the same thing without Trump. We almost threw it away because, like in 2008 with Obama, we were taking a chance on an unqualified new face and we didn’t care.

                Fortunately, Hillary blew her chance. Now the country expects Trump to turn things around. I hope so. Because I don’t want another divisive election like 2016.

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          • kishke
            Posted January 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            Let’s not forget school choice.
            As for the other GOP candidates, the Dems would have Romneyed them. Trump changed the frame, and gave back better than he got; none of the others would have succeeded.

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  8. pkoning
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    That was a bit of a surprise, reading that piece this morning. I particularly appreciated “Mahmoud Abbas just entered the 13th year of his four-year term”. My only change is that (for the reason stated) I give his title as “Former President”.

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