Mar. 1, 2019
- Can Middle East Peace Be Bought? – Jonathan S. Tobin
Senior U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner is visiting the Middle East with a special emphasis on wealthy Arab states, where he is soliciting investment that he hopes will be the seed money for a new era of peace. But the Palestinian Authority has made it clear that it won’t negotiate and there’s no reason to expect that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is capable of saying yes to any deal.
The administration’s assumption that Arab nations have the power to either persuade or bribe the Palestinians into giving up their century-old war on Zionism is mistaken. The Palestinians continue to view peace as a zero sum game in which any recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders may be drawn, is a defeat for their cause. If the Palestinians wanted to settle for a two-state solution, then they would have already accepted one of the previous Israeli offers.
Kushner is right to think that an effort to promote economic development is a prerequisite for hope for a future solution. But the Palestinian governments of both the West Bank and Gaza actively discourage any effort or enterprise that is not controlled by them. The failure of former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, an American-educated technocrat, illustrated just how difficult it is to encourage good government in a political culture where terror is still lauded.
As the PA and Hamas have both made clear, any peace plan that is predicated on the Palestinians giving up their war against Israel for a better economy is going to be dead on arrival. The process of transforming the territories economically is not something that can be added on as a sweetener to a deal the Palestinians are not ready to make. (JNS-Israel Hayom)