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Knock off the peace processing, already!

By Jonathan Greenberg, Originally published in The Hill

We have been told repeatedly by officials in successive American and European administrations that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians can only end in a two-state solution and that the time for such a solution is here and is quickly passing. European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said as much earlier this week when she said, “I believe that one thing is clear to everybody in the region: that the status quo is not an option.”

First of all, if Mogherini believes that her contention that “the status quo is not an option” is “clear to everybody in the region,” the EU should immediately look for a new top foreign policy person. Because there’s no way she believes that or, if she does, she must have a severe and tragic problem with recreational hallucinogens. It is manifestly not so. Entire books have been written about the preferability – not to be confused with desirability – of the status quo.

 Of course, those books also cared enough about the people living in the region to also examine the achievable alternatives, something most Western leaders never bother to do. So, perhaps I was too hasty about the EU diplomat’s drug problem. I guess if, by “everybody in the region” she meant the small orbit of ideological fellow-travelers directly around her, she’s got a point.

Second – and this may come as a shock to the reset experts at the State Department – there is no immutable law of nature imposing a sell-by date on Middle East peace negotiations. You know what is an immutable law of nature? Newton’s First Law. Check it out. Then apply it to human behavior.

Western leaders should stop telling us that their preferred near-term outcome is the only possible near-term outcome in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It puts undue pressure on our Israeli allies who are always the ones forced to “give” something just to get the Palestinians to come to the table. This, in turn, serves the strategic objectives of the Palestinians and disincentives’ them from negotiating in good faith.

 

Continue reading in The Hill…

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