BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
Nationalism is all of the rage these days. Whatever your take on the matter is, nationalism is an entirely natural human need to belong; it is an outgrowth of our desire for community—the place where the individual meets the group. Nationalism, then, can be best understood as an outgrowth of culture. And, as Samuel Huntington proved, cultural divisions normally drive international affairs far more than the airy notions of globalism that America’s utopian elites believe.
There is no greater example of this than in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict. And, there are but two ways to ameliorate the conflict: either allow for the warring sides to fight each other until one side wins—decisively—and the other is destroyed. Or, the world can abandon any pretense of a Two-State solution—the idea that a Jewish-dominated Israel can coexist beside a unitary, Arab-controlled Palestinian state—and instead embrace a three-state solution.
Fact is, there is no Palestine. There are, however, two separate Arab groups that compose “Palestine.” The first group are the Arabs who live in the Gaza Strip, who are culturally Egyptian, and the second group are the Arabs in the West Bank, who are beholden to nearby Jordan. The two regions are culturally distinct and geographically separated by Israel. What’s more, the two areas have close connections to either Egypt or Jordan and, therefore, these two Muslim states should take the lead in mitigating the ongoing crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
As Jacob Savage wrote in 2007:
The idea that national identities remain static is a late 20th century fiction. Palestinian identity has been in flux since the Ottoman period, and there is no reason to think that it is now frozen in place. Indeed, after receiving Jordanian citizenship in 1950, many residents of the West Bank came to see themselves as Jordanian. Yet following the Israeli conquest in the 1967 Six-Day War, they quickly adopted a pan-Palestinian identity.
So, what changed?
In 1988, Jordan renounced all claims to the West Bank while Israeli travel restrictions placed on Gaza meant that an entire generation of Gazans never set foot in the West Bank. These two distinct Arab Palestines grew apart. Today, the Sunni terror organization, Hamas, rule Gaza while their bitter rivals, Fatah, the Arab socialist descendants of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) governs the West Bank. On the periphery is the Iranian-backed Shiite militia in neighboring Lebanon, Hezbollah, which continues antagonizing the Israelis with repeated attacks, thereby encouraging radicalism in the Palestinian territories.
There Is No Palestine
The Trump Administration’s Mideast point person, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, insists that “[The Palestinians], over time, will become capable of governing” tonight. This statement could not be more divorced from reality. The Palestinians have proven time and again that they are incapable of governing themselves. What’s more, since 1939, there have been countless attempts by the world—even by various Israeli governments—to usher in the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinians have themselves refused to accept a Two-State solution!
Presently, the borders of any proposed Palestinian state are entirely unworkable. The only way for a Palestinian state to be created would be for Israel to abandon territory that they were compelled to take in 1967, after they had been surprise attacked by Arab armies who intended to drive the Israelis into the sea. Returning Israel’s borders to the pre-1967 lines may sound good to diplomats on paper. Doing so, however, would reduce Israel’s ability to defend its airspace from rockets launched by its nearby enemies. The goal of any solution should be to uphold the independence of all sides, without risking the sovereignty of any state, such as Israel (having indefensible airspace is an inherent risk to Israel’s sovereignty).
The Arab-Israeli Divide Is Being Bridged…By Iran
Fact is, the divide between Israel and the Arab community has driven the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Today, thanks to their shared animosity of Iran, the Arab states and Israel are moving closer together than ever before. Therefore, a Three-State Solution is more workable than any other solution—which has thus far proven elusive to diplomats. As Iran continues expanding its reach across the Shia Crescent, with Tehran insisting that it has a right to build a nuclear weapons arsenal, the mullahs risk being hoist by their own anti-Semitic petard. Once intractable blood enemies, such as the Arab states (as well as Egypt), are now working together with Israel and the United States to counter the rise of Shiite-dominated Iran.
In the context of this budding, history-making alliance, the White House should be pressing its Arab and Egyptian allies to pressure their contacts in Gaza and the West Bank to accept a Three-State solution rather than trying to birth a Palestine that will be a pre-failed state. Making peace between the Israelis and their Palestinian neighbors is possible. But it cannot be done unless we abandon the pretense that there is one Palestinian people and therefore one Palestinian state.