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Saturday, June 13, 2015

New York Times Editorial, "Accounting for the Benefits of Mideast Peace": A Delightful Flight of Fancy

Don't get me wrong: I favor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the potential benefits of such a solution are numerous. Nothing would please me more than a prosperous democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. On the other hand, I have no illusions regarding the likelihood of Fatah or Hamas accepting Israel's right to exist, which must be a fundamental condition of any such peace, because otherwise, Israel, which is the size of New Jersey, will be facing continuous rocket attacks throughout its length and breadth. Moreover, my support for a two-state solution is not predicated upon any anticipated benefit involving trade with Israel's other neighbors.

In an editorial entitled "Accounting for the Benefits of Mideast Peace," The New York Times extols the virtues of a two state solution and points to a Rand Corporation report that details the benefits of a two-state solution to both sides of the conflict. The Times says of the report's conclusions:

"Among the assumptions underlying these conclusions are the return of 100,000 settlers from the West Bank to Israel, with relocation costs paid by the international community, and a tripling of Israeli trade with Arab countries in the Middle East."

"A tripling of trade with Arab countries in the Middle East?" Yeah, right. Trade with Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya? These countries no longer exist, and Lebanon is hanging in the balance. Trade with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia? Although Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and Saudi Arabia fears Iran far more than Israel, the level of anti-Semitism found in these and other Arab countries would stand in the way of meaningful trade.

All of Israel's Arab neighbors are in desperate need of Israeli desalination technology, but my guess is that any trade agreement involving the transfer of such know-how is not going to happen in my lifetime.

A two-state solution is a worthy goal, yet, as evidenced by the negative Palestinian response to Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's 2008 peace offer, providing the Palestinians with an independent state along the 1967 lines together with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Palestinians are still not prepared to accept Israel.

In short, a two-state solution and trade with Israel's Arab neighbors? Don't hold your breath.

1 comment:

  1. Who funded this RAND report?

    Who decided 100,000 Jews do not have the right to live in Judea and Samaria? The Europeans?; who can no longer guarantee a Jew's safety?

    No wonder Naftali B was so surprised, on a trade visit, when the Chinese got right to business, there was not a mention of the "settlements".

    That was the last time I had a PC that could play a video :)

    Did this RAND report assume the Saudis turn Gaza into an oil pipeline port/refinery/desalination, under Saudi/Egyptian control? The Saudis have great expertise in border fences. Egypt is bringing back the mile-wide moat...

    lots of shovel-ready jobs.