President Trump’s plan to move Israel and the Palestinians out of their endless deadlock is rooted in ugly realities. In Israel and Palestinian territories, these realities are obvious and don’t need to be rehashed. The Palestinian hoi polloi lives in a third world hooch controlled by rich potentates who have hot water and 24-hours of electricity in their modern mansions. Israeli citizens (Jews and Arabs alike) live in a modern nation that rivals (and in some ways, beats) the United States.
Freedom means something different in the Middle East than it does in America. Jews in Israel take their freedom dripping with the blood of those who fought/fight for their very survival. While we in America go insane over Drag Queen Story Time and muh First Amendment rights, in Israel, they’re content to regulate speech and religion in ways that would horrify us. In the Palestinian territories, the freedoms we celebrate are a distant, cold hope. Money frequently comes to Palestinians in such a corrupt political structure by political opportunity, or by blowing yourself and your children to bits in the “cause” of exterminating Jews–hard work is not consistently rewarded, and a lifetime of opportunity can be wiped out by Israeli security concerns or shifting Palestinian alliances.
(** Ed: I have edited the above sentence to better convey my meaning, as I’ve been told the original text could be interpreted in a very hurtful manner to Palestinians.)
That’s an ugly truth.
When Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005, Palestinians burned the homes and businesses that the IDF forcibly removed its own citizens from in the name of “peace” rather than live in structures built by Jews. What lie would we have to swallow to believe that any repatriation of Palestinians into Israeli land would lead to anything but wonton destruction and slaughter? This is how the Palestinians have been conditioned for 70 years: The Jews will be pushed into the sea and then you can have everything.
The ugly truth is that it will never happen. Trump’s plan accepts the ugly truths and attempts to offer a way forward.
An uglier truth is that the American left still clings to those worn out tropes and continues to keep Palestinians in squalor while their political masters steal the futures of yet another generation.
A shining example is this New York Times op-ed by Nathan Thrall titled “Trump’s Middle East Peace Pan Exposes the Ugly Truth.” It’s so ironic that the ugly truth to which Thrall refers is actually his own deplorable take on the situation, with literally every fact twisted and wrong.
Thrall noted that the plan called for a Palestinian state, then immediately admitted that a Palestinian state is not the solution he is looking for.
Members of the Israeli right and other opponents of a two-state solution celebrated the deal as the definitive end of the possibility of an independent Palestinian state.
Then, the blood libel-soaked history lesson, which is so filled with untruths it hardly qualifies as history at all.
For over a century, the West has supported Zionist aims in Palestine at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population. In 1917, the British government promised to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, where Jews made up less than 8 percent of the population. Thirty years later, the United Nations proposed a plan to partition Palestine: The Jews, who made up less than a third of the population and owned less than 7 percent of the land, were given the majority of the territory. During the ensuing war, Israel conquered more than half the territory allotted to the Arab state; four-fifths of the Palestinians who had lived in what became the new boundaries of Israel were prevented from returning to their homes. The international community did not force Israel to return the territory that it had seized, or to permit the return of refugees.
The Arab League rejected the Partition Plan without offering an alternative (except expelling the Jews). Jews were not “given” anything, they fought for their lives, and the Arabs who were paid by their own nations to move to “Palestine” to match Jewish immigration were told they’d get the Jews’ land once the Jews were defeated. They were told to evacuate for the war, so they did. Then the Israelis won after two bloody years. The same Arab nations who sent their own citizens to “Palestine” would not repatriate them. For 70 years, they haven’t recognized their own citizens.
The Arab nations created the refugees and put them on Israel like a pox. That’s an ugly truth but not one the American left will accept.
After the 1967 War, when Israel conquered the remaining 22 percent of Palestine, as well as the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria, Israel illegally established settlements in the territories it occupied and created a regime with separate laws for different groups — Israelis and Palestinians — living in the same territory. In 1980, Israel formally annexed East Jerusalem. As with Israel’s settlement activity, there was some international finger wagging and condemnation, but American financial and military backing for Israel only strengthened.
Israel “conquered” nothing. They fought for their existence. They fought again in 1973 after a horrendous surprise attack by Egypt that only divine intervention prevented from ending Israel. Somehow the Yom Kippur War didn’t make it into Thrall’s ugly truth.
No nation on earth has been mistreated the way the U.N. has mistreated Israel. Blaming the U.N. for the Palestinian problem is hilariously demented.
Mr. Trump’s plan has many severe faults: It prioritizes Jewish interests over Palestinian ones. It rewards and even incentivizes settlements and further dispossession of the Palestinians. But none of these qualities represent a fundamental break from the past. The Trump plan merely puts the finishing touches on a house that American lawmakers, Republican and Democrat alike, spent dozens of years helping to build. During the last several decades, as Israel slowly took over the West Bank, putting more than 600,000 settlers in occupied territory, the United States provided Israel with diplomatic backing, vetoes in the United Nations Security Council, pressure on international courts and investigative bodies not to pursue Israel, and billions of dollars in annual aid.
Thrall and his liberal buddies don’t seem to realize that Israel is the Jewish State and the homeland for Jews. Any plan that allows Israel to exist, by definition, “prioritizes Jewish interests over Palestinian ones” since Palestinian interests revolve around removing Israel from the map. This is the ugly reality.
Israel’s legal claim to the land in the areas contemplated by Trump’s agreement for formal annexation were recognized as not being part of the Palestinian state as contemplated in the Oslo agreements. It’s that simple.
The fact that Democrats–meaning the crop of presidential candidates–all agree with Thrall’s view means that they’ve bought in to a vision that both Israeli leading parties reject.
Israelis and Palestinians (the ones who are allowed to hear it) know how warped and ridiculous the view of the American left is regarding the ugly truths they live with every day. The Trump plan makes sense to the large majority of Israelis of all political stripes. If the Palestinian people learned that they could participate in the civil rights and modern life that Israelis have by giving up their conditioning as blood-for-blood pawns in an ancient feud, they’d also say it makes sense.
But powerful political criminals like Mahmoud Abbas, joined by the sad, blind American leftists, European anti-Semites and the milquetoasts at the U.N., would rather keep those Palestinians in the dark, without hope, angry, and living in squalor.
That’s the ugliest truth.