We’ve heard this song before. John Kerry has offered the latest new and improved peace plan, to settle once and for all the wars and rumors of war between Israel and the Palestinians and their enablers.
The secretary of state’s dreamy scheme would be nice work if peaceful folk could get it, but reality grades on a steep curve. The Israelis have this unreasonable itch to survive.
Self-preservation is the strongest human urge, but only the Israelis, alone in the world, are expected to suppress the urge and die without making a lot of unseemly fuss and noise about it. You don’t have to be Jewish to share the outrage.
Mr. Kerry, with more or less good will for the Jews, has devised a formula that might look good on a State Department white paper — or even on pink or blue stock — but it assumes that everyone will be nice. Too bad, but Israel’s critics and tormentors don’t do nice.
Israel is expected to overlook gritty reality, and let someone else worry about the nation’s survival. There’s a strong whiff of mendacity about this, but everyone is expected to get a clothespin and not notice the stench.
When Mr. Kerry observed, at a recent conference in Munich (a nice irony there for anyone with an acquaintance with history), that “there’s an increasing delegitimization campaign that’s been building up [against Israel]. People are very sensitive about it. There are talks of boycotts and other kinds of things.”
This is a not-so-subtle reminder, as if the Israelis don’t read newspapers, that other kinds of things include “a B.D.S. movement” to pressure Israel to give in and go gentle into the terror of the Arabian nights.
“Boycotts, divestment and sanctions” are the order of the day, promoted by academics, pundits of bad will, certain diplomats of no will and “goodness activists” in the name of the phony “peace” that requires a gentle world to make it actually work.
The usual suspects swoon. Writes Tom Friedman in The New York Times: “[Mr.] Kerry and President Obama are trying to build Israelis a secure off-ramp from the highway they’re hurtling down in the West Bank that only ends in some really bad places for Israel and the Jewish people.”
Given the ineptitude of the architects and the obliviousness of the engineers designing it, that off-ramp leads to disaster, but that’s a risk Mr. Friedman and his like-minded fans are willing to take.
Certain Israeli intellectuals, weary of war and yearning for a little relief from the endless stress and strife and threat of extinction, keep looking for a way to blame Israel for the intransigence, since putting the blame where it belongs hasn’t worked.
Jaw-jaw, as Winston Churchill famously said, is better than war-war. But when Britain’s survival was hanging in the balance, he didn’t flinch, and neither did Britain.
Shorn of self-righteous rhetoric and diplomatic play-acting, the bottom line in the Middle East is that the Palestinians could have their state on the West Bank if they would give up the fantasy of destroying the Israelis and getting it all.
The Israelis would be pleased in the event to help the Palestinians make a success of nationhood, if not from good will then from the reality that peace — the real thing, and not the processed stuff — is ultimately cheaper than making war, however necessary it can be.
At the insistence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Kerry inserted in the guidelines for the talks that are scheduled to last through April the common-sensical requirement that the Palestinians recognize the obvious fact, so simple that a caveman would see it, that Israel is a state for the Jewish people. Even this was too much reality for the Palestinians.
“They know the Palestinians would not be able to accept that,” Yusef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund, which raises money for Palestinian causes, tells Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern television network. “It’s an effort to torpedo any progress on the creation of a Palestinian state.”
If the peace talks fail, certain Palestinian red-hots warn that armed conflict may follow, as if that would be anything new. “Now we are engaged in negotiations,” says Jibril Rajoub, an official of the Palestinian Authority. “We hope this will lead us to our national goals. But if talks fail or collapse, the Israelis will not keep behaving as the bully in the neighborhood … while humiliating Palestinians.”
But humiliation is self-inflicted in that miserable part of the world. Like the Bourbons of old, the aggrieved learn nothing and forget nothing.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.