What Worries Israelis Makes The Arabs Happy

Michael Ramirez

Well-meaning liberals, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, have been arguing that now is the time for Israel to strike a deal with the Palestinian Arabs. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes:

…Israeli leaders are well aware that they face a new reality in their region. Whatever regime arises in Egypt, it is likely to chill even further what is already called a cold peace. The same might hold for Jordan. King Abdullah is secure for now – the Bedouin tribes need him to avoid chaos – but he, too, will have to listen to popular sentiment.

Consequently, now would be the propitious time for Israel to settle with the Palestinians. I am aware that resolution of the Palestinian issue will not satisfy anti-Semites or extreme Arab nationalists – Israel is not going to give up all of Jerusalem nor, for that matter, disappear – and both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza have only been emboldened by recent events. Still, the creation of a Palestinian state – the lifting of all the onerous restrictions on Palestinian movement – will take some air out of this particular balloon and, possibly, improve Israel’s deteriorating moral standing in Europe and elsewhere. This is no small matter…

And Andre Aciman in the Wall Street Journal:

…Israel is under no illusions, but it cannot afford to wait and see which way the wind blows as rebellion sweeps through the Middle East. Rather, it should seize the moment and show that it can bring about changes as momentous as those witnessed elsewhere in the region today.

That means striking an honorable deal with the Palestinians, vacating areas whose occupation is unjustifiable and allowing the Palestinians to have a country with a capital Israel learns to share. Israel must show its Arab neighbors that it can up the ante on their revolution and produce the long-awaited miracle of peace in the Middle East…

The problem with this argument is obvious: there is simply no evidence that the Arabs want an “honorable deal” that doesn’t result in the destruction of the Jewish state and a Jew-free Middle East (at a minimum). The Israelis are rightly skeptical and worried about the so-called wave of “freedom” engulfing their region.

And it’s a safe bet that whatever worries the Israelis makes the Arabs happy. So it’s hard to believe the Arabs would negotiate anything that fair-minded people would consider an honorable deal.

As Bret Stephens argues in today’s Wall Street Journal, “the distance from liberation to despotism—from euphoria to terror—is usually short.”

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