State Dept should chuck the “land for peace” formulae


Most Americans would like to believe that certain ethical qualities are in the mix when shaping American foreign policy, such as intellectual honesty and moral integrity. These qualities, whether part of an individual’s nature or those of national policy, often require some difficult introspection.

Sometimes it even involves the painful admission that one has been wrong. Even if one has been wrong for an extremely long time. And it is human nature that the longer the time, the deeper the resistance to change.

So it is with certain theories that our State Department has clung to for generations now, such as “land for peace.” What we have seen through decades of empirical, and often heartbreaking experience, is that this formula simply hasn’t worked.  If the objective is “peace”, one must honestly ask oneself if any of the politically gut-wrenching and internally divisive land withdrawals from the Sinai, Gaza, southern Lebanon and parts of Judea and Samaria, has actually brought us any closer to that objective of peace.

But rather than challenge the premises of this formulation, those in the State Department’s echo chamber simply dig their feet in further and rationalize its failure. Each time there is another excuse. “Israel hasn’t given enough land”, or “Gaza was without a negotiating partner”.

All of the State Department apparatchiks who stubbornly cling to this mantra were one hundred per cent in favor of each of these withdrawals. Then, when those land withdrawal did not bring us closer to the designated objective, they came up with convenient post facto rationalizations.

On Wednesday February 15, five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, Thomas Pickering, Edward Walker, James Cunningham, William Harrop, and Daniel Kurtzer wrote a letter to the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee casting doubts upon the ability of President Trump’s selection of David Friedman for the position of ambassador to Israel because he has not demonstrated than he has bought into their paradigm, which has proven to be an abject failure, time and time again.

One of the arguments that is used to bolster this failed premise is an equally false mantra that we find within the letter. This false mantra has been used, even before the state of Israel was declared, to say that the Jewish enterprise will be doomed to failure because the demographics of the Arabs will eventually outnumber those of the Jews.

It is couched within the February 15th letter, which states: “If Israel is to carry on as a democratic, Jewish nation, respected internationally, we see no alternative to a two-state solution.”

This mantra was used ever since the days of the Yishuv (the settlements in Israel before statehood), under President Truman, when his Secretary of Defense James Forrestal exclaimed, “You just don’t understand. There are four hundred thousand Jews and forty million Arabs. Forty million Arabs are going to push for four hundred thousand Jews into the sea. And that’s all there is to it. Oil — that’s the side we want to be on.”

During the Oslo years, Israeli demographers from the Israeli Central bureau of Statistics used inflated statistics, taken in good faith, and without due diligence, from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. These numbers have been politically used by those on the left to scare Israelis and Jews worldwide into conceding the geographic and topographically necessary defensive advantage to the Palestinian Authority. These inflated statistics became the critical foundation upon which was built much the recycled claim that “Israel cannot maintain itself as both a Jewish state and a democracy unless it creates a Palestinian state”, found in the February 15th letter.

It was the height of irresponsibility to not verify the statistics given by the P.A, in the first place. However, they have been proven to be totally inflated, by the esteemed analyst Yoram Ettinger and Nicholas Eberstadt, chief demographer of the American Enterprise Institute, as well as by the World Bank. The correct demographic data points on a 66% majority of Jews living West of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and the demographic trends in the two populations point to a steep trajectory of rising birthrates among the Jewish population, as well as a steady migration into Israel because of accelerated spikes in global anti-Semitism, and declining birth rates among the Palestinians, as well as their steady migration out of the Middle East.

Yet these false numbers have been forever parroted.

Many factors, including a hefty dose of professional hubris and cognitive dissonance within the State Department’s hermetically sealed echo chamber, have not allowed these five former ambassadors to acknowledge that their premise for finding peace between the Israelis and Palestinians was not only fundamentally flawed but it was based on misleading, fallacious data.

A famous quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein, defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The failure to entertain any alternative route to peace, or the possibility of their paradigm being based on a faulty premise built upon faulty data, is the only way to describe the ossified cognitive status of those who signed the February 15th letter.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israel think tank and policy institute in Washington, DC

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March 4, 2017 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. We are digging our own grave with our acceptance of this story. I recommend to allow the claim that we cannot be a Jewish and a democratic state at the same time. In that case, we want to be the Jewish state foremost. If the result is not democratic enough, who in Israel cares? Israel is not democratic enough anyway for plenty of good reasons.

  2. In politics, anything BUT “intellectual honesty and moral integrity”.
    This goes against “the adage divide to conquer”!!!
    Antisemitism was and still is a foundation of ME US SD politics. That explains 100 years of failed US ME policy.

  3. I have people and family that were in Israel from the 1800’s to its reconstitution in 1920 and its declaration of sovereignty, and I have many there today. The British committed crimes against humanity. They allowed and turned a blind eye while hundreds of thousands of Arabs crossed into Israel attacked and killed Jewish people. The British supplied the Arabs with weapons and confiscated weapons from the local Jewish people who were trying to defend themselves. The League of Nations was going to bring charges against Britain for violating the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, but it was dissolved before charges were brought against the British. Ask the government in India about British atrocities in their country. I personally have spoken to the British about their crimes in Israel; they admitted that was the policy of the British government. You can read some of documents in the British archives. You can also read about British {Operation Embarrass).

    I have copies of the Minutes of the 1918 Paris conference and the Minutes of the San Remo Conference of April 1920. I also have the Faisal Weizmann Agreement of January 1919. It corresponds to the minutes of The 1918-1920 Allied Conferences in how to allocate the Ottoman territory. I know you are biased against Israel, but that does not matter to me. Israel is The Jewish country and we are holding it as ours. No matter what anyone else thinks or distorts history. Possession is nine tenths of the law.

  4. “Land for peace” is an idea whose time has come.

    Which lands are the Arabs prepared to abrogate in return for peace?

    Sorry, but claims on historically Jewish lands don’t count.

  5. The Einstein quote on sanity also applies to the Moslem faith in violence out of the Koran and the jihadi war to beat up the entire World till all say “Al-laah.” Just look at the Ayatollahs trying to recreate the Persian Empire.

    In particular the Palestine Arabs had 8 offers or opportunities from Peel 1937 to Olmert 2007 to create an Arab state in Palestine and dropped the catch deliberately each time. Somebody should tell them that you catch flies with honey NOT vinegar.