Most Americans don’t delve deeply into the details of global conflicts. They rely instead on a hierarchy of common sense. I will kill you, for example, trumps I will be mean to you. Their preferences are governed by certain basic narratives. The competing details are inconsequential if one side loses a basic narrative.
For most Americans, Palestinians lose a basic narrative. The histories and politics in that tiny patch on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean are vastly complex. Most Americans never try to understand it. They understand instead that support for Israel is honorable, and that Palestinians violate a basic precept of American identity. They desire the extinction of a nation and its people. For most Americans, no further inquiry is necessary, no burrowing into claims and counterclaims, no assessment of competing grievances. The Palestinian desire for the extinction of Israel settles the matter.
It’s unsurprising that Palestinians desire the permanent removal of this Jewish blot in Dar al-Islam. Most Americans get it, and therefore support Israel. Westerners at large, including the Obama administration, advance a different narrative, focused on competing grievance minutiae, and therefore botch the “peace process” with inordinate focus on Jewish settlements.
There will never be a peace process of consequence until Palestinians give up their desire for the extinction of Israel. An administration better schooled in basic narratives, as opposed to grievance minutiae, would have understood this.
Most Palestinians, 60% according to a recent poll by The Israel Project, support a “two-state solution.” As do we all. The Israel Project poll delves a little deeper with a follow-up question to Palestinians: is the goal a permanent two-state solution, or is the goal “to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state?”
Thirty percent chose the first option, 60 percent the second. Israeli peace concessions, in other words, are to most Palestinians the gravy on the way to getting rid of Israel.
Thus do Palestinians destroy their credibility with most Americans and make fools of Westerners devoted to Palestinian statehood.
Israel’s exercise of its power in Palestinian territories is not without excess, and even less without justification. Israel currently confronts an implacably hostile people devoted to its extinction — but thankfully now without the powers and resources of statehood to act decisively on that desire. Existentially, then, much commends the status quo.
Most Americans, despite their dim grasp of grievance minutiae, get it. This administration, with its immersion in grievance minutiae, doesn’t.
Kendrick Macdowell is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C.