Now that Donald Trump is out of the news, the media has to talk about something. The latest something is Israeli-Palestinian peace. Talking about a Middle East peace deal now is no less fatuous than talking about a Trump presidency.
President Obama gave a major speech last week on the Middle East, in which he laid out his vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Depending on who you talk to it was either infuriating or innocuous. This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before Congress, where he will lay out his position. A superb speaker with a native’s command of English, Netanyahu is sure to give a rousing oration. Nonetheless, it will have little bearing on achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The reason, of course, why both these speeches are utterly inconsequential to moving forward with Israeli-Palestinian peace is the reality of Hamas.
When the president last created a hubbub about peace in the Middle East around a year ago, the same was true then. If anything has changed since then, it is that the opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace has gone from “no prospects” to “absolutely no prospects.”
When we last talked about Israeli-Palestinian peace a year ago, the territories controlled by Palestinians were split between Hamasistan in Gaza, and Fatahland in the West Bank. Now, Fatah and Hamas have formed an alliance. When it was the latter scenario, there were no prospects for peace because Israel could not make peace with a leader, Fatah’s Abu Mazen, who didn’t control all of his territory (or, for that matter, a leader who refused to even sit down and negotiate with Israel). In the current scenario, there are “absolutely no prospects” for peace because Israel cannot make peace with a Palestinian leadership that includes Hamas.
Well, very simple. Hamas’s own charter not only calls for the destruction of Israel, but for the murder of Jews generally. It says it is a religious duty. This is no exaggeration. Read the Hamas Charter for yourself (especially Article 7). It is inconceivable that Israel could – or would even be expected – to negotiate with an organization that’s negotiating starting and ending point is Jewish genocide.
Not until Hamas is defeated and rejected, and the Palestinians have leaders who truly seek peace, can there be any possibility for a lasting peace agreement. That’s not a year ago. I hope it will be in the future, though I don’t see it immediately on the horizon. What’s for sure is there are no prospects for a peace settlement now and giving speeches about the possibility of a peace settlement seems like a colossal waste of time, especially when there happens to be a thing or two else going on in the Middle East right now.
But since it has been all the rage on TV recently, I thought I would provide a little briefer on how the post-Six Day War boundaries, which President Obama thinks Israel should agree to retreat to before negotiations, came to be. Most people, very understandably, don’t follow the intricacies of Middle East politics so I will put it as simply as I can.
The boundaries came about as result of the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors, who had a combined population many, many multiples to that of the Jewish state. The Arab world, led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, got into a tizzy and was prepping to destroy Israel. For simplification sake, just imagine 30 guys surrounding and preparing to beat up and kill some seemingly tiny fella. Only, the tiny fella turned out to be Bruce Lee and instead of getting pummeled, he kicks the sh*t out of all of them — in six seconds. That’s the Six Day War in a nutshell.
We could go deeper, of course. But I’ll wait until there is a better shot of achieving a Middle East peace deal than there is of Mel Gibson being appointed to the board of the Jewish Federation before I start trotting out a master’s thesis on the subject for a column.
Though the media is currently engulfed in covering a peace process that won’t be, have no fear, like Donald Trump mania, this too shall pass.