The first reason that so many deal-makers have failed is that peace is never negotiated and is always imposed by the side that wins a war. There is not any instance in history, which is primarily a narrative of countless wars, in which an outsider has imposed peace on unwilling belligerents.
Casting himself as the best friend Israel could hope for, President Donald Trump is promising, some may say threatening, to unveil his grand plan for a peace “deal” to end the so-called “Middle East problem”.
Trump has always fancied himself as a deal-maker; he has even written a book on the subject. It is, therefore, no surprise that he might want to put his skill to use on an issue which has defied numerous deal-makers for six decades.
What are the chances of him succeeding? The short answer is: nil!
This is no reflection on Trump’s talent for deal-making. The problem with the “Middle East problem” is that those who tried to solve it never managed to define it and, as a result, sacrificed the existential reality on the ground to the essential abstraction of elusive ideals.
|(Image source: White House)|
The current phase of the saga began in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.
The first would-be deal-maker was Britain’s Prime Minister Clement Attlee, then responsible for the fate of the chunk of the Greater Syria of the Ottoman times, known as Palestine. Influenced by the Foreign Office, which had already allocated a portion of the booty to Trans-Jordan, Attlee was apparently persuaded that the remaining bit should also be distributed among Arab states, then allies of Britain grouped in the Arab League.
However, Britain’s evolving position ran into opposition from US President Harry S. Truman, who also fancied himself as a deal-maker. To iron out differences between the two rival deal-makers, London and Washington created the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry.
Truman’s envoy to the commission was a Californian Catholic judge, Bartley C. Crum, who admitted he knew nothing of the issue. However, during the months he spent in the region attending the commission’s many hearings, addressed by envoys from Arab countries and native Muslim, Christian and Jewish populations, he concluded that creating a “homeland” for the Jews, as promised by Great Britain in the Balfour declaration of1917, must be part of any “deal”.
At that time, however, Britain had moved beyond Balfour and hoped to create an Arab bloc against the looming Soviet danger in the region.
Both Attlee and Truman failed in imposing their divergent deals. And in February 1947, British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin passed the hot potato to the United Nations.
In November 1947, the UN General Assembly cast itself as deal-maker by passing General Assembly Resolution 181 which recommended the creation of two states, one for Jews and the other for Arabs.
Britain was one of the 10 states that abstained while 13 others, (Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen) voted against.
However, it quickly became clear that the UN, too, had failed as a deal-maker.
The resolution was so long, so detailed and so laden with jargon that few apart from seasoned lawyers would comprehend let alone be able to implement it.
Rather than admit failure, the UN persisted in its deal-making delusion. Successive Secretary-Generals, from Dag Hammarskjold to Kurt Waldheim and passing by U Thant, appointed special emissaries to shape a “deal”.
Some emissaries, notably Sweden’s Gunnar Jarring, claimed that they were on the threshold of a deal. In every case they came close but no cigar.
Until the 1970s the issue was labeled “the Arab-Israeli conflict”, a term justified by four wars. The decade also marked the start of an inflationary trend in Mideast deal-making. Henry Kissinger, dubbed “the modern Metternich”, chased the mirage with his “shuttle diplomacy,” and failed.
He was succeeded in the role by President Jimmy Carter, who achieved a truce between Egypt and Israel but kicked peace into long grass.
By the 1980s, the conflict had acquired a new appellation: the “Palestine issue,” and the seductive dream of a deal remained.
Since then, the list of would-be deal-makers has continued to get longer — so long, in fact, that one could not mention all of them in a single column. Among the pretenders were French President Jacques Chirac, British Premier Tony Blair and, in a different register, the Norwegian government. In 2005, even Angela Merkel, just named Chancellor of Germany, toyed with the idea of playing Mideast deal-maker but, wise lady as she is, quickly turned to other matters.
There are many reasons why so many deal-makers have failed.
The first is that peace is never negotiated and is always imposed by the side that wins a war. There is not any instance in history, which is primarily a narrative of countless wars, in which an outsider has imposed peace on unwilling belligerents.
The second reason is that outside deal-makers have their interests and agendas, which make an already tangled web even more complicated. For example, in the case of American deal-makers, how to win Jewish votes in the US without antagonizing the Arabs who sell us oil and buy our arms?
The third reason is that wannabe deal-makers do not fully appreciate the importance of the status quo, the reality on the ground.
Whenever a status quo is at least tolerable for both belligerents, the desire for risking it in the hope of an ill-defined peace is diminished. Many people in the world live with a status quo they don’t regard as ideal.
Russia and Japan coexist, trade with each other, and maintain correct relations, despite being technically at war with the Russian occupation of chunks of the Kuril Islands.
China and India coexist despite the Chinese annexation of large Indian territories along the border.
Bolivia and Chile are still technically at war because of the Chilean annexation of Bolivia’s access to the ocean. By one count, no fewer than 89 of the 198 members of the United Nations are involved in territorial disputes or are home to restive, sometimes secessionist minorities.
If we add irredentist dreams and claims rooted in myths or history, almost all UN members are in dispute with their neighbors. I haven’t met a Mexican who didn’t think that California and Texas belonged to Mexico. Nor would you find many Serbs ready to forget Pristina, their “holy city”, now in the hands of Muslim Albanians. And there are few Iranians who don’t feel sad that Baghdad, the site of their ancient capital of Ctesiphon, is now an Arab metropolis.
Finally, and more importantly, there could be no deal and no peace unless and until those involved in a conflict desire it. Without that desire, the best one could aim for is a truce, allowing for coexistence — living and half living, as the Anglo-American poet Elliot put it.
There is one thing that Trump the deal-maker could do. He could ask the Israelis and the Palestinians to work on an agreement, each in their own camp, on what they exactly want, and report to him.
My bet is that, at this moment, neither of the two sides would be able to shape any agreement in their own respective camp on what kind of a deal they might accept. And that, at least implicitly, means that both are happier with the status quo rather than the prolongation of a “peace process” which could never lead to peace and now is no longer even a process.
Iraqi Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, May 17, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Alaa al-Marjani / File.
Shi’a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Saturday that Jews could return to Iraq if they “demonstrated loyalty,” the Hebrew news site Walla reported.
The 44-year-old Sadr heads the Saairun coalition, which won the most seats in the Iraqi parliamentary election last month.
His comment on Jews came in response to a question asked by a supporter, the Walla report said.
In the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Sadr’s Mahdi Army targeted American troops.
Iran’s base in southern Syria, as photographed by satellite imagery, in October 2017. (Screenshot)
An Arabic news source reported on the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Russia concerning the Iranian military presence in Syria, stating that Russia has agreed to “a green light” for Israeli military strikes against Iranian military target.
Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman is currently in negotiations with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow concerning the Iranian military presence in Southern Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are also in telephone contact over the matter.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
“Paranoia predisposed him to believe in nefarious, hidden forces driving events,” the New York Times writes of Trump. “Political opportunism informed his promotion of conspiracy theories.”
But that could just as easily apply to the New York Times.
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it. THE CONFLICT BEYOND ADVOCACY
The Jewish community is in danger and so is the Free World as we know it.
Reprinted from IsraelNationalNews.com.
Who would have believed that within certain communities, there could be more supporters of the radical Arab Palestinian agenda than supporters of the free, democratic and altruistic State of Israel. The relentless Arab Palestinian deceitful and well-organized propaganda, with the irrational support of many in the Western Media, may be a part of this transition.
The Democratic Party in the USA used to be a staunch supporter of the just cause of the State of Israel, but a recent Pew Research Center report showed a dangerous shift in this attitude. Within the more radical liberal branch of the Democratic party, about 38% will be anti-Israeli while the supporters of Israel will be only about 26%. When you look at the overall numbers as they relate to the Democratic party, you find that about 31% will be anti-Israeli and only 33% will be pro-Israel. On the other hand, within the Republican party, about 74% will be pro-Israel.
Yahya Sinwar, the leader of the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza, speaks during a protest east of Khan Yunis, April 16, 2018.
Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, recently gave interviews to Al Jazeera and Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, which is close to Hezbollah, to boast about his movement’s achievements in the wake of the recent border fence demonstrations and the Great Return March. In the interviews, on May 16 and 21, respectively, Sinwar also threatened that if Hamas is forced into another round of fighting with Israel, its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades will have a few surprises in store for the “Zionist enemy
“The Israeli nation had been constructed as a sort of gateway by which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over.” The Arvut, Baal HaSulam
The Trump-Kim summit generated a renewed sense of hope along with questions about the future. Will we witness a new and peaceful North Korea? Will Trump’s deal-making skills become instrumental in promoting world peace? And specifically among Israel analysts: Will Trump be able to make a deal to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
On May 22, Susanna Maria Feldman went missing. It was the day after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot which celebrates G-d’s revelation of the Ten Commandments to Moses and a nation of freed slaves.
The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and mother.” The sixth is, “Thou shalt not murder.”
And in the German city of Mainz, whose Jewish community dates back to Roman times, a worried mother waited for the worst. Susanna had gone off with her friends. They came home. And she didn’t.
What can one learn from the controversy? Basically, that it is safer to be a member of Hamas than to be gay. Palestinian leaders would much rather see young Palestinians trying to kill Israelis than talk about gays in their own society. In the world of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, there is no room for comedy or satire.
On June 8, an estimated 250,000 people attended the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Tourists from all around the world came to Israel to watch and participate in the event. The theme of this year’s event is “The Community Makes History” — a reference to the LGBT community in Israel.
Fifty one years have passed since the Six Day War, fifty one years during which Israel has advanced on every front, in economics, technology, its society (it switched from a socialist to a nationalist regime) and, most significantly, in its geo-political situation: Two Arab countries bordering Israel, Jordan and Egypt, signed peace treaties with the Jewish State, and a number of Arab states have relations with Israel behind the scenes. Israel is an honored member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its per capita GNP approaches $40,000 per annum.
The anti-Israel boycott is despicable. In the past, the Jews were boycotted by the unenlightened. Today, the unenlightened are not alone. They’re in a coalition with the pseudo-enlightened.
Jibril Rajoub, the man who announced that if he had an atom bomb he would drop it on Israel, won a huge victory, because the game against Argentina was supposed to be the jewel in the crown. It was supposed to join the Eurovision win in proving that Israel doesn’t have to give a damn about the rest of the world. But no, it does.
We must admit that Rajoub is not the only one who defeated Israel. Israel defeated itself. Because when you do things to spite other, you end up paying the price. And we’re paying it.