Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
Philip Gordon and Prem Kumar explain why Kushner’s worthless “peace plan” has no chance of winning Palestinian support:
His administration has offered unconstrained support for settlements, with an ambassador who has fought against use of the word “occupation” and refers to “Judea and Samaria,” as favored by Israeli settlers, instead of traditional U.S. references to the West Bank. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Palestinians stopped talking to the administration. It is hard to see how the United States under Trump will ever be seen as an honest broker, or be able to go around Abbas, when two-thirds of Palestinians oppose the resumption of contacts with U.S. negotiators and 88 percent view the United States as biased in favor of Israel [bold mine-DL].
Reviving negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians would be difficult at the best of times, but it certainly isn’t going to succeed when an openly pro-settler, hard-line American administration is the one behind the effort. The Trump administration’s approach to this conflict is typical of the president’s warped view of diplomacy. He thinks that diplomacy amounts to issuing ultimatums and making threats, and he expects that the other side can be forced into yielding everything if enough pressure is applied. The president has no capacity for empathy with the other side’s position, and it probably wouldn’t matter if he did. Because he doesn’t think it is possible to have a mutually beneficial agreement between two or more parties, he assumes that others have to lose in order for him to get a “good” deal.
Just as the administration has done with its sanctions on and preposterous demands for Iran, they impose hardship on the people and then pretend that they are on the side of the people that they are punishing and insulting. In just the same way, the administration feigns concern for the welfare of Palestinians that they have been working overtime for the last year and a half to alienate and harm. The administration claims to want to speak directly to the Palestinian people, but as usual this just means dictating unacceptable terms and threatening penalties if their unreasonable demands aren’t met. This obviously has nothing to do with finding a negotiated solution to any outstanding disputes. This is what a government does when it wants to rile up a population and stoke conflict.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.