The two-state solution: Beware, America

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Pope Francis in Rome this past week.  The topic of the meeting wasn't the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, nor Erdoğan's human rights abuses in Turkey.  It was Erdoğan's and the Vatican's shared objection to the United State moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It is hard to see how Pope Francis and Erdoğan have any standing in the matter.  Israel is a sovereign nation; it gets to choose its capital like every other country.  And what foreign entity gets to say where the U.S. embassy should be?  This is especially aggravating given the fact that having the American embassy in Jerusalem is U.S. law according to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995

Why is the embassy not already in Jerusalem in line with a 20-year-old law?  It's because the law states that the embassy move can be put off for six months at a time as long as the president "determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security of the United States."

This loophole allowed Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama to circumvent the move for twenty years, even though both presidents Bush and Clinton campaigned for it.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, made relocating our embassy to Israel's capital a campaign issue, and he's acting on it.

It is hard to imagine how moving the American embassy could be a genuine threat to U.S. national security.  The inaction was another shameful bow to Arab anti-Jewish sentiments and a slight to Israel's sovereignty. 

After the meeting between the pope and Erdoğan, the Vatican put out a press release reiterating its longstanding position that Jerusalem's status should remain contingent on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Ah, the long sought after but elusive two-state solution.  Although a two-state solution is a favorite of many "leading lights of the world" like Pope Francis, it is a delusion.  To learn the details on the non-feasibility of an independent Palestinian state, see The Two-State Delusion (2015) by Padraig O'Malley. 

For our purposes here, it suffices to say that any two-state solution cobbled together would require massive amounts of money and a long list of guarantees just to get it off the ground.  Once formed, the probability of the State of Palestine being self-sufficient and economically viable is next to zero.  It would instead have to rely on continuous and massive wealth transfers from the rest of the world for years to come. 

This brings us to the good news that fell out from President Trump's embassy decision.  It comes from none other than Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine National Authority.  While in his tirade condemning the embassy move, Abbas, with eyes aflame, said the U.S. is too "dishonest" to be a mediator in the peace process. 

Thank you, President Abbas, for this unintended blessing.  In the broadest sense, a mediator is one who intervenes between two parties for the purpose of leading them into an agreement.  Think of marriage counselors.  But the problem here is that if the U.S. is a mediator between the Palestinians and Israelis, it would inevitably be dragged into the so-called peace process as a third party – i.e., like a shadow participant. 

America would then likely be looked on by all the parties – and the world – to provide an inordinate share of the money and guarantees to make the solution work.  It would be as if a marriage counselor took on the responsibilities of maintaining the family car and yard work for the wife and to do the cooking and house-cleaning for the husband just to keep the troubled couple out of divorce court.

The role of mediator is a no-win situation for America.  It would involve us in entanglements and costs we don't need.  Creating and maintaining a Palestinian state would be the mother of all nation-building projects. With this in mind, President Trump should keep a prudent distance from the peace process and not let the allure of a possible Nobel Peace Prize blind him to the realities on the ground as it has to others before him.  The president has bigger fish to fry, like terrorism, China, trade, Russia, and our domestic economy, rather than getting bogged down in a matter that is for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Pope Francis in Rome this past week.  The topic of the meeting wasn't the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, nor Erdoğan's human rights abuses in Turkey.  It was Erdoğan's and the Vatican's shared objection to the United State moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

It is hard to see how Pope Francis and Erdoğan have any standing in the matter.  Israel is a sovereign nation; it gets to choose its capital like every other country.  And what foreign entity gets to say where the U.S. embassy should be?  This is especially aggravating given the fact that having the American embassy in Jerusalem is U.S. law according to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995

Why is the embassy not already in Jerusalem in line with a 20-year-old law?  It's because the law states that the embassy move can be put off for six months at a time as long as the president "determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security of the United States."

This loophole allowed Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama to circumvent the move for twenty years, even though both presidents Bush and Clinton campaigned for it.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, made relocating our embassy to Israel's capital a campaign issue, and he's acting on it.

It is hard to imagine how moving the American embassy could be a genuine threat to U.S. national security.  The inaction was another shameful bow to Arab anti-Jewish sentiments and a slight to Israel's sovereignty. 

After the meeting between the pope and Erdoğan, the Vatican put out a press release reiterating its longstanding position that Jerusalem's status should remain contingent on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Ah, the long sought after but elusive two-state solution.  Although a two-state solution is a favorite of many "leading lights of the world" like Pope Francis, it is a delusion.  To learn the details on the non-feasibility of an independent Palestinian state, see The Two-State Delusion (2015) by Padraig O'Malley. 

For our purposes here, it suffices to say that any two-state solution cobbled together would require massive amounts of money and a long list of guarantees just to get it off the ground.  Once formed, the probability of the State of Palestine being self-sufficient and economically viable is next to zero.  It would instead have to rely on continuous and massive wealth transfers from the rest of the world for years to come. 

This brings us to the good news that fell out from President Trump's embassy decision.  It comes from none other than Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestine National Authority.  While in his tirade condemning the embassy move, Abbas, with eyes aflame, said the U.S. is too "dishonest" to be a mediator in the peace process. 

Thank you, President Abbas, for this unintended blessing.  In the broadest sense, a mediator is one who intervenes between two parties for the purpose of leading them into an agreement.  Think of marriage counselors.  But the problem here is that if the U.S. is a mediator between the Palestinians and Israelis, it would inevitably be dragged into the so-called peace process as a third party – i.e., like a shadow participant. 

America would then likely be looked on by all the parties – and the world – to provide an inordinate share of the money and guarantees to make the solution work.  It would be as if a marriage counselor took on the responsibilities of maintaining the family car and yard work for the wife and to do the cooking and house-cleaning for the husband just to keep the troubled couple out of divorce court.

The role of mediator is a no-win situation for America.  It would involve us in entanglements and costs we don't need.  Creating and maintaining a Palestinian state would be the mother of all nation-building projects. With this in mind, President Trump should keep a prudent distance from the peace process and not let the allure of a possible Nobel Peace Prize blind him to the realities on the ground as it has to others before him.  The president has bigger fish to fry, like terrorism, China, trade, Russia, and our domestic economy, rather than getting bogged down in a matter that is for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve.