Whom is the deal for?

The leadership of the Palestinian Authority doesn't want the deal.  These leaders retain their relevance from conflict and make their money by stealing aid.  They also have no clue how to run a successful, modern state.  Hamas doesn't want it.  It, too, wants to maintain relevance and to steal.  Hamas has also formally pledged not only to destroy Israel, but to kill every Jew on Earth.  (Call it a cheap way to curry favor on Western university campuses.)  Iran and Erdoğan's Turkey don't want it because their regional ambitions require division and discord among smaller states, as well as a path to Muslim world leadership by taking on the "Zionist entity."

After years of Palestinian Authority and/or Hamas misrule, it's not clear what percentage of the average Arab population living under these corrupt tyrannies really wants more of the same ad nauseam, which is what statehood would bring.  At the same time, it does not follow that these people therefore want to live in peace with or as part of Israel.  The genius of the Arab mind is simultaneously holding contradictory positions.  For example, the Iraqis rejoiced at Saddam's fall while hating the Americans for the humiliating overthrow of their strongman and cakewalk over the Arab world's mightiest army.  Likewise, the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria can admire Israel and the Jews for their accomplishments while hating them for these same accomplishments, dreaming of Israel's destruction so as to eliminate the shame of being bested by Jews.

So whom is the deal for?  The map of Trump's proposed Deal of the Century says much.  No viable state can be cobbled from that patchwork.

But a fig leaf can.  The Deal of the Century is not for the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea, or Samaria.  The deal is for the regimes of existing Arab states, many of which have had enough of the "Palestinian" farce.  They want the political, security, and economic benefits flowing from normalizing relations with Israel.  Iran, an Islamist Turkey, and economic stagnation represent existential threats to Arab regimes from which the plight of the so-called "Palestinians" can no longer distract.  The deal is a fig leaf for Arab states to move away from the Three Nos of the 1967 Arab League Summit.

Meanwhile, Trump will apply one of his signature Art of the Deal techniques, which is to worsen the Palestinian Authority's and Hamas's best alternative to a negotiated agreement.  The U.S. will permit the Israelis to begin implementing their part of the deal while encouraging other Arabs states to come to the table on political, security, and economic issues.  What will the Palestinian Authority and Hamas then do?

The risk is, and always has been, not that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will say "no," but that they will say "yes."  A "yes" would blow apart the Israeli right, much of which has no intention to yield any of the Jews' G-d-given birthright to Judea and Samaria.  A rump state would also be a foothold from which illegal migration could seep into Israel's economy and society.

What then is the calculus of the Israeli right?  As anti-Semitism grows in Europe and North America, and as Israel's prominence in the world knowledge economy (e.g., I.T., life sciences, agri-sciences, energy, etc.) increases, more Jews will move to Israel.  At some point, a one-state solution — Israel from the Jordan River to the Sea (excluding Gaza) — will become possible without upsetting the demographic requirements for Israel to remain both a Jewish and a democratic state.  (See Caroline Glick's book on this possibility.)

The deal seems predicated on the "Palestinians" never "missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity."  This, at least, is what Netanyahu's coalition appears to be banking on.

So far, so good.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly attributed the author.

The leadership of the Palestinian Authority doesn't want the deal.  These leaders retain their relevance from conflict and make their money by stealing aid.  They also have no clue how to run a successful, modern state.  Hamas doesn't want it.  It, too, wants to maintain relevance and to steal.  Hamas has also formally pledged not only to destroy Israel, but to kill every Jew on Earth.  (Call it a cheap way to curry favor on Western university campuses.)  Iran and Erdoğan's Turkey don't want it because their regional ambitions require division and discord among smaller states, as well as a path to Muslim world leadership by taking on the "Zionist entity."

After years of Palestinian Authority and/or Hamas misrule, it's not clear what percentage of the average Arab population living under these corrupt tyrannies really wants more of the same ad nauseam, which is what statehood would bring.  At the same time, it does not follow that these people therefore want to live in peace with or as part of Israel.  The genius of the Arab mind is simultaneously holding contradictory positions.  For example, the Iraqis rejoiced at Saddam's fall while hating the Americans for the humiliating overthrow of their strongman and cakewalk over the Arab world's mightiest army.  Likewise, the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria can admire Israel and the Jews for their accomplishments while hating them for these same accomplishments, dreaming of Israel's destruction so as to eliminate the shame of being bested by Jews.

So whom is the deal for?  The map of Trump's proposed Deal of the Century says much.  No viable state can be cobbled from that patchwork.

But a fig leaf can.  The Deal of the Century is not for the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea, or Samaria.  The deal is for the regimes of existing Arab states, many of which have had enough of the "Palestinian" farce.  They want the political, security, and economic benefits flowing from normalizing relations with Israel.  Iran, an Islamist Turkey, and economic stagnation represent existential threats to Arab regimes from which the plight of the so-called "Palestinians" can no longer distract.  The deal is a fig leaf for Arab states to move away from the Three Nos of the 1967 Arab League Summit.

Meanwhile, Trump will apply one of his signature Art of the Deal techniques, which is to worsen the Palestinian Authority's and Hamas's best alternative to a negotiated agreement.  The U.S. will permit the Israelis to begin implementing their part of the deal while encouraging other Arabs states to come to the table on political, security, and economic issues.  What will the Palestinian Authority and Hamas then do?

The risk is, and always has been, not that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will say "no," but that they will say "yes."  A "yes" would blow apart the Israeli right, much of which has no intention to yield any of the Jews' G-d-given birthright to Judea and Samaria.  A rump state would also be a foothold from which illegal migration could seep into Israel's economy and society.

What then is the calculus of the Israeli right?  As anti-Semitism grows in Europe and North America, and as Israel's prominence in the world knowledge economy (e.g., I.T., life sciences, agri-sciences, energy, etc.) increases, more Jews will move to Israel.  At some point, a one-state solution — Israel from the Jordan River to the Sea (excluding Gaza) — will become possible without upsetting the demographic requirements for Israel to remain both a Jewish and a democratic state.  (See Caroline Glick's book on this possibility.)

The deal seems predicated on the "Palestinians" never "missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity."  This, at least, is what Netanyahu's coalition appears to be banking on.

So far, so good.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly attributed the author.