Fareed Zakaria wrong on Israel

Fareed Zakaria in "The only way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem" in The Washington Post fails to come close to solving the conflict.  His answer: "It can only be resolved with moral persuasion."  Zakaria draws from statistics: "Israel's GDP dwarfs that of its neighbors."  They have built an industrial and information-age economy that excels in highly sophisticated areas such as artificial intelligence, computer-aided design, aviation, and biotechnology.  It spends 5 percent of its GDP on research and development.

Zakaria adds that Israel is number 13 in the world in foreign exchange reserves, has a huge military advantage over its neighbors, and has a nuclear arsenal.  He then proposes for the reader to compare that to the weak Palestinians with a huge economic gap and military gap to Israel.  What one has to do with the other — he doesn't say.


Fareed Zakaria speaks to the World Economic Forum in 2013.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum, CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Zakaria then mistakenly says Israel is ruling over 5 million people.  The Palestinians in the West Bank are ruled by Fatah, and the Palestinians in Gaza are ruled by Hamas.

The Palestinians are not in a good situation mainly because they are led by two autocratic governments.  It doesn't help that these autocrats confiscate all international aid for their personal consumption.

Zakaria believes that with a heightened morality, Israel will "one day lead the country to give the Palestinians a state of their own."  But how can the Palestinians expect a country of their own when they are represented by a divided Hamas and Fatah, who would as quickly fight each other as they would Israel?  To which Palestinians would Israel give the state?  Or should there be a three-state solution?  It is hard to entertain a state for a people who are so divided and have historically walked away from the negotiating table without making a counter-offer.  If they are in such bad shape, as Zakaria claims in his comments on Israeli strength, maybe they are not so bad that they must make a deal.  A state can't be forced upon them — they have to want it.

Zakaria's solution focuses on Israel when it should be focused on the Palestinians who are the ones who haven't accepted any deals.  And since when do losers of war after war get to make such stringent demands of the winner?

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