Recently a group of former government officials, most of whom have held prominent foreign-policy positions, bought advertising space in the New York Times to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state and to set forth some parameters for the peace treaty that would create it. These self-styled “national-security leaders” also urged the U.S. and Israel to respond favorably to Mahmoud Abbas’s recent UN speech calling for an international conference to resolve the Israel–Palestinian conflict. Although their statement claims to follow established U.S. policies, writes Elliott Abrams, it is in fact “radical”:
The statement is radical . . . in embracing the Palestinian view that only Israel is to blame for the failure of peace negotiations. . . . Nowhere does it note that for nine years running, the PLO has refused to come to the table and negotiate. . . . [N]owhere does the statement actually demand that the PLO do the single thing that should be most obvious: agree to get back to the negotiating table. . . .
The statement is [also] radical in holding that the American role over the years is blameworthy. . . . The statement is, [finally], radical in backing fully the Palestinian demand that the traditional American role in fostering negotiations must be usurped by others. . . .
Clearly the signers believe the United States has long been much too pro-Israel. And now the dreaded Trump administration has gone even farther in that direction (for example, one must suppose, by recognizing that Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is Israel’s capital)—and this is intolerable. Therefore the signers demand that the “International Community” take over. This is not entirely unreasonable in one way: we can surely count on the “International Community” to abandon the support of Israel that has characterized American foreign policy, and to try to force a solution unfavorable to Israel. Israel has 70 years of experience with the “International Community” and it is bitter.
After all, that “International Community” includes 57 Islamic states, the EU, and countries hostile to Israel such as Sweden and Cuba. The statement is, then, is a cry of anguish about the Trump administration’s strong support of Israel and a demand that someone, somewhere, start meeting to take the Palestinian side and pressure Israel for concessions.