The U.S. Should Support Palestinian Statehood

The U.S.’s intention to veto Palestinian statehood is a foolish decision; a short-sighted policy choice with very bad long-term effects.

First, the U.S. has already supported the concept of a two-state solution. To take a stance now against Palestinian statehood, whatever the concerns about how problematic its implementation will be, sends a signal that we were playing games all along, and never intended to agree to their statehood, except, perhaps, on Israel’s terms.

Second, the U.S. and Israel are openly defying their own joint history when they insist that statehood can only legitimately be achieved through negotiation. Israel made it’s statehood claim much more bluntly than Palestine is doing, and the U.S. recognized them immediately (according to Wikipedia, in less than a quarter of an hour). Such hypocrisy does not go unnoticed by those seeking equal treatment.

Third, the primary Muslim criticism of the U.S. is its support for Israel against the Palestinians. Their case is somewhat overstated, as the U.S. has at times acted to restrain Israel (e.g., the Suez crisis) or at least admonish it (e.g., in response to Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands). The U.S. should not back down from supporting Israel, but that does not require it to not support the Palestinians as well, even though that is a tricky path, and aside from removing our military from Saudi Arabia, there is no other action we could take that would be comparable in its power to diminish Muslim hostility to the U.S.

What the U.S. should do is insist on implementing the two-state solution now, with an emphasis on two states. That is, while supporting Palestinian statehood, the U.S. should simultaneously announce that it is unwavering in its support of the state of Israel.

Decades of negotiations have produced little to no gains for Palestinians, while Israel has continued to take more and more Palestinian territory. No wonder Israel wants to continue negotiations. Palestinian statehood would strengthen the Palestinian hand in future bargaining over boundaries.

And of course the boundaries issue is the greatest problem here. What the Palestinians propose is a state composed of three non-contiguous portions, which is phenomenally problematic. Non-contiguous states have rarely fared well, I believe (with the U.S. as an exception). Particularly problematic is the status of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to claim, while Israel insists that its capital will always be an undivided Jerusalem. A two-state solution will not be a panacea that easily solves these problems, but the crucial question is whether it is a better situation than the status quo. I think the answer to that is “yes.”

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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13 Responses to The U.S. Should Support Palestinian Statehood

  1. Dr X says:

    I’ve been undecided, but this is actually quite persuasive. When I try to think of a downside to recognition, all I can only come up with is domestic politics, specifically the shitstorm that would erupt by touching the third rail. Politicians here can only state aloud, those beliefs that hone fairly close to Israeli words. Unbiased comment on deeds, and shaping policy based on deeds and strategy genuinely aimed at a workable two-state solution is politically prohibited. Too many in Israel who are influential in the governing coalition are intransigently opposed to any compromise whatsoever, so the fundie religious there have veto power.

    In a close US election, I think the incumbent who recognizes Palestine ahead of Israel, loses. In this case, a party heavily influenced by American premillenialists, on top of the pressures all sides get from lobbyists, would surely win. I wouldn’t be surprised if, after victory, they would, un-recognize the Palestinian state.

    Do you see any ways to make this fly domestically, or at least ameliorate the political fallout?

  2. James Hanley says:

    Do you see any ways to make this fly domestically, or at least ameliorate the political fallout?

    Surely you jest!

  3. AMW says:

    At a bare minimum, I suppose you’d need a president who was in his second term.

  4. Dr X says:

    @james:
    “Surely you jest!”

    Just checking. Thought maybe you were holding back on a secret plan;)

  5. James Hanley says:

    Well, I’m keeping it quiet because I’m pretty sure the Mossad is after me. I have a colleague whose father was a Mossad agent, and he’s always asking me questions about my trips to Syria…

  6. BSK says:

    “…and aside from removing our military from Saudi Arabia, there is no other action we could take that would be comparable in its power to diminish Muslim hostility to the U.S.”

    Now, I don’t think we should get out of SA solely to diminish Muslim hostility to the US, especially if that presence is of particular strategic importance. But… is it? Is there a reason to have our military in SA? I know we have our military EVERYWHERE… much of it serving little purpose outside of rest stops in and out of other areas. But given that leaving could be very beneficial and staying, as far as I know, is kind of neutral-to-negative… why don’t we get out of there?

  7. James Hanley says:

    why don’t we get out of there?

    Good question. Is the answer as simple as “no empire ever voluntarily surrenders territory?”

  8. BSK says:

    I’m sorry, JH… I meant is there a GOOD reason why we don’t get out of there…?

  9. James Hanley says:

    Heh, good response.

    I think the real reason is that a lot of Christians take the book of Revelations a little too seriously. Of course I’m still not suggesting a good reason.

  10. Matty says:

    I think the real reason is that a lot of Christians take the book of Revelations a little too seriously.

    Wasn’t War one of the bad guys in that?

  11. James Hanley says:

    Well, if it’s forced upon you, you’d better be supporting Team God (it’s like Team Edward, what with Jesus being undead and all his followers drinking blood, but without all the stylish clothes and accessories).

  12. Matty says:

    without all the stylish clothes and accessories

    No? watch this from about 1:35

  13. Lance says:

    As a kid that loved horror films, the first time I heard the story of Ol’ Yeshua with the nails (stakes) in his limbs and the rising from the dead and the drinking of blood I immediately made the connection with Dracula.

    Christianity is one big sick death cult.

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