Principles for Peace in the Middle East

“Peace will come when Arabs love their children more than they hate us.” (Golda Meir)
Principles for Peace in the Middle East
By: George Noga – September 22, 2019

          The Trump Administration is poised to reveal its much ballyhooed peace plan for the Middle East now that the September 17th Israeli election is history. Not to be outdone, MLLG has its very own plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

          All prior wannabe peacemakers have gotten everything wrong, especially US presidents with visions of Nobels dancing in their heads. Israel has been pressured into ever more concessions despite it being incandescently obvious that the Palestinians would never take “yes” for an answer. The US and Israel wanted to make a deal (any deal) so badly that the Palestinians simply pocketed the cascade of concessions, justifiably believing they would only accrue interest and improve over time.

           Learning the lessons from the failure of all past peace efforts, MLLG identified five key principles that should form the basis of an enduring Mid East peace.

         Principle #1 – Benign neglect: Ignore Palestinian political leaders, who know they can have a reasonable peace deal anytime they want it. This means no more offers, negotiations, kow-towing, recognition, honors or state visits. Israel, with help from its friends including its Arab friends, should work to create conditions that cause the Palestinian people to choose peace. If their political leaders never opt for peace – it simply won’t matter. In the end, peace can be achieved with or without them.

         Principle #2 – Make time an ally: There is a pervasive sense that time is on the side of the Palestinians due to external pressure on Israel to make a deal. This must be reversed so that time works toward peace. Peace terms should be less favorable going forward, increasing pressure on Palestinian leaders. There must be adverse consequences to doing nothing and the status quo should be the enemy of peace.

        Principle #3 – Business and not charity or government: Peace ultimately has economic and political dimensions. Trump’s $50 billion Peace to Prosperity plan is a good start on the economic part. The Marshall Plan succeeded spectacularly because it was focused on private business – not charity or government. The Trump plan provides Palestinians access to capital and infrastructure. Importantly, it seeks to make it easy to start a business, employ workers, enforce contracts and to protect investors.

           Principle #4 – One state solution: A Palestinian state and peace deal are not what Palestinians want. There is an economic principle, revealed preference, that posits you can know what people want by the choices they make. Palestinian leaders constantly choose the status quo over sovereignty; they prefer victimhood and martyrdom over statehood. A single state with reasonable autonomy for Palestinians should be the goal.

          Principle #5 – Achieve peace unilaterally: Make it clear that the 1967 borders are not sacrosanct; annexing the Golan Heights was a good start as was moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Continue annexing West Bank settlements while developing public facilities in the Palestinian areas. Focus on prosperity and good government.

        Implementation of these principles changes the calculus in the Middle East and puts time firmly on the side of peace. There already are signs Palestinians are beginning to see a brighter future with greater prosperity, freedom and security as an autonomous part of Israel and that they love their children more than they hate Israel.

Next on September 29th, we celebrate Ludwig von Mises’ 138th birthday.
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