Will there ever be an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal?

On Thursday, September 6th, The Times of Israel reported that while on a call with many Jewish leaders, President Trump commented that he would withhold Palestinian aid until a peace deal between Israel and Palestinian leaders is reached.

My first reaction was all positive.

I thought this would finally bring the Palestinians to the table, and this would be a great thing for long-term peace between the two sides. I thought that this is why the American people elected Donald Trump; they elected him to make deals, and bring his business expertise to the government. I saw this as businessman Donald Trump finally showing his skills that he supposedly had all along. Overall, I saw it as a strong, bold, and crystal clear ultimatum that President Trump gave to the Palestinians: Either come to the table and make a deal, or never expect our money again.

Despite the initial reaction, after thinking about it for a little bit, my opinion on this became a little more unclear. Questions started popping up, challenging what I had previously thought.

Nevermind the Palestinians, would the Israeli government ever come to the table with Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister? Next, even if they made a deal, what would that actually entail regarding Israel giving up land? Also, do the Palestinians really see the cutting of aid as a legitimate incentive to come to the table? Then lastly and maybe most importantly: is the two-state solution really what we need?

Only one day later, all of my thoughts were put on halt when the Palestinians responded. According to The Times of Israel, “Chief negotiator (for the Palestinians) Saeb Erekat accused the US of acting in bad faith and denied that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had refused to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

This swift and stiff response came as somewhat of a surprise to me when to be completely honest, it really shouldn’t have. The reality of the situation is that in the past, the Palestinians have declined five separate two-state solutions, and today, neither side is actually willing to make real concessions. From that, we can conclude that the Palestinian leadership never intends to make a deal unless it means fully taking Israel off the map, and the current Israeli leadership is not open to a whole lot either.

None of this bodes well for a two-state solution, but as I said before, is a two-state solution really the best solution?

When you think about it, if a two-state solution is agreed upon, who would end up in control of the land in which the Israelis give up? The answer is the Palestinian Authority, and in the future, possibly another terror group similar to Hamas. Knowing this, you must ask yourself if giving more land to more people who want to eliminate Israel is really a good idea. We have all seen what happened with Gaza once Israel stepped out. There have been three wars, countless suicide bombings by Hamas, and routine violence; so before we all blindly say we want a “peace deal,” it is important to understand what that actually means, and the consequences that could come along with it.

Even though many people were rightfully optimistic regarding the president’s comments, in reality, the prospect of a long-term two-state solution is still a longshot. I say it is right to be optimistic despite my queries regarding a two-state solution because, at the end of the day, dialogue between two conflicting groups of people never killed anybody. On the other hand, the prospect of putting Israeli citizens in danger in the name of a peace deal should be reason enough to know that while peace should be strived for, a two-state solution is not necessarily the way to get it.

About the Author
Jack Elbaum is a sixteen-year-old high school sophomore at Highland Park High School (HPHS) in Highland Park, Illinois. He is a Washington Examiner contributor, part of the debate team at HPHS as well as a co-founder of the HPHS Young Conservatives Club.
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