Palestine: Hopeless, but Not Serious

David Goldman illuminates the conflict from a perspective not seen in the NYT. Excerpt:

In a recent “Spengler” essay for Asia Times, I characterized the Palestine problem as “hopeless, but not serious.” Subsidies give the Palestinians a living standard double that of Egypt and much higher than Jordan or Syria, paying perhaps a quarter of young Palestinian men to carry guns. Persuading them to give up the guns and take a pay cut is not an easy task, particularly if it involves the destruction of cherished illusions about throwing the Jews into the sea. The United Nations relief agencies have created a new sort of people with whom it is extremely difficult, and probably impossible, to have a peace.

To paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, the right thing to do is for the government to dismiss the people and elect another — except he meant it ironically, and I mean it in dead seriousness. This can occur through 1) immigration, 2) attrition in war, or 3) aging. One has to find a Palestinian people that is content to find employment in a Holy Land theme park for Christian tourists, for example.

Because Palestinian gunmen hide amongst civilians, unlike the Confederate Army of 1861-1865, attrition is too messy a prospect. Immigration is proceeding apace but it creates adverse selection, for those who can leave, do, depleting the skills of the population and leaving in place those who have no other profession but the gun. The best thing to do would be to ignore the situation. That’s right: simply announce that it is not a priority for diplomacy. Drastically reduce funding for the Palestine Authority (the easiest way is to insist on a fair census and adjust for the 1.1 million non-existent residents for whom the PA is receiving aid).

Annoying as it is, Hamas is not going to develop a nuclear bomb; the attentions of the US should be concentrated on countries that well might develop nuclear bombs.

Patience, patience. Israel is relatively safe behind its security barrier and booming economically (as well as demographically). Let the Palestinians sit there and wonder what will happen next. If other Arab countries complain about the position of the Palestinians, Washington should say: “If you don’t like it, you go talk to the Israelis.”

[From Hopeless, but Not Serious: Pipes on Victory]

And from the above-linked Spengler essay

The Palestinians cannot form a normal state. They cannot emigrate to Arab countries without accepting a catastrophic decline in living standards, and very few can emigrate to Western countries. The optimal solution for the Palestinians is to demand a state and blackmail Western and Arab donors with the threat of violence, but never actually get one.