“Everything”? While Donald Trump’s opponents in the Democratic primary are calling him out for betraying our Kurdish allies, one of the front-runners suggests doing the same thing to our Israeli allies. Speaking in Iowa over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren offered what in diplomatic terms would be an ultimatum, one that hints at the use of military force, in order to demand that Israel adopt a plan that the Palestinians have never honestly backed in the first place:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: "It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table." pic.twitter.com/GjumaLoZ9k
— The Hill (@thehill) October 20, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Saturday said that she was open to making aid to Israel conditional on whether the government ceases settlement building in the West Bank.
“Right now, Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements, [but] that does not move us in the direction of a two-state solution,” Warren responded when asked what her stance was on aid and settlement-building.
“It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table,” she said, before repeating: “Everything is on the table.”
To the unschooled, which apparently includes Warren, “everything is on the table” is a formulation that US presidents use in relation to hostile nations. It serves as a warning of potential military action to enforce American or international interests. It is not the kind of language one uses with allies. Given the amount of criticism Trump got for his weird letter to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one would think Warren’s threat would get a similar amount of criticism, or at least scrutiny.
The Washington Free Beacon certainly took notice of it:
In a formulation more commonly deployed by previous presidents in threatening the use of force against America’s enemies, Warren repeated the phrase but did not clarify precisely what pressure—military or otherwise—might be brought to bear. …
Her remarks are likely to raise eyebrows in the Jewish and pro-Israel communities, which, while largely Democratic, continue to favor the U.S. alliance with the region’s only democracy.
So how long does Netanyahu have to comply with President Warren’s ultimatum until we shoot cruise missiles at Tel Aviv? Yes, I know that won’t happen, but Democrats can’t have it both ways. They can’t complain about Trump eroding diplomatic norms and betraying allies and then have their own frontrunners emphatically tell Israel that either they comply with our policies or else “everything is on the table.”
In truth, the Israelis would prefer a two-state solution too, if the Palestinians would truly accept it as a permanent settlement of the issue. Israel needs to keep the Palestinians out to maintain the intrinsic nature of their Jewish state, which is why Israel will never bend on the so-called “right of return.” They can’t afford to annex millions of Palestinians and give them the vote, and they can’t afford to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip without giving them the vote. Even the settlements would be negotiable in a final deal, although not those on the hills surrounding Jerusalem, strategic positions which the Israelis learned the hard way to control.
In fact, the Israelis have offered a two-state solution on multiple occasions. Yasser Arafat rejected the most serious of those offers and responded with an intifada instead. The Palestinians want it all, “from the river to the sea,” and they want the Jews annihilated or ejected. When the Palestinians decide to settle for a two-state solution as the final resolution of this conflict, the Israelis will be there to sign off on it, and not because Warren threatened them into it. The Israelis are not going to commit suicide just because Warren demands it.