All has changed in the Middle East. The Palestinians no longer benefit from the patronage of the Arab leaders to keep the pot boiling with Israel — they were happy to be cannon fodder, to prevent the improvement of the wretched settler camps or the resettlement of their inhabitants, as long as it made them personally rich and world famous. They could have had a Palestinian state any time in the last 40 years if they had been prepared to recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, its raison d’être. They preferred celebrity and violence and some of their leaders have called for a new Intifada this week; presumably, this time, the population will have the intelligence to resist the call — it’s not as if the last two Intifadas were a howling success. They have been abandoned by their former patrons and Israel is geometrically stronger than it was even 20 years ago, not at all isolated, and not threatened by Iraq and Syria.
The answer has been obvious since the Taba meetings in January 2001: the West bank becomes narrower and the Gaza Strip thicker and the Palestinians have a secure road between them. It isn’t Israel, which is primarily for the Jews, or Jordan, which is majority Palestinian but ruled by the Bedouins and the Hashemite kings, but it is a state, and with foreign assistance, which would be plentiful, and Palestinian tenacity, which is proverbial even by local standards, it would flourish. There are 198 countries in the world — not every newly created state can expect to be a Canada, Australia, or Brazil.