Why Ending The Settlements Matters More Now Than Ever

Steve Clemons pushes back against Dennis Ross:

The United States and its core allies have decided to try and remake parts of the world and as might be expected, much of the Arab Middle East and the global Muslim community have institutionalized grievances about their place in the modern world and wonder if the West values their lives and societies. The Palestinian mess is for many of these people the packaged microcosm of their anger about exploitation and humiliation by the West and by their own governments.

Polling shows the same thing. If we want to win the war on Jihadism, we have to separate the Muslim middle from the trust-fund religious lunatics. For the Muslim middle, rightly or wrongly, the Israel-Palestine question is the key test of the Wests' seriousness in starting a new relationship with the Muslim world to advance our interests and isolate the extremists. In this sense, those who are resisting any advance on the issue, or staying in the same exhausted place they have been their entire lives - denying that Israel/Palestine has any impact on broader American interests - are the unwitting allies of al Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Republican party's leadership is, in other words, an anachronistic danger to long-term American security. If they want a Christian-Muslim war, as they seem to, then their obduracy on Israel (think McCain and Lieberman and Schumer backing the far right government of Netanyahu over their own president) and their bigotry toward American Muslims (think the appalling conflation of all Muslims as terrorists) is one way of bringing it about.