What Happened to the Palestinians?

What Happened to the Palestinians?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

There was a fascinating sidebar which emerged last week at the AIPAC Policy Conference. A number of the European attendees specifically from France and Britain remarked that they were astonished that virtually no one from AIPAC –unlike from the Administration or even Congress—made any reference to the Palestinians or the two state solution. For those Europeans attending their first policy conference seeing 16,000 pro-Israel activists assembled and preparing to lobby Congress, their astonishment was staggering and most impressive.  

In reviewing the lobbying talking points, they correctly observed that virtually focus was on Iran and stopping the Iranian deal. They remarked that they were returning home to an environment where the major issue that the activist, identified Jewish leaders faced was about the two state solution and what are you (Jews/Israel) going to do about the plight of the Palestinians.   

It now seems that these Europeans will have an even bigger headache with which to deal. According to numerous press reports this weekend Bibi apparently disavowed his 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech in which he supported a two-state solution.  It is one thing for European Jewish leaders to come away from Washington sensing that American Jews are no longer actively advocating for a two state solution. This is serious enough for them, but if the Israel Prime Minister–who may well continue to be the Prime Minister after March 17–is also dismissing the establishing of a Palestinian state, European Jews will indeed have their hands full. These Jews are not packing and leaving for Israel nor are the majority of American Jews, but if Israel abandons any pretense of seeking a viable two state solution with the Palestinians, the existential consequences for Israel may well be as bad as the threat posed by Iran; except that it will take longer. 

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