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The Boldness of a ‘Non-Militarized’ Palestine

Obama’s massively pro-Israel gesture has been overlooked

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The Palestinian territories.(CIA World Atlas)

Of the many staunchly pro-Israel facets of the U.S. policy that President Obama laid out in speeches last Sunday and last Thursday, one of the more remarkable—and least remarked-upon—is that America believes the future Palestinian state should be “a sovereign, non-militarized state” (Thursday). We should pause for a second and note what this communicates about Obama’s priorities, namely, the obvious importance he places on Israel’s exceptional security requirements, and the lengths to which he is willing to go to assure the safety of Israel and its inhabitants.

Here is a list of all non-militarized countries. At least one of three things is true of all of them: They are tiny island nations (Kiribati, Samoa, Iceland); they are even tinier city-states (Lichtenstein, Monaco, Vatican City); or they are very tiny to merely very small countries in the Western Hemisphere that are obviously under the American security umbrella and in its sphere of influence under the Monroe Doctrine (Panama, Grenada, Costa Rica). A Palestinian state situated on the West Bank (roughly—don’t forget about those “mutually agreed land swaps”) would be, of course, none of these things: Far from being an island nation, it would be landlocked (unless somehow Gaza managed to be included, in which case it would have less than 25 miles of coastline); would not be a city-state; and would be located not only far outside the Western Hemisphere but in a region known for conflict—certainly it would not be under the U.S. security umbrella and in the U.S. sphere of influence the way, say, Costa Rica is.

How about size? Here is a list of the countries in the world by land mass. The Palestinian territories—the West Bank and Gaza—are 6,220 square kilometers. That makes the theoretical future state of Palestine larger than such militarized countries as Luxembourg, Brunei, Singapore, Bahrain (!), Tonga, and Trinidad & Tobago. Kosovo—a country still not formally recognized by the U.N. Security Council (because of Russian and Chinese objections), and also landlocked, and also in a part of the world known for conflict, certainly is not “non-militarized.” It is roughly two-thirds the size of the Palestinian territories (it is also smaller than just the West Bank).

This is not an argument against a “non-militarized” Palestine. (I support a non-militarized Palestine!) But it is worth fully grasping the extent to which Obama has pledged to go to bat for Israel and Israeli interests, especially in light of charges, by the Israeli right and the American right, that he has sold it out.

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Yair says:

Great post. Thanks for taking the time today (here and in the piece on Obama’s leveraging/manipulation of European reaction) to draw out the more interesting and consequential – rather than bombastic and overblown – aspects of his Middle East speech.

Seemore says:

Marc Tracy you can do better than this nonsense. What does a non-militarized Palestine mean? That it doesn’t have a standing army and army uniforms, like the IDF? In that sense isn’t Gaza a non-militarized zone? Does non-militarized mean no rockets will fly from the West Bank or that Palestine will not become a conduit for weapons smuggling for the “militants” who want to destroy Israel? If this is your evidence of going to bat for Israel and Israeli interests, you’ve struck out.

Eliezer says:


I think your either your love of Obama or your rose colored glasses have impaired your vision. While the President calls for the newly minted Palestinian State to be non militarized, does anyone actually believe that it would adhere to this requirement? Take a look at what resolution 1701 requires and what has actually happened. Look at the success of the military blockade of Gaza? Whatever situation comes about, you can be sure they will have a military.

Abbi says:

Non militarized has been part of every negotiation since Madrid. This is not news. However, the Palestinians have a well trained, well armed police force that is essentially a military in all but actual name. And Gaza is armed to the teeth with rockets and mortars. So, what’s supposed to be so comforting about Obama’s statements exactly?

Bill Pearlman says:

And I understand the moon is actually made of green cheese

perot says:

Read the comments of those who posted before me. Amen, that says it all.

Also read Caroline Glick @ JPOST for a REAL evaluation.

There’s no way to maintain it “non-militarized”. What will Obama do if they militarize? Send in troops? Hardly.

What Obama *did* say was that the Arab state would have to be contiguous. Which means that Israel would be cut in half.

The link to non-militarized states was not the correct link. Please see this:

Non-militarized means no standing army. Like Japan.
Yes, the U.S, can enforce this.


What’s really shocking is that the Israel Foreign Ministry agrees with President Obama:

Netanyahu has hurt Israel with his unfortunate actions.

Garry says:

The current unresolved sitution in the Middle East actually goes back to the terrible Teaty of Versailles. Germany,too,the loser, was given terms of demilitarization, or shall we say very limited militarization. At the signing of the treaty, Marshal Foch said to Clemanceau, they’ll be back in twenty years.(1919-1939) For Marc Tracy’s lucid analysis, please note that treties are made to be violated. Don’t be so optimistic. At least at Versailles, the winners dictated to the losers. Here you have the losers dictating to the winner.

Yaakov Hillel says:

The league of nations decided that post WW1 Germany was not to have more than 10000 armed men. It did not take Hitler much time to change this.Nobody batted an eyelid. The United nations observer forces were protecting israel along the Gaza strip. Nasser in 1967 only had to say go and they dissappeared. Not one country in the world was willing to back Israel up; including USA. Not just that but the USA also put an arms embargo on Israel. This did not stop the Soviets to send arms to the Egyptian armies. We are not that dumb If there will be a palestinian State in Judea and Samaria, there is nothing Israel could do about it. Once a country is considered a sovereign state Israel cannot attack it or check to see if it has arms or not. similar to the story of Gaza. Another Judenraat Jew like Goldstone will with much glee will call Israel a criminal Nation despite the fact that this new non-militrized country will be shooting 10000 projectiles at Israel every year. Even if Obama stood behind his words, everybody has learned so far his word does not hold water, and he would surprise us and make demands backed up by actions, this does not mean that the following President would have to abide by his promises and guarentees which we have had too much experience with. America is a great country for the Americans, with Jewish experience we cannot depend on Americans to recieve us after the Arabs push us into the sea. Like Roosevelt was quoted “what am I going to do with another Million Jews?” After the second World War, Truman gave a quota on how many Jewish refugees were allowed into the USA after WW2. Nor can we really depend on the empty American words that they will back Israel up. They have never volunteered to help Israel in time of dire need may be meaning that they would be happy to be rid of Israel. One debt USA has to Israel which all the monies America has poured into Israel doesen’t cover. Is destroying the Iraqi Atomic bomb reactor. Before USA attacked Iraq.

corey says:

Excellent piece once again, Marc. Please keep them coming. If lies, repeated often enough, become “conventional wisdom” like “Treaties are meant to be broken” then maybe truth repeated often enough can become the unconventional wisdom that, imho, is our only hope.

Steve says:

Marc’s thoughts appear reasonable and will be so, until reality walks in. Very Chamberlin-like.


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The Boldness of a ‘Non-Militarized’ Palestine

Obama’s massively pro-Israel gesture has been overlooked

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