Thus Israel will pursue the Sharon-Olmert Plan to completion. There will be withdrawals from isolated settlements and outposts, but no negotiations with a Palestinian Authority to agree on permanent borders and two states.
The West Bank wall will soon encompass all of the suburbs of Jerusalem for miles around. Palestine will be divided into three parts: Gaza and two enclaves on the West Bank. There will be no Palestinian official presence in Jerusalem. No viable nation.
Meanwhile, America will be called upon for new sums of money to subsidize the Sharon-Olmert Plan, even as we are prodded to do our duty and emasculate Iran.
As Olmert is the pilot setting the course, and Bush has signed on as crew to his "bold ideas," our destination is easy to foresee.
The United States alone will recognize Israel's new borders, and her annexations of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital. Israel will ask for and the United States will accede to Israel's request that we commit ourselves militarily to defend Israel's new frontiers. No Arab government will recognize the new borders. America's Arab friends will be further estranged.
Every demagogue bidding for power in the Islamic world will, like Iran's Ahmadinejad, play the Palestinian card.
The suffering of the Palestinian people under the U.S.-Israeli sanctions regime will further radicalize them into hating us as they do Israel. The struggle between Hamas and Fatah over diminishing aid and resources will intensify, degenerating into civil war. Iran will move into the vacuum. Eventually, with aid cut off and no hope of negotiations, Hamas will revert to terror and the third intifada will begin.
Western Europe, its Muslim populations growing in numbers and militancy, will neither recognize Israel's borders nor endorse U.S. policy. Europe is not going to side with 5 million Israelis, whom they believe to be in the wrong, against 300 million Arabs, who will be 500 million at mid-century.
Rightly, Americans say we will not let Israel be destroyed. But why must we acquiesce in Israel's annexations of Arab land? Why must we remain silent to her deprivations of the Palestinians?
These questions will puzzle the historians who investigate the astonishing and swift end to U.S. hegemony in the 21st century.