Thomas Sowell

Worse yet, foreign policy has too often in the past been dominated by a need for White House photo ops showing Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands while the American president of the moment looked on, beaming. The latest round of suicide bombings of Israeli men, women and children are a tragic aftermath of the illusions behind the photo ops and the notion that Israel can exchange "land for peace."

Land for peace has in practice meant land for promises. Perhaps Israel should have responded to this misleading phrase by saying: "You want land for peace? We agree! Give us six months of peace and we will turn over so many acres of land. Make that a whole year of peace and we will turn over so many square miles of land. And if you can behave like decent human beings for five consecutive years, we will give you enough land to have your own country.

"However, if you start raising hell after that, we will send in our troops and tanks, to take back the land you got under false pretenses."

Instead, the deal was that Israel would make the first concession by giving permanent land for promises of peace. Whatever proposals come out of current attempts at negotiating a Middle East settlement will undoubtedly expect Israel to first make concessions in hopes of later gaining the peace and security that it has been vainly seeking for more than half a century.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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