In “The Dream Palace of the Americans” (November/December 2019), Michael Doran reviews the past 70 years of Arab-Israeli conflict and concludes that Israel will not “give back at the negotiating table what it has taken on the battlefield” because power dynamics in the Middle East favor Israel over its rivals. This realpolitik view, he says, should guide the United States’ policy in the region, which should proceed from the premise that there will be no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But this conclusion ignores an inconvenient reality: power dynamics change. That is precisely why Israel has sometimes handed back territories that it took on the battlefield. In 1979, it returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after a long negotiation process.