Know Your History: Ronald Reagan’s US Policy for Peace in the Middle East, 1982

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series where I use history to debunk common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict.

With just hours to go before America goes to the polls to elect its 45th President, I am not interested in discussing the candidates and their relative merits here on Israellycool. I am aware we have readers who are staunch supporters of either of the main candidates, and I do not want to distract from my main goal on this blog by getting bogged down in political discussions.

What I would like to do, though, is look back at a previous US President I rate as one of the best – Ronald Reagan.

Do not get me wrong – he was by no means the perfect president, even on Israel. He was a harsh critic at times, and never visited the Jewish state. But he certainly seemed committed to our security, and his position on arriving at a peaceful settlement was way better than what we have seen from more recent US presidents.

In his Address to the Nation on United States Policy for Peace in the Middle East on September 1, 1982, President Reagan made very clear his commitment to Israel’s security, and opposition to a palestinian state; he favored palestinian self-government in association with Jordan (perhaps recognizing Jordan as the palestinian homeland). This self-government was to prove the palestinians could run their affairs, and would not pose a danger to Israel. Only after the palestinians proved themselves in this regard (something they have not done with regards to the Gaza test case) would final status negotiations occur. He also acknowledged that Israel could not return to the 1967 borders, and made Israel’s security the fundamental principle of any negotiations.

In light of what we have seen with US policy in the Middle East since then, this is stunning.

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