from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Recent Articles on Syria and "Nakba Day"

May 18, 2011

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

I’ve written recently on Syria and on the Palestinian "Nakba Day," in The Weekly Standard.

In an article entitled "The Illusion of Peace With Syria," I argue that the Obama Administration must realize the only good outcome now is the fall of the Assad regime.

The article concludes that  "The peace agreements that Israel signed with Egypt and Jordan were real achievements, but there will be no such agreements with the Palestinians or with Syria in the foreseeable future. The Palestinians have taken themselves out of the game for now. We cannot turn from them to the Syrians while Assad’s troops are using howitzers and sniper rifles against his people. This is the time not for diplomatic engagement with Assad, but for diplomacy aimed at quarantining his regime and helping bring it down. The White House should dismiss any remaining dreams of a “peace process” with Syria to substitute for the Palestinian version and face facts: There will be no peace with the butcher who rules Syria today."

In a short piece entitled "How Did this Nakba Day Differ from All Other Nakba Days?" I suggest that the message of Nakba Day is that Israel’s very existence, not its presence in the West Bank, is what the Palestinians cannot accept. As the article  states, "The demand of Nakba Day is that the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 be reversed. When Hamas’s prime minister Ismail Haniyah spoke on Sunday in a Gaza speech, he told the crowd they were demonstrating "with great hope of bringing to an end the Zionist project in Palestine." And last week Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said, "We will never give up the right of return."