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US and Israel haven't learned their history lessons. Palestinians and Abbas have.

Billions in US aid dollars to individual economies and militaries in the Middle East have not strengthened peace. The success of post-war Europe shows the key to unity is to get citizens of different nations to work together. That hasn't really happened with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.

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Edmund Burke famously said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” The Arab-Israeli conflict, steeped in history, is a case in point. A major piece of US Middle East policy presents a clear example of history being forgotten, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent statehood bid at the United Nations serves as an example of history being remembered. 

If 90 years ago someone had said that England, France, and Germany would become the strongest of allies with integrated economies, he would have been laughed out of the room. Forty years later that impossible vision had become a reality. It was made possible because a lesson of history was not lost; the mistake made after World War I of severely punishing Germany through the Treaty of Versailles was not repeated after World War II. Rather Germany was allowed to rebuild both economically and politically.

In addition, through the brilliance of the European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, the countries of Europe moved toward integration. With the exception of the Balkan wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia, that integration has led to a period of peace in Europe that has not been seen for centuries. One of the key ingredients to that success has been that nations were pushed to work with each other in various endeavors and formats, and in the process relationships were forged.


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