Sic Transit

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Lindsey Graham isn’t representative of much of anything good these days. But precisely because he’s now representative of fairly conventional GOP foreign policy thinking I found these remarks notable. I saw them in a round-up in Haaretz but they’re from Meet the Press …

Sen. Lindsey Graham, among Israel’s most stalwart allies in Washington, told NBC’s Meet the Press that he would “hope Israel could do more” to limit civilian casualties in Gaza and warned Israel must consider its handling of Palestinians should it want to pursue normalization with Saudi Arabia.

“We have two choices: continue the death spiral, or use October 7 as a catalyst for change. I think the Arabs are going to demand some form of two-state solution to recognize Israel. I think Israel’s going to demand security buffers different than before, and they need to make those demands. I don’t know how this ends, but I’ll tell you this. If we don’t get this right this time, we’re talking about another generation of just tit-for-tat death,” Graham added.

There’s nothing particularly startling here from any sane perspective. But we don’t expect sane perspective from Republican senators these days. We expect purely the language of force and the language of force mostly aimed at domestic U.S. opinion.

I’ll go back to what I said on literally day one of this. Nothing Israel achieves militarily in Gaza will amount to anything durable absent some broader political settlement and in the short term some framework moving concretely in that direction. That doesn’t have to mean any immediate move toward two states. There are so many obstacles in the path of that at this moment, not least of which is a current Israeli government categorically opposed to any Palestinian state in principle. There are big obstacles on both sides. But any way forward has to be based on a recognition that the status quo ante was unworkable.

And for those asking, no, two states doesn’t seem particularly workable for a number of reasons. But it is the only non-fantasy resolution to the conflict.

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