One can guess that the Palestinians have gone the route of Mt McKinley. The time of both in the spotlight may have passed, but we're not sure of either's demise.
Barack Obama's move to bestow on what had been called Mt McKinley for more than a century the name given it by some of Alaska's natives may get him the same degree of applause as he received in that Cairo speech calling for democracy and equality in the Middle East. Chances are the renaming will not get him another Nobel Prize. And it may not get him applause from Americans who don't want to honor people with cultural traits they do not admire, or the various Alaskan natives whose own name for the mountain has not been chosen by the President.
President Obama may deserve credit for addressing a symbolic issue of importance to some Native Americans. The renaming may make some people feel good for some time, perhaps more of them among politically correct Whites than among Native Americans. It's hard to see a connection between the renaming and any improvement in the plight of Native Americans' one percent of the population; they are generally poorer, less healthy, more inclined to substance abuse, more inclined to be incarcerated, more likely to die violently, and more likely to be killed by police than other groups in the population.
The status of the Palestinians is more complex.
They've had their chances, several times, spurned by those claiming to lead them. Either those saying no have hoped to get more by violence or politics than offered by the British, Israelis, or Americans, or they have feared retribution by Palestinians or other Arabs even more extreme.
Muslims continue to chant in behalf of Palestinians, and the BDS movement counts some victories in the form of parades, demonstrations, petitions, and resolutions, as well as defeats by those who renounce it. It is difficult to perceive more than noise surrounding the campaign. No Israeli politician with any power has proposed greater accommodation with Palestinians in response.
Overall, the Palestinians are not doing well in their own region among their own co-religionists. That pretty much means Muslims, insofar as the Christians among the Palestinians have largely been hounded out by Muslims, and Christians elsewhere in the Middle East are even in worse shape.
Every few days we hear one threat or another from the President of the Palestine Authority, who has overstayed his term in office by something approaching seven years. He is about to resign and dismantle the Authority, "turn over the keys" of the West Bank to Israel, cancel the accord between Palestinian security forces and those of Israel, or press additional charges against Israel to one or another body of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court. Almost as often, he speaks about renewed cooperation between the West Bank and Gaza. Except for the fanfare surrounding visits to one foreign capital or another, which include a red carpet, a publicized meeting with the head of state, and sonorous words about cooperation and the necessity of moving toward the creation of the Palestinian state, nothing comes from any of this.
Muslims themselves are pretty much occupied fighting one another, or dithering as to how much to support one group of fighters or another, in the hope that money or munitions will keep the extremists fighting somewhere else.
It is too early for Israel to declare victory. Despite cooperation with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab governments against common foes, that cooperation is largely hidden from public view. Arab politicians cannot embrace the Zionist State. They have invested too much, for too long, in anti-Israel campaigns to change tune in front of their people. From their media, we hear and read commentators who speak of greater cooperation with Israel than with Iran or Muslim extremists. Yet we are still interlopers in the region. The best that Jews have had in Muslim societies is an acknowledged second-class status, and that was long ago. At times, things were much worse. My late friend from Mashhad told me of growing up in an Iranian city where the Jews had to pretend to be Muslims for a couple of centuries. They had been offered their choice of conversion or death.
A miracle may happen, and a Palestinian emerge as leader who deals with Israel in reasonable terms, skipping over the forlorn dream of turning back the clock by what is now approaching 50 or 70 years.
The latest event to overshadow Palestine is the announcement by an Italian energy company of finding a massive gas field under the Egyptian portion of the Mediterranean. The news has made some Israelis nervous, insofar as they had hoped to sell Israeli gas to Egypt. It has also spurred the Israeli Minister of Energy to push for the early approval of the government's proposal for a deal about sharing profits with those who invested in the discovery of Israel's field.
We should be applauding the news about Egypt's gas. It will take some time to develop the Egyptian field. Some of the resources produced may be siphoned off to insiders, and opponents of the Egyptian regime will try to sabotage the pipes as they have done with Egyptian gas from the Sinai that had been sold to Israel and Jordan. However, if even some of the gas gets to help the Egyptian economy, it may ease the plight of an impoverished, restive, and growing population, in ways that might make it easier for Israelis to live alongside of them.
It's not easy to imagine how the Egyptian gas discovery can help Palestine, given the lack of enthusiasm for Palestine shown by the Egyptian establishment currently in power.
It is reasonable to conclude, for the time being, that what will become of Palestine depends entirely on the Palestinians. And given their record, it is risky to predict anything other than more of the same.