In assessing how candidates for office would affect Israel, we tend to ask either what policies they would enact regarding Israel or whether they consider the Likud Party to be serious about peace. All of the questions along those lines are worthwhile. We do want to know if someone intends to support Israel and what response we can expect to see during the next eruption coming from Hamas and the inevitable collateral damage from Israel's response. However, there is a more fundamental question that should be asked.
That question is "What is the Israeli-Arab conflict about?" The wrong answer to that question is that the conflict is about two peoples desiring the same piece of territory for their homeland. The correct answer is that the conflict is about Arab-Muslim irridentism for the social order that prevailed until the 19th century. This question is fundamental because the answer frames the approach to all the others.
It is possible to correctly identify what the conflict is and still oppose the settlements, and even have some positive words about UNSC 2334. Notably, Einat Wilf who is as strident as anyone in identifying Palestinian irredentism as the root of the conflict calls for the removal of the settlements from all but a small portion of the Jordanian Conquest. However, there are at least two ways Wilf distinguishes herself from the bulk of the western intelligentsia. First, while Wilf opposes settling the land that she views as being for a Palestinian state, she calls for maintenance of the occupation until they abandon that irredentism. Second, Wilf's opposition to Israel's growth past the Green Line is not as doctrinaire as most of the western intelligentsia's. In an essay after UNSC 2334, Wilf wrote:
There is nothing sacrosanct in the 1949 armistice lines, but in the absence of the State of Israel delineating a clear border within the West Bank that puts a final limit on its territorial claims, the Green Line has become the line that distinguishes the kind of Israel that the world is willing to support from the kind that it is not.What that line might indicate is that Wilf only presses the issue of the Green Line due to the lack of a counteroffer from our side and that she would be open to a counteroffer that leaves a substantial portion of the Jordanian Conquest under Israeli sovereignty while genuinely providing enough land for the Palestinians to establish a state. Those who view the conflict as just two peoples seeking the same territory for their homeland and needing to learn to share would probably be less inclined to compromise over the notion of Jordan's conquest abrogating Jewish rights for eternity than is Wilf.
The one problem with asking what the conflict is about is that for the time being it is unlikely to expose any difference between any of the candidates because I can't identify any candidate who would correctly describe it as Arab-Muslim social order-irredentism. Even Donald Trump would probably describe it as two groups competing for one tract of land, as I doubt that a contrary belief would induce him to seek a "deal of the century." We need to advance reasons why the public should realize that the conflict is about Arab-Muslim irridentism. To be continued.