Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Peace in the Middle East

While we can hope Senator Obama makes peace with the color green (see post below), we hope also that our next US President can make peace in the Middle East, particularly in regards to the drawn out Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The LA Times did a great job of recognizing and explaining 10 key points about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that our next leader will have to deal with:
  1. The current political climate is stable and more inclined to positively engage in the peace process than historically.

  2. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tensions with Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the War in Iraq are all interdependent on one another. Peace in one are can encourage the peace process in others; hostility in one area can breed problems in another.

  3. Israel and Iran are openly threatening one another.

  4. The American commitment is necessary within the Arab-Israeli peace process, as – and I’m adding this point – we are on the one hand aggressors in the region, and yet mediators for peace.
  5. The last comment from the above point leads nicely into this one: it must be recognized that America’s customary preference of Israel when it claims to be a fair mediator undermines its legitimacy and the peace process for both Palestinians and Israelis.

  6. Another tie – expanding Jewish settlements into the West Bank despite pledges to freeze them have been counterproductive to the peace process between Israel and Palestine, as has the US’s tendency to look the other way when it happens.

  7. Israeli-Palestinian talks generally lack promise, and leaders should hold steadfast in their pursuit of peace rather than give into frustrations.

  8. Engaging Hamas is crucial, but it is necessary to do so without giving their radical tactics credibility.
  9. Engaging Syria is also important, with the US as a facilitator.

  10. And finally, Richard Bordeaux recognizes that Mid East tours are often conducted as political ploys and those affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict recognize this, not expecting much of a change in the political tension. Senator McCain and Senator Obama need to be prepared for a long road ahead that awaits in the Middle East for whomever should win, and need to be committed to the peace process.

    Senator McCain visited the region in March, while Senator Obama is there now. Both candidates are fervent in their efforts to show off foreign policy skills as the US Presidential race carries on.

    [Pictures – Top: Senator Obama meets with King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan, today. Above: Senator McCain with Senator Joseph Lieberman at the “Hall of Names” during their visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem this March.]

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