The US Could Recognize Palestine

Despite our best efforts over the years, the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy. The truth is that trends on the ground—violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion and the seemingly endless occupation—they are combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing an irreversible one-state reality that most people do not actually want. Secretary of State, John Kerry

The US could bring peace and hope to Palestine

By Roger Childs

 

palestineBoth Jewish and Palestinian people have claims to this volatile area of the Middle East dating back thousands of years.

A partition of the area between the two Semitic groups sponsored by the United Nations almost occurred in 1947, but the opportunity was lost.

It falls now to the world’s most powerful nation to sort out the mess. However, John Kerry’s statement this week, quoted above, makes it sound as if the USA has given up.

Barack Obama has less than three weeks in the job before the unpredictable and volatile Donald Trump takes over. Time enough for him to cut the Gordian Knot?

Israel and the United States

Independent since 1948
Independent since 1948

There are more Jewish people living in the US than in any other country on the planet. Not surprisingly, the US government has been a staunch supporter of the State of Israel ever since it unilaterally declared independence in 1948.

The fledgling state faced immediate invasion by nearby Arab states, but fought off the attacks with aid and armaments supplied by the Americans. There have been other wars with neighbours since that time and Israel has always prevailed.

Successive Americans presidents have tried to broker permanent peace in the area. There have been at least a dozen meetings, conferences and agreements.

Bill Clinton famously had Palestinian Liberation Organization leader, Yasser Arafat, and Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, shaking hands at the Oslo Accords in 1993, but lasting peace has proved elusive.

The essential problem is that, while an independent Jewish state exists, the Palestinians do not have that international status.

If the Americans recognized a fully fledged independent Palestinian state and supported it in the way it has shored up Israel, the impact in the whole region from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean would be dramatic.

Obama’s window of opportunity is running out

Could make an earth-shattering decision for good
Could make an earth-shattering decision for good

Although American presidents have made strenuous efforts to bring lasting peace in the Palestine region, they have been hamstrung by the influence of the Jewish lobby in America.

President Obama, like all his predecessors over the last 65 years, wants peace in the Middle East. However at the present time there are huge problems facing the UN, the Americans and other major powers in the region.

However the most volatile area over the last 65 years has been Palestine-Israel.  The conditions for recognizing Palestine will never be perfect for making the decision, so why not do it? Obama cannot be punished by the US electorate.

American aid to the area

Israel receives more of America’s foreign aid budget than any other nation. “If Americans Knew” Online

The United States is the most powerful nation on earth and, since 1948, has provided Israel with more than

~ $US 130 billion in aid

~ $US 70 billion military aid

~ $US 30 billion economic aid.

Netanyahu with the President-elect, hoping for a cosier relationship than he has had with Obama
Netanyahu with the President-elect, hoping for a cosier relationship than he has had with Obama

The result is that Israeli is one of the most prosperous nations on earth with massive military resources including nuclear weapons. It is estimated that the US provides $US 7.5 million in military aid per day! Does the average American taxpayer know this?

A deal has just been signed between the USA and Israel to provide $US38 billion over the next ten years!

The Americans have also given millions in economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians, but no military aid.

It is beyond belief that when the recent UN Security Council resolution was passed condemning on-going Israeli building on Palestinian land, Prime Minister Netanyahu fired off a tirade against the United States. A case of biting off the hand that feeds?

The road to lasting peace

Israeli – Palestinian relations are very complex and the problems of the region have defeated the best efforts of the United Nations, American governments and other world leaders.

The crux of the problem is distrust between the Jews and the Palestinians which dates back hundreds of years. As a first step there would have to be acceptance on both sides of the other’s right to exist as an independent state.

There are plenty of barriers, such as the construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in recent decades and the intermittent violence carried against the Israelis by Palestinian militants.

The Israeli nation has received huge support from the US over the last 65 years and the Americans now need to give full support for the legitimate aspirations of the other main group in the area.

A place in history

palestine-1Barack Obama has had his foreign policy frustrations and successes. He has been instrumental in getting the US out of Iraq, normalising relations with Cuba and re-establishing an active relationship with Canada. But he failed on the promise to close down Guantanamo Bay.

However, could there be another breakthrough?

It would be a bold move for the President to state unequivocally that:

The United States will give formal recognition to an independent Palestinian State effective from 19 January 2017.

The world needs this to happen.