The concept of Israeli- Palestinian peace is one that has yet to be realized as there continues to be a series of ongoing conflicts between the two nations, and a lasting resolution seems unlikely. The future continues to remain uncertain and when talks of peace are considered, American influence is always referenced. This plays a major role in global affairs because the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has a pervading impact throughout the Middle East. In an area plagued by religious turmoil, one skirmish could set off a chain of events that has far-reaching implications.
One factor that creates uncertainty is that the mediating American stance could change once new leadership is installed in the White House. Current President Barack Obama has made no secret in aligning himself with the Palestinian cause. Obama’s final few months in office could even introduce an anti-Israeli resolution, which would have contrasting effects on how the next president will handle the situation. Similarly, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton seems to have gone back and forth on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict throughout her political career, which suggest possible future instability form American leadership. This strained relationship is supported through recent public statements. White House spokesperson Jon Ernest decried Israeli last week for its expansion into the West Bank. Ernest spoke on behalf of the Obama administration by saying, “We had public assurances from the Israeli government that contradict this new announcement – so when you talk about how friends treat each other – this is also a source of concern. There is a lot of disappointment and great concern here at the White House” (Chavez, 2016). In a conflict fueled by territorial disputes, this expansion is no sign that peace is nearing. It could be a precursor to more violence as Israel seems to be daring Palestine to respond to this expansion. The need for an objective intercessor to help facilitate peace may be needed more than ever. Once again, that points in the direction of the American government.
Other possibilities are not much better. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said recently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would “recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel” (Wise, 2016). This bold statement is an indication that he would back Israel in the conflict and such statements would undoubtedly antagonize Palestinians. However, Trump’s comments on banning Muslim immigration in the U.S. is a clear sign of where his allegiance lies. In the event that Trump would win the presidency, future conflict may be a foregone conclusion as there would likely be Palestinian uprisings in response to his support of an Israeli state. That could also rally fellow Arab nations in support of the Palestinian cause, leading to a large-scale conflict in the Middle East. A Trump victory could even lead to American involvement in a future conflict between people of Jewish and Arab descent.
Meanwhile, Clinton has indicated she would favor a more diplomatic solution that would create a two-state alternative. That kind of solution seems almost implausible as conflict has been ongoing between Israelis and Palestinians ever since Israel was established in 1948. However, aims at a diplomatic resolution would not likely contribute to military conflicts, nor would it likely involve any American troops. The United States has traditionally back Israel, although that has begun to change under the Obama administration. His sensitivity the Arab world is something that was not embraced by his presidential predecessor, George Bush. Enacting any anti-Israel policies in the final months of his presidency would present either Clinton or Trump with the decision to continue with that policy or eliminate it and start anew.
Palestine also presents terror threats to Israel. The Palestinian militant group Hamas has been reported to be upping its military arsenal in preparation for future attacks on Israel. This Gaza-ruling terror group is reportedly smuggling in building materials and excavation machinery to dig underground tunnels while Hamas’s elite terror unit, “Nukhbah,” is conducting drills simulating attacks on Israel through these tunnels (Report: Hamas, 2016). This group, for all intents and purposes, is a terrorist organization. American support of a nation that houses such groups seems to be a direct contradiction of the democratic pillar the United States was built upon. While military action may not need to be as swift and decisive as what Trump might suggest, sympathy for the Palestinian cause does not have to be as emphatic as it was during the Obama administration. Perhaps Clinton can provide a happy medium in which diplomacy and peace can reign supreme. While that may prove to be a Herculean effort, its results would be a lot better than the other alternatives.
America’s part in the ongoing conflict between Israel in Palestine is a very influential one. The two nations have been at odds for close to three-quarters of a century, and it will eventually take an objective third-party that American cannot provide to intervene and achieve a peaceful resolution. Without that, more conflict seems inevitable.
Chavez, Carolina. (2016, October 6). Obama Administration Slams Netanyahu Over Broken
West Bank Promise. Reverbpress.com.
Wise, Alana. (2016, September 25). Trump tells Netanyahu he would recognize Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital. Reuters.com.