Thu. Jul 11th, 2024

Israel-Hamas: Why the US is vital to Middle East peace

By nr39r Jun1,2024
News

EDITORIAL While some European countries have recognized a Palestinian state, the US’s Middle East policy will be critical. Like throughout tortured history. Michel Winock, our columnist, says the next Atlantic presidential election is more important.

The recognition of a Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland, and Norway and the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s request for an arrest warrant against Netanyahu and his defense minister moved Israel Katz, the Israeli Foreign Minister visiting Paris, last week. Katz believes the first ruling threatens Israel’s security, authority, independence, and sovereignty. The hostages’ prospects of escape decrease. This bonus targets terrorism and Hamas and Iran’s brutality. He is horrified that we can compare “Israeli democracy and the terrorist organization that is Hamas on the same level.”

This minister seems unaware of how the IDF’s unchecked Gaza intervention may have shattered world opinion. In his excellent book How Palestine Was Lost, Jean-Pierre Filiu argues that the day following October 7, there was simply a cry of outrage and indignation practically everywhere in response to Hamas’s “veritable orgy of blood, torture and pillaging.” Why Israel lost. Over 1,000 Israelis died, including 695 civilians (36 children), 373 soldiers, and 71 foreigners (mainly Thai workers). 252 captured captives made this terrorist attack more horrific.

A race to the bottom

In the weeks to come, Netanyahu’s savage reprisals will shift opinions. Intensive Gaza Strip bombardments kill thousands, mostly civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans evacuate the north for a south likely to be bombed, killing or mutilating women and children in refugee camps. Even if they accepted “self-defense” for weeks, all the world’s televisions are presenting a terrifying spectacle that rattles Western Israel supporters. The military onslaught of Gaza has continued mercilessly, murderously, and in vain to eliminate Hamas for almost eight months.

So what does Netanyahu want? Remove Gazans? Send them where? Recolonize this Palestinian region? It appears we are watching a race to the bottom. Three European nations acknowledged Palestine in this context. This approach goes beyond symbolism by stating that other countries—most notably the US—must mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Washington’s influence matters.

They were crucial to the 1993 Oslo Accords’ resolution. We remember the hope that came from Rabin and Arafat’s handshake in Washington during the Oslo Accords signing. “Together today,” said President Clinton, “we wish them shalom, salam, peace. We know what occurred next: a religious fanatic killed Rabin two years later and Netanyahu took power in 1996 to destroy the Oslo accords. The new US President Bush Junior was not blameless in this torpedo.

Washington’s capital influence is clear throughout this troubled history. Bush and Trump endorsed Sharon and Trump’s harshest policies, including aggressive colonialism and repression. Public opinion, especially evangelical churches and preachers, supports this trend. Jean-Pierre Filiu recalls the Falwells, Robertsons, and Grahams’ provocative statements that “it is indubitable that Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] must be part of Israel.” However, the majority of their followers, known as “Christian Zionists,” decide Bush and Trump’s election. Three-quarters of Jews vote for Democrats (Al Gore, Clinton, Obama, Biden), whereas over 80% of evangelicals vote Republican.

Despite mixed achievements, Carter, Clinton, and Obama have advanced the peace process, while Bush and Trump have incited Israel’s stubbornness. David Friedman, who Trump appointed ambassador to Israel, believes “Israelis have as much right, if not more, than Palestinians to settle in Judea and Samaria”. Later, to the joy of “Christian Zionists,” he moved his embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

Next presidential election stakes

Of course, Biden has other views. He refused to move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv and closed the American consulate in East Jerusalem, which represented Palestinians. Like Katz, the ICC prosecutor denounces comparing Israel and Hamas. He too, a few months before the presidential election, seems dependent on electorate pressure and must spare Congress’ unflinching Israel supporters. We sense his uncertainty, embarrassment, and immobility as he condemns Netanyahu and abstains from a UN ceasefire resolution in Gaza.

Peace in the Middle East depends on the US. Israel relies on US arms transfers and Washington’s diplomatic power. Even though Saudi Arabia is also involved, the US can restart the peace process if it wants to achieve an equitable peace through the coexistence of two sovereign States. Instead, if they stay complacent defenders of Netanyahu and his ilk or passive, they will bury pacification for a long period. This highlights the significance of the next US presidential election and the risk of Trump’s comeback.

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