The Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River began at the end of the nineteenth century when a group of European Jews started to settle in Palestine, aiming to seize control over the territory. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a protracted, deadly, and costly confrontation that involved many participants among the Middle East and Western countries. While the countries of Europe decided to withhold relations with Jewish settlements in 1967, when Israel occupied Sinai, the Golan Heights, Gaza, and the West Bank, the United States has remained the peace broker that initiated negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians in 2014. Although some political analysts believe that the reconciliation between Israel and Palestine will not bring peace to the Middle East, the comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if conducted within the appropriate framework, may pacify the tension in the Middle East and the international political arena.
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For decades, the international community attempted to reconcile Israel and Palestine without tangible results so that the peace process seemed to be elusive. The lack of trust between the longstanding enemies and the permanent power disparity in the negotiations that was caused by Israel’s military and economic preponderance did not allow for effective bilateral political dialogue. The lack of comprehensiveness in the U.S. peace-making strategy prevented the possible compromise between Israel and Palestine as it could not assist both parties in making the necessary concessions to reach an agreement. Moreover, the unconditional but noticeable support of the U.S. for Israel has created the anti-American backlash among the Middle Eastern countries since the overwhelming majority supported the Palestinians, who were seen as “victims of an all-powerful colonizing Israel” (Cleveland and Bunton 536). All these factors made it possible for some political analysts to conclude that the U.S.-led settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will deteriorate the situation in the Middle East; however, others admit that successful settlement is possible under certain conditions (Yambert 101).
In 2002 the Arab League introduced the Arab Peace Initiative, which suggested a proposal for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the successful comprehensive settlement, the negotiations between the two parties should be strictly based on the Arab Peace Initiative (Cleveland and Bunton 517). The negotiations should start with the discussion of borders, which will persuade the Palestinians that the re-establishment of their state is already at hand. The negotiations should be held in Jerusalem, where the number of Jews and Palestinians is almost equal since it will serve as a symbol of their possible coexistence.
The negotiations should have a specific time limit because both parties’ interests in the protraction of time in the hope of improving their position took the conflict settlement longer than was appropriate. Moreover, the negotiations should be assisted by independent parties, and since it is believed that the U.S. is a supporter of Israel and the EU is a supporter of Palestine, the assistance may need to be provided by four of the most influential members of the Arab League: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar. The negotiations should be based on the prior agreements that were reached in 2000 and 2010 as well as receive positive media coverage. All these conditions will provide for the successful comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a prerequisite to peace for the international community, the Middle East, and the U.S. Given that this confrontation of two nations continued throughout more than a century, separating the Arab nations and Jews and involving a large number of Western and Eastern participants against their will (e.g., Syria’s civil war), the eventual settlement of the conflict seems to be one of the few political events that will significantly contribute to the relaxation of political tension (Cleveland and Bunton 550).
Moreover, the Palestinians saw the Israeli occupation as colonization because many Jews that started to settle in Palestine were of European origin and supported by the UK and other European countries (Yambert 68). The Arab nations that support Palestine associate themselves with it, and given that the Palestinians are seen as victims, the Middle East does not accept the Western interference in the conflict, which has developed an anti-American backlash. If the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is conducted according to the conditions that have been discussed above, the tension between the Middle East and the U.S. will be relaxed. Thus, the comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be a prerequisite for restoring the regional and international peace.
Despite the fact that some political analysts and members of the international community do not believe in the peace-making power of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement, one cannot deny the fact that it will ease the political tensions in the Middle East and the international arena. Besides that, if the reconciliation is assisted by the Arab nations without direct American influence, the Arab grievances against the U.S. will also be settled. Thus, the comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be considered as a prerequisite to peace for the Middle East and the U.S.
Cleveland, William L., and Martin Bunton. A History of the Modern Middle East. 6th ed., Westview Press, 2016.
Yambert, Karl, editor. The Contemporary Middle East: A Westview Reader. 3rd ed., Westview Press, 2013.