TIME FOR A U.S. MIDDLE EAST PEACE POLICY

JUNE OP ED | By: Ron Israel & the US Renew News Staff | June 2024
Featured Photo: www.hoover.org

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We believe President Biden should announce a sweeping policy aimed at promoting a broad-based Middle East Peace. Such a policy would help win him points with disaffected voters, especially young people, and encourage those in countries throughout the region who put peace above their own country’s current narrow self-interest. We suggest that Biden’s Peace in the Middle East Policy contain the following elements:

‣ Recognition of Palestinian Statehood: 144 of the 193 member countries of the United Nations have already recognized Palestinian statehood, including France Belgium, Ireland, Spain and Norway.  The United States needs to join this list. Palestinian statehood is a precursor to the establishment of a two-state solution.

‣ Endorsing the International Legal Decisions on the Israel/Hamas War: The International Criminal Court  (ICC)and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) In recent weeks have each made decisions indicting Israeli leadership for its conduct of the war in Gaza (in violation of international law). The US has condemned these decisions and refused to join the long list of countries supporting them. This reaction sets the U.S. apart from the rest of the world and damages our reputation as a supporter of international justice.

‣ Suspending Provision of Military Assistance: The U.S. needs to suspend any further military assistance to Israel that will help perpetuate the war in Gaza. The U.S. has long supported Israel’s right to defend itself in a sea of hostile neighbors, but we need to draw the line when it comes to Israel’s use of our military aid for the war in Gaza.

‣ Endorsing and Providing Leadership for a 2-State Solution:  Supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state, on equal footing with Israel, seems to be the only sustainable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The United States needs to come out and openly endorse such  a solution. We need to pledge resources to help a 2-State come into being, such as providing training to strengthen the governance capacity of Palestinian leadership. We need to support free and fair elections in Palestine.

‣ Providing Leadership for a Middle East Marshall Plan: Gaza faces an enormous task of rebuilding itself after the conclusion of its war with Israel. Other areas in the Middle East, e.g. Syria and Lebanon, that have been damaged in conflict, also face large reconstruction challenges. The United States needs to lead and support an effort to provide reconstruction aid and assistance to these countries, an effort similar in scope to the Marshal Plan at that supported the reconstruction of Europe at the end of World War II.

‣ Support for the Recognition of Israel: Once the Gaza war is over the U.S. should continue efforts,  begun under the Abrahamic accords, to persuade other Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon, to recognize Israel. Increased recognition of Israel in the region will help ease tensions

‣ Increased Recognition of  the Rights  of Women and Other Basic Human Rights:  In many Middle Eastern countries the rights to equal opportunity for women and other human rights are being denied. An essential part of the US policy for peace in the Middle East needs to be a call for all countries in the region to support human rights, especially the rights of women.

Unfortunately there may be little likelihood that the U.S. will invoke such a comprehensive Peace in the Middle East Policy. However, there would be huge political and diplomatic upsides if we were to do so. President Biden would likely gain increased voter support especially from young people supporting the Palestinian cause. And the U.S. would strengthen its relationships with countries in the region who tend to sympathize with the Palestinians.

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