Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Simplicity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

There is a general perception that the reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued for so long is because it is extremely complex. Nothing could be further from the truth. Placed in historical context, understanding the root cause of the conflict is simple, and in doing so, the solution becomes apparent.

The reason why this state of affairs can continue is simple. It is because the United States unconditionally supports Israel. An illuminating example was the announcement early in the Obama administration that if Israel did not end settlement activity, it would suffer no consequences. U.S. support would continue regardless. That message was understood perfectly well by the Netanyahu government in Israel.

U.S. policy must be understood and judged by deeds and not rhetoric. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. supports Israeli violations of international law financially ($3 billion plus annually), militarily (U.S. made F-16 jets, Apache helicopter gunships, and white phosphorus munitions were used during Operation Cast Lead, for instance), and diplomatically (such as the U.S. use of the veto in the U.N. Security Council).

The most practical and equitable solution to the conflict has been recognized for decades. There is an international consensus on a two-state solution that has long been accepted by the Palestinian side. The reason this solution has not been implemented is also perfectly simple. It is because the Israeli and U.S. policies of rejectionism prevent it from happening.

Israeli policy will continue so long as it has U.S. backing. U.S. policy will continue so long as the American people permit it to.

A just and lasting peace in the Middle East is possible. It’s simple. There is a choice.