Dear friend of Partners for Progressive Israel,
In our fast-paced society, there's often too little room for in-depth exploration of the issues of the day. That's why we've introduced a new email service that will periodically provide background and context for the key developments affecting Israel. Each update will focus on a single topic and will offers news, opinion and analysis that allow for a more nuanced understanding of Israel's complex challenges.
Today, we address the US role in helping to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in light of the upcoming American presidential election.
With President Obama and Mitt Romney feverishly vying for votes, much of what we'll hear until Election Day is campaign rhetoric. But some journalists and scholars are looking past the posturing to consider the different diplomatic approaches the candidates might (or might not) adopt, and how they could influence the peace process.
Recommended articles on the topic:
In a Council on Foreign Relations blog post and accompanying video briefing, Dr. Robert M. Danin looks towards 2013. He wonders whether the US president will choose to 'manage' the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or try to resolve it once and for all, and examines the changing regional and global context for this decision.
Natasha Mozgovaya, writing in Haaretz, points out that Romney has promised to do "the opposite of Obama" when it comes to Israel, but she suggests that this mostly means keeping disagreements behind closed doors.
On the Tikkun blog, David Harris-Gershon suggests that the millions of campaign dollars coming from Sheldon Adelson, who vehemently opposes a two-state solution, could force Romney to adopt, "a presidential position ... to the right of AIPAC".
In an interview with Israel National News (Arutz Sheva), Prof. Robert Freedman argues that Obama has recently aligned himself more closely with Israel's government due to disappointment with the Palestinian approach to the peace process. But, "we'll have to wait and see," he said, if this 'pro-Israel' stance continues in a possible second term.
Former State Department official Richard Haasstold an Israeli audience that, no matter who wins, the, "American era of dominating the Middle East peace process is ending."
In the Forward, Noam Neusner maintains that no US president can bring peace unless the two sides want it. In Neusner's mind (and echoing Romney's statements on the campaign trail), Obama's failure is the Palestinians' fault.
In a New York Times op-ed, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Thomas Schelling, Jerome Segal and Javier Solana propose a completely different idea - a UN special committee would tackle the conflict, leaving the US a much diminished role. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/opinion/going-directly-to-israelis-and-palestinians.html?_r=2