“Peace should be negotiated and not imposed.” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing the Joint Session of Congress on May 24, 2011.
This ongoing global peace dilemma affects us here domestically. Our national and economic securities are better served when peace prevails in the Middle East. While the current recovery from the global financial crises is in jeopardy of a dangerous reversal, we need to bridge the gap between our allies in the Middle East, the Israelis and the Arabs. However, the United States’ unequivocal support for Israel makes peace talks with Palestine impossible.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu stood on U.S. soil, in front of our Congress, and was provided a platform to address the world. His speech spilled outrage at President Obama’s demand that Israel return to the 1967 borders with “mutually agreed land swaps.” Netanyahu’s one-sided analysis of this lingering conflict and his disingenuous requests for peace earned him over 20 standing ovations from Congressmen but not a single nod of approval from the on-looking Palestinians.
His speech did not pave the way for peace, it did not put in motion any new strategies that could be implemented to promote peace, nor did it address the dire concerns of the Palestinians. His victimization of his nation—despite having the strongest regional military force—is quite disturbing.
Does the list of preconditions Netanyahu mentioned contribute to the demise of any possible peace? His demanding provisions hinder any effort to bridge the gap for further mutual communication. Thus, it is vital for our country that we maintain a balanced position and closely examine how this peace process is carried out and how it will influence us, our government, and again, our economy.
With our national interest in mind and at the core of our approach to the Israeli Palestinian problem, we need to be very clear with Netanyahu. Our message to him should be that peace can only be forged through concessions from both sides; not through the stubborn denial of other people’s legitimate rights. The longer the Palestinian issue lingers unresolved, the more our own national interest will be put to the test.
The Palestinian issue must be resolved now before further complications start shaping the region’s already murky and unpredictable future. The future of Israel and the future of the global economic recovery are now dependent on a stable region that can assure the industrial West of uninterrupted oil supplies at price levels affordable enough to keep the wheel of production turning.