U.S. Pursues Quiet Mideast Diplomacy, Thwarts U.N. Statement.

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, the United States of America blocked the United Nations Security Council from releasing a statement on the increasing violence between Israel and Palestinian rebels. A statement released from the White House claimed the United States was pursuing, “quiet, intensive diplomacy.” The United States, a strong ally of Israel, has been alone in the UN Security Council over its objection to a public statement, believing it would not be helpful at the moment.

In a statement on Monday from U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Mr. Blinken claims, “The question is, will any given action or any given statement actually, as a practical matter, advance the prospects for ending the violence or not. If we think that there’s something…that would effectively advance that, we would be for it.” In addition to this, the United States has also rejected a public council meeting on Friday, compromising on a Sunday meeting after China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, publicly called out the U.S. for obstructing a public statement.  In a press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the White House’s diplomatic tactic, claiming, “Our approach is through quiet, intensive diplomacy and that’s where we feel we can be most effective”.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is neither new nor simple. The conflict is over 100 years old, began after World War I, and was solidified after the creation of the Israeli state in 1948 in a territory that was majority Arab and minority Jewish. Palestinians and Israeli’s are at odds over the ownership of Israel’s land, each claiming ties to ancestral ownership. Through a series of armed conflicts, Israel gradually annexed Palestinian territory.

This culminated in most Palestinian refugees and their descendants left to live in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel currently claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians consider East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. At present, Gaza is ruled by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. The U.S. is one of only a few countries to recognize Israel’s claim to the entirety of the city. Over time, Israel has built settlements in these areas, which Palestinians claim are illegal. Thus, tensions between Israel, and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank run high. Palestinians claim they are suffering from Israeli abuses, and Israel claims it’s only acting to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorism.

The escalation of this conflict, however, began during the month of Muslim Ramadan in April. During this religious holiday, Palestinian families in East Jerusalem were threatened with eviction. Confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinians have become more frequent and more violent. These confrontations led to increasing violence, and finally full-scale bombing and bombardment between Hamas and Israel in Gaza and Tel-Aviv, respectively. On Thursday, May 22nd, however, a ceasefire, organized by the U.S., Egypt, Qatar, and several European nations, was agreed to and the conflict seems to be temporarily quelled.

A ceasefire, however, in no way implies permanent peace. Tensions between Israel and Palestinians will only continue to rise, and violence can only worsen. At the crux of this issue is the relationship between Israel and the United States of America. Israel depends on the U.S. for defense spending it provides, and the United States provides this spending to maintain its stronghold in an incredibly volatile, yet incredibly resource wealthy region. The U.S. often tries to play a peacemaker between the two warring peoples, attempting to broker peace deals along the way. Unfortunately, most “peace deals” brokered by the United States are incredibly one-sided.

The most recent peace plan prepared by the United States was proposed by President Donald Trump, an agreement which Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu termed, “the deal of the century.” But, again, like most deals coming out of the U.S., the Palestinians dismissed it, citing its obvious bias towards Israel. Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, claims this latest round of violence is the fourth-largest war between Hamas and Israel since the mid-2000s. He says he’s seen previous wars end like this before, “Similar things have been said by both sides in claiming victory and then essentially the seeds of the next conflict are sown,” he continues with a final, pessimistic yet unfortunately accurate claim: “I can tell you one thing for certain- that if the status quo doesn’t change favorably, there will be another round of this.”

Maria Jeanette Psarakis
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