News / Middle East

Arab Uprisings Could Affect US Strategy Toward Mideast Talks

Presidents Barack Obama (r) and Shimon Peres meeting at the White House in April, 2011
Presidents Barack Obama (r) and Shimon Peres meeting at the White House in April, 2011
Mohamed Elshinnawi

For decades, Washington has relied on friendly Arab governments to manage the Arab-Israeli conflict without taking Arab public opinion into consideration. But now, with popular uprisings sweeping through the region, U.S. policymakers are looking at other ways Washington can maintain its influence. Policy makers and regional experts say one way Washington can do that is by renewing its efforts to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

As a wave of uprisings sweeps through much of the Arab world, one aspect of the region has not changed at all - the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

And as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launch rocket attacks into Israel and Israel expands settlements on captured land, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the situation is becoming dangerous.

"The status quo between Palestinians and Israelis is no more sustainable than the political systems that have crumbled in recent months," said Hillary Clinton. "Neither Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic state, nor the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians can be secured without a negotiated two-state solution."

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski says it is time for the Obama administration to take a decisive role in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"The mood in the region is changing," said Zbigniew Brzezinski. "The prospects of Israel becoming an accepted part of the Middle East are waning and I think it behooves the U.S. to step forward with a generalized framework of what the peace has to be."

Brzezinski argues that Washington needs to move quickly before the Palestinian Authority asks the U.N. General Assembly in September to recognize an independent Palestinian state based on the borders before the 1967 Middle East war.

That possibility also worries U.S. Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He says the Washington should get ahead of such an appeal to the U.N. General Assembly, which he argues could complicate the already-stalled peace efforts:

"I’m not sure it will in fact advance the process. It could even force entrenchment - change some politics in a dangerous way," said Senator Kerry. "So I hope a diplomatic initiative can in fact preclude unintended consequences."

After his meeting this month at the White House with Israeli President Shimon Peres, President Obama spoke of the urgency of reaching a negotiated peace agreement in the Middle East.

"With the winds of change blowing through the Arab world it is more urgent than ever that we try to seize the opportunity to create a peaceful solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis," said President Obama.

Shibley Telhami is a professor of Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. He says successful U.S.-sponsored talks between the Israelis and Palestinians could also help Washington establish good relations with the new governments emerging in the region.

"It is very difficult for the U.S. to establish healthy relations with the emerging democracies in the Arab world as long as there is no movement toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said Professor Telhami.

U.S. policy seeks a two-state solution to the dispute, with independent Israeli and Palestinian nations living side-by-side in harmony. Regional experts say the time is ripe for a renewed push in that direction.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs