America faces tough choices with Israel and Palestine

Published October 13th, 2014 - 09:42 GMT

A conference dedicated to Gaza’s reconstruction, held Sunday in Egypt, should be acknowledged as a positive, much-needed development – provided that it is the last such donor conference for the war-battered territory.

As U.N. chief Ban ki-moon put it, “this must be the last time.” Gaza has experienced three wars in the last six years, largely because world leaders, and especially the United States, refuse to put any meaningful pressure on Israel to adhere to countless U.N. resolutions on the Palestine-Israel conflict, or respect various aspects of international law.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Palestinians and Israelis to resume negotiations, and in the height of cynicism, encouraged the two sides to make the “tough choices” required for a lasting peace.

Someone should remind Kerry that it is his administration that faces tough choices.

First of all, the White House can choose between coddling the Israelis, and informing them that they do not possess a God-given right to approve or reject Palestinian reconstruction plans.

Second, the U.S. can choose between allowing Israeli settlement activity to continue unabated, and ending a flagrantly illegal process that sees the Palestinians negotiating over less and less territory during every round of “peace talks.”

Third, the U.S. administration can choose between leaving Israeli leaders free to engage in massive destruction against largely civilian targets, and informing them that their 2014 summer offensive in Gaza was their last such opportunity to wreck the peace process.

They are certainly tough choices, and if the party that wields influence over both the Israelis and the Palestinians can make them, perhaps Sunday’s conference might well be Gaza’s final donor-reconstruction event.

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