After 72 years of conflict, the Palestinian people and Israel remain locked in a never-ending battle. Despite recent talks in Jerusalem, little progress has been made between the two sides. In this article, we will explore the trip that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Kerry took to Israel and Palestine earlier this year. The trip provided few solutions and shed little light on the issue at hand.
Monday, Antony Blinken stated that he had arrived at a “pivotal moment” upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport.
Monday, Antony Blinken stated that he had arrived at a “pivotal moment” upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport. As Secretary of State for Policy Planning, Blinken is in the unique position to help broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Blinken’s trip to Jerusalem provides few solutions though he hopes it will create momentum for further negotiations.
Blinken’s visit comes as part of a tour of several Middle Eastern capitals aimed at calming regional tensions and promoting economic cooperation. Aside from meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi.
Although Netanyahu voiced support for a two-state solution during his meeting with Blinken, Abbas reiterated his unwillingness to negotiate until Israel withdraws its forces from all Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. The recent spate of violence between Israelis and Palestinians has added to the rising tensions in the region, making any resolution even more difficult to achieve.
“Upholding our shared values” and “calling for calm” were two phrases that Mr. Blinken kept using.
In recent days, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and other senior officials have been publicly urging both sides to exercise restraint in their rhetoric. But those words seem unlikely to be heeded by either side, given that both Israelis and Palestinians are deeply committed to their respective ideologies.
Former Obama administration official Dennis Ross has noted that the conflict is “”a religious war””, with each side viewing the other as heretics. Mr. Blinken stated as much during his visit to Jerusalem: “”One common denominator between Israelis and Palestinians is a shared belief in the sanctity of human life,”” he said. “But this shared value doesn’t mean that disagreements over territory or borders can be resolved.”
Upholding our shared values should be the starting point for any discussion of solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s not happening on either side right now…calling for calm seems like an empty promise at this point.
In 2022, 30 Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians were killed. Over 30 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed this year in January alone.
In Israel, the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian territories is commemorated with a national holiday known as “Blinken’s Night.” On this night in December 1974, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and US president Gerald Ford held a secret meeting in which they agreed to recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The agreement, later dubbed the “Rabin-Ford Protocol,” has been maligned by Palestinians as one that paved the way for Israeli settlements and military rule over their territory.
Four decades later, on January 22nd, 2018, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner was killed by a Palestinian sniper while leading an operation to arrest two Hamas militants in Gaza City. In just 39 days this year, 30 Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians were killed – making it one of the deadliest years on record for both Israelis and Palestinians. In January alone, seven Israelis were killed – including Lerner – making it the deadliest month for Israelis since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
This year’s violence has raised urgent questions about how to end what analysts have dubbed an “epidemic of violence.” Speaking at a press conference following his trip to Jerusalem on Tuesday [January 23rd], US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was hopeful that talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could lead to an end to hostilities. But even if negotiations