U.S. diplomatic leadership needed to restore security and protect rights in Middle East conflict
The devastating human costs of the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel continue to mount. The Center for American Progress calls on the Biden administration to take a more proactive and engaged approach that prioritizes protecting human rights and the safety and lives of the most vulnerable, especially children.
In the first week of this latest episode of violence, dozens of children and women were killed. The conflict has damaged and undermined press freedom. The violence must stop now. The United States has a special role to play in consistently upholding international human rights standards, especially in the most difficult and complicated situations, such as the ongoing conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas.
The United States should launch a diplomatic campaign led by senior American officials aimed at achieving an immediate ceasefire in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Urgent, short-term action should aim to end the violence and prioritize human security, with the top priority being to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of the most vulnerable civilians threatened in the conflict.
As it strives to achieve a ceasefire, the Biden administration should combine these immediate efforts with a longer-term vision that strengthens the Palestinian and Israeli leaders who seek to address the vulnerabilities and inequalities exposed. once again through the latest crisis and to build a more sustainable future. for both peoples. The long-term goal should be to advance a new kind of diplomacy and politics where the Palestinian and Israeli leaders are more responsive to their people. The vision should focus on ensuring two democratic, secure and sustainable states that safeguard the fundamental freedoms of those who live there.
US leadership on this front is essential – this country has unique relationships in the region that could create the conditions for progress. In the immediate term, the United States should act on the following two fronts.
- Security and immediate conflict resolution. The United States should continue to provide appropriate support consistent with United States law to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to strengthen the capacity of legitimate government authorities to protect all peoples, especially those most vulnerable exposed to the current conflict. No lasting resolution is possible as long as people feel threatened by violence. The United States has a role to play in making the parties feel safe and encouraging actions that support functioning democracies that will best serve Israelis and Palestinians. He should continue to urge the Israeli authorities to respond to the horrific inter-communal violence in Israel by seeking to apply the rule of law equally to all citizens of Israel. The United States must also continue to support the Palestinian Authority’s longstanding efforts to maintain security in a manner that respects the basic rights of its people.
- Diplomacy to achieve an immediate ceasefire and open avenues for emergency humanitarian aid. Security support measures are the essential ingredient of diplomacy working towards an immediate ceasefire. But these efforts require a diplomatic wave on the ground working in close coordination with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other international actors. President Joe Biden’s appeals to leaders represent important initial steps. But the United States must start a diplomatic wave by working through, with and through Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, all countries that have their own networks of relations with Israel, l ‘Palestinian Authority and Hamas to achieve a ceasefire. President Biden and the Senate are expected to expedite the appointment and confirmation of a US ambassador to Israel. Active diplomatic engagement and security coordination with all these actors can act as a buffer against backward elements, including Iran, Hezbollah and terrorist networks that actively seek to inflame the situation and exploit the insecurity of Palestinians and Israelis. ordinary.
These two immediate steps should serve as a starting point for a more engaged long-term approach that tackles the conditions that have created the current environment of overwhelming fragility and volatility. A steady and reliable strategic re-engagement of the United States on the Arab-Israeli front should result in diplomacy supported by a regional political and security approach that supports freedom and equality in a two-state conflict resolution.
As the current security crisis is resolved, the United States should invest in a more proactive and constructive approach aimed at achieving three key results:
- A more inclusive Palestinian government that listens to its people. The Biden administration should continue the initial steps it took in its first 100 days to rebuild relations with the Palestinian people and their leadership by reestablishing direct diplomatic contacts after years of isolation and relaunching humanitarian assistance economic and essential for the Palestinian people. In addition to these measures, the United States should seek ways to reopen an independent U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to serve as a primary point of contact for working with a wider range of Palestinians. One of the main vulnerabilities exposed by the current crisis is the weakness of the Palestinian institutions created decades ago to work for the Palestinian people. Extremist groups using violence have exploited political stalemate and dysfunction. It is essential that the United States engage more actively with the Palestinians and with key regional partners who have relationships with a wider range of political actors. A new American diplomatic approach should aim to help an emerging generation in search of a forward-looking political environment.
- Improved living conditions for Palestinians, in part thanks to an international economic stimulus package to meet humanitarian needs, tackle economic inequalities and the lingering effects of the pandemic. The Biden administration has restarted aid and announced more aid to the Palestinians, but much more is needed as part of a new diplomatic effort to create the conditions necessary for success to achieve a two-state solution. These steps are among the tools needed to reconnect the United States with the ability to help the Palestinian people achieve the security, freedoms, and increased economic opportunities they deserve. They will also better position the Palestinians and their leaders to determine with their Israeli counterparts the best course of action for all those living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
- A broader regional stabilization effort, motivated by a comprehensive regional diplomatic effort and supported by continued security support. Biden administration should expand or build on Quartet and Arab Quartet entities to create an inclusive multilateral group of countries working together to create more openings on the Arab-Israeli front while taking steps to defuse tensions with Iran and end the conflicts. The Biden administration should build on recent normalization agreements between Israel and several Arab countries to strengthen security and economic support for Palestinians and Israelis. This regional diplomacy should include Palestinians and seek to improve the lives of Palestinians and Israelis in tangible ways, with particular emphasis on the Palestinians, who are far behind their neighbors on most measures. Improving the quality of life and security for both Palestinians and Israelis is necessary to lay the foundations for lasting and legitimate peace; responds to the national aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians; and guarantees the rights of all. It should also seek to use regional diplomacy to address common concerns about the security and sanctity of holy sites in the holy city of Jerusalem.