Gaza in Crisis: Obama's Foreign Policy in the Aftermath of Renewed Conflict

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This ongoing dispute clearly concerns the United States, the long-term third party in peace negotiations, and a close ally of Israel. However, now more than ever European and Middle Eastern states are invested in the resolution of this conflict. The stability of Israel and the humanitarian status of the Palestinians depend upon the resolution of this conflict. So, what should President Barack Obama hope to accomplish in the coming months, in light of the overwhelming array of issues already on his agenda? And what should the rest of the world expect from U.S. foreign policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Mr. Obama’s administration? Political maneuvering is already underway and the recent elections in Israel have shifted the power structure of Israeli politics significantly to the right with Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud Party, elected as Prime Minister and sworn in at the end of March 2009. Furthermore, Egyptian negotiators are attempting to bridge the deep divide between Fatah and Hamas in order to strengthen the unity of Palestinian politics, but the outcome of this endeavor remains to be seen. As the global economic crisis continues to worsen, the attention of the world shifted from the Israeli- Palestinian conflict to the G-20 Summit and NATO meetings. Therefore, it is the role of world leaders, particularly the United States, to maintain focus on rebuilding Gaza and acting as intermediaries in any Israeli and Palestinian negotiations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must ensure the State Department keeps its finger firmly on the pulse of political and social activities in the region in order to prevent renewed fighting. The United States and Europe should have anticipated more aware of this impending crisis and in the aftermath of the conflict, neither can afford to watch from the sidelines. Dialogue and diplomacy are the way out of this mess, and it is in the interests of both Europe and the U.S. to engage both sides in this dispute if further violence is to be prevented. If Mr. Obama wants to have peace in the Middle East in our time, he will have to persuade all of the actors to sit around a table and to talk about the conflict. The Bush administration’s strategy of strengthening Fatah and isolating Hamas has not worked. Secret negotiations are just as ineffectual as the exclusion of certain actors. Only a common platform for dialogue will enable the U.S. and the European Union to fulfill their peacemaking mission.

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Vol. 2, Iss. 2 (Spring 2009)



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Eversman, Sarah. "Gaza in Crisis Obama's Foreign Policy in the Aftermath of Renewed Conflict." Cornell International Affairs Review Vol. 2, Iss. 2 (Spring 2009).

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