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It is time for the U.S. to impose a solution to the Middle East crisis!


As the conflict in the Middle East involving Israel and Palestinians unfolds, the world is witnessing a story of barbarism, cruelty, and untold sufferings of innocent people who are caught in the web of political maneuvering and calamitous aftermath. There is little doubt that this massive incursion and massacre of hundreds of civilians have shocked the world, especially considering the capabilities of the Israeli Defense Forces and their world-renowned efficiency of the Intelligence services known as Mossad. It would be challenging to convince skeptics that Mossad and the CIA missed these extensive preparations by Hamas prior to launching the attack, which has killed over 700 Israelis and shattered their invincibility in dealing with these radical extremist groups.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, was in the midst of a political storm in Israel due to the changes he wanted to incorporate into the Judicial process. The Judiciary has proven to be a problem for him as he faced corruption and fraud charges. Israel has been mired in months of protests and uncertainty because of Netanyahu's penchant for overhauling the judicial system in an apparent effort to circumvent his own legal problems. Although the Knesset has passed the bill despite the widespread opposition and protests, Netanyahu's coalition government faced an uncertain future. The opponents claim that the ultimate objective of this judicial reform is to put the power in the hands of elected officials rather than unelected judges, which may transform Israel from a democratic state into a
religious autocracy.

Whether this is a significant intelligence failure or not, soon, the world will be dealing with another mushrooming crisis as Israel will do its utmost to crush Hamas and turn the Gaza Strip into a wasteland. This strategy of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' by both sides of the conflict has seen no end in sight as major powers, including the United States, are reserved in their judgment of the warring parties in this ongoing conflict probably from the inception of State of Israel. However, to all of the Western nations and much of the world, the very existence of Israel is a foregone conclusion. What remains to be seen is the fate of the Palestinians who lived in these occupied territories after the 1967 war and whether they, too, have a future to live with dignity and in peace.

That is the point where major powers, including the United States, have failed to find a solution. The United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 were passed respectively in the aftermaths of the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. Resolution 242 (reaffirmed in 338) was designed to provide the framework for peace negotiations based on a "land for peace" formula for subsequent negotiations and peace treaties in the region. The resolutions called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories and a recognition of State of Israel and right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

However, the resolutions languished in the web of political underplays and misinterpretations until today. Israel took the resolution to assert their historical rights to Judea and Samaria and to fulfill the dreams of a greater Israel. For the hardline Palestinian advocates, wiping out Israel from the map and claiming the whole territory for the Palestinians remained an unrealistic obsession. The moderates among these warring parties often found themselves in the unenviable corner, questioned for their nationalist credentials or patriotic fervors. The world seemed to have paid attention only when a conflagration took place, and even then, their noted concern was overwhelmingly of the impact on the world economy, especially regarding the oil prices, rather than ending a humanitarian crisis in place for the last several decades.

However, the United States's role until now is a glaring example of a major failure in international diplomacy. The United States remains the sole superpower with an unmatched economic and military might. Moreover, the United States has remained a close ally of Israel ever since its founding. Israel depends on the United States for its Financial and Military support, sharing advanced technologies and Intelligence. Therefore, it is academic to conclude that the U.S. possesses enough leverage to bring about a settlement between Israel and Palestinians.

But the truth is much farther from the reality in Washington. The odd factor in this quest for Middle Peace is the powerful Neocons in Washington, along with a captured media. When it comes to Israel,any politician expressing a different opinion is in danger of being booted out of office or termed as anti-Semitic at the minimum. Scores of politicians and others have paid a high price for stating that Palestinians, too, have a right to live in peace.
Although President Jimmy Carter championed the Egypt-Israeli accord and brought peace between those nations, he is vilified today as an antisemite and enemy of Israel. If anyone knows the political dynamics in the Middle East, it is Carter. Once he told the truth about the inflexibility of Israel in achieving peace, he was driven out of the public forum. Recently, Vivek Swamy, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Presidency, spoke about ending aid to Israel that was the death knell for his candidacy as he suddenly fell from grace as a smart, intelligent, self-made businessman to a lying, fraudulent, and plotting conman.

The Neocons in Washington were also said to be the architects of two other major wars in the Middle East. Based on the bogus claims of 'weapons of mass destruction', they encouraged a naïve George W. Bush to invade Iraq, thereby dismembering the country and destabilizing the entire Middle East, paving the way for Iran to be a major player in the region. The war further created ISIS, a radical Sunni terrorist group that killed scores of Christians and Yezidis, erased Christian heritage from Nineveh plains, and brought about indiscriminate slaughter of innocents and untold miseries to millions and exodus of refugees creating chaos in Europe.

They didn't stop there but set their eyes on Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al-Qaida, was said to have received the tone of 500 million dollars from the United States to oust Assad and to replace it with an Islamic fundamentalist regime which would have brought harm to the 2 million Christians who were living peacefully under the Assad regime. What was the charge against Assad? He is an evil dictator. Why, then, only Assad was targeted, and there are numerous dictators worldwide? Obviously, both wars cost billions of tax dollars and precious American lives, and one should wonder for
whose benefit those conflicts were waged! The United States remains the only power that can truly bring about peace and tranquility to this Middle East quagmire. It will take courage, determination, and a leader's fairmindedness to accomplish that task. It is time to recollect how a past President resolved a crisis involving Israel and Egypt. President Dwight Eisenhower wrote to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on November 7, 1956, and asked him to withdraw Israeli forces from the Suez Canal. 

The letter said, "Statements attributed to your government to the effect that Israel does not intend to withdraw from Egyptian territory, as requested by the United Nations, have been called to my attention. I need to assure you of the deep interest which the United
States has in your country, nor recall the various elements of our policy of support to Israel in so many ways. It is in this context that I urge you to comply with the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with the current crisis and to make your decision known immediately. It would be a matter of the greatest regret to all my countrymen if Israel's policy on matter of such grave concern to the world should in any way impair the friendly cooperation between our two countries".

It is high time for the United States to intervene forcefully and guarantee the security of the state of Israel while assuring self-determination and sovereignty to the people of Palestine where they could live in peace and with dignity. It is also time for American politicians to stop shuddering before vested interests and stand up for what is morally right and conducive to lasting peace in the Middle East.Whether the U.S. will ever have another courageous leader like Dwight Eisenhower to do the right thing would be the most challenging question of the day.

(The writer is a former Chief Technology Officer of the United Nations and Vice-Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, USA)