middle east

Andrew C. Grossman on Middle Eastern Politics: Finding Common Ground

April 4, 2019

The conflict between Israel and Palestine, in their current forms, has existed for more than 70 years. In truth, tensions between religious groups like Christians, Jews, and Muslims have divided the area since ancient times. As early as the 7th century CE, Jews and Muslims vied for control of the area. Achieving peace in the Middle East may seem insurmountable. Andrew C. Grossman, the CEO of Ambient Consulting, examines this problem in detail and offers possible solutions for both groups.

Geopolitical Conflicts

The area today comprised by Israel and the West Bank was held by the British as recently as 1948. The United Nations supported the formation of Israel as a state, complemented by a proposed Palestinian state. Israel took over most of the British Mandate territory in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. Gaza and the West Bank remained under the control of Arab nations.

Both sides claim Jerusalem as their cultural capital. Religious sites that are important to Jews, Muslims, and Christians reside in the historic city. Culturally and politically, these religions have often been in conflict. Each faction wants to have control of their own homeland, but political and military realities in the area mean that peace is a faraway hope.

The need for both Arabs and Israelis to have their own homelands remains today. Armed conflicts persist between both factions, and diplomatic solutions have not yet been successful.

Proposed Solutions

Much of the difficulty regarding the apportionment of lands to the Israeli and Palestinian states lies in placing the borders. Israel would prefer that Jerusalem is included fully within its own territory. The Palestinian leadership is in favor of dividing the territories based on the 1967 borders, which the Israelis do not accept.

The one-state solution proposes that Israel unite with the Palestinian territories to combine Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip into one country. This nation would be secular, with no reference to religion or ethnicity in its governing laws. This solution is popular among academics, but there is less support in the present-day governments of Israel and the Arab territories.

The two-state solution is the system that has gained the most traction among governments. The system was created by a popularly supported UN resolution in 1974. In this system, both Israel and the Arab territories would control their own lands and set up governments that are fair to their people as well as peacefully inclined toward the other side. This solution enjoys the most support among local residents. Negotiators from the Palestinian territories heavily favor this solution, but the United States and Israeli governments have been less willing to back the idea.

The three-state solution promotes the involvement of Jordan and Egypt, with Jordan taking control of the West Bank and Egypt regaining control over the Gaza strip. This plan is gaining traction as other options fall by the wayside, but the Jordanian government is not in favor of granting citizenship to residents of the West Bank.

Creating Private Forums

It is important to bring people from both sides together to explore the possibilities of a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Creating private forums will give each side a safe place to share ideas. With the amount of mistrust that has gone on between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, it is crucial to make sure that each side is treated with respect and consideration for the needs of their people. Allowing freedom of expression will go a long way toward creating a peaceful solution for the Israeli and Palestinian people alike.

Andrew C. Grossman believes that peace in the Middle East is possible, but that it will require meaningful compromise by both sides. The continuing safety and security of the Israeli and Palestinian people require that governments and private sectors work thoughtfully with the other side. While positions are entrenched, peace seems a long way off. Grossman reminds supporters of both sides that peace is the ultimate goal of relations in the Middle East.

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