Why US sees Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a security threat
A growing roster of US officials is arguing that a failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fuels Islamic extremism, thus creating a security threat for the US.
As the United States and Israel navigate one of their most serious contretemps in years, a growing roster of American officials is making the argument that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict poses a national-security threat to the US.Skip to next paragraph
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Prominent figures – ranging from Gen. David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, to presidential adviser David Axelrod – have recently espoused the theory that a failure to resolve the decades-old crisis fuels Islamic extremism and Iranian designs in the region. Moreover, the thinking goes, the US appears weak and open to disregard when an ally such as Israel openly challenges American diplomatic efforts. America has been widely viewed in the region as the sole power able to force the two sides in the conflict to take actions toward peace.
Attempts to get past the US-Israeli dust-up continued Friday: In Moscow, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had come through with a “useful and productive” response to the challenge she made to Israel last week to demonstrate its commitment to the peace process.
Secretary Clinton was in Moscow for a meeting of the Quartet of powers promoting Middle East peace (the US, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations). They demanded in a statement that Israel cease all settlement activity in East Jerusalem. But indirect talks between the sides could begin soon, said Quartet leaders, including the group’s envoy, Tony Blair.
The national-security argument, linking US interests to peace, is one reason that the Obama administration reacted so strongly to Israel’s announcement of new Jewish settlements in Arab East Jerusalem. The announcement came during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last week.