In an article for the Jewish Telegraph Agency, Ken Bob, chairman of ALLMEP member Project, along with Brad Rothschild, writes of the possibility of trust and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians built up through different local initiatives and projects as well as specific decisions by the U.S. government.
The recent outbreak of violence in the region illustrates the power wielded by the U.S. government over the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians and demonstrates that the Trump Administration is unable or unwilling to be an “honest broker” between the peoples. However, past moves by the U.S. government as well as local projects in the region illustrate just how much good can from American-backed cooperation initiatives.
Just last year, President Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt brokered a deal in the region as Israel began selling water at a discounted rate to the Palestinian Authority. The deal is an example of the positive power and influence that President Trump can have in the region.
Furthermore, ALLMEP member Arava Institute’s Track II Environmental Forum acts as another positive initiative of American-supported Israeli-Palestinian cooperation. The forum has developed proposals to solve small-scale infrastructure problems working alongside local communities, the government, and even international donors in an example of cooperation across cultural barriers.
Like the Forum, Project Rozana focuses on people to people work to strengthen civil society. The project focuses on health care, a field that is marked by a high amount of interaction between Israelis and Palestinians each year as Palestinians train in Israeli facilities and Israelis work to provide Palestinian children with high-quality health care. Such a program exemplifies the power that lies in grassroots movements aimed at building a positive relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.
Bob and Rothschild not only call for further local projects such as the Forum and Project Rozana, they also write of the importance of international intervention. The U.S. can rebuild some of the trust lost in their embassy move by reinstating funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency to support regional access to education, food supply, health care, and much more. Furthermore, international influence can aid proposals to increase Gazan imports and exports to bolster the local economy and create jobs.
In their article for the Jewish Telegraph Agency, Bob and Rothschild state:
Deescalating violence in the current climate will require a level of leadership that neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem to have at the moment. To bridge this leadership gap the parties will need a U.S. administration that resumes its traditional role as an honest broker. It is time for behind-the-scenes deal making to create concrete efforts at public reconciliation. It has yet to be seen if the Trump administration is up to the task.
Photo Credit: Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
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