As a consequence of the hostilities in and around the Gaza strip this summer, the debate on the United States’ involvement in the peace process (and to some extent its global role in general) have resurfaced. Criticism of US mediation ranges from accusations of bias in Washington to suggestions that US brokering is preventing direct talks between the two parties. There is a growing trend among not just media commentators and the general public that the US should “mind its own business” or take a back seat vis-a-vis the peace process, but also among international relations enthusiasts and indeed within this category my own colleagues and friends. They are wrong. American involvement in the peace process is essential if the conflict is to be resolved.
There are of course those who will retort such a suggestion, those who will highlight the fact that the US has been an active contributor in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for decades, without having actually achieving peace. The creation of the first ‘Framework for Peace in the Middle East’ during the 1978 Camp David Accords under President Carter, and President Clinton’s co-ordination at the White House of the conclusion to the Oslo accords facilitated by Norway in 1993, failed to provide a lasting peace. It is an inconvenient truth that the United States has failed to deliver a permanent solution to the conflict, but the fact is that the US is the only global player with the ability to deliver a two-state solution.