The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Presidential Election
America has lost sight of the big picture. The war on terror is not going to be won through military endeavors or through appeals for international cooperation. Sure, those are both essential parts of combating terrorism, and Americans strive to achieve in both categories. However, this is not a war to simply meet indiscriminate aggression against aggression. This is neither a World War nor a Cold War. Only about one-third of the battle against terrorism is fought through military means, and that’s the easy part. The remaining 66 percent – the bulk of the big picture – deals with convincing those hostile to American intentions that flying planes into buildings, strapping bombs to chests and planting mines near roadsides is a waste of time, energy, and valuable lives.
What can America do to offer people of the Middle East alternatives to terrorism while simultaneously standing unequivocally opposed to terrorism and its tactics? Whatever policy it chooses to pursue, one thing is certain: the starting point is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is from America’s stance in this situation that all hostilities towards the United States stem. Here’s the thing: Arab nations strongly sympathize with the Palestinian cause. For most of them, it is their number one foreign policy issue, even though it really has nothing to do with the interests of the individual states. Many Arabs feel that it is their duty to do everything in their power to oppose the aggressor, Israel, and its main supporter, the United States. If you combine this with a largely uneducated and population without jobs that’s frequently manipulated by radical clerics, you have a recipe for adamant opposition to the United States via terrorist tactics.
Important in all of this is the media’s role in portraying the Israeli situation to the American public. While more international and comprehensive news sources, such as the New York Times, tend to be more informative on the issue, there is a large variety of media sources that try to bring the issue of Israel and the Palestinians to the forefront. However, what is lacking is coverage of how American policy factors into the pending presidential election. Who stands for what, and how does it affect the vote? These questions appear to be largely unanswered by standard news sources.
Over the past several weeks, the situation in Israel and the occupied territories has become increasingly intense, and the American media has responded in an active fashion. On Paula Zahn’s hour-long news analysis show on CNN, Paula Zahn Now, ten minutes were dedicated to an analysis from experts on the impact of the recent killing of the new Hamas leader, Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi. They spoke in depth about the impacts of such Israeli military actions on the morale of the Palestinian people; however, no mention was made as to the...