Should the US choose a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


Fact Box

  • Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted since the fighting started at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday because of the possible eviction of Palestinians homes claimed by Jews. Israel Defense Forces reported “over 200 rockets and mortar shells” fired from Gaza toward Israel with Israel retaliating with 130 airstrikes.
  • The White House “condemned” the attacks while supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, however, the goal is “de-escalation.” 
  • As of May 14, 2021, the Israel-Hamas conflict has resulted in 119 deaths in Gaza and nine in Israel. By Friday, the violence escalated; the Israeli military fired over 600 airstrikes while the Palestinian militants launched about 1,800 rockets. 
  • Hamas is a militaristic Islamic Resistance Movement that operates primarily in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. It was founded in 1987 and calls for the “eradication of the State of Israel.”
  • Tension has run high for over a hundred years between Jewish people and Palestinian Arabs. The center of the debate is in the ownership of the land; for Jews, it is their home of ancestry, but Palestinians claim it under Ottoman ownership.

Andrew (Yes)

As the Biden administration returns America to the world stage as a leader, our nation must be seen as engaged, proactive, and just. We cannot allow unrest in the Middle East. The prospect of another long and unpopular war is unpalatable; it's also not necessary. This is an opportunity for America to show commitment to working with allies to solve this conflict. The European Union and other NATO countries have interests in Middle East peace; now is an excellent opportunity to show that we are committed to working with allies and solving problems. This starts with choosing a side in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Israel uses their historic partnership with the United States as a weapon when it comes to expanding settlements or cracking down on Palestinian aggressors in the surrounding regions. For this reason, the United States must make its position in the conflict clear; not saying anything or making wishy-washy statements like 'Israel has a right to defend itself' are tantamount to a tacit agreement. We should publicly have the debate on the conflict and then act decisively.

The conflict could have far-reaching effects for the United States and its allies if it's allowed to continue. Several wars in the Middle East have shown how unrest creates fertile grounds for groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS to spring up. These groups can then go on to execute terror attacks elsewhere. To paraphrase Lindsey Graham, the only way to combat a glorious death is to offer a peaceful and prosperous life. By choosing a side and acting deliberately, the United States can help to reduce terror worldwide. 

Heather (No)

The US should not choose a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because doing so could escalate this conflict, it is too soon to even be able to choose a side, and the majority of Americans have continued to support remaining neutral. It is essential that the US not choose a side because doing so could escalate this conflict even further instead of keeping the key focal point on de-escalation. As Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed, 'The most important thing that we can do right now is exactly what we're doing, which is engaging across the board, pushing on de-escalation.' It is also too soon in the current situation to even be able to choose a side that would actually advance meaningful diplomatic relations. State Department spokesman Ned Price further explained when he commented, 'What we have recognized is precisely what other governments have recognized. The two sides are not at the present moment in a position to undertake meaningful negotiations to advance a two-state solution.'

Critical issues polls and opinion surveys have continued to find that a large majority of Americans do not want the US to choose a side in this conflict. Therefore, the US must maintain a neutral position in order to respect and uphold the will of We the People in our representative democracy. The goals of the US in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be centered on de-escalation, meaningful diplomatic relations, and respecting the will of We the People than can only be achieved by not choosing sides.

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