Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City on Nov. 18, 2012.
As Israelis and Palestinians continue to write yet another violent script for the Middle Eastern version of the movie “Groundhog Day,” it is becoming quite clear that only a trusted outside negotiator can help bring a peaceful and political solution to the Middle East conflict which has dominated global foreign policy for the last few decades.
Since both sides continue to blame each other for the most recent violence engulfing the Holy Land, their ongoing pathology could ultimately result in a further destabilized Middle East. Time and time again, both Israel and Palestine have proven themselves wholly incapable of finding a peaceful political resolution to the Middle East conflict on their own.
Now that he has successfully won a second presidential term, President Obama now has the political capital to solidify a long-term foreign policy legacy by taking the lead in helping to bring both sides together to forge a lasting Middle East peace process.
President Obama should begin this process by appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the Middle East and serve as chief negotiator to help end the fighting currently being waged in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
There are several reasons that Clinton would be a brilliant strategic choice as Mideast envoy and Obama’s chief negotiator. First of all, during his own presidential tenure, President Bill Clinton had personal experience in Israeli/Palestinian politics from his experience during the 1993 Oslo Accords and 2000 Camp David Summit. Even though neither of those meetings resulted in a final political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question, it would be hard to argue that any other American alive has more political experience dealing with both the Israelis and Palestinians than former President Bill Clinton.
Also from an American political vantage point, I also believe that selecting Clinton as a Middle East peace envoy would be endorsed by many Republicans as well, which was evidenced by recent statements made by former Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain.
During a recent interview with CBS News on the violence in Israel and Gaza, the senator also suggested this same idea by saying that, “I would find someone even as high-ranking, frankly, as former President Bill Clinton to go and be the negotiator [between the Israelis and Palestinians]…I think that it’s very important that we recognize that the United States of America has got to push as hard as we can to resolve this Israeli-Palestinian issue. And so many events hinge on making that process go forward,” continued Senator McCain during that same interview.
While both Israel and Palestine continue to point fingers at each other for starting this latest round of tragic violence, let us instead focus on the innocent civilian lives on both sides that are being lost because of their governments collective inability to shed their dinosaur pathologies to ensure a lasting peaceful tomorrow for future generations of young Israelis and Palestinians.
Mr. President, now that you have won a second presidential term and have no more elections to worry about, you now possess the political capital to make a bold move to ensure a foreign policy legacy by being the American president who actually helped bring peace to the Holy Land.
As Americans, we should tell President Obama to begin that process by picking up the phone and asking Bill Clinton to be his Middle East peace envoy and chief negotiator to help end the fighting which has plagued the Holy Land for far too long.
Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era
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