As an international relations major, it is expected of me to be informed of political happenings all around the world, not just within my country. It is also expected of me to have extensive knowledge of everything and anything relating to the influence of the United States (U.S.) on other countries and their political climates. However, for me, it's not about reaching that expectation— it's about raising awareness and raising questions.
This story begins with my own connections to the Palestinian people. A lot of my friends in high school were of middle eastern descent or were immigrants from that region of the world, and I was baffled and disheartened by the things they would tell me about the situation in Palestine. Moreover, it made all the more sense when I would see the confirmation of these horrific events on the TV and when I would read headline after headline stating that Palestine is in trouble and it needs major help and funding, but nothing is done to improve the situation.
Furthermore, my years of extensive research into the Israel versus Palestine conflict have also solidified my views about the situation, including my analysis of the impact of HAMAS control in the Gaza Strip, the Illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the U.S. role in the perpetuation of the conflict. The never-ending conflict that has been the region of the Levant in the near east has been in full force since the day Israel was recognized as a state in May of 1948.
Since 1948, the conflict has boasted many catastrophic wars. One of the more notable wars was when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan entered a war with Israel in 1967 after Israel preemptively attacked Egypt's airforce. Soon, the rest of the bordering states joined in and invaded Israel. The newly formed state was able to fight off the invading nations and claim more land for themselves beyond their original set borders, which became known as the six-day war. However, this war was different because it added a more serious layer to the conflict–– noting that Egypt was an occupier, for claiming the lands they "won" in the war. This meant that not only did Israel expand its borders to include the rest of Palestine, but also the entire coastline of the Levant and the Sinai Peninsula, where the Suez Canal was located.
Moreover, countless United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions have been prepared and issued over the years following the recognition of Israel, the wars, and the indefinite conflict, condemning the current problem of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a disputed area that is known as Palestine. Today, Palestine is still not a recognized nation, and Israel refuses to acknowledge that their illegal settlements are in violation of international law. One particular UNSC document is most notably known as the official warning of the UNSC.
In 2016, the United Nations adopted a resolution that condemns the illegal Israeli settlements because it is in violation of international humanitarian law. The resolution was adopted with 14 votes and one abstention from the U.S., which also explicitly names Israel an occupying power. Now, documents like that are what put the U.S. into a tight situation between their need to have a positive influence in the near east and their relationship with Israel.
As you may know, the U.S. is a staunch supporter of Israel, since its recognition in 1948 and has supplied the nation with billions of dollars of foreign aid and missile defense funding. This dangerous partnership has caused many nations to react negatively to U.S. influence in the area. However, it is not all Israeli-focused.
The U.S. has also supplied the Palestinians with over $5 billion in aid since the 1950s. This comes from the U.S.'s support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Residents in the Near East (UNRWA). Moreover, this aid is aimed at supporting the peace process between the territories, however, in recent news, which inspired this article, that has seemed to have gone away.
In the years since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the relations between the U.S. and the Palestinians seem to have taken a disheartening and angering turn. It all began when President Trump declared Jerusalem, which is international territory, as Israel's capital in 2017. This was met with great backlash and was the kick-off to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Palestine. Next, that same year, Trump rescinded over $200 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, which further exacerbated the dire situation that Palestine was. Lastly, the straw that might break the camel's back is the newly proposed plan for a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel. If you click the link in the previous sentence, you'll stumble upon the proposed map, which pretty much gives Israel all of the lands they have illegally settled in and displaces the Palestinians, yet again forcibly.
Personally, I believe that that is not how you improve your diplomacy points, but who am I but a mere college student to judge the degree of which what counts as valid diplomacy or not. I mean, my many years of extensive research on the topic and constant scouting of sources of updates and countless UNSC documents I have read that describe the dire cries for help by the Palestinians from the U.S. may provide me with the tools to better equip myself in a debate on the topic, but who am I without the title?
According to the 2016 election, even an apolitical con-man can win the presidency, which underlines my growing resistance to the beliefs and stances of the U.S. Moreover, it grounds me in an outcry against the very people who have the power to jeopardize my life at any point because I feel powerless. That is how the Palestinians must feel when it comes to the Israeli occupation of the very lands that they didn't even have a fighting chance to claim due to the previous occupation.
Thus I write this with a heavy heart for the Palestinians and I wish I could do more, but for now, I shall report and educate those on the situation.