The Daily Gamecock

Obama takes bold step toward two-state solution

For first time in history, president openly advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace

At the Jerusalem Convention Center last Thursday, President Barack Obama urged Israelis to empathize with the Palestinians, saying that “there should be two states for two people.” Given our country’s history with Israel, it was an unexpected and bold statement. Normally, actions speak louder than words, but a presidential mention of the right-to-land tension between Israel and Palestine has normally never drifted far from paternal votes of confidence for our ally Israel. Obama continued to say that the young Palestinians he had briefly talked with were not unlike his own daughters, nor the Israeli’s sons or daughters either, trying to make the discord relatable to everyone. There’s no doubt about it: Obama took a solid first step in attempting to achieve real peace between Israel and Palestine, a feud most have probably waived as impossible to resolve.

Talk is cheap, though, and perhaps less so when you’re the president of the United States of America. Nonetheless, continued action regarding the settlement of this dispute ought to be expected with careful optimism. However, the actions do speak loudly, especially to an Israel that, in recent years, has found some of its right-winged politicians advocating that they do not support a two-state adoption which would result in a sharing of the holy grounds. Such aggression wasn’t always found in Israel’s politics. Over most of the past two decades, most politicians agreed that a two-state solution was reasonable and achievable, which makes the recent transgressions of its conservative politicians both concerning and out of touch.

What must be acknowledged is that Obama actually vetoed two-state solutions regarding Israel and Palestine in the U.N. during his first term as president, though that may have been “politics as usual” and simple foundation-laying for his re-election. But now, he has a chance to actually get some work done, for better or worse. Obama acknowledged that not everyone in his audience would likely agree with his sentiments, though he did express hope and promise that peace could be found in the two countries’ discourse. In his speech, he said that “Peace is necessary — I believe that. I believe that peace is the only path to true security. You have the opportunity to be the generation that permanently secures the Zionist dream, or you can face a growing challenge to its future.” Whether these ideals can come to fruition is left to be discovered.

Many people feel as though America ought to stay away from being the patron saint of foreign affairs until we get our own affairs in order, and I tend to agree. But when you have one of the most powerful voices in the world, as Obama does, it’s tough not to help where you can.