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Peace in Palestine must remain a priority

Mar 20,2014 - Last updated at Mar 20,2014

Some feel that the current standoff between the US and Europe, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, over Ukraine and Crimea will divert attention away from peacemaking in Palestine.

While worrying developments at that end certainly pose a distraction, they should not necessarily affect efforts to bring about a viable agreement between the Palestinians and Israel.

Yes, the US administration would be able to devote more time and effort to making peace in Palestine if it had little to worry about elsewhere. Nevertheless, a superpower like the US, with so many vital interests in so many parts of the globe, must be equipped to deal with a host of conflicts concurrently.

We live in a world full of tensions and disputes. And if we have to wait until we solve one to move on to another, we would not achieve anything.

Things often happen, or have to happen, in parallel, not consecutively.

So far, the Obama administration has proved to be more than capable of working on several fronts at once.

If one is to find a common denominator between President Barack Obama and his secretary of state, it is their dynamism and their ability to
multitask.

We have experienced this throughout the turbulent past two years, in particular, when the Obama administration was able to address a number of conflicts in the region and abroad: the Arab Spring in several Arab countries, the Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, etc.

The Iranian nuclear issue is particularly revealing in this context.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spared no effort attempting to divert the US administration’s attention away from peacemaking in Palestine. He wanted America to turn its back to Palestine, thus allowing Israel to do what it wishes in the occupied Palestinian territories, and focus its attention solely on Iran.

He has not succeeded.

The Obama administration proved to be more than capable of dealing with the two matters simultaneously and, so far, ably.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the core problem in the region. Not only has it been going on longer than it should, it has also caused other conflicts to happen.

The Obama administration should continue to pay attention to it, no matter how long it takes to bring about a satisfactory solution and no matter how many conflicts erupt elsewhere in the region or abroad.

The costs of turning its back to it could be immense in a region which continues to be of vital interest to the US, Europe, Russia and China.

The benefits that come as a result of finding a solution to it, on the other hand, are incalculable, especially since solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will solve so many other conflicts in the region and beyond.

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