This past summer I spent 18 days traveling throughout Israel, during which I spent five days in Jerusalem, the city that many would call the heart of Middle Eastern conflict. Upon my return to the U.S. the 2012 Olympics kicked off and the 2012 Presidential campaign was in full swing. I was amazed to find out that there is debate within the U.S. and international community about recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This conflict is shown in the fact that the seat of the Israeli government is in Jerusalem while most international embassies are located in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.
I am extremely interested in exploring the consequences of U.S. action in which embassies are moved from Tel Aviv to the capital city. In accordance with this I am interested in the possibility of a two state solution. To explore this I am looking at case studies of South Africa under apartheid, post WWII Germany, and the current NATO reconstruction of Afghanistan. Throughout my initial research and discussions I have determined that there is no rational option other than a two state solution. Moderates on both side of the issue agree with this and the idea that radicals on either side should not be rewarded for crimes committed. In discussions with citizens of South Africa, Syria, Israel and Palestine the main deterrent to peace are the religious claims that are held and the fear that these claims will be ignored upon resolution of conflict and border disputes. The question that arises is how will Jerusalem be handled in this post conflict region.
The mixed political and religious nature of this conflict make it incredibly complex and in some cases possibly offensive when certain compromises or topics arise. I am truly excited to begin this research in full swing and use the international contacts I have to present a policy solution that can, in good-faith, attempt to heal wounds and usher in a more progressive thought process towards the Israeli conflict and its possible solutions.
2013-2014 Presidential Fellows
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