U.S. needs to continue to push for peace in Gaza

earth-newThe only solution to the latest flareup in Gaza is a cease-fire that the United States will have to somehow, some way, sell Israel on.

Getting a camel through the eye of a needle will be easier than that sales pitch, with polls showing Israeli citizens overwhelmingly backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. How overwhelmingly? Try 87 percent supporting the Gaza operation in one poll, with a second poll showing 95 percent thinking the action in Gaza is just.

American news outlets have been about as pro-Israel jingoistic as the Israelis themselves, parroting criticisms in the Israeli media on the ongoing efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry to push a cease-fire and running countless pieces raising the anti-Semitism issue with U.S. and international critics of the Gaza operation.

The body count in Gaza is an indication that the war isn’t going well for either Israel or Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza. And it’s not going to end well, either, for Hamas, whose efforts at forcing Israel’s hand are backfiring yet again; for Israel, whose dogged insistence that the U.S. keep its nose out of its business puts at risk its relationship with its most important ally; and for the U.S., which if it can be rightly said that there is something more important than peace in the Middle East, yeah, there’s Russia and Vladimir Putin itching to reignite the Cold War.

Now is the time for Washington to channel its inner Arthur Vandenberg and speak with a unified voice on foreign policy. No more politics past the water’s edge; no more exploiting national security for partisan advantage.

Priority number one is simmering down the tensions in Gaza, so that we can then focus fully on an emerging existential threat in the form of the Russian bear.

Getting Washington to agree on anything might be a harder sell than selling cease-fire to a unified Israel, of course.

– Column by Chris Graham

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