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Can Israelis and Palestinians Find Peace?

In the past week, Israeli-Palestinian violence reached a new peak, with Hamas launching rockets indiscriminately into Israel and the Israeli military responding with intense defensive airstrikes in Gaza. What would it take for a ceasefire and ultimately a peace-deal between the two countries? Yaffa Fredrick, managing editor at World Policy Journal, appeared on Al Jazeera America on July 12, 2014 to discuss the crisis engulfing a region all too familiar with conflict.

Though Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire in 2012, the two parties failed to negotiate a more permanent settlement. While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has overseen the creation of a unity government with Fatah and Hamas, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains steadfast in his decision not to negotiate with a government that includes Hamas representation. Thus, because peace negotiations never gained momentum, Fredrick argues that the 2012 ceasefire inevitably was going to be broken.

The continuing violence reveals how seemingly irreconcilable the goals between Israel’s government and Hamas are. In dealing with these opposing goals, Fredrick argues outside political actors become indispensable. Though not a neutral actor, the United States has historically been a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also has the political and financial clout to usher in change.

Can the current leaders broker peace, or does the conflict require a change in leadership? The fact that Netanyahu refuses to sit down with the current Palestinian leadership, as well as Abbas’s failure to curb Hamas violent resistance, suggests that a change of leadership may, in fact, be necessary. As events unfold in the coming weeks, the world eagerly awaits for and end to the violence.

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