As the Arab Spring continues to usher in a new reality in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict is beginning to see effects from the turmoil. Speaking on NPR’s On Point, Michele Dunne commented that “there is a mood in the Arab world of people rejecting things that were long unacceptable to them, whether it is authoritarian regimes, human rights abuses of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. I don’t think this mood is going to leave Palestinians behind.”
The Palestinians are beginning to rely on new strategies, some planned and some spontaneous, to change the equation, Dunne explained. The recent reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, as well as that attempt by Palestinian refugees from surrounding Arab countries to cross the border into Israel and the West Bank, are examples of such initiatives. With the Palestinian leadership intending to bring their case for statehood to the UN general assembly vote in September, the United States is now in a difficult and contradictory position, Dunne said. As it continues to express support for democracy and self-determination in the Arab world, it must also consider its relationship with Israel. In the coming months, Dunne concluded, the United States will have to determine how to reengage in the peace process, or it will face a very difficult and uncomfortable challenge at the UN in September.