U.S. must balance

With the final peace talks between Palestine and Israel scheduled to begin by the end of this month, preparations for the implementation of the treaty are already starting in the United States.
The United States has pledged to be a mediator in the conflict, with the CIA acting as a monitor of the agreement. However, a large question looms over the role of the United States in the peace process. Aside from the involvement of the CIA, how will economic and military be distributed among the conflicting parties?
The United States must remove inequities from aid policies between Israel and Palestine.
The U.S. government already provides Israel with substantial aid — more than $15 billion in the last five years. The Palestinians, who were promised $4.2 billion under the 1993 Oslo agreement, have only received $2.5 billion of that aid. The United States also contributes a mere $75 million annually to the Palestinian Authority.
In keeping with the role of mediator, the U.S. government should analyze its position toward these two parties. If the United States intends to maintain impartiality when judging compliance with the treaty, then it should also maintain balanced and impartial economic policies toward Palestine and Israel.
The United States runs the risk of alienating Israel if it were to treat the Palestinians as a sovereign state in its aid policies. Palestine is not a sovereign state, and its foreign aid packages are overseen by the 60-member Agency for International Development office in Tel Aviv. Israelis view the Palestinians as a an ethnic group within Israel’s borders and are, therefore, not entitled to the same treatment from the United States.
Although the United States risks this diplomatic confrontation with Israel by inferring Palestinian sovereignty, the U.S. government must retain a level of impartiality, and this can only be accomplished by treating Palestinians as equals to Israelis.
With Bob Livingston, who has questioned aid for Israel in the past, becoming the new speaker of the House, the executive branch will face more pressure from Congress to justify its economic and military aid packages. This presents the Clinton administration the perfect opportunity to justify its aid packages to the Middle East.
The United States must take its role as mediator of this long-standing conflict seriously. If the Palestinians are to be convinced this peace accord will treat them fairly, then the United States must present an unbiased stance toward the conflict.
This entails equitable aid for both the Palestinians and the Israelis.