Israelis, Americans, Palestinians, Arabs, and the Historical Peace Process in the Middle East

AHA Session 49
Thursday, January 5, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 607 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Wm. Roger Louis, University of Texas at Austin
Peter L. Hahn, Ohio State University
Osamah Khalil, Syracuse University
Maurice Jr. Labelle, University of Saskatchewan

Session Abstract

Israelis, Americans, Arabs and Palestinians and the Historical Peace Process in the Middle East

From its support for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to brokering high profile summits in the twenty-first century, the United States has played an influential role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This roundtable evaluates the American engagement with this conflict from a historical perspective. By linking Palestinian, Israeli, Middle Eastern and U.S. levels of experience of this process, it seeks to gain a better historical understanding of its failings from myriad perspectives, some more well-known than others.

Ultimately, this roundtable will highlight the inter-twined histories and politics of the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and the United States' role in the Middle East and the world. The participants in this roundtable--Paul Chamberlin (University of Kentucky), Osamah Khalil (Syracuse University) and Maurice Jr. Labelle (University of Saskatchewan)—will offer their remarks on the American position in this conflict. Wm. Roger Louis will chair.

 The discussion is guided by the following questions:

What explains U.S. support for Israel? Was it driven by ideological, religious, material, or geostrategic interests? How important were domestic politics in shaping the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel?

How has the United States historically balanced its support of Israel with its relationship with the Arab states?

What role did the Cold War competition play in the Arab-Israeli conflict and U.S. policies in the Middle East? How did the Cold War shape Washington’s view of the Palestinian refugee problem?

How did American policymakers perceive Palestine and the Palestinians? How did these perceptions change after the creation of the State of Israel?

How did the emergence of the Palestine Liberation Organization challenge American, Israeli, and Arab perspectives and policies toward the Arab-Israeli conflict and peace process?

How did the United States emerge as the main mediator between Israel and the Arab states? What were the implications for the peace process?

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