Monday, March 14, 2016

THE NEVER-ENDING WAR - Israel vs Palestine

COMMENT:  Good luck Vice President Biden.  But as I have said so many times in the past, this conflict will NOT be solved by outsiders (including U.S.).  It can ONLY be solved by THE PEOPLE of both Israel and Palestine when they tell their respective governments to stop.

"In Israeli visit, Biden aspires to push peace talks forward" PBS NewsHour 3/8/2016


SUMMARY:  On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel to begin two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders currently mired in a deep and violent impasse.  Biden also hopes to mend the relations between the Obama White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Judy Woodruff talks to Tom Friedman of the New York Times for his take on why the peace talks won't work.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  We return to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and tonight begin a series of occasional conversations we're calling The Long Divide.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel today, not far from the scene of one stabbing attack, where he began two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders mired in a deep and violent impasse.

Biden is also the latest top American official trying to repair relations between the Obama White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

We launch this series now with New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman.

Tom Friedman, welcome back to the program.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, The New York Times:  Great to be with you, Judy.  Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, you wrote a column saying flatly that the peace process is dead.  Why do you believe that?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN:  Because it's dead.

It's actually been dead for a while.  I just called it by its real name.  It's clear to me, Judy, that both sides have conspired.  This was like “Murder on the Orient Express.”  There were so many stab wounds in this body, hard to tell exactly which one was the fatal blow.

But you now have near approaching 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and depending on where you define the border.  Remember, it took 50,000 Israeli soldiers and police to remove peacefully 8,000 settlers from Gaza.

So, imagine if you're talking about, you know, 400,000 to 500,000.  And on the Palestinian side, you have had some really bad developments.  In the last Israeli-Palestinian war, Hamas fired a rocket that landed basically on the outskirts of Israel's only international airport, basically, or major international airport, Lod.

And the U.S. FAA ordered for one day all American flights canceled.  That was a message to all Israelis.  Imagine if the Palestinians had the West Bank and could close their only airport.

And, also, Salam Fayyad or the — sorry — the — Abu Mazen, the Palestinian president, he released — he fired, basically, Salam Fayyad, the one Palestinian prime minister who said, we need to build our institutions, and if we do what the Zionists did and we build our state institutionally, getting a state will just be a formality.

He got fired.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, you're saying there are a few people trying to do the right thing, but they're not being listened to?  What's the problem?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN:  Yes.  There are a lot of people trying to do the right — wrong thing, and they have been really empowered lately.

My criticism of Netanyahu is not that Israel should get out of the West Bank tomorrow.  I get it.  It's a dangerous neighborhood.  You know, I have always felt, to understand Israel, to write about Israel, you have to keep three thoughts in your head at the same time and their intention.

One is that Israel is an amazing place.  It's really built an amazing society in its short history.  Second, Israel does some bad stuff in the West Bank.  And, third, Israel lives in a really dangerous neighborhood.  And you have got to keep all three of those in your head at the same time.

My critique of Netanyahu is this.  Why would you make a bad situation worse by putting Jews in the middle of Palestinian areas in the West Bank, highly densely populated Palestinian areas, that if there were to be a deal, that would have to be ceded to a Palestinian state?

A very good question.

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