Middle East Peace Talks

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, and David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute, discuss the current Middle East peace talks in Washington.


Rami Khouri and David Makovsky

Comments [55]

Bob from Brooklyn

Ester from NYC...Defensive war really??.....not according to former Israeli Prime minister Menacham Begin. In his address to the National Defensive College who said;
" In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be HONEST with ourselves. We decided to ATTACK him.

Ester notice how how Begin said, " AGAIN.....AGAIN we had a choice ".

Sep. 02 2010 12:30 PM

if they weren't of different "faiths", they could share the land. if there weren't any "islamic" states, the "jews" wouldn't have had to leave those countries. if there weren't any religions, there would have never been a conflict of this magnitude. face it, this particular land is not worth a whole lot without the emotional element.

Sep. 02 2010 11:59 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

jgarbuz...That same Martian if he was around on April 9,1948 would have seen Palestinians being massacred by Jewish soldiers, women and children included, and ethnically cleansed out of a town called Deir Jassin. The Israeli government have built the Kfar Shaul Medical Heath Center on the site, where the town of Deir Jassin once stood.

Sep. 02 2010 11:55 AM
Ben in NYC from not the middle east

When the Jews got out of the concentration camps at the end of WW 2, were they able to return to their homes or reimbursed for their possessions or whatever was in their bank accounts? or did it take years to go through the courts until most of the victims were dead?

Sep. 02 2010 11:52 AM

this has always been about land not faith

Sep. 02 2010 11:37 AM
gary from queens

Amy from Manhattan:

The settlements are not on "occupied" land. Most of it is within israeli borders. Very little of it outside the borders are on "disputed" land, but land most agree will fall inside Israeli borders after a treaty is signed.

There are 50,000 illegal palestinian settlements inside Israel, by arabs with no deed to the land. What about them? Where is the media focus on that?

Sep. 02 2010 10:57 AM


Sep. 02 2010 10:55 AM

Here is basic reality of both the Jewish and Palestinian narratives. In 1948 there were 1.2 million Arabs in Palestine. Today there are 12 million Palestinians (a tenfold increase), of whom nearly half live in what they call Palestine. There are 5 times as many Palestinians living in Palestine as did in 1948! By contrast, barely 40,000 Jews remain in the Muslim world compared to nearly 1 million before 1948.

By contrast, the Jewish population in the world of 13.5 million still has not caught up to the 16 million that were alive in 1940. About 45% of Jews now live in Israel.

A martian looking down from space could see no evidence of ethnic cleansing of Arabs out of Palestine, but would see clear proof of ethnic cleansing of Jews out of the Muslim countries.

Sep. 02 2010 10:50 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Gary, under international law occupation is legal but settlements on occupied land are illegal.

Sep. 02 2010 10:42 AM
RLewis from bowery

One thing is clear from these comments: whatever solution is put up, a chunk of people are not going to like it. There is no one solution that will please everyone.

There just has to be one solution that pisses everyone off only a little bit. So, no matter what fringe you are on, get ready to compromise. Please!

Sep. 02 2010 10:38 AM
Sheryl from NYC

Actually Arabs were killing Jews in 1900 also for purely antisemitic reasons, so it didn't start in 47. More propaganda from an Arab.

Sep. 02 2010 10:38 AM
ind from nyc

Those who clamor for Israel to return those lands to the Palestenians should really demand that those lands be returned to Jordan and Egypt since these countries had sovereign authority of the territories between 1948 and 1967. Ironically, however, it was Israel that was willing to negotiate for a Palestenian state in those territories in 2000, under the Clinton Administration with Ehud Barak as Prime Minister. But, once again, the Palestenians, under Arafat, passed on the opportunity for a state when they rejected the negotiating process and instead opted for a second Intifada which destroyed Israeli sentiments favoring withdrawal from the territories and an independent Palestenian state.

Throughout this conflict, and specifically since Israel withdrew from Gaza, if the Palestenians in general and Hamas in particular had focused their resources on actually building a state instead of waking up every morning and fixating on how they could destroy Israel, they could have had a flourishing state a long time ago. After Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas attacked the border town Sderot with daily rounds of rocket fire. Should Israel have sent them flowers with a thank you note?

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
Lisa from NYC

Truth and history are the two orphans here.

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
Norman from NYC

Yes, Hamas leaders said that they would be willing to negotiate with Israel if they got an apology for the loss of their land. There was an Op-Ed piece about it by 2 sociologists (whose names I forget) who interviewed top leaders in Hamas and Israel.

They were open to the ideas of restitution, but they didn't want to feel that their honor was being bought off.

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
gary from queens

The Palestinian State already exists!! It's called "Jordan" today.

November 26, 2007
The Four State Solution
By Gamaliel Isaac

In 1981 King Hussein (Abdullah's grandson and late ruler of Jordan) stated in an interview with an Arab newspaper:
"The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan."

The myth of a Palestinian identity separate from that of the Jews was created for tactical reasons. Zuheir Mohsein, then a member of the Supreme Council of the PLO told an interviewer of the Dutch Daily Trouw in 1977 that:

"Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity."

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
Esther from nyc

Can the Jews who were expelled from Moslem countries in 1948, the Sephardim, can they also get acknowledgment that after thousands of years THEY were expelled from their homes. And can they also get compensation for their losses?

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
Mali from NYC

Arab dude: "Palestinians" have always been refugees. They're all from Jordan, who refuses to take them in for the last few hundred years. Problem here is no one knows history. The camps were built by the British! The Jewish State was created as just that. How did it become 80 percent Jewish? What are you serious?

Sep. 02 2010 10:36 AM
ind from nyc

I fully support a return to the 67 borders with a Palestenian state in the West Bank/Gaza with East Jerusalem as a capitol. However, I am always infuriated that certain historical facts are conspicuously absent from the media narrative whereby Israelis are evil villians.

The Palestenians could have had their own state in 1948, when the British rule over the land ended, and when the United Nations voted for the partition plan that divided the land into a Jewish state and a Palestenian state. The Jews accepted the plan. In contrast, the Arabs rejected the plan and instead, initiated a war which they ultimately lost, and which created the refugee problems that exist today. It was the Arabs’ prerogative to reject the partition plan and gamble that they would win. But, having lost, they cannot change the rules of the game in which they participated. Furthermore, between 1948 and 1967, the West Bank and Gaza were under the rule of Jordan and Egypt, respectively. I don’t recall that Jordan or Gaza had found it in their hearts to give the Palestenians a state on those lands during that time. These historical facts are conspicuously absent from the false media narratives that depict Israel as an invading nation that conquered a previously sovereign Palestine. The Arabs and the media constantly refers to the creation of the state of Israel as the cause of the Palestenians' tragedies, but they ignore the facts of 1948 which would lay the blame on the Arab leaders who rejected the partition plan, and the Palestenian state, at that time.

Sep. 02 2010 10:35 AM

Yes, the Palestinians need recognition for what has happened to them. We recognize the Holocaust, why wouldn't we recognize what has happened to the Palestinians at the hands of the Iraelis and the international community!

Sep. 02 2010 10:35 AM
Mike from Park Slope

@ Fred. The bible also says people live for hundreds of years. I say the first Israeli to reach age 400 should be crowned king of all Palestine. Until then they need to live in the real world not biblical fantasy land.

Sep. 02 2010 10:33 AM

A lot of Leftists are contributors to AIPAC, and a lot of Israelis are leftists, unfortunately. Many of the early Zionists came back not to create a Jewish state, but to create a Bolshevik state. And that has been a split in the Jewish community for about a century now. The majority of Jews in Israel came mainly because they were pushed out of Europe and the Arab countries and nobody else wanted them. That is the reality of Israel: part Zionist; part Bolshevik; part religious, but for the majority to have a place to live in freedom where no one can push them out again. Unfortunately, the Arabs don't agree, and want to push the Jews out again regardless.

Sep. 02 2010 10:32 AM
Norman from NYC

There were a few Israelis living in the West Bank before the Intifada. They were usually leftists who got along well with the Palestinians, and often started businesses with Palestinian partners.

But after the Intifada, there were a few incidents in which they were attacked by militants (in at least one case killed), and it became too dangerous.

Sep. 02 2010 10:32 AM
Brian from NYC

Mike you don't get demands by yesterday's actions. The guy at the Discovery Channel learned that the hard way. And THAT'S how simple it is.

Sep. 02 2010 10:31 AM

the bible?? now that's just silly. go sit down!

Sep. 02 2010 10:31 AM
whoindatgarden from Brooklyn

So if the basis of legitimacy of Israel is based on having lived in ancient lands, would that logic be used fairly by native Americans in the U.S.
As the settler said in the NPR piece, the only thing that works is strength and so far the balance of power is in favor of israel, if and when Palestinians have the same power then we may have a peace deal, i.e. Palestinians with a nuke would bring bout instant peace cuz they will both have mutually assured destruction otherwise.
Look at Pakistan and India now they have a detente cuz of the Nuke.
Either that or they form a United State and enjoy the benefits of their cultures and share it with the world.

Sep. 02 2010 10:30 AM
Fred from NYC

The Bible says Israel belongs to the Jews. They should settle the land and they should repel all aggression in kind.

Sep. 02 2010 10:30 AM
Mike from Park Slope

Why is it that no one discusses an equal rights solution. 1 state encompassing all of Israel and Palestine with all the people there having full citizenship rights, voting rights, and access to the government. I just don't see how Israeli policy toward Palestinians is any different or should be treated any differently from Apartheid in South Africa. All of these people should be free and have equal human rights.

Sep. 02 2010 10:30 AM
Joe from NYC

Joey take the earplugs out that's all Obama and hilary talk about.

Sep. 02 2010 10:28 AM
gary from queens

Rami Khouri made an outrageous comment: "Israelis colonizing arab lands"

Israel has a legal right to "colonize" or build:

May 13, 2010
Are Israeli settlements in the West Bank really illegal?
Moshe Dann

Sep. 02 2010 10:28 AM
Norman from NYC

jgarbuz said:
>Why do you ALWAYS invite the same bland talking heads - an Arab who always trumpets the Palestinian narrative, and a leftist Jew

This "leftist Jew" is from an organization founded by AIPAC.


Sep. 02 2010 10:26 AM
Dorothy from NYC

The Israeli's need to stop stealing Palestinian land, period. "Settlements"? It's theft, plain and simple.Why would anyone recognize your right to something you stole?

Sep. 02 2010 10:26 AM
Fali from NYC

Your guest doesn't like the "equation" that rockets being fired from Gaza was a savage response to peace efforts. He might have a degree in semantics, but what else would a rational person conclude when they see Israeli peace efforts followed by rockets shot into civilian Israeli backyards. One day NPR will report on those backyards. Not too soon though.

Sep. 02 2010 10:26 AM
Joey from Jersey City

Why is a one-state solution NEVER discussed? If Americans are supposed to be involved with this why can't all options be talked about?

I am sick and tired of my tax dollars being spent on this region in the world. We have our own people to help.

Sep. 02 2010 10:25 AM
Esther from nyc

I always wondered.... in May 1966, when the Arab armies were amassing on all fronts of Israel; when the West Bank was part Jordan, Gaza was part of Egypt and the Golan Heights was part of Syria, were the intentions of these Arab armies to win land for themselves that was legally given to form the Jewish state? And if they had succeeded, would THAT land be considered occupied territory to give back to Israel? Does anyone really believe if the tables were turned, what is expected of Israel today, to give back lands won in a defensive war, is what the Arabs would do if they had succeeded in their mission on June 1967?

Sep. 02 2010 10:23 AM

George Washington was not out to destroy the British state. He did not murder British women and children, which Arabs have been doing since the Hebron massacre of 1929. If all the Palestinians really want is a peaceful state living alongside the Jewish state in peace, I can support that. But that is not the end goal. The end goal is to destroy the Jewish state -PERIOD!

Sep. 02 2010 10:23 AM
Rami from NYC

Your Arab guest indicts himself: Jewish settlers, who build houses and raise family's should accept and tolerate yesterday's 4 murders shows their equation. It's not an ideological view it's actually true: Arabs kill with guns and bullets when they don't like their situation. Tell him to stop saying the word Zionist. Never again. You want to wield the sword of Arab murder every time you don't like what you perceive as a social ill, you are going to get it back double from the IDF. This is the language, and the only language the Arab understands. So keep firing your rockets and guns, the world sees it as pretty transparent: you're a bunch of murderers.

Sep. 02 2010 10:23 AM
Esther from nyc

I always wondered.... in May 1966, when the Arab armies were amassing on all fronts of Israel; when the West Bank was part Jordan, Gaza was part of Egypt and the Golan Heights was part of Syria, were the intentions of these Arab armies to win land for themselves that was legally given to form the Jewish state? And if they had succeeded, would THAT land be considered occupied territory to give back to Israel? Does anyone really believe if the tables were turned, what is expected of Israel today, to give back lands won in a defensive war, is what the Arabs would do if they had succeeded in their mission on June 1967?

Sep. 02 2010 10:22 AM

i won't like it!

Sep. 02 2010 10:22 AM
Norman from NYC


there's another good map presentation which Gush Shalom put together of "Barak's Generous Offer," which is a good response to the claim that the Palestinians repeatedly refused to accept peace offers:


They conclude:

This is no generous offer. It is a humiliating demand for surrender!

Sep. 02 2010 10:20 AM

Hey, Hamas and Fatah (PLO) are two sides to the same coin. One plays "good cop" and the other "bad terrorist." But the goal of Hamas and Fatah is IDENTICAL - the elimination of the Jewish state either by terror, force or by diplomatic wiles as well demographic pressure. The goals of both are precisely the same. Anyone who believes otherwise, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them. I have another bridge in Tel Aviv if they don't want the ones in Brooklyn. It is all a ruse. The Arabs want today what they have wanted since 1920 - to eliminate any vestige of Jewish independence and rights to their ancient homeland.

Sep. 02 2010 10:20 AM
whoindatgarden from Brooklyn

Terrorist is a wrong label, they are freedom/resistance fighters. George Washington and his men were terrorists in the eyes of the English, but in the U.S. we don't label them that.
The only solution to this issues is to have a single United states of Israel & Palestine with a secular democracy.
Anything short of it will be unfair to one or the other side.

Sep. 02 2010 10:19 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

It is a farce !!!

And this Rami Khouri epitomizes this by his ridicule of security for Israelis as an obstacle to peace!!!!

What did Israel get for Gaza?

Sep. 02 2010 10:18 AM
Amy from Manhattan

My Zionism is entirely compatible with Palestinian statehood.

Sep. 02 2010 10:18 AM

aren't there any israelis you could talk to?

Sep. 02 2010 10:17 AM

to Brian,

Why do you ALWAYS invite the same bland talking heads - an Arab who always trumpets the Palestinian narrative, and a leftist Jew who always timidly goes along?

Sep. 02 2010 10:14 AM
JJ from The Truth

Your guest speaks of pairs of countries enjoying simultaneously instituted rights. Did they accomplish this with bullets flying at them from terrorists? The fact is that Arabs have one method of operation: murder until you achieve all your goals; not some of your goals, all of your goals. If Israel responded in kind, for every one of these murders, these theoretical peace talks would be done with forever.

Sep. 02 2010 10:13 AM
Sara from LES

Your guest mentioned the US has a lot of interest in this issue.


The average American could really care less. Why is this never discussed?

Sep. 02 2010 10:13 AM

to hjs1121

Why don't you supply a map of Arab settlements in Israel, since the Arab population inside ISrael has grown from 145,000 in 1948 to 1.4 MILLION today! If Arabs can live and grow in Israel, why shouldn't Jews be allowed to live and grow in Judah, Samaria and Gaza?

There are at least 50,000 or more illegally built homes INSIDE Israel by Arabs on land that they have no deed or title to, and without legal permits! The growth of Arab settlements INSIDE Israel is never discussed!

Sep. 02 2010 10:12 AM

I don't understand how any treaty can be effective when Hamas is not willing. It is like signing treaties at the end of WWII with the population of the Midwest still waging war on Germany.

Sep. 02 2010 10:11 AM

they don't start with much


Sep. 02 2010 10:07 AM
dbmetzger from manhattan

Obama, Mideast Leaders on 'Path of Peace'?
The elephant in the room. Fatah negotiating for Gaza which is run by Hamas.
The mood appeared cordial as Mideast leaders commenced the talks aimed at creating a sovereign Palestinian state beside a secure Israel. The Obama administration has spent its first 20 months in office coaxing both parties back to the table http://www.newslook.com/videos/246723-obama-mideast-leaders-on-path-of-peace?autoplay=true

Sep. 02 2010 10:03 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

The failure to recognize Israel is, indeed, more evidence that this is another sham in a long line of charades by the Palestinians and their Arab neighbor sponsors. They will NEVER allow Israel to live in peace. The only Israel that they will accept is one that has disappeared.

Remember when Obama told Time Magazine at the end of his first year (interview in January) that , gee, he didn't know that Mideast would be this hard?

Sep. 02 2010 09:57 AM

At the very least, Netanyahu should demand that he will maintain the building freeze ONLY if Abbas and the PA formally recognize the right of the JEWISH STATE to exist. That would be a reasonable compromise for now. If that first step cannot be accomplished, then it is ridiculous to continue yet more phony baloney "peace talks."

Sep. 02 2010 09:55 AM

I fully agree with Gary from Queens, that Israel is the ONLY country in world history, that won all of its wars, vanquished invading enemy armies, won back ancient territory that the League of Nations in 1920 said was part of the "Jewish National Home," and yet has to SUBMIT to the demands of the vanquished who do not even recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist. It was the UN that specifically authorized a "Jewish state" in UNGAR 181, and then the Arab states violated the essence of the UN Charter by attacking the UN authorized Jewish state. Imagine if Germany and Japan refused to accept the legitimacy of the United States in the post war peace terms! It is INSANE!

Sep. 02 2010 09:47 AM
gary from queens


QUESTION: Why is Benjamin Netanyahu agreeing to peace talks BEFORE there is a formal recognition and ACCEPTANCE, from the other side, of the sovereignty of the Jewish state?

EXAMPLE: Suppose a US President was stupid enough to sign an arms control agreement with the Soviets during the cold war, while the Soviets denied the legitimacy of the sovereignty of the US? The Soviets would claim afterward they had license to reneg on any treaty they sign with the US, because only legitimate states can sign treaties!

Palestinians have never formally recognised a JEWISH STATE. They state emphatically that there can only be Muslim states in that region. Whatever concillatory words they utter in English, is contradicted by the anti Jewish incitement in their media and schools.

Sep. 02 2010 09:35 AM

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