Israel, Palestine, Peace and the Pope

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pope Francis in Varginha, Brazil, July 27, 2013 (Tânia Rêgo/(Agência Brasil)/Wikipedia Commons)

Pope Francis hosted the Israeli and Palestinian presidents in the Vatican for a prayer meeting. Aaron David Miller, vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former U.S. Mideast negotiator and adviser, explains what the summit means for the peace negotiations, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, that have broken down.



Aaron David Miller

Comments [25]

Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Kathleen Casserly from Huntington NY

Adagio for Strings:

Jun. 11 2014 01:13 PM
Kathleen Casserly from Huntington NY

Can you tell me the name of that evocative piece of music that was played at the Peace talks? It was lovely.

Jun. 11 2014 11:43 AM
DJ Heinze

I do not understand why this subject is always such a "hot button"
issue in the media.
Ever since 1948 when the UN declared Israel a nation, there have been
endless attempts by American statesmen to intervene in the matter
of Israeli/Palestinian affairs. Why they keep trying is beyond my
understanding. There are about 1,500,000 Israeli Arabs; I do not see
throngs of them leaving Israel for a better life elsewhere, do you?
When Jews have lived in Arab countries for centuries, usually as
second class citizens, why did the Arabs not wish to live in a Jewish
country? Why did they decide,instead, to become "refugees"?

Jun. 11 2014 11:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Ed

The only people who have the "right of return" to ISrael are Jews, just as the only people who have the right of return to Ireland are the Irish. And it was the Council of the League of Nations which in 1922 gave Jews the right to return and resettle Palestine, so it is international law that Jews have that right. The Arabs have the right of return to Arabia.

Jun. 11 2014 10:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Mr. Bad

The opinion of the AMerican public is irrelevant to the right of Israel to exist, just as the opinion of ISraelis is irrelevant as to the right of America to exist.
Of course everyone wants the support of the most powerful country on earth, but no country worth its salt is going to commit suicide just to please America or anyone else, with our without US aid.
A "two state solution" is suicide for the Jewish state. End of discussion. America can do whatever it wants to do, and will do whatever it wants to do.

Jun. 11 2014 10:53 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Of course everything is possible with God.

Jun. 11 2014 10:51 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The effort of the pope doesn't assume the good will of either party, he is trying to encourage it though. Personally, I don't see the Palestinian leadership giving up the right of return.

Jun. 11 2014 10:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


What both Christians and Muslims should have done if they were really serious about peace is give the tiny land BACK TO THE JEWS! That is the way to true peace. Let the JEws have their tiny homeland back without have to fight for it every other year!

Jun. 11 2014 10:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


What if the Pope said that the US should give 22% of it land to the native Americans, to Black people, to Hispanics, and to basically cut the country up into a few countries? This is NOT a religious issue. This the claims of the Jewish nation to its homeland, versus the claim a part of the vast Arab nation who call themselves Palestinians who claim the very same exact soil as their homeland "stolen" by the Jews. This not really religion. This is a nation fighting against many other nations to survive in the tiny land they believe for 3000 years to be their own.

Jun. 11 2014 10:48 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It would be wise for Israel to make peace with whatever Palestinian coalition they can even if it's only an interim position and hope for the best. The US public, however it feels about Israel, is pretty much done with middle east interventions. The Saudi oil fields are in decline, Iran is ascendant and Iraq is coming apart at the seams. The future is not bright for a "jewish sparta", more like Masada part deux...

Jun. 11 2014 10:48 AM
antonio from baySide

Aside from the self empowerment which any political group tries to achieve, aren't there really grievances that the Palestinian people have (not a the parties, again the people)? They aren't free to move around throughout, they can't serve in the military, etc.. Did President Cater write that book because he is insane or are there some points which seem to never get any air time; Even in this discussion it seems...

Jun. 11 2014 10:47 AM

A slight error in the formulation of the Palestinian parties. As Brian summarized the conventional wisdom, Fatah is committed to a negotiated agreement while Hamas is not. That is not the difference between them. The difference is that Fatah is committed to maintaining support from the West by pretending to seek a negotiated agreement but otherwise seeks the same ends as Hamas which seeks them with the support of only those who agree with those objectives.

If you want a Palestinian who genuinely seeks a negotiated agreement, you will have to talk to Wasatiya, which is held in about as high esteem in Palestinian society as Bruce Bartlett is in the Republican Party.

Jun. 11 2014 10:47 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Since the legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire in 325, the pope has played a role in brokering peace in the world, that comes with the job.

Jun. 11 2014 10:46 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

There is no "peace process" and never has been! There was a bunch of leftists, led by Shimon Peres and supported by CLinton, who brought a band of terrorists back into the Land of ISrael led by arch terrorist Arafat. And then Hamas jumped up too. There was NEVER ANY PEACE PROCESS except in the fanciful imaginations of lefitsts like Aaron Miller, for example> The Arabs have states clearly THEY WILL NEVER ACCEPT A JEWISH STATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, period! It's like having a peace process with Hitler! It is insanely ludicrous!

Jun. 11 2014 10:43 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Of course God listens to the prayers of Jewish people. The pope, just in passing, isn't hoping to accomplish peace on his own power, he is asking God to intervene, God's power.

Jun. 11 2014 10:41 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

When is left wing Brian going to have an Israeli OPPONENT of the "two state solution" on for a change? Caroline Glick is one name that comes to mind. Or Naftali Bennet, economics minister of Israel. Why always these mealy-mouthed left wingers? Why not a right wing Jew just for once! Just to break things up for a change?

Jun. 11 2014 10:38 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

David Aaron Miller is just another establishment left wing Jew who opposes Jewish resettlement of Judah and Samaria. Who cares what HE thinks?

Jun. 11 2014 10:33 AM
bernie from bklyn

it's time for aggressive isolationism....and that includes our protection of israel. time for everyone to fend for themselves.

Jun. 11 2014 10:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

David Aaron Miller is just another establishment left wing Jew who opposes Jewish resettlement of Judah and Samaria. Who cares what HE thinks?

Jun. 11 2014 10:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


Prayer is powerful Ed? But I thought God does not listen to the prayer of Jews. But then, most Jews don't listen to the prayers of God either. That is why we are called ISRA EL - those who strive with God. We fight with God. Some times He gets a few good punches in and sometimes we get in one or two licks. One thing, we don't submit. WE don't bow or kneel We stand and argue before the court of justice of the Most High. Abraham argued with God. Abraham was such a liberal he argued trying to get God to spare the denizens of Sodom and Gamorrah.

Jun. 11 2014 10:28 AM

LOL, yes, the Wash Post has already called Rivlin a "hard-liner".
... er, as opposed to Hamas?

Jun. 11 2014 10:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Martin

Left-wing president Peres is finally done, thank God, and the new ceremonial president of Israel is Reuven ("Ruby") Rivlin, an old time pudgy right-of-center politician who looks like W. C. Fields but I think is just a bit more sober. He's actually a very nice guy well liked by the Israeli public but will NOT be liked by the "international community" and the liberal Hollywood set because, unlike Peres, he does NOT support the "two state solution."

Jun. 11 2014 10:20 AM
Ed from Larchmont

With the Palestinian authority joining Hamas and more Israeli settlements being built, the peace process is at a halt. The pope, as his predecessors, sees that before they are Israelis and Palestinians, they, and we, are children of God, and brothers and sisters. So the pope brought them to the Vatican, not to negotiate, but to pray, to become aware of that reality, which is the only hope. And the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew was there also.
The last time the pope prayed that we might not attach Syria there was a solution a few days later with John Kerry. We'll see what happens, but prayer is powerful.

Jun. 11 2014 10:13 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The so-called "two state solution" is dead, and in fact always has been, since the Arabs turned down the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The Jewish State has no choice but to live behind "The Iron Wall" just as Jabotinsky wrote over 90 years in 1923. Basically Israel has no choice but to remain a Jewish Sparta that will only exist for as long as it can defend itself and not one minute longer. No piece of paper, and no praying is going to bring peace to this eternal conflict. "Peace Through Strength" used to be the motto of SAC, the Strategic Air Command, and that totally applies to Israel more than to anyone else.

Jun. 11 2014 10:11 AM

It means nothing. Shimon Peres is well meaning (sort of), but powerless at this point.
The Israeli’s should just wait out the 954 days, 1 hour and 30 minutes until Valerie Jarrett, Kerry and what’s-his-name leave Washington and take their incompetent, visionless and obscure foreign policy with them. Six years and not a shred of progress – unless you count Hamas now taking over the PA as soon as Abbas walks out the door.
Even Miller has thrown up his hands in the last 2 years in his writings, no matter what Brian tries to coax out of him.

Jun. 11 2014 10:04 AM

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