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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 16, 2015 6:06am-8:01am EDT

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>> and even if they caught them, only 15% of them will be brought to justice and will be persecuted. so basically you have secular gangs are attacking palestinia palestinians, and only the first
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week of this month 30 such attacks took place against the palestinian population were civilians of the west bank. 142 so far this year, so attacks against palestinians. what do you expect the palestinians to do? if people under occupation, whose human rights have been denied, an occupation that is the longest in recent history, approaching their 50 year mark in two years, a government that is not committed to peace does not have an agenda for peace, for what they did since they took over in 2009, increase settlement activity by 20%, and all what we are seeing on the ground is a consolidation of the occupation. more settlements. and didn't expect us to honor the agreements. while they themselves are not
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abiding by agreements that they signed. this current prime minister of israel signed the memorandum in 1998 and signed the subsequent agreement, and until today he did not even implement the agreement that his signature are on. so they expect the palestinians to continue to give, give, give, what they get in return from the israelis com, more settlements f more occupation, more restrictions, and then on top of that they play religious issue, pushing the two peoples to religious war instead of confining it to a political war. now, our leadership said clearly, the president said clearly that the human speech, and he repeated that yesterday.
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palestinians can we didn't say we are abandoning but this is the pressure, the "new york times," the "washington post" covered you can pick whatever headlines they like him it doesn't change the fact. we said that as long as the israelis are not abiding by their part of the deal we would not abide by our part of the deal. we were supposed to do certain things in order for israel to reciprocate and reduce its grip on the palestinian people and the palestinian men. what they've done is opposite so far. so as the leadership we cannot continue to give and receive nothing in return. and, therefore, if israel does not offer is part of the agreements, we will not our our part. it is as simple as that. it's a simple equation. it's fair to any bilateral agreement. if two parties signed an agreement and one party does not
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commit to that agreement, why do you expect the other party, the weaker party, the palestinians, to commit and to honor their part of the deal? now, as for any prospects for the political movement, unfortunately, i am not very optimistic. i don't think that anything will happen from now until the next election. we hear statements from officials here that they are committed, they want to do something. i would believe him. we believe secretary of state terri when he says that. we believed that he is a sincere and genuine, but you need to take a different approach. you cannot continue for this explosion, the next explosion and then you try to go to contain it and then business as usual. we cannot go back to the failed process or format that we had for 20 years that did not bring
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the palestinians any closer to statehood and independence. the has to be a different approach. of the bilateral approach, sponsored by the united states, has failed. it's not a secret that it has failed. so to continue to insist on a bilateral approach for israel and the palestinians, israel would pull its military might, with all the political clout here in this country, thanks to the congress, and with all its support that it gets versus the weaker party like the palestinians and said okay, why do you to negotiate and we will just observe, is not going to work. there has to be a different approach. there has to be a more international multilateral approach in which the united states will be an important party, but not the only party, that will oversee and help the sides to reach an agreement. and there has to be an
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agreement, not an agreement that there has to be a commitment by both sides, to implement their obligations. to accept the past agreements and to adhere to the terms of reference of this whole political process that was agreed many times before from u.n. resolutions to the roadmap, to all other pertinent agreements that we signed between the plo and israel. unless we come up with a different approach, i don't see any way. because of this israeli government believes that the status quo, they believe that they can continue to do some of us can continue to pressure the palestinians and expect the palestinians to just hug them and say thank you for canyon the occupation. this is something will not happen. and what is happening in
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jerusalem should be a wakeup call for the israelis. they supposedly -- in 1960, they call it the eternal united capital of israel, and yet they are erecting roadblocks in arab neighborhoods, preventing people from moving from one area to another. and they are imposing closures are these neighborhoods. we saw the palestinians sending a very clear message to the israelis in jerusalem and elsewhere that they are fed up with this occupation. it is time that this occupation is ended, and the united states and international community must assume their moral responsibility of seeing and and to this brutal military occupation, allowing the palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination and to establish their own independent palestinian state. we are still for a two-state
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solution. we continue to be in favor of two-state solution. i know many don't believe that, maybe some in this room, but this is the only ideal way out of this conflict. a palestinian state and the state of israel. unfortunately, israel to do with its policies is pushing everybody towards the one state solution. and what we are seeing today in the west bank and in jerusalem is a byproduct of these israeli efforts to kill once and for all a two-state solution. i hope that we can still find partners in israel. we continue to extend our hand for peace, honorable peace, but not a peace that will israel to control us for another 50 years or another whether jews. we are genuine and our intentions to end this conflict, but it takes two to tango. if the israelis want to do it on their own, then they should be
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ready to pay for the consequences that we are unfortunately seeing right now. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, ambassador areikat. i think you've laid out wha whas the formal and official position of your government. now we will hear from dr. jim zogby and perhaps you can give us a little color on what's going on here with domestic politics. >> thank you, randa, and thank you thank you. actually want to cover the terrain if you don't mind -- thank you, thank you. you talked about the role the palestine place in the broader arab region. what i'd like to do is lay out what i think are some constants that cannot be ignored, that define the political terrain in which this issue finds itself. first in the broader arab world, there is no doubt that the drama
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of serious, that yemen, that libya, that iraq -- syria -- have taken headlines everywhere but in all the polling that we do, how stein remains a central concern of arabs everywhere. it is sitting to me the degree of intensity that exists across sect lines and across geographic lines, from morocco to iraq. even in the depths of this bit of what was going on in iraq, it still remains a central concern. and so much so that i've come to see as almost an existential defining issue in the arab world. palestine is come and people herwhosometimes don't understann you say that, but palestine is for what it is what the holocaust was for american jews.
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it was a horrible thing that happened to people just like me for a way, but it reminded me of my vulnerability. reminds me of a sense of betrayal of the west. it reminds me of the denial of rights. all of the things that defined in many ways the character and personality of people in arab countries across the region are somehow captured in this narrative. it's real and it grabs hold. how does it play out here in america? with all of the decades and decades of one side defining the terrain, i used to argue you to sidestep a bogeyman once i place any other sits on the bench,
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because who wins? beside the place. one side has been playing for decades at the other side thousand and because they haven't been playing, who defined the train? and when you strong you get to define yourself as a victim. when you are weak you get to define, you get defined as the monster who is threatening the victim. and so the israelis have become fixed in the american mind as the victim from the time of the film exodus on, which was actually funded as an effort to create a propaganda film more than it was just a movie. it was a clever conflation of the american narrative of the wild west, and the poor folks on the frontier just carving out a piece of land for themselves trying to live free and start a new life, and threatened by these angry savages who are out to get them. they took that model of the
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narrative that was the american story and fix it in palestine, the palestinians were the savages your they were actually called in the early history, used refer them as red indians. people don't recall any arabic speech at the u.n. he said we will not be red indians and people thought it was this were but it wasn't. he was actually playing on a theme that were part of that story for decades. but there's a shift taking place in america, and it's interesting because it's not a partisanship. it's actual a demographic shift. clearly among minority groups who today are becoming increasingly less minorities of almost 30%, almost a third of america but also young people. if you look at young, old on almost every issue but also look at it on palestine from look at it on issues involving justice
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for palestinians, you get almost a red state blue state, kind of numbers used to get on gay marriage, you now get them on issues involving israel and palestine. and so it's not so much partisan, although it plays a partisan because young people come one way and older people another way. minorities one with and whites, middle age white on another, on the other side. but it is, in fact, demographic more than anything. it's a long-term shift. it's the sort of thing that will play out over the next several decades before you get a decisive change, but there is the change in israel. nevertheless, without question while israel can lose a fight on the nuclear arms deal, in many ways israel will be the winner as if those politicians who voted to support the president on the arms deal will now, with
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sort of hat in hand and bowing an apology, try to make it up to israel, both in terms of weapons favors and a refusal to apply any pressure. it is simply not going to happen as i had hoped it might happen. the president and congress might benefit from the iran deal to a move for a comprehensive middle east peace. i don't think that's going to happen. they simply don't have the wherewithal allegedly to do it. -- politically to do. thirdly, into political discourse in the u.s., one of the issues that developed over the last several decades is either, i call it this way. either your perspectives on abilities are shaped by one of three things, ignorance, willed ignorance, or ideology. you have the neoconservative and evangelical right who dominate
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now on republican thinking. this is not the party of george herbert walker bush or james baker anymore. it's a different breed. listen to the debates that are taking place on that side. you have that crowd defining it. they don't want knowledge. they've got ideology and certainty. it's good evil, we are good, they are evil and we will be to no matter what the consequences. then you have the ignorance which is unfortunately typifying too many in political life. it simply, i don't know about it. and then there's the willed ignorance and that's the guys who develop come and when when they do their political calculation it just doesn't pay to be smart on israel palestine, or smart on the middle east issue, and so they become purveyors of conventional wisdom because if i want to talk about the economy come if i want to talk about taxes, for want to talk about benefits to the middle class, whatever, this becomes a distraction and it
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might end up giving me in political trouble so i'm just going, i know better but i'm not going to talk about it, or i will just what everybody else says, we are the unbreakable, unshakable loblaw plot outline and hopefully they will leave me alone so i can talk about the stuff i really like about. given that i go see change possible here. anytime soon. president tried, i think this may be one of the last president for a while who will try as this president tried both from the time of his cairo speech two when he tried on the anniversary of that at the state department to announce something that was so simple, the '67 border with the land swaps which was exactly the same language if you just sort of comic variation on the theme of the george bush letter to ariel sharon romme that conservatives celebrated which was the 49 armistice line with
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territorial exchange, 47 to 49 armistice line is the same as the '67 border, means land swaps. nevertheless, he got pummeled. netanyahu was invited a couple days later to the congress, got 27 standing ovations and the president was put in a corner on that issue. that has not changed. like i said israel can lose the iran deal but they can still control the debate on this issue. and then shifting to the region. israel is clearly off the rails politically right now. i see no way that a coalition gets formed, despite the continued pipedream of liberals here in america that summer he will form a moderate coalition. with benjamin netanyahu as prime minister, and he is not going away anytime soon, there still is no way to form a coalition in
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israel that does not have a hard right bent. and even if you get others joining the coalition, they will be used and abused and cast off the house -- he is an ideologue, a maneuver an ideologue. he's quite clever at it again is up and most people know it. the question right now is that they've resigned to it. it is a pathology that has affected both israel and the palestinian side, two distinct pathologies. israel is the spoiled child in the question. they did everything they want and they know what, if you know that there will be no punishment for even bad deeds. the bestseller get is that the best they would get as they please show restraint and please don't do it again. but supplements have tripled since the agreements were signed with no punishment at all. when a spoiled child does bad things and doesn't get punished,
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it only becomes enabling of more bad behavior. israel knows that bad behavior is what is expected of them and they will get no sanction for so they continue on that path. at this time it has become solidified in terms of the politics of the country so that you get with that dynamic easily at all. on the palestinian side, the pathologist at the. is not a spoiled child, it's the abused child. with the abused child does even if i do good thing i'm going to get punished so why bother? i'm going to act up because when act up i get attention. so these two pathologies have become so ingrained into political culture on both sides that it's difficult, i can't see breaking that. the palestinian, as this photo as issue has become, palestinian political culture has become dysfunction, too. between hamas on one side, a
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political dysfunction between hamas and the palestinian authority whether other dysfunctions as well. the palestinian authority which was to be the institution that led to a palestinian state has become a debate is on international donors. asking them to break as has been oslo answer would on the junk heap of history were many feel it would belong would mean throwing 100,000 plus people out of work. now understand when the peace agreement was signed in oslo, the single largest employer of palestinian people was the state of israel. they work across the border on day jobs, day labor jobs like southwest valley. they work day labor jobs and that's what income was. after oslo there was a feeling of the border that resulted in people losing those jobs, and because there was no import export provision for palestinians to be able to grow their economy independently, they became dependent again, not
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only on working in settlements but they became dependent on the creation of a civil service that didn't exist in palestine. there was not a huge government bureaucracy, but it was a way to absorb all those unemployed group of people. and so the single largest employer now is the palestinian authority, to simply remove all of those people from a paycheck would be devastating to over 1 million people in the west bank, in particular, but benghazi as well. and third is at this issue that maen spoke of use of despair. you know, think about gaza. 80% unemployment among youth for the last more than two decades. that means that in person today benghazi has no job, no prospect of a job, no history of what would be the main to get a job
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and, therefore, the prospect of having a family from the prospect of having the future simply doesn't exist. that is to become the situation for many in the west bank were youth unemployment is almost hovering at the range of 50% or the fact is that when you take an entire culture of young people and deny them the opportunity to talk with them a decent life and great the conditions of despair that lead to this behavior that we are seeing manifested in jerusalem, it is nothing to celebrate that young people are so despairing. it is nothing to celebrate that people are taking lives of others and taking their own lives in the process. suicide is not a normal human activity. it only comes when death appears to be a better option than life, that that has become a cultural phenomenon is devastating. and it's something that i think we have to understand and deal
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with. there needs to a radical transformation of daily life creating hope for young people. it's not there. the israeli to see. the americans don't see it at the palestinians are helpless to double to do it themselves. [applause] and so what to do? i am loath, loath to to propose that the weakest party take the most courageous step. but i can see far less chance of anything happening here and anything happening in israel or the europeans finally getting the guts to be able to act independently of act on their own, or the arabs finally doing something to take the arab initiative and not just tr by do but put some conditions on it and reinstitute a boycott and do what king faisal did decades ago. and so it falls on the weakest
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party, but the weakest party has have a strategy, and it doesn't. and it certainly can't be the weakest party should do what folks have been calling them to do here, which is some gestures to the israelis which enables bad behavior because it plays into the israeli pathologist. there needs to be a mass nonviolent movement. there needs to be a mass movement which has been absent, and they can't be stonethrowing or knife wielding. because when you pick up a stone, they just arrive. when you pick up right, they bring in the tank. when you pick up a gun, they sent in the army's antitakeover cities begin. to diss on the israelis could get much require a palestinian nonviolence that is a mass movement against those people any significant way. and it's up to the leadership to do that. people i think are ready. but people don't have a leadership that is willing to put themselves on the line in
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that kind of effort. i really believe that we will not move this equation unless one of the factors in it is transformed. someone is to breakout of the pathology and do something different. it's not going to be america, it's not going to be europe, it's not going to be the israelis i hope we can get some discussion on the palestinian side on how great the movement that could alter the dynamic and create a different future. [applause] spent okay. just to quickly summarize the big river from both of our speakers and need to try something different. just a reminder can we do have notecards and our volunteers walking around 40 questions, so if you do have any questions for the panel please send them up now. we have until 11:30 a.m. we have three more speakers to hear from but we promise to try to get to the most relevant questions. matthew reynolds from unrwa.
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>> break. thank you, thank you for inviting unrwa which is united nations relief and works agency for palestine refugees in the near peace. you know y. which is used to act in unrwa, to participate in today's panel. at the agency responsible for providing -- since beginning operations in may of 1950 of what we may and/or five field operations, jordan, lebanon, syria from the gaza strip in the west bank including east jerusalem. if you were given 30 seconds to describe landmarks of human history since 1950 to which you list what the korean war and the start of the col cold war, desegregation and to use them for pricing and europe in the '60s ended airport in the 2010s, say the end of colonialism or apartheid come the fall and rise of dictatorships, the berlin wall built up, brought down from the
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destruction of the world trade towers in new york, genocide in rwanda or cambodia. that throughout this entire period palestine refugees have remained refugees. here are some 65 years after the aggression of unrwa we should reflect three fronts. on what it means to be a palestine refugee today come on the work of unrwa towards better the lives of palestin palestine, i think am reminded of the failure to resolve the human crisis for palestine refugees today face an existential crisis on many fronts. in palestine they're facing 50 years of occupation. being a palestine refugees in gaza what are some 1.3 million, the size of dallas, texas, means being a victim of a blockade that affects every aspect of one's life than being dependent on food aid while being educated and wishing to be self-sufficient. sadly gaza is only descending path of detailed and. being a palestine refugee or
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bethlehem today means living under the fear of daily incursion, live fire and detentions by the israeli army and anguish of being denied access to opportunities. being a palestine refugee in syria today means being a resident cat by merciless siege and violence, deprived right of access to water, food and basic health. fear of contracting typhoid israel. you can see the suffering and hunger edged into people's faces but being a palestine refugee in lebanon today means trying to cope with the frustration of still living in invisible temporary shelter eight years after the destruction of the camp. we speak of over 5 million registered palestinian refugees in the region. that equates to the population of minnesota or colorado or not americans, norway. where we are sometimes told unrwa perpetuates the status of refugees or. the reality that is a child of an afghan refugee in peshawar is
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a refugee even 35 you're slipping one big difference, however, today an afghan family decide to go there's an independent country of afghanistan to go to. this is not the case for palestine refugees. better isolation and exclusion and disposition represents a time bomb for the region, a denial of rights and dignity is that must be addressed. reflecting on unrwa's 65 years of service also reminds us of the all too frequent crises faced i palestine, the palestine refugee. refugee. most briefly during the 2014 public in gaza we shouldered 300,000 displaced persons in 90 of our schools but that's the size of geneva, switzerland, being shoved into 90 schools. we provide lifesaving aid to them under extreme circumstances of war including the shelling of seven unrwa schools resulting in 44 dead and over 200 injured. during ongoing war in syria we contend to write a centrally to hundreds of thousands of displaced and many other camps.
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we are dealing with essential survival needs but with education and health and innovative ways of working have been established. equally significant is something even our closest partners underestimate the fact that with their support and i like to publicly 90, the american people, for being unrwa's number one supporter and with the incredible come incredibly generous and financial political age of provide. unrwa has contribute to one of those remarkable dynamics of human capital development in the middle east. our health and education standards remain among the highest in the region. 700 schools run by unrwa with 22000 education staff, one half million boys and girls. a few pairs should be unrwa school system into the united states we would be the country's third largest system after new york and los angeles. 4000 health staff and an average annual average of 3 million
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served. unrwa has invested in developing capabilities and opportunities for palestine refugees against all odds. it has created human capital that many countries in the world would today into the palestinians war. while palestinians in the many others for an independent state of their own. but there's a very painful to imagine stopping a with a third positive human development. we are all witness to the go to find a just and lasting solution to the plight of the palestine refugees. nothing would be more important today from the perspective of principle come international law and human dignity. it is a matter of common sense in an increasingly unstable middle east where it is time for the international community to start addressing core conflict realities through a more concentrated and genuine political action. more than anything else it is insufficient political will come an action that has contributed to 65 years of on drop and refugee status were so many
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palestinians. even if an agency did not exist this large-scale community of palestine refugee's which represents over one-third of the long-term refugees worldwide would continue to exist and their needs and expectations and would have to be supporting. one cannot wish or slogan if this issue away. it have to be dealt with first and foremost as part of a political response. given all the multiple and grave crises in the region many people expressed skepticism about the possibility of a breakthrough. just look at the clashes in jerusalem and gaza. i return from both places six days ago and it is getting worse. but skepticism is a luxury the world cannot afford the consequences and cost in human terms are far too high and are growing exponentially. not acting today when 65% of registered palestine refugees are under the age of 25, when they are well educated but unemployed, determined to engage
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but with few prospects and limited movement of freedom to do so. this will lead many to despair more increasing numbers to choose a dangerous routes across the mediterranean and beyond. we can choose to close her eyes to the problem but we should be aware of what the landscape will look like when we reopen them. allow me to conclude with something in short supply but terribly needed for palestine refugees. hope. in august 2014 during the gaza work in the rubble of an unrwa school, a school book was that it belonged to a young student aged 11. and it should britain at home and expressed an understanding beyond her young years when she said, hope it does not betray. when we we inaugurated the school this past april, she read the poem. it sent a powerful message to all of us. hope will never die, but it needs a serious, serious boost. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you very much, matt, thank you for all the work the u.n. unrwa are doing. i know you're working through some very difficult times, take a with respect to funding but you would have done a terrific job not only here in washington but across the united states to promote the refugee situation of the palestinians. it's now my pleasure to introduce doctor imad harb to add his enlightenment on the palestinian issue. >> good morning. i'm really honored to be your today with his distinguished panel. although unfortunately the circumstances of what we are talking about are i think are not really very auspicious our choice to talk about the
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conditions that are happening today, and what is expected to be the future of the question of palestine. i believe that everybody has already done a very good job in painting a rather somber picture of what's going on. the conditions on the ground in palestine today and the dire situation looking ahead. what i'd like to contribute, however, here are some remarks about what my humble opinion i think to be expected for the future of the tragedy, tragedy of a situation that has and i say unfortunately so far, because it's going to continue, has lasted for over 67 years. we don't kid ourselves anymore by repeating the dashed hopes of yesteryears that a peace process that could somehow reconcile
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which is truly become the reconcile the differences. and by the way, they are only reconcilable because this hope for peace has not allowed, was not about to really take root and flourish, despite innumerable attempts at either quickly became false starts or were started after, or were stopped after a short period of time. obvious examples are obviously -- that finally had president of odd declared palestine will not declare them israel is not abiding by what it is supposed the abiding by. this is an agreement that was signed almost a quarter of a century ago. and nothing has come of it. another example is obviously the 2002 arab league peace initiative that has since been been proposed and we proposed and we offered by every arab summit meeting, italy to become
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just simply emir mention in a news cycle somewhere. what today's circumstances and tired conditions present are actually the following. one, a complete illegal israeli occupation of the west bank in goran heights, and the subjugation as the occupied territory to be settled and colonize as if it were an uninhabited by people with a national identity and heritage and historical claim to the land. number two, illegal and inhumane daily treatment of hundreds of thousands of people trying to make their daily living by getting out of the committee. stopped unnecessarily at innumerable roadblocks, arrested for showing the slightest freedom of movement, attack as they collect or harvest from the field, prevented from accessing educational institutions and health care facilities.
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the latest is actually some track down in east jerusalem and closure of some of its sections. three, a daily reminder that violence begets violence, and occupation of a people yearning for freedom deprives them of the most basic human rights for the existence and personal safety. number four, an international community too busy trying to extinguish unfortunate other fires of the area to be able to at least pay some attention to the plight of millions of palestinians. what in this environment can be hoped to be a saint or logical or reasonable projection into the future? here's what my humble opinion, my humble opinion is a list of possibilities. of them are tenable to any reasonable human being. one, the final closing of a once
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promising window for a two-state solution which two peoples live peacefully side by side. too many involved in the negotiations between israel and the palestinians, and between israel and the arab world. the two-state solution provided a necessary and equitable compromise. and an assurance that it can be the basis for peaceful middle east in the future. but over the years many have questioned the efficacy of such a solution. even when it had a reasonable chance of success, on the grounds it did not provide the necessary guarantees for secure and safe israel. many opined that sovereignty over jerusalem can be divided others blame the divisions within palestinian ranks as preventing the arrival at the right mechanisms to actually implement the two-state solution. excuses of marauding arab wars destiny on israel by security of
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democracy in the middle east were liberally used to disparage talk of a two-state solution, the outlaws is but a step towards a two-state solution. in the end of the two-state solution was actually sacrificed on the altar of domestic israeli politics. number two, the triumphal arrival of a one state solution in which the palestinians are coerced into living a subject in a state of discrimination and second class citizenship, are yet a noncitizen subject, as noncitizen subjects of the sta state. this will not be a state like that envisioned by the palestinian visionaries in 1962 saw a binational state on the territory between the military and the jordan river, but one where full citizenship and rights are enjoyed by israeli
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jews and substandard national rights are reserved for palestinians. in that event i said that israel will really be the subject of international ostracism and second even its support in washington, but also a ground for continued violence of bloodshed. three, a continuing challenge for the zionist movement to decide its nature and goal in light of the divisions in interpreting its mandate. the state of israel of affairs in israel today shows a house divided over whether to continue in the name of the zionist project to colonize and dispossess an entire community and a nation. what also is essential in this regard is the realization, the continuation impossible success of the colonizing project in the west bank will mean that the defeat of any pretense of a
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zionist respect for human rights and dignity. and subsequently the defeat of original project in its entirety. the politics of the possible and israel's domestic make up and arena will likely need the original ideological project to its own demise. what's interesting in this regard is the seeming nonchalance of the leaders and supporters of the project about this quite possible possibility. it would be -- number four, it would be, considering the present conditions of circumstances not to think that at least some of the palestinian youth, if not a sizable proportion of it, they see that the best hope for restoring some rights is a resort to extremist ideologies that the middle east has experienced and loathed for a long time. extremism is not merely a response. the self-interested jihadi recruiters capable of weaving a yarn of jihad and martyrdom, but
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specifically the brainchild of lost hopes and aspirations for a good life and a good future. in the absence of avenues for changing the data conditions on the west bank and the gaza strip, extremism is likely to flourish to the judgment of everyone's security and peace. five, seeming continued confusion in washington about the road ahead and the unfortunate belief among palestinians and the arabs that the united states is really in on the whole process. and that proves the disposition of palestinians and to disregard to the rights. i can to the detriment of american foreign policy and role in the middle east are once again political expediency and pressures cannot be the right determines of the foreign policy of a country that prides itself on its respect for human dignity and rights.
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what is happening and will happen in regards to the palestinian question remains at the heart of the middle east troubles, and is essential to u.s. policy in the middle east and to extending among the arabs and the people of the world. who have through the government recently approved the admission of the very palestine as a member, as a member state in united nations and had approved raising of its life at u.n. plaza in new york. the united states simply cannot continue to be blind to the fact that we are strengthen in the face. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much, imad. now we'll hear from tom mattair will make some comments on the situation in some of the grace, and he's heard on the panel. >> wilthank you very much.
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those were for very well-crafted presentations, and mine won't be because my job is to listen and tell you what i heard and comment on what i heard. so what i heard from both ambassador areikat and dr. zogby is that not very confident that the political process can be revived by this administration, or even possibly by the next one. that's of course disappointing. i recall work written by william quandt many years ago where he talked about the possibilities for making progress in the first
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year, second your, surgery, et cetera of any administration and basically concluded that the eighth year was basically the best chance for making progress, because you have less difficulty overcoming domestic pressure. but at least in the view of these two panelists, that opportunity will not be seized by this administration. and i understand why. both of them, all of them have spoken about the netanyahu government, and netanyahu himself who i agree is not committed to the peace process and not committed to this two-state solution. he did say he did support the two-state solution bu vitro but that remark in light of other remarks he has made, such as i know what america is.
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america is something that can be moved very easily. and, in fact, people spoke about the problems, how the promise of the oslo accords has not materialized, which i think is because it was an interim agreement and its final goals were not clearly enough enunciated and it took so long that opponents of the process were able to mobilize their efforts against it, and one of the opponents was benjamin netanyahu. so i think this is really one of the most serious problems. we really can't mediate a peace process when one of the partners is not committed to the outcome that we want. the outcome that we say is in
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our national interest, and certainly the present has said that the resolution of the conflict is in the national interest of the united states. so we had to think critically about what our failure means. we have said repeatedly that the status quo is unsustainable, but we are dealing with an israeli government that believes that the status quo is sustainable, can be managed, should be managed because it's better than the alternative of getting up territory. another point i'd like to make is this. even if the united states, even if this administration were to try again, i think we are handicapped in the way we
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proceed. and that's because the people who are selected to do the work, i know many, many, many people in town again academia who could've been good additions to the american negotiating team over the years, and the whenever asked. and instead we have people who were working on the obama administration's last effort, which lasted for i think 12 months, and at the end of it, at the end of it two of them gave an interview to a paper and said, the failure of the negotiations, and said we did
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not realize that the israeli government issuing new tenders for new housing construction in the west bank would subvert the peace process, or it was intended to subvert the peace process. and we didn't realize that the building of settlements in the west bank involved the ex-appropriation of palestinian land. wow. wow. most american undergraduate who study this know that. by two very important people running the program for the obama administration said they didn't understand that. i don't know if that's, jim, would you call patrons are what you called wilbert egberts. i'm not sure which one it is.
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[inaudible] [laughter] >> could be. -- willful ignorance. i don't think we select the best people to represent us and to fight for this outcome that we say is in our national interest him and declared is. and other people have referred to the fact that it is an issue that resonates deeply with the air people. and it is an issue -- arab people -- that does promote violence and promote extremism and foster extremism in the region. it's not the only issue in the region, but it is the issue through which arabs really see america and our real values and our real intentions. and it is what diminishes their
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confidence in us and our political judgment and our actual professions a partnership with them. and it certainly isn't the only issue that contribute to extremism in the region, certainly not, but it is an issue which does contribute to extremism. and i'll give you one example of that. that is that some years ago when i was in riyadh and i was in the ministry of interior and they showed us videos, i think i may have said this before, this is not my first year on this panel, but they showed us videos that al-qaeda was using to recruit people in the kingdom. they were photos and videos of palestinians bleeding in the streets of the gaza strip and the west bank. because that does matter to
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arabs and it will get arabs out of their seats and into one of these organizations. it's a good recruiting tool. something that osama bin laden spoke about in his letters, his videos in the early 1990s as one of his runcible motivations. and so -- principal motivations. we have failed in my opinion, and i will live to the others to talk about what can be done now, but i would say maybe just for the united states to get out of the way of the efforts of other actors of international community might be the best thing we can do. [applause] >> thank you, tom. as you can imagine with some very interesting questions you. i will direct the questions to each one of the panelists. you can feel free to remain in your seat. that might be the easiest way to answer these questions.
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and jim come if i can just know, i like your analogy, your sports analogy. i think is what has worked on the palestinian issue for a long time i think there's also something else which is called moving the goalposts. i think with israel and, frankly, the united states has been so effective in doing it these negotiations is moving the goalposts, which means there's always an excuse what if somebody's election, somebody's political capital from something happens, the timing isn't right, an american president doesn't feel that it is appropriate. and once the goalposts keeps moving, there is no hope for the palestinians. ambassador areikat, we have quite a bit as you can imagine of questions for you, but the continuing questions that keep coming up have to do with the future of president abbas. it's no big secret that he is made several statements to the fact that he is not willing to continue in his position. so the question is what happens
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to the p.a., to the leadership if there is any sort of agreement between fattah and hamas moving forward with what does that look like? and weaving into that question, what about a one state solution for israel has to give citizenship to all the palestinians? why don't you call their bluff on that? so if i make him answer both of those questions. >> thank you, randa. well, i have to brag that maybe i am, maybe the only arab official, unofficial inabilities who is willing to talk about the future of president while he is still president. i think we do have well-established institutions within the plo to keep in mind that president abbas is not only the president of the palestinian authority but he is also the chairman of the plo executive
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committee, which is the highest executive branch in the palestinian political system. and there are certain sequence of the succession if and when the president abbas besides to step down. i mean, it's not a secret that he has been trying so hard to hold elections. we haven't had democratic elections in more than, almost 10 years now. and, unfortunately, because of the political divisions that exist between hamas and the plo, we will -- we were not successful in having these selections being healthy i think the palestinian people deserve the opportunity to exercise that democratic option of choosing your leadership. president abbas is in favor of that. and the majority of the palestinian leadership is in favor of that. if and when the circumstances
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arrive, i am sure that our existing political establishment within the plo will be able to handle this issue. i remember before president arafat -- before president arafat.com everybody said what could have happened to the palestinian people before president arafat dies. he passed away and palestinians managed to handle the situation just fine. so as for the reconciliation, unfortunately, nothing is happening in terms of agreeing politically with hamas. it continues to be the plo policy to end of these divisions, but once again many external factors are impacting such progress. it's unfortunate that it
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continues to we will continue to exert all our efforts to end these divisions, especially right now under the current set of consensus. the one state versus two state, i think dr. harb, dinner, summed it when he said that, you know, the creation of one state by national and state, you know, does not necessarily mean that the palestinians have achieved their objectives in terms of political independence and preserving their national identity. i think it will only take our struggle to a different stage from that of political struggle, people under occupation fight for justice and freedom, to a different level of struggle for social justice, similar to our brothers in the 1940s areas who are almost 70, 67 years after the creation, continue to fight for equality and continue
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to resist knesset legislated discriminatory loads against them. so we are still committed to this to take -- a two-state solution i know i can that are skeptical about this proposition but in our view this continues to be the best and the most ideal outcome for our conflict with israel. >> thank you, ambassador. jim, we can sense the frustration in the audience by the questions i'm going to give the tough ones to you. we've got quite a few questions about the press and the media coverage, and there's one asking whether or not it was a massive nonviolent movement by palestinians, with the press cover it? how can we combat the power of the israeli lobby on capitol hill cracks but one of the questions i find most interesting is how social media is galvanizing international public opinion, look into that the movement of media, is a
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similarity with south africa and apartheid. and i know you've done a lot of work for many, many years, if not decades, with the african-american community, and now we see the rise of the african-american community in solidarity with the palestinians. so can you comment on those, please? >> broad thank you. that's the changing demographics on the issue that i noted -- randa, thank you. i frankly think the movement is brilliant and is important and is eminently supportable. ..

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