tv Middle East Institute Discusses Israeli Politics Following Election CSPAN April 19, 2019 12:09pm-1:38pm EDT
[laughter] [murmuring] >> i would like to welcome everyone to the event today. my name is julia, i'm the executive director there for the institute of palestine studies. we are proud to put this conversation on today, in partnership with the middle east institute. the institute for palestine studies has been around since 1963. it's the preeminent institution , information, analysis, and research on palestine and the question of palestine, and palestine in the region. we publish ours,
journals, we have the journal of palestine studies. we also produce the occasional papers on issues that are relevant to the conversation, and we do things like this. i'm quite happy to welcome all of you for an interesting conversation which will be led by ambassador fire stein -- by the ambassador, if you would like to come up. >> thank you. happy good friday and happy passover to everyone in the audience. feierstein, and i'm pleased to introduce and moderate this conversation in
the aftermath of the election. netanyahu's reelection was largely seen as a deathknell to the prospect of a palestinian state. his pledge to annex parts of the occupied west bank in tandem with the trump administration's policy to shackle the palestinian national movement raises grave concerns about any possibility to reignite andingful peace processes, to protect the rights of palestinians. last week -- actually earlier this week, we were honored to welcome an ambassador for the discussion on his commitment to the peace process, despite the setbacks. today we are pleased to continue the conversation with a prominent palestinian academic
and lawyer, who can discuss the legal implications of netanyahu's victory, and the situation on the ground for palestinians in israel and the occupied territories. is currently an associate of professor in jurisprudence at theel academic college, and academic codirector from the minerva center in tel aviv. after several years is up last -- practic king -- practicing lawyer, he attended columbia university in new york, where he earned a pastor -- a masters harvard --aw, and a and at harvard he earned a doctorate of law. editor, and a member of the editorial board for the journal of palestine studies.
on publications focus political philosophy, legal theory, citizenship, and politics of identity. before i welcome him to give his remarks, i want to remind everyone that this event is being recorded and livestreamed www.mei.edu,e, please member to silence or devices but we encourage you to palestine.g #mei please joinain and me in welcoming our guests to the stage. -- our guest to the stage. [applause]
>> we look forward, if you would like to open with a few comments, then we could go to our conversation. morning, or good afternoon already. up thisu for showing you for thethank invitation to speak to the audience. i would like to have a few quick bearks, and i think it would constructive if we had more of a conversation, like questions and answers. i would like to stress a few points that i think might be
considered a good starting point for the conversation. the first one, it's becoming netanyahu and the right wing constituents majority andrm the have become the future in israel. it's not a coincidence that he won the election, it's a formidable majority of 65 members, and we have to bear in abouthat there were wasted.votes that were because two extreme right wing buses did not cross the
threshold, so theoretically, the power of the right wing in memberseaches about 77 of the 120. onlyhe parliament been jewish voters, the majority would be far more. so this is one thing. the second is that those who are not, and those who did not vote for netanyahu and the right wing for others, weed can hardly call them left-wing. we can, at most, call them centrists.
on a good day we can call them centrist liberals. in many ways the whole political map is shifting to the right. it's not just a victory in the 1977 we, for example in victory that had a party taking over the government. i think in the last few week -- years we have witnessed the society.er of state in the a new phase way,ry itself, in a netanyahu wants to claim an exclusive monopolist
interpretation of what zion is him -- zionism is. lefto that more interpretations are considered more --. which means we are witnessing an ideological turn which is , but what'sural clear is that it's natural. it is clear that we are witnessing a new stage. probablynew stage shows a few things. fierce attack against
the court system, the legal , and the prosecution system. the rule of law. a fierce attack against the freedom, against deal with the issues of human rights. and probably there has never betweenlose affinity incitement against the palestinians and incitement against human rights jewish activists. so the question of palestine and the question of democracy are more and more becoming one question. the two clear things that stand is the passing of the basic law of israel as a nationstate state of the jewish people,
which i assume that you heard about and know about and i'm ready to expand on the meaning. is it new, in what sense is it new? what does it symbolize legally and politically? probably,cond thing, i think if we look at the last 20 or 30 years in israel and palestine, there was a time when we could talk about the peace process. no matter much -- how much it was slow, comely, or crawling. and there was a time when weanyahu came to power, witnessed a halt in this process and we moved to managing the conversation, with an increased
belief on the part of the israeli government and public that there is no solution for the conflict. the best ways to manage the conflict. , think in the last two years since trump came to power, we are witnessing a new phase. to it is that we want eliminate the conflict, not to solve it. there is no more palestinian question because we want to because wesolution think this is considered fit for israeli interest and security. and with americans withholding any support. so trying to eliminate the and the of refugees,
question of moving the embassy to jerusalem is creating a .onflict and we are hearing in the last few months and increasing and more loud conversation about annexing part of the west bank. issues of themain refugees,n question, jerusalem, and the palestinian state in the west bank. what is are also table, there to negotiate? i think we are witnessing a new politicsthe region of of israel. don't that's enough, but worry, there is something worse than despair.
right, notink you're only enough for despair, but serving for a very rich conversation. at me go back and begin with point that you made early on in your comments. while much of the coverage of israel, at least as it was perceived in the west in the united states, was focused on benjamin netanyahu, and what it might mean in terms of his reelection. but one of the interesting aspects of this race, was as you in terms distinction of the palestinian issue between benjamin netanyahu and his coalition or allies, and the
opposition. not significant. fact, the opposition leaders said that he was not in favor of a palestinian state. it was not like 1999, the barack election, where he was elected on the expectation that he would andve the negotiations remain committed to a two state solution. this time there is no commitment on either part of the israeli what the spectrum, israeli position was going to be. comment that
perhaps this is a reflection of an increasingly rightist israeli political environment. termses that translate in of is there still a viable two state solution? are we going to get back to it at any point? or in your view, is it a dead letter? person ina political the good sense of the word, if it still remains, people would deny that there is such a thing, that's ok. thatpolitical in the sense politics stands on its own. morality,red by economics, but it stands on its own. , the is a political will
two state solution could be reached. buy into the that thestic view youess is a reversible, cannot bring the rain up as a natural physical necessity, but in politics you can decide something. gaza. done in sinai and if there is a political will and political pressure -- pressure to do that, it's doable. the question is if there is such a political will within israel, and within the international community? the immediate answer is no.
i don't see an israeli will to do that. i don't see an international community that's pushing in that direction. the europeans make such nice, rosy, beautiful statements about the two state solution, but what are they willing to do to make that happen? not much. the current administration in , it's clearly not pushing israel. time are in the twilight where the two state solution is too late,robably -- probably, and the one state solution has not been born yet. this might change, if israel decides to annex part of the the more those chunks
of the west bank, the bigger chunks that are annexed to israel, this strengthens the possibility to claim they are negotiating for a two state solution. palestine,rael and becoming one geopolitical unit, and probably the time will arrive to argue and claim for equal rights in one state. that would be a different state from israel as we know it now. but we are not there yet. we are in that direction, indefinitely. don't think there's enough power in israel for dismantling -- if you take the government which is the most
promising in terms of the peace process, there's international europe,from the u.s., and at the peak of events there was a massacre. and even at that peak point, ,here clear political support locally and internationally, even within the public opinion, if at that point he was not able people, you can ask yourself, then when? .e missed that moment the number of settlers has almost tripled. it's becoming unthinkable, i think. as i've said, i'm a political
person. if there's a political will, you can always find a solution. you can change the borders. you can have nothing sacred , you can greenline draw the board in a way that allows for two states. but for that you need a political will. i don't see this political will anywhere. gerry: it raises an interesting thesis wasart of the that the israeli electorate as a whole has moved to the right. but as you said, i think rightly, not necessarily permanent. it may be amenable to some kind of modification, and you may get majority support in israel among israeli jews for a two state
solution, for recognizing the rights of the palestinians. if it appeared that the prospects for such a solution might be available. to a certain extent you might argue that the result of the ofction is in fact a vote despair that such a solution is not immediately apparent. that it's not seen by most people as being available at this time. does that suggest that a palestinian position that is more forward leaning in asserting what might be an acceptable solution, what might address israel's concerns as a going in position? that perhaps the palestinians, rather than waiting to see what the deal of the century looks like, because we pretty much know what it will look like, if they were to assert their own
vision of a political settlement that involved a two state solution, would that, in your view, have influence in changing the attitude inside of israel? and perhaps putting more question on -- pressure on the government to respond? raef: i think it's a short answer. no. there are some things that we can convince each other, if we debate in good faith, and we have enough time and we use reason documents to support our stance and attitude. that might be right, in theory. , why listen in
the first place? why have the conversation? for that, no reasoned argument can force one party to listen to the other. so the beginning of the the fact that palestinians have put something on the table, to put israel in , the israelis don't see any need to enter into any conversation with the palestinians, there is no on thee, need, or desire part of israelis in entering this conversation. why have a conversation when you are winning? when you have the support of the u.s.? when you annex the west bank and annex settlements and you can get away with it? be super moralistic,
or altruistic, or you have divine qualities of generosity in order to enter a conversation that's based on reason, justice, and morality, because you know you have to give up something. why enter such a conversation? times do we have to repeat the same message, time and again. in every you and assembly -- and annual assembly time again. how many times, at one point it prefer humiliating to solutions to someone who is not ready to listen -- to offer solutions to someone who is not ready to listen. it is something that lacks
generosity, if someone does not want to listen to you. probably silences better under the circumstances, then continuing to convince someone who's not ready to be convinced. this is probably not what is needed, but probably what's needed to do something even before the plan is being put forward. ,t's known by the palestinians and with the arab world. are notthe palestinians lead and put to national pressure on israel. the problem is, as we see the world now, it's not promising.
the courting between israel and saudi arabia. i think the palestinians should not underestimate the moral power and justness of their cause, i don't believe saudi to normalizecheap with israel without making israel player -- pay a minimum price. can we count on that? in part. but we have to count on ourselves. first, we have to reunite the west bank and gaza. to make one front against israel , and to make a clear statement of what the palestinians want.
that would not put pressure on but that would make the trump plans evaporate in the wind. and he's probably going back to gantz, probably the difference between them is this. i think hamas wanted netanyahu to win the election. there's an implicit way of regulating the relation between gaza and netanyahu. putink gantz would have more effort into speaking and giving more credibility, undermining hamas. i think we could have witnessed a different attitude between the two. gerry: i think you are
absolutely right on the saudi's. seenertainly what we've not only from saudi arabia but the uae and elsewhere is astrates that there strong popular support in the suspect that and i will limit the degree to which any of the gulf states is strategyo accept a that denies palestinian rights. king salman on has been very has beenking salman blunt, and he knows the palestinians from decades of experience. it has never been clearer to me that all of the talk about the
outside in strategy, and the idea that the gulf states are going to be responsible for pressuring the palestinians to accept something that is so clearly unacceptable has ever been a realistic strategy. i guess the question is, to what extent can the palestinians work with the gulf states, the egyptians, jordanians, and common to achieve a clearly articulated position. is what we will accept. we have the outer peace initiative from 2002, is that still relevant in your view? should that still be the basic going in position? you just asked me if the palestinians can put something on the table that is able to
corner israel. you just mentioned the arab , whichive of 2002 basically restates the idea of a , a solutionlution for the refugee problem, not even right, just decent. in turn, full normalization with the arab world. could whole arab world not corner israel, it would be very optimistic to think that the palestinians themselves can corner israel. resources and the possibility to open the market
and normalization with israel, if all of that could not seduce israel to actually accept that initiative, the palestinian has much left -- less to offer jewish israel. the many -- the question is becoming an internal question, as is the question of crime and the palestinian question. the question of the existence of israel, in many ways. , i don't see how it can corner israel. the key is palestinian unity, and clear strategy. is the key point to start, this can put some pressure on the arab world,
because as you mentioned, i think saudi arabia in the last couple of months, king salman , is making some -- let's say withholding the process of normalizing with israel. and we don't know where that would leave. this is another strategy remember.but as nobody expected the arab spring, nobody expects what comes next. ,here's always room for both and hope comes from the fact that we are pregnant -- ignorant. there is an undercurrent we don't see.
i gain some help from the fact that i don't -- i gain some help from the fact that i don't know everything. we are able to discover the undercurrents and how we did not see them in real time. this is history. it finds its way behind the back sothe heroes and all of us, things can happen. thing, whatever thinks, there-- are about 2 million palestinians in israel, and about 3 million in the west bank and about the same in gaza. anyway you look at it in the future, i don't see how israel is going to continue to manage the palestinians. the fact of the matter is that
this land is binational. run, it hashe long to choose either to stay -- either a second -- ethnic or asing, apartheid, binational solution. these are the options. ways, the climax of the zionist project is still ahead of us. 1948 to solve the problem of demography by expelling palestinians. messianicvery movement, they overstated their and by occupying those areas, they introduce the problem they solved in 1948.
are more now we like the 40's of the last century than the 80's of the last century. we are back to one unit in are twoe, where there groups, and the demographic question is facing us, not behind us. palestinianse still have many cards to play. the question is do they know how to play them? gerry: it raises an interesting thetion, we talk about israeli-palestinian issue, but there are really three communities. there's the israeli jewish population, the palestinian population with the occupying territories, and a sizable arabs and of israeli palestinians. we have not spoken much about them.
but what is their attitude of their situation? they look at it from a different perspective, being israeli citizens, and you have benjamin netanyahu, and the knesset supporting legislation to say that they are not really citizens, or certainly not first-class citizens. that israel is not a state of .ts citizens so what is their attitude? and how do they see their way forward in terms of asserting their own national rights? their own civil rights and human context of an increasingly israeli government? raef: one of the features of , it was anlection
election in the shadow of the new basic law. i will have words for this in a moment. second, with an increasing incitement by netanyahu in person, claiming arab parties are supporting terror, and many repeating this is a mantra -- as , and the word arabs was not uttered in the elections and so they took this stance. so the parties debated in , insteadith incitement of saying i'm the prime minister and all citizens are equal, they did not take that position and they were playing in the playground of nut and yahoo! -- of netanyahu.
that indirectly cameras were placed into in arab society towns and villages, which signals that we are watching you . and send the message that we do not trust you -- and sent the message that we do not trust you win the election. these are all signaling to the palestinians, pushing them outside of citizenship. --hink the transportation transformation of the idea of separation as an idea of separation's a stun -- it is based on separation. line is was not meant to solve the palestinian question, it's a
jewish question. it was made by jews for the sake of jews. by its nature its exclusive. but there is compromise at a certain point, lucked into lay, hesitantly, slowly, on the idea of separation between palestinians and israelis, including palestinians being full citizens, in theory, in israel. collapsing, the new ofse is based on the idea separation but it's reformulated itself. now the idea of separation is .ot territorial, it's ethnic what do i mean by that? if it is assumed that there is a border between israel and
and an issue comes israelishe state, and and palestinians are part of the , that the settlers are the abnormal situation because they are outside of the israeli state -- inuse there's a line the last 15 years, we see increased settlers of the only ofnt project, not settlers but settlement as a project. notsettler project is ideological. you don't have to be a right wing extremist to settle. it's not a matter of security. , and it hasological nothing to do with security.
it's theideological, process of normalizing the settlement. settler,normalize the the greenline doesn't exist, only for the palestinian death camp across the border. is thehappening following. the settlers are bringing the west bank with them. they are thought to be inside israel, they are normalized. university, there buses,ins, there are it's just being normalized. the settlement is just becoming part of israel. , theith the new law palestinian israelis are ousted.
so you see the movement where outside, ande is what's outside is becoming inside. this is the paradigm of a new mode of separation, it's not built onal, it's ethnographic separation. where no matter if you are inside or outside of israel, the dividing line if you're a palestinian or jew, regardless. this is the demilitarized a of , it's now based on a different line. where this would lead, we witnessed a decrease in the percentage of palestinians participating in the election. 50%.s about
last election it was about 64%. we have witnessed this decrease due to several facts. , and anmentation increasing feel of estrangement from israel as a state and society. an increased feeling that ,hatever you do in the knesset you can change anything in regard to the politics of israel as a palestinian. fear and predict at the same time is the following. i predict the increase of two israelf dealing with
from the palestinian citizens of israel. think that equal citizenship means, by going more towards israeli society. this would collapse the idea of citizenship with the idea of --. and on the other hand we will witness those who would withhold any relationship with israel, treating it only as a settler, colonial state with estrangement from the state. what that would mean is that the idea of citizenship, as a , would not be inhabited descendents.
you either have citizenship that's covert and with accepting is, is, or you are against israel as it is and you think this forces you to be outside of citizenship. i think a critical work of to enlarges actually the space of being in citizenship but outside of the way israel actually defines itself. this is a thin and limited space, but i think the role of politics is to enlarge this space of being inside citizenship and outside israel. think thin line, but i
there is the effort that should be undertaken. withwise we will end up good arab citizens and bad arab citizens. and both extremes are not helpful in changing the politics of israel. give people ino the audience a chance to weigh in with their own questions or comments. but before we do that, we have not spoken very much about the , and whatnistration we can anticipate. raef: can you? make a prediction itself? gerry: probably. but nevertheless i think we have to go there. we basically have a trump administration that is in its own way a separate government.
,ot only has it embraced israel but the kind of settler --iology of the extreme ideology of the extreme right. the question is, as you are here in the u.s. and looking at the united states as perhaps a critical element in terms of determining how we go forward on some of these issues we have been discussing, how would you approach the american conundrum? how would you try to see the u.s. role going forward, not only necessarily during the remainder of the trump administration, but perhaps in the future? remember that i was almost a kid when james baker was involved in the iraq war.
he went in his morning briefing to the press and said publicly, in front of all of the cameras, when israel becomes serious about the peace process, here's the telephone number of the state department. he just stated the number. so one more move, and israel would know its place. in the near future i don't see that is happening -- as happening. i think in part because there's no pressure on america to change its policy. and you don't get anything for free in politics.
in the coming feature, i do not see change in american policy. again, i am hopeful because i am ignorant. [laughter] gerry: the extremism of the trump administration has opened more space for debate within the american public. raef: i see that. gerry: more divergent abuse today about where the u.s. should be on u.s.-palestinian issues than five or 10 years ago. raef: if we want to see good signs, israel wants a consensus between democrats and republicans. administration, it is becoming that it is not that way anymore. israel is more associated with republicans and
democrats slowly are becoming more ready to voice their opposition to israel he policy. -- israeli policy. it is not what he thinks that is important but it is important he thinks he can say that and get away with it within the american public. or at least with the democrats in this country. thoughtfulhave been 10 years ago. happening.mething is gerry: we will see. let me ask people in the audience if they want to ask a question.
if you would state your name and affiliation when we call on you. i am a palestinian journalist. you said we are moving forward as a geopolitical unit but not there yet. why are we not there you? -- there yet? have --stinians -- you would there be a milestone to get there? welcome to the one state solution? raef: that is an excellent question because there is a difference between the reality -- asesentation and the long as the palestinians
themselves, the official stance is a two state solution, it means they are asking for separation. the are still ascertaining idea of borders and separation. for equalot asking rights for palestine. as nelson mandela in the freedom charter when he thought of south africa as one unit, and let's all live together. this is not the case for palestine. s are still thinking in a sense of creating two units. when you start to think in one unit, it is different. the palestinians have good
reason to stick to the tuesday solution to a certain point -- two state solution to a certain point because there is the international community making decisions and progress and plans aced on the two state solution. hague decision of the international court put a green line and that is why it is illegal, so you have a history that assumes the existence, or the hope of a two unit solution. it takes time to move from one palestine to the other. would bethe west bank states, thethe two idea of separation. we do not get out of allusion that easily -- illusion that easily.
we have to bury the dead solutions and go through the mourning process. you cannot hurry that. it takes time sometimes. thank you. i am the associate editor of the journal of palestine studies. talk youd of your existing thehow it you said there was a narrow space and a thin the effort of resistance between being a citizen against the state of
israel, excepting the definition of israel itself, and between withdrawing altogether. what is that space made up of? what does it look like for you? that is a long answer because that means developing messages. think enough for the palestinians need to develop. part, i have to see your eyes with historical compromise with the jewish national connectivity in palestine and say what is the status of the jews in palestine? in the sense of thinking of
jewish nationalism, that is not necessarily colonialism, not necessarily based on ongoing settlements and rejecting of the palestinians. that is difficult. thatnk this is the space the palestinians can say we stick to the idea of citizenship but we reject the way that is being interpreted. in israel now. really veryaking it surgery of rejecting any jewish privileges, either in israel and the west bank, etc., while trying to theorize jewish rights. are mistaken if
they do not think they do not have anything offered to the jews. we offer to share our homeland. i think this is the space i am talking about. what is good about citizenship? or what i mean by citizenship? allusion --g over illusion that one is talking to himself in the sense that thinking there is another group, and we have to meet on a certain living together, no matter how, we have to find answers. that is the idea of citizenship. the idea of thinking from the , in thisview of others case jewish nationalism.
becausea thin space projectas a zion seller -- settler project and we have to push this to develop in a direction. we have to understand history. how we came here. tot we have to find a way narrow this space. i am inside citizenship but i reject the role, actually, citizenship does not mean i have to abide by all the laws of the state. sometimes citizenship, demands -- plessyalty, that i versus ferguson come in this country, when a woman says i
will not abide by this law as long as they are unjust, i do not know if she was asserting citizenship or denying citizenship. we should be able to resist laws , to say no to laws, as long as they are unjust. and to state within the discourse of citizenship. it is a thin line, a delicate line. you must be able to say to those you oppose, something that defies your resistance. you cannot turn your back to them. this is the space i am talking about. let's come over here. >> i am from greenpeace. he started off by saying you thought it was inevitable that
israel would be moved more and more to the right. why do you think that is the case? at theyou look demographics, you said there is a solid right-wing majority in israel. even if blue and white had won the most seats in coalition making in jewish parties, always go to the right unless you include palestinian citizens of israel, do you take as israel moves more to the right that center-left israeli jews will realize they cannot do this on their own and create an opportunity for a coalition and to drop the idea that the only legitimate government is a jewish only government, that it can be of arabs and jews? why israel is moving to the right is clear, look at the political process. netanyahu is not speaking about
palestine or a two-state solution or a peace process. why israel is moving to the right. question, icond think great events in history particular the interest of a certain group meets a universal moral idea. in over outieve altruism politics -- in politics, we are not heroes, the last one was crucified 2000 years ago. a huge demonstration in tel aviv. why? in part because of moral
sentiments, but on the other hand it is part of politics for the labour party, moral sentiment, the interest of the party meets a moral ideal and this combination makes things move. why i am saying that? the desire for the center-left to regain power may open the withels of a conversation the palestinian israelis. that in itself may create a dynamic, it is not that we continue that you give us your vote and we will win, that may create a new conversation about what is this state? what is the future of the state? why it was born and where it was heading. this could lead to a new technology, which we are
lacking, we lack the language in which we can articulate the political agenda. this might happen. only might because i do not see figures in palestinian political leadership who are able to do that. nor in the israeli public at the moment. sometimes historically difficult times bring also historical figures. , at may be something development we will witness. tomorrow merits would be the head of the government, you back to it in be settlement now, -- evacuate the settlement now, we need a disaster. we do not have one in the sense that israel has no partner for
peace, no partner for war, that is the problem for israel. it does not experience the need to make peace. those ready to go to war with hezbollah, and boom with outisrael is incentive to do any compromise. the lady here. >> thank you. retired long history and human rights. you mentioned the rule of law and the courts and the possible tax. could you give some comments on the antecedents to that, and the current candidates for the
justice of minister and what it would take for the courts to withstand an onslaught against them? to imagine that someone is soon to be indicted with at isst three different charges the same person, as a prime minister, that would appoint a minister of justice, that would indictmentble of his system isd of legal that? control of to be in the process. gerry: the american system.
raef: of his indictment. what? gerry: the american system. [laughter] raef: even the american system, the indictment is already there before he was elected in the case of israel. is reallyis problematic. alreadyidates, they declared, both of them, first of all, they both said that part of the coalition agreement is that all partners of the government will commit to support what they call the french law, which gives asunity to prime ministers
long as he is in office. tot means giving immunity netanyahu from any possibility of prosecution. second, there are proposals to change the legal system and the role of the supreme court. , asisraeli supreme court the american court, has the power to strike down laws that are unconstitutional. they have not used this, probably only a couple of times on marginal issues, but even then, for this government to think this is too much power for the court. beware, the last few appointments to the courts were appointments of the formal government, which itself was a right-wing government. , they dothose judges
not trust them. there are proposals to change the way judges are appointed. the government wants to have the power to appoint the judges. threatening.y what remains of the independence of the legal regime. i am not the one who says that. even formal supreme court justice -- former supreme court accuse him ofnnot being a left-wing or liberal, he was the legal advisor of menachem begin. hen the attorney general, t the justice to the supreme court. yesterday he made the statement that it is dangerous what we are
witnessing. i think it is pretty dangerous. it is pretty dangerous. >> for more civil affairs officer. what is your view of the strategy of the palestinians to boycott the election? with the lower turnout this year than the previous election. boycotting of all, is one legitimate strategy that groups have used. think, in the case of palestinians in israel? potential ofthe
this working. helpfulotts usually is in certain situations. if legitimacy is at stake, but it is difficult to undo this process. i do not think they can succeed because the palestinians ,n israel legally, economically structurally, are very much embedded in the israeli system and they need it. let say nationalists would want to boycott, there are other groups that would go to the elections and they will continue to speak in the name of the palestinians.
think, i have limited expectations from me knesset members, palestinian knesset members and that is why they should go to the knesset. that the thing is palestinians in israel, about 2 million, they are the only group out of all the palestinians all around the world, that are allowed to affect their leaders. ofs in itself is something great importance. you cannot underestimate this. on the long run, more think, ifl point, i
you look at the long run to the future, citizenship is the organizing principle for palestine. whether it is inside israel, defense, or israel and the palestinian territories together, in defense, we are stuck in this together for a long time. thinking, iship is theeary of the politics of withdrawal from the public sphere. identity politics are a monologue on the long run. i think that something sobering -- alarming, awakening, by the fact you have to sit in the knesset and speak hebrew to jewish audiences.
you have to articulate yourself in a way that understandable and reasonable, and make sense to the other. this in itself has an intellectual and political value in the long run. gerry: yes? straight back. i am deputy chief of mission in the arab league here in washington, d.c. thank you for this enriching discussion. i would secret that like to take you back to the question you deflected about the trump administration. a meeting a couple days ago with senior advisor to the u.s.
president jared kushner where he met with 100 ambassadors and the so-called deal of the century that is expected to be released within the next month or so. i would like to get your view. how are you feel this will play out? do you have predictions, all but -- optimism? that theng leaked reality on the ground will stay the way it is in terms of occupied lands and issued like this. things will be traded for economic reform issues. i would like your view on this. raef: do you have more details about the plan? >> nobody has details, nothing was released, they were promised to be released after ramadan. everybody is in suspense waiting to hear what the u.s. administration has to say.
raef: if we take predictions about donald trump's politics regarding golan heights, the refugees, jerusalem, there is not much hope that the next plan would appeal to the palestinian audience. see abu mazan, late in his life, would want to accept it. the ehud olmert plan, i do not think he would want to leave this life accepting, after all those years, such a plan that does not do much of anything for the palestinians.
candidatesalestinian within the palestinian politics that want to take this plan and to promote it while they are supported by some of the arab gulf states? that is a possibility. i really do not see how the canstinian leadership approve such a plan. i do not see they can offer anything to the palestinians. the palestinians long ago are willing to surrender but nobody is accepting the surrender because they are not given a proudlyhe land to say we are surrendering and are limiting them this much a small enclave, that if they want to
stand and shout they are surrendering nobody would hear them. they are so in prison. listen to king abdulla before the two weeks declaration, saying that we the pressures by the americans for jordan to be the alternative homeland for palestinians. which means something, when someone like king of bela -- abd -- has no power, he is counting on the saudi's and the americans, and if he rates the point to say, no --
reached the point to say no, it says something, that the plan has nothing to offer. even the king of jordan is ready to say no, i do not think we can and thee he says no palestinian leader says yes. question.t david from the middle east institute. my question will be for the moderator. rather than putting our arab league representative on the , if, why don't you predict we suspend this belief for a moment that this deal of the century is ever actually going public,vealed, to the
solomonelieve that king will agree to this? or will the the crownedercut prince, and the crown princes did paloma see -- diplomacy? gerry: you've certainly abused your right to ask questions. what i'vewritten in read says i don't see the saudi's -- and it goes back to the point that none of us knows the details. we think that we know more than the outline of what the administration has prepared to put on the table, which is something along the lines of .alestinian autonomy perhaps a recognition of the
,nnexation of settlement blocs continued israeli ability to operate -- to operate on security issues and the palestinian territories. with the inducement of some kind of economic payout that would be financed by primarily the saudi's and any other southern gulf states. that in fact is what this deal of the century is. my own sense is that king salman would not be interested. said, he understands the palestinian issue and has been responsible for it for decades within the saudi royal family. and he's always been sympathetic to the palestinian issue. he has written -- reiterated
thathis position remains the peace initiative that the king abdulla put on the table 17 years ago and he has not moved off of that. if the government of saudi arabia were interested in pursuing or supporting the american initiative, there are two issues that would give them pause. that as best we can tell, there is zero support among saudi's for that kind of initiative. and even if they were prepared to overlook what the saudi population things, the fact of the matter is they would be absolutely slaughtered in the larger arab and islamic world.
.hink of what tehran would say and if the saudi's continue to put their highest priority on leadership of the islamic world, which i think they do, they could not possibly sell out the palestinians and that way. i don't think the saudi's would be interested in the absence of something that was more serious from the administration and it would give the palestinian something. and that's the last question. julia, forhank helping to organize this. i especially want to thank our guest for spending time with us. [applause]
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