90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Mideast Peace: The Last Optimists

You can call them the last optimists. As new peace talks kick off in Egypt, we hear from Palestinians and Israelis who say peace has a chance.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Sept. 14, 2010. (AP)

New Mideast peace talks are taking place in the region today. Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian leaders are together in Egypt’s Sharm al-Sheikh. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is out front, talking “last chance” for peace. 

Despite the stakes, many will roll their eyes. Change channels. We’ve heard this all before. 

But, there are true believers – Israeli and Palestinian – who believe it can be done.  They believe that, behind the skepticism and cynicism and scar tissue, there is a way open, now.  As talks roll out, we look at where hope lives in the Middle East.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Edmund Sanders, Jerusalem bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.

Gadi Baltiansky, director-general of the Geneva Initiative-Israel and former press secretary for Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Nidal Fuqaha, director-general of the Geneva Initiative-Palestine, and head of the Palestinian Peace Coalition.

Aaron David Miller, public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.” He’s a former advisor to U.S. Secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli negotiations (1978-2003).

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • logos

    Another anti Israel program.

    may you be taken off the air, and soon.

  • informed American

    Israel won the wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973. To the victor goes the spoils. As a result, the Israelis should be dictating the terms of the negotiations to the Palestinians, who are in no position to object. Thus, if Israel wants to permanently annex the West Bank and tear down the Dome of the Rock and build a Temple over it, Israel has every right to do so.

  • Zeno

    There is a lesson here for Americans, and any nation() that allows the extremist conservative viewpoint to become the dominant and politically controlling power.

    The endless acts of aggression upon others based on greed, childish beliefs of false history, and an perpetual cycles of revenge.

    Truly most of the people who just want to live in a prosperous, peaceful, and secure nation with civil secular laws have no voice at all, and only the voices and actions of extremists are acted out as national policy.

    …Sound familiar?

  • cory

    Lasting, meaningful peast in the middle east will occur sometime after the Cubs win the world series and we have universal healthcare in America.

    In other words, it ain’t gonna happen. I cannot imagine an event with a lower probability of success. Sorry!

  • Marc

    Given our historical and official support for Israel and the billions we give them every year, how can Palestinians possibly feel we are fair brokers of a peace agreement?

  • jeffe

    I was watching an interview with the late Tony Judt on Charlie Rose he has a very controversial belief that Israel should not exist. On the face of it such a comment seems absurd and it has set him up for ridicule.
    However after listening to him explain the reasons why he thinks Israel has failed as a state and how Jews all over the world are now defined by this nation it made me think about it. I’m not sure I agree with Mr.Judt’s thesis but it was compelling and I still need to read more of his work on the subject. I know a few Israeli’s who think this way, that Israel is self destructing.

    Personally as a Jew I’m honestly noy sure what to think anymore. On the one hand if you are critical you are defined as the “self hating Jew”, on the other if you are a defender of Israel you are a “Zionist”.

    Tony Judt is right about Jews being defined by the state of Israel. I’m sure the comments on the forum will follow the usual track of extreme anti-Israeli sentiment and to those who will condemn all as anti-Semitic. I’m sure the comment police will be out in force today.

  • DR

    The world was nice enough to give the jews Israel, the least they could do is be nice enough to give Palestinians a home. I say give them a home or we take back yours, you greedy jerks.

  • gemli

    Israel certainly has a right to exist, but with rights come responsibilities. If you forcibly displace a people, you incur a heavy burden. The displaced may feel they have a right to fight to regain their lost territory.

    I’m sure many in Israel believe that their right comes from ancient claims, or from God, or from innate worthiness. But in reality it is only Israel’s might that gives them the right to take land out from under a people. As such, the displaced may feel that force is the appropriate response.

    Jews are people. Palestinians are people, too. If you cut them, do they not bleed? When I hear of attacks and counterattacks between these two peoples, I can feel what it is like from both perspectives. If one person can be so conflicted, how can two nations resolve such a conflict?

  • John

    Make them both leave and give it to the Tibetans.

  • jeffe

    The world was nice enough to give the jews Israel, the least they could do is be nice enough to give Palestinians a home. I say give them a home or we take back yours, you greedy jerks.
    Posted by DR,

    When I read this statement I thought this does not deserve a comment as it is so immature. Here we have a perfect example of the child like mind.

  • DR

    “perfect example of the child like mind.”

    childish like a recalcitrant schoolboy or childish like a group of people who think god is a realtor?

  • michael

    Can you ask you guest how peace can happen when the Likud Charter clearly states it will not recognized a Pally state or there right to self determinations?

    As well it’s ruling coalition has stated it will not allow illegal settlements(under international laws and the same U.N. that created Israel) to stop being built.

    As well that this Israeli government has passed the most racist and nasty laws against non-israeli jews. Or how where once radical voices in Israel was the minority know the shah party can get away with calling for all pallies and arabs to vanish and be stuck down.

    Or the poll of Israel teens where over 40% believe Israeli arabs should not have equal rights.

  • michael

    Don’t forget bibi own statement in 2002 and in his book comparing pallies to illegal aliens in mexico.

    or the recent statement by the israeli F.M. saying there is is absoluty no way that bibi is going to stop settlements and if he does his ruling government will fall apart.

    will provided links if need :)

  • Dave

    What do you know? Another show about another problem caused by religion. I don’t mean to sound like a crank, but for goodness sake its true, just like the last show, and its time for people to confront this concept out in the open, instead of just always recycling the same old stories and conflicts over and over. Supernatural organized religions are the elephant in the room. Without addressing it, we will NEVER address all these problems, Mideast peace, Islamic centers, Glen Beck demagogues, etc etc etc.

    It’s the 21st century for crying out loud, can we grow up and stop playing make believe and deal with all of our challenges with pragmatism, rational thought, and basic human respect?!

  • Dave

    “Truly most of the people who just want to live in a prosperous, peaceful, and secure nation with civil secular laws have no voice at all, and only the voices and actions of extremists are acted out as national policy.

    …Sound familiar?”

    Posted by Zeno, on September 14th, 2010 at 7:19 AM

    You got it!

    Wake up people! Why don’t any of the people here defending this religion or that, Israel or Palestine, ever address the fundamental issue of the damage that Organized religion brings to this world, and the way demagogues and corrupt politicians have used it to keep us under their thumb throughout the ages.

  • jeffe

    “perfect example of the child like mind.”

    childish like a recalcitrant schoolboy or childish like a group of people who think god is a realtor?

    No, just plan childish and comments like that offer nothing to the discussion whatsoever.

  • Dave

    “The world was nice enough to give the jews Israel, the least they could do is be nice enough to give Palestinians a home. I say give them a home or we take back yours, you greedy jerks.”

    -“perfect example of the child like mind.”

    “childish like a recalcitrant schoolboy or childish like a group of people who think god is a realtor?”

    -”No, just plan childish and comments like that offer nothing to the discussion whatsoever.”

    –”Make them both leave and give it to the Tibetans.”

    I don’t find these sharp one liners to be childish at all, they illustrate nicely the hypocrisy and injustice of our world and cut through all the crap. That adds alot to these over-intellectualized and nuanced discussions.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I seem to remember Jordan was being included at some point in negotiations. I am wondering, too, why is this negotiation unlike all others.
    First thought: Iran. Somehow there is a deadline on things.
    Second thought: Apparently there has been a new mutual defense deal with Russia, either diplomatic, or selling armaments.
    Third thought: AlJazira and Middle East media seemed to lay a lot of blame on the USA largely because of its alliance with Israel. It seems this has sort of faded.

  • Dave

    Just recall that Israel was “created” by the powers of the world in the first place. So why shouldn’t we expect that we (ostensibly the more objective powers of the world) can’t just “create” and impose a just settlement on the area again. Take it out of the hands of the corrupt powers that live like leeches of the continuing conflict and power games. Of course the worlds powers are all corrupt anyway, so fat chance, but I’m just saying….

  • michael

    “Tony Judt is right about Jews being defined by the state of Israel.”

    Not he’s not, many (yes) Zionist let to claim such but it’s simply not true, not all jews are isreali jews just as not all blacks are south african blacks, not all christians are Vatican christians.

    Please stop claiming such since it implys that one group of people have to think and act the same (in this case unwaving support for israel no matter how wrong there actions)

  • Kyran Connelly

    Zechariah 12:3 “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

    If you see a 7 year peace agreement signed in the Middle East watch out.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Michael said:” this Israeli government has passed the most racist and nasty laws against non-israeli jews.”
    What?
    Doesn’t Israel have a Supreme Court that can come up with just and democratic ways of proceeding?
    Have they weighed in?

  • john smith

    You let your guest off the hook. You asked him whether it is true that the likud charter prohibits a palistinean state and then you let him not answer. The likud charter claims israel has the right to continue to put settlements in the west bank and states that there shall not be a palistinean state. It is also very surprising that the m.c. of tthe show doesn’t know that since he is often describing what is or isn’t in the hamas and/or plo charters.

  • http://notyet Charles A. Bowsher

    Your guest with his wise and somewhat biting comment “you cannot negotiate the division of a pie while you are eating it” was beautiful! It reminded me of how two children are taught to divide a candy bar. One is allowed to divide it, the other gets to choose which half they want. Can’t we find a corollary in the current Israeli and Palestinian debate? Let each side draw the boundaries they want with the understanding that the other side will be able to choose the mirrored boundary for themselves. I promise you that after a few tries the boundaries will converge.

  • michael

    “Doesn’t Israel have a Supreme Court that can come up with just and democratic ways of proceeding?
    Have they weighed in?”

    Many have been upheld in their SC and ones thrown out by the SC are still followed and not enforced by the government or given to the Relgious Orthodox courts instead of the S.C. or does not apply in orthodoxs communtities.

    I listed the case with the arab men going to jail for not being jewish while having sex with a jewish women, many towns now have doctors, Mobs who go around making sure that jewish women do not have relationships with arab man, or jewish women reading the Torah at the holy wall.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems that Israel is split (like the Muslim world in the last show) between various stripes of orthodoxy and more modern approaches. So the Supreme Court can come up with this or that, but people with a rooted sense of “legal” righteousness proceed as if the Supreme Court did not exist. Ditto in the occupied territories?

  • michael

    As for the guest that stated “the minority is against the two state solution”. Likud is the Ruling party, it’s allies are the far rightwing and part of the Ruling party as well as the Parties for the Settlers are part of the Ruling party.

    Such examples recently

    “”Mattot Arim also noted opposition to a Palestinian state within several other political parties and in various public opinion surveys. Israel Our Home, Shas, the National Union and the Jewish Home parties are against a Palestinian state, and in Rehovot, the mayor, his electoral opponent, and two-thirds of the city council signed a statement opposing a Palestinian state.””

    “Netanyahu himself, addressing the Likud Central Committee in April 2002, said,”The biggest mistake that can be made is to promise [the Palestinians] the establishment of their own independent state.”

    “”A grass-roots organization has written to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to protest what it calls his “false” declaration that a Palestinian state is a matter of national consensus.””

    ” “The sane majority in Israel certainly does not favor a Palestinian state… This mis-information or dis-information is therefore not helpful, and should be corrected.”

    “If this government does not abide by its promises, then it will not be able to continue to govern,” said Danny Dayan, Chairman of the Yesha Council, a powerful political body representing many of the 400,000 Israelis who live in illegal Jewish settlements on the Palestinian West Bank and in Arab East Jerusalem

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11285589

  • michael

    Lastly,

    This should answer the questions about the freezes,

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139617

    A building firm announced it is creating facts on the ground Tuesday and is unilaterally ending the 10-month building freeze by beginning work on 2,400 units in Judea and Samaria, including 380 in Modi’in Illit. The community is located next to the old 1949-67 border and next to the city of Modi’in, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

  • michael

    “Tony Judt is right about Jews being defined by the state of Israel.”

    not so, maybe cause i’m in my 20′s and some of my jewish friends are as well are secular but none that i know identifies themselves with israel whatsoever and have no intention of going to israel or to visit

  • Jim in Omaha

    Here’s what my mother did when faced with two competing immature and selfishly irrational claims to the same thing: Let one person divide the thing at issue then give the other person first choice of which piece to take. Problem solved.

    And if this is the “holy land” then God has one warped sense of humor.

  • jeffe

    michael, have you read any of the things Tony Judt wrote on this subject? He’s pretty against the state of Israel and he took a lot of flack for it. He is right in the sense that Israel is used by non-Jews to define Jews all over the world. This has nothing to do with Zionism per say, it has to do with identity based on a political zeitgeist defined by Israel.

    It’s hard for Jews to be separated from Israel weather they want to or not. This is what he meant, or at least it is what I think Tony Judt meant.

    You are over simplifying a very complex issue.

  • jeffe

    “Tony Judt is right about Jews being defined by the state of Israel.”

    not so, maybe cause i’m in my 20’s and some of my jewish friends are as well are secular but none that i know identifies themselves with israel whatsoever and have no intention of going to israel or to visit
    Posted by michael

    Michael it’s not about your “Jewish” friends and how they think. Judt’s idea is it how the world views them through the lens of being a Jew and this is defined by the actions and the very existence of Israel. Case in point, you make some pretty outrageous anti-Israeli comments on this forum. Do you say these things to your Jewish friends? If you do, do they ignore you or do they change the subject. Or do they agree. You don’t have to agree with Judt’s thesis I happen to think he has done some very serious and deep soul searching on the subject and given that he was a brilliant thinker I’m willing to investigate his ideas further. I think you are misunderstanding his whole thesis, and from the inclusion of more comments on the subject that becomes pretty clear.

    By the way he died of ALS.

  • michael

    “you make some pretty outrageous anti-Israeli comments on this forum.”

    Lol, outrageous to you but true there enough evidence to validate such comments.

    As for my Jewish friends they see that it’s wrong what the israeli government is doing and some find it hard to understand how they somehow must defend it just cause there jews. As for comments if they ask i provide the source and information as to where i got such.The ones i know seem not to get as defensive as some do here.

    As for Judt’s i’m where aware of him and enjoy but don’t agree with everything he says.

    Terry gross(i believe did a great interview with him) And the same Right wingers i quoted hate him

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125231223

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129068245

  • jeffe

    Tony Judt
    I’m not advocating his ideas or beliefs, I’m not against them either. I’m just looking at his point of view and while I am digesting it putting out there. I do find some of what he says to be true.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxhyy9Wpb4&p=70F92623AFEF0554&index=6&playnext=2

  • michael

    “Yeah to make a lot of comments about Israel, a lot.”

    So? who decides if it is alot? who decides if it is not enough? does this apply to other thread? other subjects? can people for make more or against make more? or should it be as simple and short? should it be simple and short on all threads/ all topics?

    Again this is the first time i heard Tom ask about the Likud charter(no answer by the way) how long has the Likud been around? how long has Likud stated such?

  • michael

    Any way Onpoint staff can report on the Likud Charter and how long it’s been stated they are against a two state solution as well as pro settlements of all of the westbank and Jerusalem?

  • Rob L

    The only thing more futile than the Israel/Palestine “peace process” is another American commentator wasting breath on it. Might as well have a serious discussion on if the Yankees and Red Sox can finally learn to live together.

  • Zinovy Vayman

    Palestinian State of Israel and the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan represent 5 million Jews and 10 million Arabs…

    Add ethnically cleansed the Palestinian Statelet of Gaza!

    It is already peace , although some low intensity skirmishes linger…

  • arab

    There is no democracy in Israel as a state is illegitimate and illegal and not recognized
    Evidence of this if anyone wanted to write a comment in the Israeli websites
    Does not allow him or be there are many obstacles to prevent him from writing a comment The reasons for Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation of Palestine in 1948.
    Palestine Arab Islamic state like the rest of the Arab and Islamic states surrounding
    Them. Means that there are Jews and Zionists in Palestine a big mistake, because this entity
    Zionist is not consistent with the surrounding area (such as language, customs, traditions and religion)
    The only solution to end the Arab-Israeli conflict is the expulsion of Jews from Palestine
    All of Palestine. The Jewish people will not rest and will not feel comfortable and stability
    But if it gets out of Palestine and the Middle East completely. If people continue to
    Jews in Palestine and the Middle East, the death and destruction will continue.
    Palestine Arab Islamic state and will remain

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 28, 2014
Some of the hundreds of earthquake damaged wine barrels cover and toppled a pair of forklifts at the Kieu Hoang Winery, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Napa, Calif. A powerful earthquake that struck the heart of California's wine country caught many people sound asleep, sending dressers, mirrors and pictures crashing down around them and toppling wine bottles in vineyards around the region. (AP)

Drought in California, earthquake in Napa. We look at broken bottles and the health of the American wine industry.

 
Aug 28, 2014
Photos surround the casket of Michael Brown before the start of his funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014.  (AP)

The message that will last out of Ferguson with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment