Public policy scholar Rami Khouri debates former Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns about the effectiveness of U.S. military presence in the Middle East.
While Burns argues that the Bush administration has made great strides towards peace in the region, Khouri maintains that the War on Terror has only served to destabilize the region.
Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns
Nicholas Burns is director of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Strategy Group. He is also professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics and faculty chair for programs on the Middle East, India, and South Asia at the Harvard Kennedy School. Burns is a senior counselor at The Cohen Group. Previously, he was undersecretary of state for political affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking official; US ambassador to NATO from 2001 to 2005 and to Greece from 1997 to 2001; and State Department spokesman from 1995 to 1997. He worked on the National Security Council as senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia affairs under President Bill Clinton and, before that, director for Soviet affairs for President George H.W. Bush.
Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and US citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth.
He is the Director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut as well as editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune. He is an internationally syndicated political columnist and author.
Peace is probably possible in the Middle East in the very long run. Some of the more moderate Muslim countries realize that their oil tryannies cannot last forever and have been working with American universities to locate extensions to educate their people in the successful tradition of the West. Israel is a shining light in the Middle East of a very successful, enlightened, liberal Western democracy established in a short time. And things are going extremely well in Iraq for democracy. Israel is to be commended for showing such restraint in dealing with the horrors the Palestinian terrorists shower down on Israel on a daily basis and Israel was right in giving up the land they did to show the world exactly what the Palestinians would do with it; nothing but destruction and terrorism.
Divide Jerusalem. And recreate a clone in the Gaza strip.
London Bridge was taken apart stone by stone and re-assembled in America.
What I am suggesting is to take apart the Dome of the Rock brick by brick and cloning each of those parts until there is a complete set of original Dome of the Rock and a new Dome of the Rock. Take those two sets, under strict supervision of Arabs, Israelis and the World and reassemble them at two separate locations, but not at the original location. The original location becomes a World site where a monument will be built commerating the act of God and His benelovent wish for peace for all mankind and built by representatives of all nations.
The two sets will be assembled using one orginal brick for each new brick and recreated on holy sights that are determined, but not agreed, by the Arabs and Israelis. But each sight must be sovereign to each group.
For every sight or building that is to be shared, the same process is to be done.
This plan is to be enforced because it is God's plan for peace-- no one else's. And it must be obeyed.
The list of things-to-do must include “ability to see the other as “legitimate”. Rami George Khouri described a very acceptable definition of “Legitimate”. However, is he suggesting that terror organizations can enjoy the same “legitimacy” as a member state of the UN? Is he suggesting that elections “under any circumstances” represent the will of the people? Is he suggesting that violent response to opposition is legitimate? Is he suggesting that the “Israel Lobby” is not interested in the welfare of the U.S? Is there democracy when there are no Lobby groups?
Who determines “The welfare of the U.S?” – NGOs? Lobby Groups? The U.S. Government / President? Or is it up to the American people themselves to pursue through democratic instruments available to them – rather than through use of violence against innocent civilians!
There is a fundamental problem underlying “generally held” perceptions of “the truth – the facts” about the Arab – Israeli conflict. I suggest that the main thing to do is – accept Israel as a legitimate country. It is not interested in oppression, occupation, or violence. It is interested in peace – but has been forced to engage in relentless fighting in order to survive.
Versions of “Truth” can not always be reconciled. All parties to this particular conflict point to “Missing facts”, “misrepresentations”, and “misunderstandings” of their particular “Perspective”, aims, methods, and values. All parties in this conflict have unique ways of “painting a convenient truth” based on “facts”. However, these conceptions of truth are usually based on taking “facts” out of context, placing them in particular order, and excluding “facts” which do not conveniently fit the purpose of this party or the other. I think that many writers from around the world, who have become very convincing in this art, cause significant confusion and misunderstanding about a conflict that has claimed too many lives on all sides. Irresponsible reporting, commentaries, and advocacy have led us to the horrible situation in the Middle-East today.
I urge you to find out the (“REAL”) number of people who fled to Gaza in 1948 – I wonder what reliable sources of information you might use . . . There are some numbers available from British authorities from that time – remember that the British ran things up to 1947. Recall that a UN resolution called for the establishment of a Jewish state and that this resolution was rejected by Arab countries . . . and accepted by the Jewish population of the region at that time. Arab rejection was not limited to the political arena as war was waged against the newly established state of Israel. Needless to say, Israel did not occupy anyone for any length of time at that point – on the day it was established.
I also urge you to find out what happened to Arab people who chose to stay in their villages rather flee to Gaza. Arabs who stayed in Israel are represented in the Israeli parliament and participate in Israeli democratic society. They are not suffering from the HORRIBLE conditions their brothers and sisters have suffered in refugee camps since 1948 / 67. I urge you to explore the questions:
WHY ARE PALESTINIANS IN ISRAEL ENJOYING A MUCH BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE THAN THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN GAZA?
WHY ARE THERE SUCH HORRIBLE LIVING VONDITIONS FOR PALESTINIANS IN GAZA BUT NOT IN Haifa, Acre, and many other Israeli Cities, towns, and villages?
Why is Israel viewed as an Occupying Power? Committing Genocide?
As an Israeli - I know that Israelis do not wish to occupy or oppress anyone!!!!!!!
They wish to live in peace – wars against Israel were a direct result of Arab refusal to accept Israel as a legitimate country recognized by the international community.
The image of – Occupying Power is a result of very persistent and deliberate PR effort world wide accompanied by constant wars and terror attacks against Israel (and Jews in general). Ending this conflict can happen very quickly once there is mutual recognition and acceptance!
Surely my perspective is clear: “points” and “Facts” are meaningless!
People use “points” to convey their version of “Truth”
One thing is clear: Hamas, and too many others, do not recognize the “legitimacy” of the very existence of Israel!
Accepting Israel’s right to exist would result in PEACE! Egypt and Jordan already know this . . . Hopefully reasonable people around the world would soon get it too
Not accepting Israel’s right to exist results in continuous war, horrible waste of life, resources, and unknown potential for growth and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians alike.
This lady knows how to put points – facts - in an interesting order - (You may have seen it):
Watch the whole clip . . . Enjoy
Democracy set by the new american foundation is a
hoax. Aipac is needed to be control and finances of the American tax payers must revolt against the fraud bail out scheme- theses roots of the New American problems could put the truth out on the table. in other words no money for Israel No weapons either.
Peace in the middle east is not possible; after 30 years of israeli settlements, the construction of the wall, the israeli only roads connecting the settlements, the many attempts at solving the problems with Israel demanding impossible conditions, it should be evident that Israel wants eventually to own the whole palestinian territory. A Palestinian State is not any more possible. The settlers will never leave. This tragedy will go on untill Israel will have squashed any Palestinian resistence no matter what cost to the poor wretches. Israel has shown a rootlessness not seen since Hitler times in the so called civilised World. I hate to think what Israel would do if the eyes of the world were not watching.