The uncertainty and complexity surrounding the crisis in Gaza have captured the attention of the world.
What needs to be done to prevent the Middle East peace process from slipping away yet again?- World Economic Forum
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has served as the Prime Minister of Turkey since March 14, 2003. He is the chairman of the Justice and Development Party.
Erdogan was born in Istanbul. His family has descended from Adjara Georgian immigrants who settled from Batumi to Rize. Erdgan spent his early childhood in Rize where his family had settled, before returning to Istanbul at the age of 13. After graduating from a religious high school Imam Hatip school he studied management at Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. Erdogan played semi-professional football in a local neighborhood club for 16 years.
He married Emine Erdogan on 4 July 1978 and they have two sons (Ahmet Burak, Necmeddin Bilal) and two daughters (Esra, Sumeyye).
David R. Ignatius
Washington Post columnist associate editor David Ignatius has had a distinguished and wide-ranging career in the news business, serving at various times as a reporter, foreign correspondent, editor and columnist. He has written widely for magazines and published several novels.
Ignatius' twice-weekly column on global politics, economics and international affairs debuted on the Washington Post op-ed page in January 1999. He continued to write weekly after becoming executive editor of the Paris-based International Herald Tribune in September 2000. When the Post sold its interest in the IHT in January 2003, Ignatius resumed writing twice a week for the op-ed page and was syndicated worldwide by the Washington Post Writers Group. His column won the 2000 Gerald Loeb Award for Commentary and a 2004 Edward Weintal Prize.
Prior to becoming a columnist, Ignatius served as the Post's assistant managing editor in charge of business news, foreign editor, and editor of the "Outlook" section. Before joining the Post in 1986, Ignatius spent 10 years as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and was an editor at The Washington Monthly. He has published articles in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Talk Magazine and The Washington Monthly. Ignatius has written seven novels, including 2007's Body of Lies, which was adapted into a Warner Bros. film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.
Raised in Washington, D.C., Ignatius attended Harvard College, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1973. He received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard and studied at King’s College, Cambridge University, where he received a diploma in economics.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His career encompasses many years of service in government and on the global stage, including as the Republic of Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade; postings in New Delhi, Vienna, and Washington, DC; and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including foreign policy, national security, and policy planning. His ties with the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations division. In 2001-2002, he was Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea's Presidency of the General Assembly. In 1999, he served as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. He holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University and a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Amr Moussa has been the current Secretary-General of the League of Arab States since his election to the position in May 2001. He is a former Egyptian Foreign Minister and diplomat.
He served as Cairo's ambassador to India in 1967 and as Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations in 1990. He was appointed Foreign Minister in the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Atef Sedki in 1991 and remained in this position until 2001.
During his tenure as Foreign Minister, Moussa was critical of the United States foreign policy and its relationship with Israel.
Shimon Peres is the ninth and current President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as Prime Minister of Israel and once as Acting Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years. Peres was elected to the Knesset in November 1959 and, except for a three-month-long hiatus in early 2006, served continuously until 2007, when he became President.
Born in Vishneva, in Poland (now Belarus) in 1923, Peres moved with his family to Mandate Palestine in 1934. He held several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after the War for Independence in Israel. His first high level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952, and Director-General in 1953 through 1959. During his career, he has represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labour and Kadima, and has led Alignment and Labour. Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks which he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords. Peres was nominated in early 2007 by Kadima to run in that year's presidential election, being elected by the Knesset for the presidency on 13 June 2007 and sworn into office on 15 July 2007 for a seven-year term.
Territory, southeastern Mediterranean Sea coast. Area: 140 sq mi (363 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 1,492,000. The region lies northeast of the Sinai Peninsula and is also the location of the city of Gaza, which has been a prosperous trading centre for much of its history and was first mentioned in the 15th century BCE. Often besieged by invaders, including Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, it declined in importance after the Crusades. It was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century. After World War I (191418) the city and the strip became part of the British mandate of Palestine. Following the first Arab-Israeli war (194849), the territory was occupied by Egypt, and the city became that country's headquarters in Palestine. The occupied area was later reduced to an area 25 mi (40 km) long, which became known as the Gaza Strip, still under Egyptian control. In the Six-Day War (1967) it was captured by Israel. The area's chief economic problem was the extreme poverty of the large number of Palestinian Arab refugees living there. In 1987, rioting among Gaza's Palestinians marked the beginning of the first intifadah. Continued unrest led in 1993 to an agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization granting limited self-rule to the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. A breakdown in further negotiations in 2000 led to another outbreak of violence. In an attempt to stem the fighting, Israel withdrew all its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and control of the territory was transferred to the Palestinians.
The translation seems to be a little bit weak here. If I were listening to the translation alone, I would think PM Erdogan was extremely flustered, watching the video it is clear that isn't true.
And I think this issue of translation, of only hearing second hand what is said, plays a major part in the issue of the Palestinian/Israel conflict. More than just making parties look eloquent or foolish--the coverage I think all of us are dealing with is so filtered and so lacking of essential details, that I don't know how many people on the "outside" can be sure they understand the conflict.
What Erdogan is saying in this piece (and it seems to me to be a little rushed by the translation), is that preceding the rocket attacks by Gaza there were significant attacks by the Israeli government. To Arabs this appeared a significant point. Tayyip, it goes without saying walked out a hero from this conference. To many on the other side, I think he walked out as a blustering Turk....
When the audience was applauding Pres. Peres speech--Erdogan had every reason to be frustrated. Because the speech seemed out of context. It seemed to be a skewed story, and it seemed to be told to a misinformed audience who was just getting further misinformed.
But the important thing to note is that Erdogan's sense of purpose, of setting things straight--it exactly mimicked that of Peres'.
Here's my point.
I'm frustrated. And I think a lot of people who watch what is happening are. But it should be "harder" for us to know who to be frustrated with. What information do I have to throw all my stones? Some nugget of truth from CNN or Al Jazeerah? Some pearl of wisdom from an Arabic heritage? Some quote from Pres. Peres' eloquent speech?
There have been crimes in Palestine/Israel. Both sides have committed crimes . If you "hate Israel" or if you "hate Muslims" maybe then the judgment is easy.... But for people who hate war and violence this conflict requires justice to be held at both ends, piece by piece.
(I wish I had a better answer).
There's this passage in the Quran that I hope others will read, and to me is more clear than anything I have to say.
Here's a translation:
002.008 And of mankind are some who say: We believe in Allah (God) and the Last Day, when they believe not.
002.009 They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not.
002.010 In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increaseth their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie.
002.011 And when it is said unto them: Make not mischief in the earth, they say: We are peacemakers only.
002.012 Are not they indeed the mischief-makers ? But they perceive not.