tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 3, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT
of the greatest challenges. and a quick reminder, keep up to date with all the news on our website, there it is on your screen, the address, www.aljazeera.com. that's www.aljazeera.com. around. the middle east is on fire, and u.s. policy in the region is coming undone in places like iraq, syria and yemen. we're seeing civil wars, power power vacuums and world powers like russia and of course the united states.
but amidst all the turmoil the decades old conflict between israelis and palestinians continues to fester. israel bombed gaza for 50 days. at the same time they would will be shells at israel. a war broke out after another round of the u.s. brokered negotiations broke down. a peace process back then was for the process to end with israel withdrawing from arab territories it seized in 1967, and with palestinian independence. well, that has not happened. the palestinians today have nothing more than limited self-rule in parts of the west bank and in gaza. meanwhile, the violence in and around gaza has flared off, and israel has confiscated more than half the land in the west bank
where it has employment settl built settlements for half of million israelis. mahmood abbas announced that the palestinian side would no longer be bound by the oslo accords. now it's entirely unclear what that means on the ground. but benjamin netanyahu rejected abbas' announcement. he said that israel would continue or be willing to negotiate with the palestinians without pre-conditions. this is just the latest. in the seven decade israeli-palestinian peace puzzle that continues to elude the middle east. for president obama it's another failure of middle east policy, which is coming undone in the region.
now i asked miller if abbas' announcement brings palestinians any close for statehood? here's what he told me. >> it really depends on what the purpose and point of the distancing or disavowing of the oslo accord really was in his own conception. i think in part he would like to free himself from the constraints of an negotiation that right now simply cannot succeed. he would like to create a new base, a new point of depasture to pursue the palestinian state. ideally he would like to see an u.n. security council resolution pass in which the five permanent members security council would agree on the two-state solution. that would replace
242, which has been the primary directive these many years under which the negotiations took place. there are many different motives. the problem, ali is that there is this conflict on the ground. the one that simply won't be effected by this move in a meaningful way. then there is another conflict, the one that occurs in the international community where the israelis and palestinians, european and arab states battle for influence, each seeking two create legitimacy for their own narrative. i think the israelis are losing that broader political battle in the international arena. and then on the ground i suspect both israelis and palestinians are losing. no, don't blame mahmood abbas for his frustration. i don't even blame him for the fact that he's chose on it take his cause into the international community.
there is a certain reality in which we have to pay attention to. >> mm-hmm. >> and that is unless you have leadership ownership and a third party that is willful and skillful, and knows what it's doing with respect to arab-israeli negotiations, the prospect of a two-state solution is going to be slim to none in the foreseeable future. we do not have leaders on the palestinian and israeli side who are masters of their political houses who are truly willing to make the kinds of decisions and pay the price on core issues from jerusalem board security refugees and the nation-state of the jewish people, which is a contentious issue. we don't have ownership. that is to say israelis and palestinians or arabs and israelis when they've succeeded in the past have agreed secretly, and that's true of the
israeli egyptian negotiation, and true of the palestinian jordanian negotiation as well, then after some foundation they came to washington and with varying degrees of success the united states has been able to says them. and then finally in my adjustment, i work for half a dozen secretary of states, voted for republicans and democrats. worked for republicans and democrats. the last serious mediation effort that we had i bus h and his talented secretary of state james baker. they had the skill and the will to be serious brokers and mediators since 1991, in my judge. i worked for the clinton administration and bush 43 administration. i'm not blaming them. i'm identifying a certain reality. you give me those three factors
and i'll put you on the road to a two-state solution. >> we have seen barack obama and benjamin netanyahu and overtures from vladimir putin and benjamin netanyahu. who is supposed to manage this? what is the united states' role at this point. you brought up a valid point that we saw some activity, and we saw more activity in the bush one administration. what is the right road for the administration now. >> well, you have to set your priorities. governing is about choosing. you asked me about the united states. this analysis does not start in the middle east. the point of departure of this analysis is washington. right now you have a year and change left in the obama administration. i would argue to you that there are at least two priorities which right now concern the administration much more than what to do about the problem of
the much-too promised land. number one, seeing the implementation of this administration. iran and the p5+1 have agreed on a rather consequential nuclear accord. that is a critically important issue. the obama administration does not want during this period of impletiontation, i would argue, to pick a fight with benjamin netanyahu over the peace process. in fact, i suspect that you may see a cooling of relations, and i mean that in a stabilizing manner. a cooling of relations of this soap opera that we've seen between obama and netanyahu over the last seven years. i think netanyahu has resigned himself to the fact that th it is reality.
number two is iraq and syria. russia's insertion of itself into an already complicated situation. those are the two major priorities right now that the u.s. has. israeli-palestinian peace is not one of them, in part, ali because israelis and palestinians are simply not ready right now for primetime. the real question is why should the u.s. invest in an negotiation that can only fail. the positions of benjamin netanyahu and mahmoud abbas, and it's possible that a successor to benjamin netanyahu who is more centrist or left of center will still be very far apart. that's the real problem, i think, for the americans. the middle east is melting down. it is angry. it is broken, it is dysfunctional, and the u.s. is stuck in the middle. it's just the priorities for the united states right now.
it's not addressing the problem of what i call the much too promised land. >> that's ou aaron david miller. >> you have kids here who've killed someone? >> award winning journalist soledad o'brien takes us inside the violent world of kids behind bars. will a new experimental program be their last chance? >> i have to do my 100 percent best so i don't end up in a place like this again.
mahmood abbas announced at the united nations that the palestinians would no longer be bound by the oslo accord. those accords have been the bases of two decades of negotiations. benjamin netanyahu said that his country will continue to negotiate with the palestinians, but, quote, without pre-conditions. to help unscramble what these two leaders are really saying, i turn to danny aiello in, the israel's deputy foreign minister and israel's ambassador to the united states from 2002-2006. i asked him to explain what exactly he learned from what abbas and netanyahu said. >> well, thank you, ali, it is always good to be with you. i would say that we have to split hairs here. if you read carefully, or if you
heard carefully what mr. abbas, president abbas said was that the agreement will be on hold if the palestinians decide in sometime in the future that israel did not live up to the agreement. it was a very convoluted sentence. i can tell you here that he was, he did intend to say that the palestinians walked away from the agreement, but under extreme pressure from both the united states and also jordan and egypt, he took it back and put it on a conditional way. at the same time mr. netanyahu was also in a way, i wouldn't say conciliatory, but he reiterated his speech from 2009 where he talked about a two-state solution for two people. so in a way i think that there is enough here for the quartet, and especially for the americans
to try and reengage and try and jump start a political process between israel and the palestinians. >> one of the main palestinian grievances is the continued building of settlements in the west bank, and that has a very permanent feel to it. it changes the complexion of the west bank, and it creates the sort of thing that you think you can't work around. is that the kind of thing you can do when they sit and negotiate with the palestinians. are the israelis as open to the idea of stopping and rolling back some of these settlements that have been put in the last few years? >> yes, absolutely. it seems to be that right now the two sides are trying to position themselves to have a better starting line in any future negotiation. so you see abbas is really raising up the bars with more inflammatory rhetoric, and you
see israel has reported building more in the west bank. but we must remember all this are reversible. when it comes to the settlement this is something which is not irreversible. like israel proved in gaza i in 2005 when israel evacuated all the settlers, and all the military installations in gaza to the last inch. so this is why i keep hopeful that, hopefully the bottom line is that reason will prevail. it's for both sides interest to reingauge and to hopefully reach a settlement which will put an end to this conflict in a way that it will bring a finality with real historic reconciliations of mutual recognition, security, prosperity, peace, all of this can be achieved. >> we know that president mahmood abbas is not polling well.
we know that he's losing popularity. do israelis realize the danger of mahmood abbas that he might be stepping back from negotiations, and israel might be forced to deal with organizations including hamas, who are not nearly as interested in a solution as abbas and his political faction are? >> well, absolutely, ali. there is no desire in israel to assume similar responsibilities of the palestinian population, and i don't think that abbas would like to relinquish this authority. we have to remember that the political achievements of the palestinians, including the recognition as a state although not a member of the u.n. but many of the international community, raising the flag of a quote/unquote palestinian state at the u.n. it's all meaningful achievements for the palestinians.
all of this will be null and void if abbas really makes good on his threats. also, we have to remember that the palestinian authority is actually responsible for the livelihood of half of the population in the west bank where 80,000 or more employees of the palestinian authority including scores, dozens of thousands of security forces, all of which i don't think will be good for the palestinians or for abbas himself. so right now, ali, if i have to sum it up, i would say that the two sides, especially netanyahu are playing chicken. who will blink first? on the one hand abbas says please hold me or i'm going to jump off the cliff and drag the entire region here with me.
and netanyahu says, well, or he does, well, i'm not going to be moved by any pressure from the palestinians. i call for negotiations without pre-continues. i continue the same life as i have maintained for the jewish communities, and hopefully we'll see the international community in the quartet and the u.s. bringing and settling this very huge gaps between the two sides. i don't think that there is any alternative to a peaceful political solution between the palestinians and israelis. >> danny ayolon former israeli ambassador to the united states. we heard from the negotiators. we heard from the israelis. next we get the palestinians'
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a palestinian state with or without the israeli cooperation. you heard aaron david miller, whom you know. you heard ambassador ayalon, who you you know. the idea of setting up a palestinian state without the israelis and with the idea that anything that happened at the union when it comes to israel and palestine gets vetoed by the united states anyway, how do you move forward? >> first of all, let me clarify. when we say to set up the palestinian state our state exists. the land of our state is under occupation. of course the issue of changing our status at the united states , this is the expression of exercising your right, including the glorious days two days ago when we raised our flag. these are expressions of self determination. the expression of self determination are not for negotiation or to ask anyone for permission to do that.
by the way, we are not reinventing the wheel. when israel declared its independence, it did not negotiate that issue with anybody or ask permission from anyone. the united states of america in 1776, they did not negotiate with with the brits or ask anyone. we are no exception. we are the same like them. however, these are issues operate negotiating with israel all these issues. we're ready and willing to negotiate these things if the israeli side is ready and willing. >> how do you take what prime minister benjamin netanyahu said in the united nations where he said we stand ready to negotiate with the palestinians with no conditions? that sounded good.
>> yes, but we have the united states that action speaks much louder than articulations and words. we tried negotiation for 20 years. since the signing of the oslo agreement. our situation today is worse than the situation when we signed the agreement simply because the israeli side, the different government, particularly this current government, they negotiate with us for the sake of negotiations, and they continue creating illegal facts on the ground. i think that the ambassador of israel that you had before me, he said well, we withdraw from gaza, they withdraw 10,000-8,000 settlers. today we're closing to 600,000 settlers, if the prime minister is truly committed to a two-state solution, he has to send the signal to the israeli people before he send the signal to us. of course, he has to send the signal to us that he is ready and willing to negotiate the end
of occupation, and to give us that signal he has to stop settlements. >> you earth aaron david miller who said he didn't hold a lot of hope. and he also said the same thing about mahmood abbas. and a recent poll taken for policy center research said that two-thirds of palestinians want abbas to step down. 67% of palestinians support a return to arms in the absence of peace negotiation. that's up from three months ago. the problem is could it be that we have two leaders who are not committed to this? >> ali, i can tell you that there is a tremendous amount of frustration among the palestinian people, the palestinian leadership and president mahmood abbas. why? because we negotiated for 20 years, and we moved from bad to worse. the peace process is history.
people do not see a possibility of moving forward in the midst of extremism in our region. so that is the reason of the frustration. now, does this mean that we cannot hope for peace? we sincerely hope that is the case. >> we appreciate the clarity that you've brought to the conversation. >> let me conclude that we extend our hand for peace. we still believe that the two-state solution is the best solution for the people. and we should not ascend into an one-state solution. if is dragging us into an one-state solution with a reality in the occupied territory. is this what they want? we still believe that we should
move in the direction of the two-state solution. and . >> is this a fair broker in this? >> the united states tried, and secretary of state kerry put a tremendous amount of effort, but that did not lead to what we wanted. i believe now we need a collective approach. especially after the success to the iran - iran-- >> the quartet invited seven countries a total of 28 they met. if that is going to be the support group that france is talking about and that collective process to help the israelis in this new method of trying to create appropriate atmosphere for reaching a peace
agreement with us and the israelis on all issues, then that would be possibly appropriate approach to follow. we do not trust each other, both sides. we have bad memories of 20 years of negotiations. if we negotiate in the presence of the collective approach of the support group, then perhaps we could reach with a period of time an agreement that would lead to the end of autops occupation within a reasonable amount of time. we would agree on the reference and perimeter, and-- >> this is not something that israel wants to do. is that what the palestinians are going to push the idea? >> this is not only the palestinians. the french, for example, are suggesting. >> but you know the israelis don't want it. the israelis don't want it. >> we're not going to be we are not going to be dragged into
negotiation for the sake of negotiation. >> riyad mansour with the united nations. i'm ali velshi. >> president obama's address on gun violence raised interesting questions with few good answers. he noted other countries are vie leapt crime and murders and mental illness. tonight, we are asking why. one nation under fire. i