tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera October 16, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
>> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight, solving the middle east peace pulls with the israelis and palestinians why both sides now mistrust america's leadership. the middle east is consumed by violence and president obama's foreign policy is coming undone in iraq, yemen and syria. but the palestinians and the the israelis, clashes in the wawrinka have killed at least 39 palestinians and eight israelis and counting. despite a five decade process,
all we've seen is another emergency meeting of the united nations council. everyone flos what th knows whas supposed to look like. shepherding based on a two state solution, israel and palestine living side by side in peace, that's supposed to end with israel withdrawing from territories it seized in 1967. instead the palestinians have limited self rule in parts of the west bank and gaza and israel has confiscated more than half the land of the west bank and built settlements housing more than half a million israelis. to say there is a lack of trust between israel and palestine leaders is to say the least. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has lashed out against
president obama's deal with iran on its nuclear program callings him naive about the danger facing the region today. mahmoud abbas doesn't think israel is a rming environment en foster peace. amid this mistrust peace in the holy land is no close to reality and the dangers are only growing amid all the violence consuming the middle east. karl penhall is on the ground with the latest. >> rain on the streets of bethlehem. a new generation rising up determined to solve an age-old complaint. israeli occupation. >> it's no life here. there's a life without freedom and you can't do anything here.
>> reporter: protesters wield sling shots against one of the best-armed militaries in the world. some palestinians wounded by israeli live fire, others downed by rubber bullets. this started as a grass roots revolt after years of on-off peace talks, protesters accused their own palestinian leaders of failing to win an independent home land. >> we are here as a palestinian we are lead ourselves just as our revolution we will lead it by ourselves. we don't need any leader for this revolution. >> reporter: friday marked just the latest round of clashes. i'd been here two days earlier. the scenario was much the same. from the outside this may all look really chaotic but once you're in the thick of it, there is a certain level of coordination. there is this first line of defense their role is to stop
israeli troops pushing deeper into the neighborhood and when it gets too hot they will simply fall away and let others take up the defense. 20 minutes drive away at the gates of jerusalem's old city, this is one of the core issues, fueling the current violence. israeli security forces banned muslim men under 40 from attending friday prayers in the al-aqsa mosque compound. so they pray on the streets. this is a religious war they want to steal our right to the prophet's holy place. they want to steal al-aqsa mosque compound he says. the israeli government denies it wants to alter the long standing agreement on what it calls temple mount. the distrust is almost genetic. even prayer time brings little peace.
as soon as prayer is ended israeli police started to move in, they went into the crowd and detained one young palestinian man and now they brought in the police forces trying oensure thato ensurethat the crowd disp. tactics learned from their fathers and grandfathers before them. they all resisted and we're continuing to do so. our children will resist as well. who knows until when, perhaps until we die he says. words of defiance, but little sense of hope. karl penhall, al jazeera, bethlehem. >> karl joins us from west jerusalem. karl, what has triggered today's violence and how widespread have these protests been on both sides today?
>> well ali there have been lots of moving parts today. we have seen in the occupied west bank three deaths there of palestinians. two came during clashes with israeli security forces but the third death a somewhat worrying development a palestinian man disguised as a journalist approached an israeli soldier, and was shot dead. the first attempt that the palestinians have used this kind of reduce t ruse to attack thei. an incident from israeli authorities we hear that gaza militants may have opened fire on an israeli patrol. israelis then returning fire and killing two gazans, opening up a second front in this current wave of protest. here in jerusalem things have been somewhat calmer.
there hasn't been any repeat of these incidents, but beefe beefp security to stem this campaign, but young muslim men were forced to pray on the pavement at the gate of the old city and that is once again enflaming religious and political sensibilities, ali, that is why it's very difficult to talk about any sense of conciliation here. we only seem to be set for more confrontation. >> and you mentioned the fact that men under the age of 40 are not being allowed to the al-aqsa mosque. are there other security measures being implemented as we head into the weekend or do we think things have called down a little bit? >> no, absolutely, during the week in fact the israeli government approved a beefed up package of security measures and we're seeing those come into force right now. for example additional border
police units have been brought into jerusalem to work alongside the regular police and we expect also to see some of the first israeli soldiers out on the streets in jerusalem as well over the course of the weekend. another development as well as part of these beefed up security measures is that now israeli security forces are putting up concrete cordons around some of the palestinian neighborhoods in occupied east jerusalem and that is an attempt, the israeli government says to try and stop potential palestinian attackers crossing over into other parts of jerusalem about what we are seeing even now as night falls more of these concrete blocks simply being tossed out onto city streets trying to block people, trying to block vehicles coming through. as i say, these look like battle lines are being drawn. >> karl penhaul fo penhall for 0
clinton, bush and obama administrations. and his new book, deeme doomed o succeed, here's what he told me when i asked him about the title of his book. >> americans look at israel and see israel as the only real democracy in the region. the region itself today is characterized by unbelievable turmoil, conflict over basic identity. terrible conflict. syria 300,000 dead, 12 million displaced. you see a threat and a breakdown to the state system and israel seems the stem the tide, even though there are problems still it has institutions a rule of law a separation of powers. and it's more capable of dealing with its problems and i think when the united states looks at israel it looks at israel and
contrasts it to the region and even the trajectory, even those there's tension between the president and the prime minister, the relations will stay as they have been. >> the tensions between barack obama and benjamin netanyahu are serious, real tensions. >> they are but the only real leader that he didn't like was yitzak shamir. planes were parked next to each other at l.a.x. so it is not that we've always seen u.s. presidents and israeli prime ministers get along perfectly, that's not pen the case. this is not unprecedented. i do think it's a difficult
situation to say the least, but they will try to mend fences partly because of everything else going on in the region and the aftermath of the differences over iran and in the congress most of the democrats stayed with the president. they will be saying with the president look, having stood with you, we need you also to make life a little easier for us when it comes to israel. >> the danger that the president atakes a bit left on iran and, standing as a bullwark against iran in the middle east. >> that's right. >> and you think they can both overcome that? >> i think they can. if you look at prime minister netanyahu right now, number one, he has an interest in showing he's not partisan in the united states. it's not been a republican or democratic issue, it's an american thing. >> it changed this year. >> it has the feeling of changing this year. he has an interest of
counteracting that, number one, and because you have real troubles right now in israel, i think this is a time when he wants the united states being seen as being with israel and also mending fences and not compounding things. >> most people, yourself says, a two state solution is not entirely likely with abbas and netanyahu. >> i don't have a high expectation of going from where we are to resolving the conflict, a big initiative that's bound to fail. i think for me, one of the things that's concerned me for the last three or four years has been the growing level of disbelief between both the israeli and the palestinian publipublicize. pliks. publics. when the anger and fear right now is at a high pitch the idea
that can you go from that and solve the conflict strikes me as simply being illusory. the worst thing we can do when there's great disbelief is launch a big initiative that can fail. the reason why we are where we are is failed attempts before. one, figure out a how can you calm the situation? b, how can you change the reality on the ground and that means in a sense for both sides but certainly for palestinians, on the one hand you have palestinians aged 15 to 25 who don't feel they have a lot to lose, who feel that no one is paying attention, who have anger at their own leadership as long as the israelis. you have to address that. >> the fear that the stuff that's going on now in jerusalem may be born of that unlike intifadas, this doesn't have the same feeling of organization behind it. >> absolutely.
i think that -- you can say it doesn't have organization behind it and you can say that's the good news but it is also the bad news. because without organization it means you don't have the same means to address it. it means there's a psychology here that also is going to have to be addressed. you are going to have to find a way to create a context where those that are doing this decide it doesn't make sense to do it but they also have a sense of possibility. they have to have a sense of what you lose but they also have to have a sense of what can be gained. >> let me ask you this though, when you look at a situation and all the years you have been involved in the negotiations, and you have mahmoud abbas very weakened, he has not held elections in palestine for a while, we know why, his party may not win, hamas may win, and then the negotiations get much trickier, don't they? >> though do. you can conduct negotiations in
a context where you have people that lack legitimacy, you fear making big decisions so there's a lot of work that we have to do first things first, find a way to create calm. i think smarter way to proceed is to focus on how you can create what i would call coordinated unilateralism. steps that would be noted by palestinians that would be meaningful. >> wouldn't that be mostly about settlements? >> one of the things would i like to see, the israelis take an initiative that would show the settlement policy is consistent to a two state solution. >> what does that mean for the viewers who don't understand? >> i've said this in the book. what i mean is we have been talking since the year of 2000, those of us who are negotiators, in mutually agreed swaps. territorial negotiation for the
settlement blocks. 80% of the settlers found in the settlement blocks that take up about 5% of the west bank. so you have territorial compensation for that. >> so rather than doing what happened in gaza where you dismantle the settlements and everyone goes back behind the line, you trade off area. >> that's right. when i say make your settlement consistent with the two state aspect, don't build outside the blocks. i would like the israelis to say we will no longer build in what we consider to be the palestinian state. it may not be the same, but for us to come to a common disagreement, until we can negotiate that border, we will not build in what we believe will be a palestinian state. as a way of saying we mean what we say about two states. even if that's not something palestinians will suddenly cheer about, it sends a message, that they're acting in a way that's consistent with that. >> you can see more of my
>> despite two decades of engagement, the united states has made little progress. we just heard from dennis ross. now diana bottu, she served as negotiator now is an international lawyer and works for the international institute, joins me from haifa in northern israel. thank you for joining us. i don't know if you got to hear dennis ross saying that what he would like, and i think he was expressing american desire is that the israelis treat settlements as if they were working towards a two state solution, in other words, agree that they will not build settlements on land that they think will end up as part of a two state solution. he doesn't think palestinians
would cheer about it but would show commitment on the israeli side. do you agree with that? >> absolutely not. i thi the united states should be treating them as they are which is illegal and what the united states should be doing is doing two things. one, puchg for their complete dismantle much and number 2, that the united states doesn't give israel any more money unless and until it ends the apartheid regime and settlement activity. >> you feel financial assistance military equipment what about this conversation that dennis ross had about what he calls coordinated unilateralism, that the u.s. is the third party that oversees whatever happened, is that still a likelihood, is the united states still a legitimate player in peace talks or any peace process between israel and palestine? >> the only role that the united states has played over the course of the past several decades is to be israel's enabler. it has provided israel with
unbridled military and financial 74tsupport and military support whether it is in the united nations or otherwise. the role that the united states has been playing is being israel's lawyer, israel's advocate. this is the role that the rest of the world has recognized, and the role the u.s. should be playing is to step back, throw rest of thallowthe rest of the e order and let that be the order of the day. i think what needs to happen is that we need to treat israel the same way as south africa apartheid was treated. dennis ross speak going the special relationship between israel and the united states, this is the same special relationship and the same book that could have been written back in the 1980s when
somebody was talking about the special relationship between apartheid south africa and the united states. i think rather than allowing or enabling apartheid i think we should be looking for measures to end israeli apartheid whether pushing for boycotts, sanctions, divestment, pushing to isolate israel, making sure israel is held accountable under international law, same way they were done under apartheid south africa. >> so when i pose they'd to dennis ross to say that many palestinians don't see the u.s. as an honest broker, he, i paratrays, do you want an honest broker or an effective broker as israel's biggest friend in the world? the u.s. he suggested has the influence and the power to try and get israel to do something else. if we have a lull in the relationship now, that is a possibility. do you agree with that?
>> ali, it's laughable. we've tried the united states being the honest broker, the effective broker in the last 22 years and all that the palestinians saw was a tripling of settlers on their territories. we have seen more demolitions of homes in the past years than in the last 20 years. >> let me discuss issues that we were talking to karl penhall about, young palestinians age 15 to 25 are angry at their leaders as well as israel, this doesn't have the mark of an organized protest in the west bank and jerusalem. do you share that view that it's not argued? >> no, it's not at all organized. i'm somebody who lives here and i've seen what's going on with these protests and these are a group of people who have spent their whole lives ali living under israeli military
occupation. the false promises of oslo and the united states false promises. this is a generation that has only seen home demolitions, that they have to obtain a israeli permit to do something as simple as go to the sea and they know it is long. there is no end to the denial of freedom and this is a generation that has only seen the palestinian authority that has served as security subcontractor. this is a generation that has expressed their frustration as other palestinians to express their frustration. it is now time for the world to stand up and listen. i think it's time for us to really step back and say, is 48 years of occupation enough? or do we want this to continue for another 48 years and i think the answer is it's enough and these young people are saying that. >> you say something interesting, you see the palestinian authority acting as israel's subcontractor. mawmedz abbas was talking about
the oslo accords and saying that nobody is living up to them. what does that mean? >> it's not entirely clear ali awhat that means and he has not really made it clear what it means. what is clear is there's still some palestinian authority presence in the west bank areas but it's not all clear to me. what was lacking in his speech is he didn't at all state what it is and how it is he intends to take palestinians to the next level. he didn't articulate that he supports the boycott, vie vestment and sanction he proposal that the vast majority of palestinians have signed on to, a division of leadership, all that being said, we don't needs to rely on mahmoud abbas, this is a generation that's saying very clearly it's about obtaining our freedom and we want it now.
>> diana, it's good to see you. she was previously an advisor to palestinian authority mahmoud abbas. that is our show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. >> surge of violence. new clashes and protests erupt in the west bank and gaza. u.n. city council emergency meeting to get peace process started.