Why land for peace is dead
November 15th, 2012
06:29 PM ET

Why land for peace is dead

By Michael Rubin, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School. The views expressed are his own.

On September 18, 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the so-called Camp David Accords, cementing the notion that land for peace would become the basis for a resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. Their agreement led to a peace treaty the following year between Israel and Egypt. However the current fighting between Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip ends, one thing is certain: the era of land-for-peace is over.

At first, Jimmy Carter’s land-for-peace formula looked promising. One in three Arabs lived in Egypt. Within the White House and at Foggy Bottom, presidents and diplomats believed that where Egypt went, so would go the Arab world. Hence, the precedent of trading the Sinai for peace became a source of hope.

It was this example that Bill Clinton sought to capitalize upon in the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed to recognize Israel and work toward peace in exchange for land in historical Palestine. I was in Bahrain in 1994 when PLO chairman Yasser Arafat entered the Gaza Strip to establish the Palestinian Authority. Enthusiasm was palpable across the region. Within weeks, Jordan had signed its own peace accord with Israel, and Persian Gulf emirates, Tunisia, and Morocco looked like they might follow suit.

The logic of land for peace became the basis for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000. The formula of trading land for peace had already begun to unravel. Israel expected if not peace, then quiet. They had removed the last remaining dispute between Israel and Lebanon. Alas, Israel’s withdrawal foreshadowed greater conflict. Even though the United Nations certified Israel’s withdrawal as complete, Hezbollah laid claim not only to the Shebaa Farms – an Israeli occupied area which historically is part of Syria – but also seven villages in the Galilee, a region well within Israel’s recognized borders.

More from GPS: what the Israel/Gaza violence means

Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was also rapidly deteriorating. Certainly, when it comes to the Arab-Israel conflict, there are always mutual recriminations. What is clear, however, is that Arafat had voided his pledge to resolve future conflict with Israel at the negotiating table. Many commentators mark the beginning of the “Second Intifada” as Likud leader Ariel Sharon’s September 28, 2000 visit to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. But this is dishonest. On August 24, 2000, several weeks before Sharon’s visit, Palestinian Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein threatened, “Violence is near, and the Palestinian people are willing to sacrifice even 5,000 casualties.” Communications Minister Imad al-Faluji reportedly admitted to Palestinian radio that “Arafat ordered preparations for the current intifada immediately after the Camp David summit, as part of the negotiating process with Israel.” The Oslo Process and the land-for-peace formula that underlay it had begun to breakdown.

Many warriors transform themselves into peacemakers in the twilight of their lives, and Sharon was no different. In 2005, Israel undertook a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Palestinians and Israelis might argue about Jerusalem, right of return, and other final status issues, but there were no longer land disputes in Gaza. What followed was a disaster: Whereas southern Israel was once free of violence, suddenly towns like Sderot became targets for hundreds of rockets and missiles. Southern Lebanon, too, became a forward staging base for ever more advanced weaponry, as Hezbollah would demonstrate in 2006. The more land Israel ceded, the more insecure it became and the more violence her citizenry suffered. Sharon did not gamble that Gaza would become the launching ground from which Israel’s enemies could strike Tel Aviv for the first time since Saddam Hussein’s Scud missile attacks in 1991.

More from CNN: 'All options on the table' for Israel

The current violence will be the last straw for land-for-peace. Egypt’s withdrawal of its envoy convinces even Israeli doves that Arab countries see treaties as little more than truces. That the new Egyptian government appears complicit in smuggling weaponry to Hamas in violation of its commitment to police territory returned to it underlines this conclusion.

Palestinians hope for an independent state with the bulk if not the entirety of the West Bank as its core. But Israelis know that their country is less than 10 miles wide at its narrowest point. Forget heat-seeking missiles; withdrawal from the West Bank would put planes landing at Ben Gurion Airport within a terrorist’s rifle range. Most Israelis view their experience of land-for-peace in the same fashion that Native Americans consider their experience with the concept.

Diplomats may scramble for a ceasefire, but any quiet will be deceptive. Hamas’ decision to turn Gaza into a forward missile base rather than the engine for an independent Palestine condemns 35 years of peacemaking to history’s garbage bin and sets the stage for a conflict far more disruptive than anyone in the region has seen in a half century.


soundoff (419 Responses)
  1. FloydZepp

    Truman should have sent the Jews back to Europe from whence they came after WWII instead of letting them steal land from the Palestinians and then suckling off the US Taxpayer teat for the next 70 years.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:57 am | Reply
  2. us_1776

    It's time these two sides just battled it out to an ultimate conclusion.

    And without the help of any foreigners.

    And please spare us the details.

    Just let us know when one side or the other finally wins.

    .

    November 17, 2012 at 8:55 am | Reply
  3. Bob

    This is not a one sided issue, as is commonly presented by US media. In principle land for peace was not a bad idea, but the well, so to speak, was poisoned by various facts, historical and current, at least as viewed by the non Israeli side. Firstly, Israel continues to expand its settlements and settle new areas in the West Bank in spite of the Oslo Accord to which Israel had acceded. This was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice and is considered to be a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This activity continues to this day and was not suspended. The blockade of Gaza? Well, when Hamas won the Palestinian Legaslative election Israel and others were not pleased – so they imposed sanctions/the blockade. According to an Israeli NGO ( Gisha Legal center for Freedom ), the Red Cross and UNHRC, this is illegal, has induced great hardship on the population, and prevents movement of people and basics of life. This has continued to this day. Finally, as for Lebanon. From at least 1978 to 2000 Israel supported the SLA ( Southern Lebanese Army ) in its occupation of Southern Lebanon. The SLA operated the Khaim Detention Center, where torture was a large scale ( almost industrial ) operation. The major human rights organizations which have investigated this piece of history discount Israeli claims that they had nothing to do with it. Bottom line – this is near term enough for people to remember. So – although land for peace was not a bad idea ( and possibly could have worked if aspects had been complied with, and attempts to face up to some ugly things that had been done were made ), the continuing negative activity and historical baggage was obviously enough to drive certain confrontation. And perhaps that was the unspoken intent?

    November 17, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
  4. Adam

    You are dead wrong: "The logic of land for peace became the basis for Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000". You write the wrong history which might work in the West but certainly not in the Arabic and Islamic world. The true land of Palestine for peace goes to 1948, do you know of El Nakba? It is nowhere mentioned in your text. Now you may provide an analysis that many can debate and discuss but the truth is that El Quds will remain Arabic and shall return to Arabs...in 10 years? in 50 years or 100 years? Read the Quran and what it says to Muslims!

    November 17, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply
  5. clarencewhorley

    How anyone can support the Muslims against Israel is beyond me? The extremists use the Palestinians as a cause just to keep up their antisemitism. We have a clash of civilizations, and Israel is the front lines. It's the future (western civilization) against the middle ages. At some point we are going to e forced to fully join the fight and the Middle East will become more of a sewer than it already is.

    November 17, 2012 at 11:22 am | Reply
  6. Truth Today

    The Israeli and Palestinian issue is more complex than the average blogger understands. The West normally sees issues through an economic lens. However, this issue is not economic. It is spiritual. The Israeli believes the land belongs to them and the Palestinians believe the land belongs to them. The rules of modern warfare and conflict do not seem to apply to this situation since they are not appropriate. The Israelis define themselves by belief and through Jacob and the Palestinians define themselves by belief and through Ishmael. Therefore, unlike nations like the US, England, France, etc, which are not defined by a common ancestry, the Jews are and the Arabs are. These issues complicate the normal nation building process and complicates issues related to diversity, equal rights, justice, etc. when it is the nation's intent to maintain a majority of those with common ancestral and religious beliefs. Clearly, secular nations founded on religious beliefs and common ancestry do not lend themselves to nations of diversity wherein equal rights, justice, and civil rights take precedence over privileges of common ancestry and beliefs. Therefore, the situation in the Middle East is a powder keg waiting for the spark that will usher in the war to end all wars. There is no way to build a nation of justice for all while also trying to maintain common ancestry for its citizens and common religious beliefs. War is inevitable and the entire world will drawn into the conflict. The situation is not logical since it is religious in nature and since ancestral nation building often trumps diversity, justice, equity, and civil rights for all.

    November 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  7. karlbaba

    This is a very one sided piece. Ever since Israel took over far more land than the UN slated for it in 1948, it has been expanding on even more land. In recent decades, Israel continues to gooble up more land in illegal settlements while paying lip service to an eventual Palestinian state. Those paying attention will see that anytime relative peace and cease fire break out, Israel does something, an air strike, an assassination, that it knows will provoke a response so it doesn't have to follow through with an independent Palestinian state.

    This time is no different. Palestine was going to the UN for recognition as a state. Israel orchestrated the lead up to it's next coming massacre to short circuit that. The real plan is to squeeze as much land and as many Arabs out of the West Bank and Gaza as possible over many years until they have nearly everything, which is almost the case now.

    For a perspective on who the real terrorists are, simply add up the death toll of Children on both sides. Babies aren't terrorists, they are victims.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • Ignoranceisabliss

      Israel actually gave backteritories,after borders were signed on, did you hear of Sinai? Do you see any European country crying over lost teritories. Israel was on that land long before Arabs called themselves Palestinians. The name was given by the Brittish treaty when no country around wanted to accept the Arabs in their.country so they needed a name. Grab a history book before you comment. I wish from all my heart that you will not live to meet the culture of Hamas, it will be a trip back to mediaeval

      November 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  8. alberto

    Find a country that was not formed after armed conflict. You can't find one that did not have at its roots fighting and violence. Furthermore you can not find a war that did not have economic gains at its' root.
    What is going on in the middle east is just human history being played out on TV and the internet.
    Regardless of the arguments about rights, religion etc. Land is what the battles are about; who owns them, who lives on them and what is under them. Those are economic issues that are the basis for all wars.
    Trying to twist this current conflict into something else, flies in the face of human history going back to the first time a cave man threw a rock at another early human.
    What is going on in the middle east is human behavior which will never change because for good or bad it is the nature of the creature we like to call human beings.

    November 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  9. Mike H

    As soon as Israel uses collective punishment of Gaza civilians to retaliate (by factors of 10 or 100) against a few terrorists, they lose the high moral ground, and are to be condemned. The west should cancel all aid programs to Israel.

    November 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  10. dahdit

    Israel ultimately wants all the land Palestinians are living on. Not much chance for peace there, only people taking their money even claim to believe that lie.

    November 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • Chumash

      I have to assume you are a smart person, without much knowledge in this matter based on your post. So let me let you in on a little secret. Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. It has been completely run by the Palestinians/ Hamas since then. Why are the Gazans still sitting in refugee camps? Why are they still suffering? Why are they still under sanctions? OH it's because they let the HAMAS continue to be a sponsor of terrorism and killings and bombings and smuggling of arms! So under complete and total Arab rule since 2005 the ARABS continue to bombard Southern Israel. WHY? What exactly do the Palestinians really want? What do they think is really REALISTIC? That they are going to take over Israel? They need to look at the entire Arab world and realize ISRAEL could actually be their ONLY true Friend.

      November 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Reply
      • Susie

        You are a wonderful liar Chumash! But a loyal Israeli are'nt you? You are great at falsifying the facts and making things up which is a great trait that many Israelis perfect because it is taught in the schools of Israel.
        You want to convince us that Israel is such a wonderful democracy for the Palestinians! What a joke. That Israel offers them a better life than under any other Arab country! What a lie!
        The crimes and state terrorism Israel inflicts daily on the Palestinians is beyond describing and you know it. But tell me why do you and you likes lie to the American people and twist the right wrong and the wrong right? Do you have even a twinge of guilt when you constantly lie and lie and lie even more? I know it's in the Israeli psyche and culture but I don't know how you all live with yourselves knowing you are a bunch of liars!

        November 18, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  11. rhscnative

    There is no hope for peace in this region. They will still be killing each other 1000 years hence just like they do now and just like they did in the Bible. The best the US can do is stay out of it.

    November 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  12. Steve

    Why is the media constantly characterizing this conflict as Israeli aggression ("assault on Gaza")? They NEVER use terms like "defensive measures" or "protection against deadly attacks", etc... Gaza is provoking Israel and forcing them to attack just to stop the horrific missile barrage on civilian populations. The inevitable and justified response fuels the propaganda machine and gives all the Arabs, Muslims, leftists and anti-semites around the world an opportunity to galvanize around the old pity-martyr routine. All we see are crying Palestinians in images, with no context. No barrage of images from Israel with whole populations running for shelter all day and night. No headlines decrying the cynical and brutal use of civilian shields to produce propaganda scenes used to inflame the world. Israel must defend itself against immediate military attacks; they do so in the least harmful way possible. I don't know how they restrain themselves so well, but if I were under this kind of brutal attack, I would want a complete and devastating retaliation.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  13. alberto

    War is war and the reasons never change. The bystanders are just that, speaking or writing words that make them appear to chose a side without getting their hands dirty. The larger issue is oil. As long as countries need Arab oil they will side with Hamas (this time) who is being supported with oil dollars. Even CNN has bent to the Arab will so that they will be able to operate in that region. Anytime you think decisions are being made by powerful interests without the decider asking first how will this benefit me, then you miss the whole point of taking sides.

    November 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  14. Chumash

    THE PALESTINIANS SHOULD HAVE A RIGHT TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES...IT's JORDAN! But Jordan, as well as EVERY other ARAB country has turned their backs on the so called Palestinian refugees. The Arab world knows there is no such thing as PALESTINIANS. They are JORDANIANS! That's why the ARAB countries don't take them in to their countries or their societies. Ask some Arabs what they think of the "PALESTINIANS" on a personal basis.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Susie

      You are a wonderful liar Chumash! But a loyal Israeli are'nt you? You are great at falsifying the facts and making things up which is a great trait that many Israelis perfect because it is taught in the schools of Israel.
      You want to convince us that Israel is such a wonderful democracy for the Palestinians! What a joke. That Israel offers them a better life than under any other Arab country! What a lie!
      The crimes and state terrorism Israel inflicts daily on the Palestinians is beyond describing and you know it. But tell me why do you and you likes lie to the American people and twist the right wrong and the wrong right? Do you have even a twinge of guilt when you constantly lie and lie and lie even more? I know it's in the Israeli psyche and culture but I don't know how you all live with yourselves knowing you are a bunch of liars!

      November 18, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
  15. Chumash

    The Arab world knows there is no such thing as PALESTINIANS. They are JORDANIANS! That's why the ARAB countries don't take them in to their countries or their societies. Ask some Arabs what they really think of the "PALESTINIANS" on a personal basis.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • Susie

      It's always been Palestine. Israel stole the Palestinian land with support from the USA back in 1948 when Truman pushed a vote in the United Nations to create the State of Israel. Truman paid and bribed many smaller countries to vote for the creation of Israel. The ONLY country ever to be created by a vote of the UN is Israel. That alone arguably makes the state an illegitimate state.
      The Palestinians owned that land and legally belong to every inch of Palestine. The Jews came from all over the world to occupy Palestine and imprison and kill Palestinians. Shame on Israel. shame on the Jewish State.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
  16. Chumash

    apologize for the double post...

    November 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  17. Chumash

    How come no one ever asks the question Why are the Israeli ARABS, those living inside Israel with full citizenship and full rights. why aren't they ever protesting or rioting or attacking any of the Israelis? Could it be MAYBE because they are thrilled to be living in the ONLY democracy in the Middle East. Many ARABS will tell you In Israel they couldn't have it any better. The entire Arab world is fighting amongst themselves. ONLY in Israel the ARABS are Happy and living well and functioning in peace and security. Why is that? Go speak to some Israeli Arabs. You may have a completely different take on the reality in the Middle East. ONLY the ARABS are KILLING ARABS. Israel of course will certainly retaliate against attacks. BUT take a look at SYRIA and LEBANON and LIBYA and YEMEN and AFGHANISTAN and IRAN and IRAQ and any other Arab country. They are all killing themselves and guess what ISRAEL isn't even involved. Can't blame ISRAEL on that.

    November 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Reply
    • Susie

      I am an Israeli Arab and live in Haifa. We are living in fear in Israel and our lives as well as the lives and careers of our families would be truly jeopardizes if anyone of us openly criticizes Israel.
      We hate Israelnand we hate the way we are treated as second class citizens. We love and support our brethren in Gaza and the awestruck Bank but can't afford to ruin owner kids lives by saying or acting agains the occupying power that we resent. We pray every day for Gaza and for the day Israeli occupation ends.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
      • Jackson

        hey Susie, if you dont like it there then go back to one of the muslim countries you came from....I have spoken to many Israeli arabs and they know they have it better in Israel then in any arab country.....that is why you dont leave, you are free to leave to syria, lebanon, iran wherever you want, no one is forcing you to stay....its not your original home anyway.

        November 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  18. mmi16

    How many times do the Arabs want their asses kicked by the Israelies? Every time the Arabs try to provoke conflict all the succeed in is getting their asses kicked!

    November 18, 2012 at 1:00 am | Reply
  19. RichInBoston

    FINALLY!!!! Some true, honest, and accurate fact based opinion on CNN. This is a first!

    November 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
  20. laza

    the muslim & arabs should help the palestenians develop their present land in all areas & inall forms! try n restrhct attacking the Israelis! whatever land is available at present, let there be proper housing & all facilities for their people. the muslim world can surely help them!

    November 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Reply
  21. Susie

    It's amazing how so many Americans are misinformed by America's pro-Israel media that the same lies and misinformation keeps being repeated by so many as facts.
    It is so unacceptable to speak of the Arabs and/or Muslims as people who have are dishonest or liars or treaty breakers....etc.
    The Palestinian Israeli conflict is simply portrayed and presented as one sided in the USA. The Israeli side. How else do we explain that the only occupied people in the world are still imprisoned, killed, starved and deprived of all their basic human rights but yet the American psyche is "OK" with it? It's because the pro-Israeli, pro-Jewish and mostly Jewish owned and controlled media in the US has already brainwashed us over all these years to see Israel as the dove and the victim but the Palestinians who are the true victims of Israel are seen as the aggressors and the terrorists.
    The Palestinians have been wronged all these years by the US first as the US created Israel and continues to support the aggressive and criminal and state sponsored terrorism of the state of Israel. The western world who has been sympathetic to the Jewish blight under Nazi Germany has had to openly support Israel so they are not accused of being anti Jewsh. This all helped make the indigonous people of Palestine have to live under this I humane and criminal occupation with little support from the world.
    Shame on the United States for the blind support of the Terrorist State of Israel and shame on the western powers and the United Nations for allowing the terrorist criminal state of Israel to continue to kill, torture, starve and deprive a large population of their basic human rights. God bless and help the weak and occupied people of Palestine.

    November 18, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Opizze

      Maybe many Americans feel this way about Arabs, but moreso about MUSLIMS, because we have been dealing with Arab and Muslim extremists for more than 10 years now. I've talked with many of our soldiers returning from war. There are so few of them that put any faith in peace or prosperity for Iraq or Afghanistan. There are more countries than this, I know, but our best examples and collective experience tell us it's a bad bet and a poor investment to make on most Arab countries or Muslim nations.

      November 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • John

      Terrorist state of Israel? What are you a backwards retarded muslim? The whole world knows its the muslims that are the terrorists.....they kill civilians all over the world and are involved in every conflict on earth.....you want terrorist states? Lebanon, iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, sudan ......all muslim states.....shall I go on? You are a liar and a coward and a baby killing terrorist appeaser....

      November 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Reply
      • Susie

        The American taxpayer has paid to prop up the Terrorist State of Israel (TSI) for far too long. America gives TSI over $3.5 Billion per year in direct cash aid and this does not include all the other military and hardware support, food, aid in sending Jews to visit their "motherland" although stolen, supported and financed by the American taxpayer. Why? Because the Jewish lobbies in America are so strong and their propaganda extremely powerful and far reaching that they have successfully brainwashed us into believing that the aggressor is the victim while the true victims are labelled terrorists.
        The Jewish state is a criminal terrorist state...

        November 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  22. Vishwa Bhargava

    Dear Fellow Israeli – Palestinian Humans

    You’ve been resorting to the same approach (Eye for an eye) for decades expecting a different result. It is not going to happen. Stop wasting precious world resources. Cool if off and try a different approach- Gandhian non-violence approach.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  23. cutedoctor

    Saying Gaza was freed by sharon is completely wrong .Israel has continued their seige (air,sea..etc) , and Gaza is not a state by itself , they belong to Palestine which is occupied , so it is justified to continue resistance.

    November 18, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
  24. Rockasaurus

    Whether one sides with the Palestinians or Israelis, one this is abundantly clear. Reciting a litany of past grievances, while cathartic, doesn't resolve a damn thing. For complex reasons, many having nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself, the Arab world, Palestinian leadership, and Israeli leadership have missed opportunity after opportunity to resolve an increasingly intractable situation. Sterotyping Muslims, insulting Jews, digressing into worn diatribes about imperialism and religion may make people feel better, but they don't solve a damn thing.

    So... where do we go from here? Two things need to happen

    1. Hamas needs to stop lobbing missiles into Israel. Period. No other country would ever tolerate this, and frankly, Israel has shown remarkable restraint given its military capabilities. Until Hamas starts behaving like a neighbor intent on peaceful coexistence rather than a staging area for Iran, Israel has no reason to de-escalate militarily. Those who expect Israel to do so, when no other country in the world would, simply aren't dealing with reality.

    2. Israel needs to show the Palestinian people that there is a better option than Hamas. Israel has repeatedly missed opportunities to strengthen the position of moderate Palestinians (who are unfortunately dwindling). If the people of Gaza saw a vibrant, economically growing Palestinian state on the West Bank, support for Hamas would dwindle. While maintaining a firm response to Hamas-sponsored violence (i.e. "war"), Israel should embark on a series of initiatives in the West bank that reward peaceful coexistence. Stop building settlements. Loosen restrictions on travel. Adjudicate legal disputes fairly. Allow more Palestinians into Israel to work. Build infrastructure and invest in the West Bank economy. And so on.

    Simple concepts, but obviously very difficult to execute.

    November 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  25. Israeli2

    1. I believe that the problem can be solved if all the people involved and working for hammas are imprisoned or killed in horrendous bomb strikes (which I DO NOT SUPPORT).

    2. Then put in prison mahmoud abbas, a corrupt leader in the eyes of the same people he is trying to govern (two of my best friends, both Arabs {since "Palestinians" don't exist} told me their opinions). I cannot generalize, because two people isn't a good representation of the whole population, but with that in my mind, i can honestly say that the youth of the Arabs living in the land which Jews held as their home, both religiously, socially, culturally, and ethnically can live in peace.

    The things we need to start (which everyone knows is the HARDEST THING) is, after the first two steps I mentioned, put a machine with two buttons in the hands of the Arab population, one with "no" and the other button with "yes". then we will let the youth, that are the majority of the Arab population, to decide what they want, through various questions being asked that can only be answered yes or no (which is a rough representation of our voting system in the western countries). When we give TRUE DEMOCRATIC VOTING power to the youth, we will be able to change the world...and hopefully create peace. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF STUPID WARS WHEN WE CAN HUG AND SHAKE HANDS AND HAVE A GOOD GLASS OF WATER (or juice, I prefer orange :P) AND DISCUSS THINGS LIKE WE ARE BROTHERS, BECAUSE IN THE END WE ARE ALL OF US HUMANS. I bleed the same color a European bleeds, an African bleeds, an Asian, south american, north american, middle eastern, the Indian sub-continent...it DOESN'T MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD, WE ARE ALL THE SAME. If my two friends that are Muslims died, I could not live with myself. If I had an Indian friend, and he died, i could not live with myself. WE THE YOUTH HAVE THE POWER TO DEMAND THE OLD PEOPLE WANTING WAR TO STOP IT.

    I hope one day, there is a war between stupid old people and the new young generation, and the youth wins because we are more friendly, more open, and more in desire to increase our friendships around the world. We don't care about stupid old grudges, i only care for my fellow human being. If you talk about religion, do it like turkey's law, keep it private and away from the community. that way, we don't need to deal with religion in multi-ethnic societies. Thank you turkey for being an awesome metaphor (even though you haven't said anything about the Armenian massacres yet). To say the truth may hurt, but at least it is said, instead of lying and lying and lying.

    November 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  26. Anubs

    To my Palestinian and Israel brothers and sisters . And all the pundits . You should all participate in a group exercise of holding your breath for 5 mins . And then decide wether killing each other for is worth it .

    November 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  27. Get your facts right

    I cant believe how Don Lemon is letting the PLO US rep just ranting on forever. Doesn't a normal journalist asks questions. let alone contest his obvious misstatements of facts? Lemon wasn't acting like a journalist, but just allowing CNN to do Arab propaganda. Don, did you ask him about the rockets? When the PLO rep said Israel started the violence by killing the Hamas military man, what about the hundreds of rockets before then? Abbas refuses to negotiate peace, not Netanyahu, and Lemon lets him geyt away with his lies. Good going, CNN and Don Lemon. so much for unbiased journalism.

    November 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • Susie

      Don Lemon did a wonderful job attempting to be fair to both sides. Many pro Israelis who like to keep Americans seeing only the Israeli side would love to shut the other side's voice. Does it really matter how long the Palestinian representative talks? Of course it does if you want the facts to be twisted and Israeli lies to be heard.
      Thank you Don Lemon. You are doing a wonderful job!

      November 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Reply
      • Jackson

        Hey Susie, the world can see both sides on their own, Israel doesnt need to use propaganda...the whole world sees what evil murderous people the musl ims are.....when you rain down rockets on cities of course you will be attacked, hamas should stop using its money on weapons and build a nation instead of living in squalor...they have received billions from the world communitly but no one seems to know where they are....most is in arafats wifes bank account, and the rest goes to weapons while Israel supplies water and electricity to their enemies....guess where most of the injured "palestinians" are being treated? IN ISREALI HOSPITALS BY JEWISH DOCTORS!!!....The world knows its the muslims that lie and revise history.....try again liar....

        November 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  28. MK54

    The Palestinians have been city dwellers for a couple generations now. They don't need much land, they wouldn't know what to do with land. What Palestnians need is education and opportunity. If all the money spent on weapons was spent building instead of destroying, another Dubai could have been built somewhere on an Arabian ocean coast .

    November 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  29. Rockasaurus

    Whether one sides with the Palestinians or Israelis, one thing is abundantly clear. Reciting a litany of past grievances, while cathartic, doesn't resolve a damn thing. For complex reasons, many having nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself, the Arab world, Palestinian leadership, and Israeli leadership have missed opportunity after opportunity to resolve an increasingly intractable situation. Sterotyping Muslims and Jews and digressing into worn diatribes may make everyone feel better, but it solves nothing.

    To fix the problem, two basic things need to happen.

    1. Hamas needs to stop lobbing missiles into Israel. Period. No other country would ever tolerate this, and frankly, Israel has shown remarkable restraint given its military capabilities. Until Hamas starts behaving like a mature government capable of peaceful coexistence rather than as a forward staging area for Iran, Israel will have no reason to de-escalate militarily. Those who expect Israel to sit passively while a sworn enemy lobs missiles into its population centers simply aren't dealing with reality.

    2. Israel needs to show the Palestinian people that there is a better option than Hamas. Whether by wilful intent or myopia, Israeli leaders have repeatedly missed opportunities to strengthen the position of the few remaining moderate Palestinians. If the citizens of Gaza saw a growing, vibrant, economically prosperous Palestinian state on the West Bank, support for Hamas would evaporate. Israel should firmly respond to Hamas-sponsored aggression, while simultaneously rewarding peaceful coexistence in the West Bank. Stop building settlements and dismantle the ones that have no strategic value and serve only to irritate the local populace. Loosen restrictions on travel. Adjudicate legal disputes fairly and quickly. Allow more Palestinians into Israel to work. Build infrastructure and invest in the West Bank economy. And so on.

    Simple concepts, but obviously hard to execute.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • Jackson

      Excellent comment.....only problem is that if Israel lets "palestinians" into Israel to work, they will turn themselves into human bombs to kill babies and old ladies....Israel gives them chance after chance, and they always prove to be barbarians...

      November 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  30. MK54

    Peace must first be achieved in the hearts and minds of people. Judging by the views expressed in these comments, the hearts of this generation are hardened against eah other and there will be no peace in our time.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
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