Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
October 6, 2010 - 12:00am

ATFP Senior Fellow Joins APN Spokesman at Peace Event at The Washington Center

On Sept. 20, ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish joined Ori Nir, the spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, at an event hosted by the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars entitled “The Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Why it is a Win-Win for Israelis, Palestinians and the United States.” More than 200 students, interns and others listened to the two explaining why all responsible parties have a vested interest in a two-state peace agreement.

Nir told the audience that while the obstacles were great, there are new reasons for hopefulness that a negotiated agreement can be reached. He said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has more room to maneuver with his cabinet colleagues than is usually supposed. Nir, who covered the West Bank extensively as a reporter for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz recalled that 15 years ago Palestinians could be arrested and even shot for hoisting a Palestinian flag in the occupied territories. Now, he told the audience, Netanyahu had a Palestinian flag at his official residence when he received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for negotiations. He added that Netanyahu has begun to refer to the “West Bank” as opposed to his traditional rhetoric about “Judea and Samaria” that is often taken to imply an Israeli territorial claim on the occupied Palestinian territories.

Ibish said that peace was essential to American national interests, which is why the Obama administration has made it a major foreign policy priority. He told the audience that everything the United States is trying to accomplish in the region is compromised by the conflict and that resolving it would improve the prospects of achieving all other US goals in the Middle East. He added that of course it would not be a panacea for all regional ills or challenges, and that other problems would persist. But, he said, there is no other single achievable goal that would have a similarly beneficial impact on US fortunes in the region. He also said that the Palestinians have no choice but to seek a negotiated peace agreement with Israel to achieve their independence and end the occupation. Israel, too, he said, could only achieve its goals of peace, security and regional acceptance without an agreement with the Palestinians.

Nir and Ibish took questions from the standing-room-only audience for an hour, in a wide-ranging conversation about the urgency and necessity of a two-state peace agreement.


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