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26 Sep, 2020 07:11

Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Barak in tense exchange with Afshin Rattansi over alleged Israeli support for Islamists (E926)

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to former Israeli PM Ehud Barak. He discusses the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel that was facilitated by the US, what the accords mean for Middle East security, what the accord means for the Palestinians, Netanyahu’s response to the pandemic and the second Covid-19 wave facing Israel, the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, growing tensions with Iran, and alleged Israeli financing of Hamas in the past and alleged Israeli support for ISIS. Barak ended the interview early, claiming host Afshin Rattansi incorrectly framed the politics of the Middle East. Finally, we speak to Yaakov Katz, editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. He discusses the Abraham Accords and whether they strengthen Israel’s security or weaken it, tensions with Iran over the signing of the accords, Netanyahu’s recent performance as prime minister amid his upcoming corruption trial, the assassination of Soleimani, and much more!

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Afshin Rattansi on Twitter http://twitter.com/AfshinRattansi




1.     There is no “blind hatred” of Israel. There is a resentment  of an occupation that denies an indigenous people of its right to self-determination, that kills at will without consequence, that destroys homes and builds illegal settlements as a way of expanding its territory on the very land that might make a peaceful resolution possible and that denies refugees their right of return. It is, in other words, not hatred of Israel, but of Israel’s illegal and immoral practices.

2.     We have been at the negotiating table many times and we are ready to return at any time. But only under the framework of international law and resolutions.  It cannot be that because Israel is the militarily stronger party and can build settlements at will without punishment from an international community that is remiss in its duties, the Palestinians have to suffer the consequences and we have to adapt to these new “realities on the ground”. That is simply theft. It is pre-empting the outcome of negotiations by force.

3.     Israel never left Gaza. It kept the enclave under strict occupation from the outside, prevented any kind of free movement of goods and people to and from the area, continues to bomb and shoot at Palestinians in Gaza at will and has done everything in its power to ensure that Gaza cannot live a free existence. It has destroyed Gaza with its siege on the strip, left it one of the most impoverished areas in the world and we now stand before the very real possibility of a full-blown humanitarian disaster should COVID-19 run wild there. Also, Gaza is not a separate territory. It is part of the Palestinian territory and it is disingenuous to suggest that Israel left Gaza and left Palestinians there as a free people. Israel continues to occupy Gaza and every other part of Palestinian territory.

4.     As Barak knows very well, a two-state solution demands a peace-for-land paradigm. There is no other. And as long as settlements continue being built on occupied territory, as it did while Barak was PM, Israel is not negotiating in good faith. On the contrary: the greatest obstacle to negotiations and peace is Israel’s settlement project. Barak knows that, Netanyahu knows that. Everyone knows that.