The Elusive Dream of Peace in Gaza

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A demonstrator holds a placard with a painting of the Palestinian flag and a peace symbol during a demonstration on July 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Blazquez Dominguez/Getty)

Already into a deadly week in Gaza and Israel, pressure is mounting in Jerusalem for the negotiation of a cease-fire in the war with Palestinians.

“We have certainly made some steps forward but there's still work to be done," said Secretary of State John Kerry during meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday. Kerry also expressed hopes for creating a long term solution for the region that has been beset by conflict for decades.

But on Wednesday night, Hamas rejected any hope of resolution.

"We will not accept any initiative that doesn't lift the seigher on our people and respect their sacrifices and championships," said Khaled Meshal, Hamas's political leader.

That leaves civilians on both sides wondering how long the violence will persist.

Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for our partner The New York Times, has an update on the failed cease-fire negotiations. Veteran Middle East negotiator Ambassador Martin Indyk sees all of this as an unsustainable stalemate in an increasingly unstable region. He is the former U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He's now the vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution


Martin Indyk and Jodi Rudoren

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman


T.J. Raphael

Comments [10]

Pickens W. Irvine from Whidbey Island, WA

A possible solution to the conflict, including doubling the area of the Gaza Strip by a landfill extending into the Mediterranean Sea, can be seen at Trying to resolve the conflict by cramming growing populations of both peoples into existing territory has been proven impossible since the formation of Israel in 1948. It is time to try a new approach.

Jul. 28 2014 12:55 PM

End the Israeli occupation in Palestine ...this is the time to force Israel to accept the UN resolutions and withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem

Jul. 24 2014 08:44 PM
Linda Cox from seattle

I agree with Michaelanglo above. I am tired of listening to the same dialogue with the USA asking for restraint from Israel and they need to be able to defend themselves. Wait, Israel keeps taking land that is not theirs, puts up settlements against opposition from the world and it is probably paid for by USA money. Why doesn't the USA stop giving all this aid money, that would make Israel listen. I am tired of supporting Israel no matter what. We are tied to supporting them because so many American Jews have money in Wall street and Hollywood and Israel has a strong lobby group. I wish you would talk about all of this on your show, and say it on your show. The Palestinians are treated terribly, I would be bombing if I was them also. They can't survive in their condition. I feel you too are afraid to say this.

Jul. 24 2014 03:36 PM

Hamas' Elusive Dream of Peace? Naive Western "journalists" who write things like that remind Hamas of why they do what they do. Until they reach their promised 70 virgin boys, this IS their goal, their Nirvana.

Jul. 24 2014 03:26 PM
Robert Ragaini from Manhattan

Does anyone believe that the settlements in the West Bank are anything but permanent? Of course not. But what if they, and the rest of the West Bank, were occupied by Palestinians? And what if the Gaza Strip were part of a larger, legitimate, universally accepted, Israel?

I suggest that Israel return the West Bank and the settlements, which it leaves intact, to the Palestinians for an undivided state of Palestine. The Palestinians give the Gaza Strip to Israel except for a corridor to the sea.

The government of Palestine compensates the former citizens of Gaza by giving them title to homes in the former settlements and to other suitable dwellings. The Israeli government compensates the former dwellers in the settlements by giving them title to property in Gaza. Jerusalem is temporarily left out of the arrangement, to be addressed separately later. Each side gains enormously.

Each side, however, may argue that it loses more than it gains. Regarding Palestine, the steady increase in the number of Israeli settlements is clearly a plan of permanence. The above proposal gives Palestinians more territory than they are likely to obtain in any other way. And freedom at last. As for Israel, it adds to its land mass as it would by permanently annexing the West Bank. Less in quantity, more in quality. It would also give Israel the opportunity to refashion its global image. Currently, Israel has only one friend. With the above solution, its occupation ends and it can devote its energies to being a good neighbor and a positive participant in the United Nations. Once the two states are established and, one hopes, thriving, even the question of Jerusalem will have a chance of resolution.

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall." wrote the poet, Robert Frost who knew from experience that walls have a tendency to come down. Remember Berlin? Remember Jericho.

(I'm under no illusion that this is an easy proposal to accomplish, both from a human and organizational aspect. But much greater operations have been accomplished. This idea could be a starting point.)

Jul. 24 2014 11:59 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Following the news from Gaza is like playing poker with exploding cards; no winners, just lots of bad blood

I'll be in Hollywood next week collecting vanity plates and dealing with Producers. Thank God there's no news outlets in L.A. I need a break from the world.

Jul. 24 2014 11:37 AM

A total misrepresentation. Very disappointing. Hamas was severely weakened by the US backed military coup in Egypt. That is what prompted the unity deal which so incensed Netanyahu. Hamas made all the compromises in that deal, though you'd never know it by the reports in the MSM which seems to just print the press releases from Jerusalem. Netayahu could have taken steps to negotiate at that point, and was being encouraged by Obama to do so, but that was never on the agenda. He's thinking about all that oil, gas and water in the Occupied Territories. Netanyahu is cut of the same cloth as Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch(who he is working with via Genie Oil.) This is not about security for the Jewish people. This is about excluding the Palestinians from a share in the natural resources on their land.

Ka-ching. We are led by people who make the Mafia look like boy scouts. Both Jews and Arabs are expendable in their profit driven calculations. Netanyahu has turned the Settlers into fascist thugs, reminiscent of the brownshirts. They were cultivated as surely as Murdoch cultivated The Tea Party in the US. It was corporate Germany that cultivated the National Socialist movement in Germany, thinking they could control it. No lessons have been learned. People are as easily fooled as ever - you can't fool all of the people all of the time, but you only need to fool a big enough minority of thugs to impose your will. Netanyahu has been prepared to even use ISIS in Syria to depose Assad at any cost, and it is starting to have an effect. That Netanyahu is prepared to work with Saudi Arabia, their backers, shows the depths of his depravity. No doubt they have done a deal to keep the Golan Heights and it's oil & water. Of course they don't want any attention on Syria right now.
Keep drinking the Kool-Aid John. That way you get to keep your job, and that's the main thing, right.

Jul. 24 2014 11:23 AM
Michelangelo from Miami FL

I've been listening to talk of this fighting on many different media outlets - TV and radio. Something I never noticed before but do now is how all reporters and newsreaders skew the Palestinians as part of Hamas and therefore bad. The same folks also keep repeating "Israel's right to defend itself" as though they've gone through some indoctrination. The news, my beloved NPR included, want me to side with Israel's view over the Palestinians.

However, in my view it seems that Israel fought for their historical homeland (good) starting with bombing British hotels (bad) and finishing with a military win (good). Then they went denounce anyone who won't recognize them (bad). Then on to push back the "other" historical residents of that region (worse). And slowly taking over the Palestinians' lands via settlements (worst).

It's the 21st century and we're basically watching an ethnic-religious group once persecuted become the persecutors. I sometimes wonder if the Israel needs perpetual strife to keep its people together after living in enclaves for centuries.

Recognize Gaza and Palestine (so-called west bank) as sovereign states and get back to living, Israel. This warring behavior can't continue. If I'm getting tired of it be sure that my generation and those that follow with simply abandon your cause altogether.

Jul. 24 2014 11:18 AM
Pat Gengo

A strong women's advocate, early on, was Eleanor Roosevelt, who was heavily invested in current events, and as an early women's advocate, highly effective.

Jul. 24 2014 09:41 AM
ivan obregon from nyc

By this point, granting the Likud, the american media, and the public pronouncements of the US government the benefit of the doubt that it's a 'war", a "conflict", a "dispute", an "occupation", "two disagreeing sides" only serves to signify our complicity in the dissemination of what it's supposedly "not" ......oppression, colonialism and racism: it's not about Hamas, chris, but bout palestine and palestinians; it's not about israel's right to exist but palestine's; it's not about the terrorism being done to israel right now but about the terrorism being done against palestinians in the name of terrorism that could have been done against israel right now....and objective journalism would know the difference.

Jul. 24 2014 09:26 AM

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