In fall of last year, Fusion’s Jorge Ramos spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran, the Islamic State Group, the Palestinian Territories, and the ever-controversial settlements. A few months later, Ramos spoke to Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian leader, scholar, and legislator. Taken together, the conversations show why it is often so difficult to make sense of what’s going on in the Middle East.
Over the summer, the region saw a spike in violence. Prompted by the death of three Israeli boys who had been kidnapped in the West Bank in June, Israel began shelling Hamas. After an escalation of rocket fire on both sides, Israel put boots on the ground in Gaza. A ceasefire was finally reached in August.
When Ramos asked both politicians about the July 2014 conflict in Gaza, Ashrawi asked him to look at the facts. “When you use airplanes and bombs and artillery and shells and so on, and when you destroy whole residential neighborhoods – then you claim that this is self defense. What did these innocent civilians do?” And Netanyahu, also, offered his account of what happened over the summer. “Israel was targeted by these terrorists, by these Hamas terrorists. They were firing thousands of rockets into Israel’s cities.”
They also talked about the possibility of a two-state solution. Said Netanyahu, “I think that we should have two nation states, one for the Jewish people, one for the Palestinian people with mutual recognition—which we’re prepared to do.” Ashrawi didn’t believe him. “Once you go beyond the slogan and the rhetoric, you see that he has designed the Palestinian state to suit his own purposes.”
Since the interview, Netanyahu secured his position as Prime Minister after a decisive win during the country’s March election. While campaigning for conservative Israeli votes, Netanyahu appeared to pivot away from his previous position, that he supports the two-state solution. And in his renewed role, Netanyahu again addressed the question, saying: “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel.” In other words, no Palestinian state—at least not today.
STATE OF CONFLICT: Jorge Ramos Reporting from Israel and the West Bank will air on Fusion Tuesday, April 28 at 10 p.m.