Blogging Dr. Kissinger
: I was blogging Henry Kissinger and Ambassador Dennis Ross at The Week‘s latest salon. Two seat down was Abe Rosenthal and Dr. Kissinger just came over and tossled Rosenthal’s hair. Across the table was Geraldo Rivera: journalistic matter met journalistic antimatter. In close quarters were ambassadors from Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. And over there are Mickey Dolenz, Daniel Day Lewis, Christopher Walkin, Skitch Henderson, Robert Vaughn and next to him, Tony Danza. Always a surprise at these things
: The topic: Middle-East peace. The notes are merely tidbits typed as they pass. Nothing new came out at the lunch. Nothing new ever comes out on this topic, eh? But I was there and blogged it, so click more if you want more…
Ambassador Ross says what we’re doing now is just trying to end a war so we can get back to peace-making.
“If I look at it as a negotiating problem, the objective conditions for a breakthrough exist,” Kissinger says.
Ross says the core bargain isn’t land for peace but security for Israelis and freedom for Palestinians. Kissinger rephrases it: the survival of Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians. Ross says the give-up of Gaza is key to “reestablishing the core bargain.” He says the U.S. is doing too little because they’re “finding it difficult to work together.”
Harry Evans asks about who the good guys and bad guys are outside: the many third parties. Ross says he was accused as a negotiator of not including the Europeans and he admits he didn’t actively cut them in, but he says they would have been there if the Israelis and Palestinians wanted them. “They didn’t mind making the Israelis unhappy,” Ross says, but they weren’t prepared to make the Palestinians unhappy.
Jehan Sadat is on the phone and asked what needs to happen she says the Palestinians need to “stop bombing and killing” and the Israelis “need to stop building settlements.” She talks about her husband’s visit to Israeli; it makes a person nostalgic for that moment of optimism.
Kissinger: “Sharon is one of the great men of his period.”
The Palestinian representative to the U.N., Somaia Barghouti, says that Israel has a right to exist but then, in a schoolyard he-started-it fight, argues that Israel did the first suicide bombings in the ’90s. Asked what it will take to disarm Hamas and Hezbullah, she at least says that “disengagement is a step forward.”
Ross: “Let’s be clear: There will be no Palestinian state born of violence and no Palestlinian state with independent militias.”
Kissinger: “I think it is essential that the militia be disbanded.”
Barghouti says: “I agree with Mr. Ross that there will be no Palestlnian state without disarming… But this cannot be happening without substantial changes on the ground.”
Ross warns that if the militias attack Israelis as they leave the territory, then Sharon will have to launch “a whithering attack” and Barghouti nods agreement.
Ross also says there needs to be a coordination of handing over the assets, including the agricultural businesses, to benefit the Palestinians.
Now former Israeli Ambassador Dore Gold says: “I think we have a problem with our entire model of expectations.” When anything happens in the Middle East, people think that Israelis and Palestinians can come together at Camp David until there is white smoke and canapes on the White House lawn. He says we need to expect “imperfect diplomacy.” Gold says that Abbas is different from Arafat, “who believed in armed struggle until his dying day.” Barghouti shakes her head. Gold says that though “Abbas is a very nice guy… they have said repeatedly they will not dismantle the infrastruture of terrorism.”
So the two sides start arguing over poached salmon. It happens anywhere, everywhere.