Realist Fareed Zakaria did a great interview with King Abdullah of Jordan on Sunday where the King said over and over again what no one likes to hear in the U.S.: the Palestinian grievance is feeding all the problems in the region and stoking the Iran threat, and Obama is losing credibility. The King said the two-state-solution is the only thing out there but it may be finished– we may have crossed that line in the sand on "the viability of a two- state solution" (I think it’s probably crossed, Kingster), and if it’s a one-state solution, this will lead to instability in the region because the Israelis are so terrified of it. (Agreed; and this is part of the job of this website, whatever happens, to help my stockaded people climb down from old wooden ideas.)
Zakaria parrots two Israel-lobby threads to the King. He says, Why shouldn’t the Palestinians fold into Jordan? And isn’t it, per Bernard Lewis, Arab repression that’s feeding terrorism? Abdullah swats both aside. Says that Palestinians are Palestinians (as we reported here last month; gee it would be nice if someone interviewed some goddamn Palestinians about what they think, I am really really curious). As to progress, Abdullah says Yes but even these efforts are stymied by the sense that a Zionist (neocon) plot is behind it. I agree: ending the Israel/Palestine grievance would be a giant liberation throughout the Arab world.
Here are some of Abdullah’s smart comments:
We are waiting for the United States to hopefully give us their undivided attention on this issue.
So, if we don’t get a clear mandate over the next month or so, then I’m not convinced that we’re going to move the process forward.
What we have to keep in mind is…
ZAKARIA: Let’s stay on that, though. You’re saying, if in the next month you don’t get a clear sense from the United States that it is pushing hard on this, you feel like things are going to stall.
KING ABDULLAH: People are disheartened. People are not convinced. I think the credibility of the U.S. is under question now….
I personally believe that the president is extremely committed to it. [Yes Fareed and why can't he lift his hand?]
Many occasions I’ve sat down with Israelis to say, where do you see your country in 10 years time, and work me back, so we can figure out the synergies and the connections between Israel and the rest of the Arab world. No Israeli has ever been able to answer that
question. [very true; it's a permanent war scenario for those folks]…
Because of the security threat, they think in the here-and-now. They can only think of today. When is the next attack? When is the next bomb?
And so, this is the challenge that Jordan has, and the international community has, reaching out to the Israeli public and saying, do you want to continue to be Fortress Israel? What a dismal place that would be. And how it continues to affect the whole region. The challenge is to reach the Israeli people and say, we basically want the two-state solution to happen, so that you can be integrated into the neighborhood. And that’s actually a lot harder than people might imagine….
Today, Iran is putting itself as the defenders of the Palestinian cause. Several days ago, Osama bin Laden in his taped message to the United States again underlined the suffering of the Palestinians. It is the injustice felt towards the Palestinian people that allow other states actors and non-state actors to take the role of being the defenders of the Palestinians.
If we solve this problem, then I believe we start to unwind all the other pressure points inside of the Middle East.
ZAKARIA: But could you in Jordan live with an Iran with a nuclear weapon?
KING ABDULLAH: If we solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, why would Iranians want to spend so much money on a military program? It makes no sense…
I mean, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is such an emotional issue inside of Islam, that everybody tries to hijack it for very destructive ends.
This is why it is so imperative for all of us to solve this problem. Otherwise, we will always live under the shadow of terror. And terror is not something, as you well know, that Israelis are having to deal with; Arabs, Muslims, the West are dealing with — all because of the core issue of the Middle East, which is the Israeli- Palestinian one.
There is resistance to change. There’s a resistance to ideas.
When we try to push the envelope, there are certain sectors of society that say this is a Zionist plot to sort of destabilize our country, or this is an American agenda. So, it’s very difficult to convince people to move forward.