What Should Bush Say in Speech Regarding Establishment of Interim Palestinian State?
CNN: "Talkback Live"
CAROL LIN, HOST: And welcome to TALKBACK LIVE. I'm Carol Lin. Arthel Neville has the day off.
You know, President Bush is giving a major address on the Middle East in about 45 minutes. CNN special coverage is going to begin at 3:30 p.m. What should the president say? We want to hear from you on that. And we are also going to be talking about a new audiotape played on the Al Jazeera television network. Well, it's obviously designed to scare the daylights out of all of us. On it is a voice, and it warns, quote, "our martyrs are ready for operations against American and Jewish targets. America should be prepared. They should fasten their seat belts. We are coming to them where they never expected."
LIN: Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE. With us now we're talking about the Middle East, waiting for the president to announce his plan for the region, but with us now is Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and a columnist for both the "New York Post" and the "Jerusalem Post" and Hussein Ibish, communications director for the Arab-excuse me, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Welcome to both of you. It was really interesting listening to our audience comments during the break in terms of, you know, what, if anything, can possibly come out of this plan.
Daniel, what are you hoping that the president is going to say here on a day when Israeli tanks and troops are once again moving into the West Bank and firing into Gaza?
DANIEL PIPES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: Well Carol, I have to admit I'm not being very optimistic. I think the president has it basically wrong.
What the president is doing is, in effect, rewarding the Palestinians for the campaign of violence that's gone on for the past 21 months. I don't think that's what he should be doing.
LIN: You think it's a reward?
PIPES: Yes. He's telling them - he's telling them - Ibish quiet - he's telling them...
HUSSEIN IBISH, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION CMTE.: ... telling them that.
LIN: Manners-let's watch our manners. Hussein...
PIPES: He's telling them...
LIN: You'll get your chance in a second.
IBISH: I wasn't saying a word.
PIPES: He's telling them that as a reward for all this violence they're now going to get an interim state. Now, granted, it's on certain conditions, but it's more than they had before.
I don't think rewarding terrorism is a good idea, and I don't think it's very consistent with the president's own message since September. So it's a mistake.
LIN: Hold on.
Hussein, what do you think? I mean, the suicide bombers have been coming out of the West Bank and Gaza. Why is it that the Palestinians should have a state, a provisional state or otherwise right now while attacks are still going on in is Israel?
IBISH: Because we need to start a political process to substitute for the process of violence. When there's no negotiations going on, you're giving people no option but to struggle.
Now, Daniel Pipes is against the president's plan because he's in favor of violence.
He's pro-Sharon's provision of crushing the Palestinians militarily and, in fact, last month he wrote an article in "Slate" saying that basically I was arguing that the Palestinians would continue to resist and increase their resistance, and he was saying that their will was broken and that they were about to succumb.
One month later I think, you know-I'll take my prize now-clearly my interpretation has been borne out by the fact that Palestinian resistance, both legitimate and illegitimate, like the horrible bombings do continue and they're going to continue.
LIN: All right, hold that thought. We've got a comment from one of our audience members.
This is Tanisha (ph) -- Tanisha go ahead.
TANISHA: Well, I was just saying I didn't agree with the Palestinians. I don't think that it's going happen. They're not going to become a state because they don't agree with anything that we say, what we're about, what we represent. So why should they take what we bring to them and decide that they want to follow it? You can't be a provisional state. You can't-you either are a state or you are not a state.
IBISH: That's right...
IBISH: ... oh I'm sorry-they have to become a state.
I mean, you're talking about 3.7 million people who are not citizens of any country. This is the only large group of people in the world who are completely disenfranchised, and they live under a foreign military dictatorship; and they have for 35 years lived under Israeli military rule.
It's got to stop.
LIN: All right...
IBISH: It can't continue.
IBISH: ... live by force.
LIN: Daniel make a...
IBISH: ... live like that, you'd be in rebellion too.
LIN: ... make a quick last thought because we're going into special coverage.
PIPES: And they live under foreign rule because they refuse the wonderful deal they were offered two years ago, and they insisted on violence because they are not willing to live alongside Israel. They want to destroy Israel.
LIN: You two are the personification of the debate that will continue. We are waiting-in about 15 minutes the president will speak. But special coverage is going to continue on CNN.
Hussein Ibish and Daniel Pipes, thank you very much for joining ...
PIPES: Sure thing.
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