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Kissinger: 'Not Optimistic' About Israeli-Palestinian Peace 'This Year or in Immediate Future'

In keynote address at the Herzliya conference, former U.S. secretary of state expresses skepticism over regional peace initiative or peace conference's chances of success.

Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, expressed pessimism about peace prospects in the Middle East and the overall future of the region.
A keynote speaker at the annual Herzliya conference on Wednesday, the 93-year-old statesman declined to address specific U.S. initiatives aimed at achieving a two-solution solution, but said: “I’m not optimistic that the outcome can be negotiated this year or in the immediate future.”
Kissinger, who was interviewed by Haaretz correspondent Ari Shavit, had been scheduled to appear in person at the conference, organized by the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Several days ago, however, he notified his hosts that he would not be able to make the trip to Israel, and his remarks were live-streamed.
On the subject of a regional peace initiative or peace conference, Kissinger also expressed great skepticism, pointing to the fact that several Arab states – Syria, Libya and Iraq – were no longer functional and could not be relied upon to extend guarantees to a future peace agreement.
“My view remains that we would be better off with significant interim agreements that show progress, at least as a first step, to an overall settlement,” he said, adding that “I have doubts about the composition of such a conference, its procedures and outcomes.”
On the one hand, Kissinger noted, Israel is in a stronger military and economic position today than it has been in many decades. On the other hand, he warned that the country is situated in “an extremely dangerous neighborhood” destined to experience “extreme upheavals” over the next few decades.
While concerned that “Iran has not lost it capacity to develop nuclear weapons,” Kissinger said he was reassured that the United States, Israel and moderate Arab countries shared a common goal of “preventing any country from achieving domination in the region, and especially developing a nuclear military capacity to carry out its objectives.”
Asked whether Israel’s deep and longstanding alliance with the Western world was in jeopardy, Kissinger drew a distinction between the United States and Western Europe. Referring to Israel’s image in Western Europe, he said: “The long term attitude toward the Jewish State has become more ambiguous among the public there than it has been, although I would say not yet in America.”
Kissinger urged Israelis to try to understand America’s wider interests in the Middle East that might conflict with their own. At the same time, he noted, Americans need to remember “that Israel is a very small nation with a very small population so that sacrifices that seem minor to Americans are proportionately huge for Israel.”

Judy MaltzSchermata 2016 06 15 alle 23.14.16

Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.725243

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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