Larry King with Ambassador Ross:
Q: Larry King asked the following questions:
What are chances for peace in the Middle East? Did Bush make a mistake in Iraq and can the US succeed there? Is Iran a real threat to the US and Israel? Why didn’t Arafat accept the Clinton/Barak peace deal? Are Israelis easy to negotiate with? When did Rabin turn peacemaker?
A: In rapid fire, Ross answered...
Arafat, he said, couldn’t accept a peace treaty—even one that gave him tremendous concessions—because Arafat’s entire leadership was based on conflict. But as beloved as he was by the Palestinian people because he kept the Palestinian cause at the center of world affairs, 60% of Palestinians said that there was greater chance for peace now that he is gone.
Yes, Iran is a real threat to Israel, but at least Israel knows directly who her enemy is. And Iran’s aim is to exert an even larger role in controlling the direction of pan-Arab militancy. And now that the US is involved in Iraq, Iran can develop its nuclear ambition with a distracted American government who is focused on Iraq.
Iraq’s chances for creating a peaceful government is based on how well the Sunnis are willing to accept their diminished status and how soon Iraqi’s themselves can take over security functions.
Yitzhak Rabin turned peacemaker when he left the military. He is the most intellectually honest Middle East leader I have ever met. He analyzed situations for every contingency and was far ahead of his time in his understanding the capabilities of Arab leaders.
A 57-year-old man who used to blow the shofar in his synagogue until he was 17, when he suffered serious lung damage in a prank played on him, succeeded in blowing the ram's horn again for the first time.