Q Sir, you just met with your personal envoy to the Middle East, Senator Mitchell. Obviously, his first task is to consolidate the cease-fire. But beyond that you've been saying that you want to pursue actively and aggressively peacemaking between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Tell us a little bit about how do you see your personal role, because, you know, if the President of the United States is not involved, nothing happens -- as the history of peacemaking shows. Will you be proposing ideas, pitching proposals, parameters, as one of your predecessors did? Or just urging the parties to come up with their own resolutions, as your immediate predecessor did?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. And George Mitchell is somebody of enormous stature. He is one of the few people who have international experience brokering peace deals. And so what I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating -- in the past on some of these issues -- and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen. He's going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response. ...But I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. And that instead, it's time to return to the negotiating table.
The Path they are on? Which THEY? Israel has been making one sided concessions, both Fatah and Hamas has been replying with more terrorism. And what do you mean RETURN to the negotiating table. What has Prime Minister Comb-over Olmert been doing since Annapolis. Is it that in your mind, unless you are the President no negotiations REALLY happened?
Q You've been saying essentially that we should not look at these issues -- like the Palestinian-Israeli track and separation from the border region -- you've been talking about a kind of holistic approach to the region. Are we expecting a different paradigm in the sense that in the past one of the critiques -- at least from the Arab side, the Muslim side -- is that everything the Americans always tested with the Israelis, if it works. Now there is an Arab peace plan, there is a regional aspect to it. And you've indicated that. Would there be any shift, a paradigm shift?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, here's what I think is important. Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia --GREAT Courage? OY. Examine the Proposal, Israel returns to the Pre-67 borders and millions of Arabs get to move into the country so that it is NO Longer a Jewish State. Then and ONLY then, the Arab Countries will "normalize" Relations with Israel. Putting it another way allow Israel to be destroyed and we will talk to you. So Mr. President,why didn't you open your mouth and say anything? Not good form for a dhimmi?
THE PRESIDENT: I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage --
THE PRESIDENT: -- to put forward something that is as significant as that. I think that there are ideas across the region of how we might pursue peace.
......Now, Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States. And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount. But I also believe that there are Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace. They will be willing to make sacrifices if the time is appropriate and if there is serious partnership on the other side.The last three Israeli Prime Ministers have called for a Palestinian State. Israel has unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, since the "Annapolis" process started Israel has been making one-sided consessions. JUST WHAT THE HECK DO YOU MEAN BY "Israelis who recognize that it is important to achieve peace?" Which Israelis have not recognized that it is important to make peace.
Q I want to ask you about the broader Muslim world, but let me -- one final thing about the Palestinian-Israeli theater. There are many Palestinians and Israelis who are very frustrated now with the current conditions and they are losing hope, they are disillusioned, and they believe that time is running out on the two-state solution because -- mainly because of the settlement activities in Palestinian-occupied territories. Will it still be possible to see a Palestinian state -- and you know the contours of it -- within the first Obama administration?Here is where you expect to see the Commander-in Chief of the Global war on Terror to bring up the Palestinian Terrorism. Give 'em Hell Barry:
THE PRESIDENT: I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state -- I'm not going to put a time frame on it -- that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life. And, look, I think anybody who has studied the region recognizes that the situation for the ordinary Palestinian in many cases has not improved. And the bottom line in all these talks and all these conversations is, is a child in the Palestinian Territories going to be better off? Do they have a future for themselves? And is the child in Israel going to feel confident about his or her safety and security? And if we can keep our focus on making their lives better and look forward, and not simply think about all the conflicts and tragedies of the past, then I think that we have an opportunity to make real progress.Wait a second...what about the terrorism? Why don't you bring up the homicide bombs and and the rockets as an impediment to peace? Obama let the interviewer get away with talking about settelments as source of frustraition. WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE IN THE NEGEV? How about the frustraition of 7,500 rockets/mortars in a little over three years.
....Q President Bush framed the war on terror conceptually in a way that was very broad, "war on terror," and used sometimes certain terminology that the many people -- Islamic fascism. You've always framed it in a different way, specifically against one group called al Qaeda and their collaborators. And is this one way of --Yes America, we are no longer fighting a Global War on Islamic Terror, it is now a
THE PRESIDENT: I think that you're making a very important point. And that is that the language we use matters. And what we need to understand is, is that there are extremist organizations -- whether Muslim or any other faith in the past -- that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name. And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda -- that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it -- and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.
Read the entire interview at Huffington