CNN’s Zakaria: Israel-Palestine Conflict Can only Be Solved if Israel ‘as a Matter of Morality,’ Decides to ‘Give Rights to Palestinians’

On Tuesday’s “CNN Tonight,” CNN host Fareed Zakaria argued that the problems between Israel and Palestine are “only going to be solved if Israel decides that it wants to, as a matter of morality, it wants to give rights to Palestinians,” and blamed the recent conflict in the area on the Trump administration giving too much leeway to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Netanyahu pursuing “his own very narrow interest to the max.”

Host Don Lemon asked, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this, about what’s happening with Israel and Gaza. I’m so glad that you’re here to discuss. Rocket fire, airstrikes, and the death toll certain to rise. How did this escalate just over just recent days?”

Zakaria responded, “It’s pretty simple. The Trump administration’s foreign policy toward the Middle East was to subcontract the entire region to two people: MBS, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Bibi Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. And each one pursued his own very narrow interest to the max. … Netanyahu…was trying to do things that would make it as impossible for there ever to be a Palestinian state as he could do. So, he makes peace with some moderate Gulf states with the help of the United States. And he had been essentially ruling out any possibility of any deal with the Palestinians. So, after a while, I think what happened is, there was a certain amount of frustration that these events then get triggered by something or the other. But the reality is that Israel had almost forgotten that they had this Palestinian problem on their hands, and it has now exploded.”

He added, “Well, a lot of people in Israel are pointing out it seems pretty suspicious or strange that this should happen right as it has happened now. Because it probably helps Bibi Netanyahu. It creates an atmosphere of crisis. It creates an atmosphere where people tend to move to the right. I mean, if you’re getting rockets hailed down upon you that are being shot by Hamas, you’re going to get more security conscious. And if all that happens, what it does for Benjamin Netanyahu is very personal. If he can stay in the prime minister’s office, he does not have to face the corruption charges that threaten to put him into prison.”

Zakaria concluded that the Palestinians are “frustrated. They’re trying to get some kind of attention. They, in my opinion, often do self-defeating things. These kind of rocket attacks only move Israelis to the right. But ultimately, this thing is only going to be solved if Israel decides that it wants to, as a matter of morality, it wants to give rights to Palestinians, that it does not believe that it can be a Jewish democratic state and have these four million people living essentially in conditions where they have no political rights and Israel has control over them. It’s not going to happen by force. Israel is just too strong.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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