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The courage to imagine the other

April 15th, 2014
10:45 AM ET

By Lucky Gold and Christiane Amanpour, CNN

The showdown between Russia and Ukraine demonstrates how hard it is understand the story of “the other.”

The struggle over narratives dates back at least to the time of the Passover – which began on Monday – when Pharoah kept the people of Moses in bondage.

Now imagine a world where imagining the other could mean deliverance for warring sides such as Israelis and Palestinians.

In what may be a first, Mohammed Dajani, a Palestinian professor at al-Quds University in east Jerusalem, recently took 27 of his students to Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp in Poland.

The idea was to promote greater understanding between peoples.

And yet Professor Dajani was branded by many of his own people as a traitor.


‘Era of these negotiations is over’ says Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett as Palestinian Mustafa Barghouti says Israel reneged on deal

April 9th, 2014
03:45 PM ET

Israel minister says negotations at 'end'

CNN's Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, speaks with Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett about the peace process.


Palestinian: Israel reneged on deal

CNN's Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, speaks with Palestinian leader Mustafa Barghouti about the peace process.

By Mick Krever, CNN

“The era of these negotiations is over,” right-wing Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.

“The approach that we’ve been trying for twenty years now clearly has reached its end,” Bennett, who is chairman of the Jewish Home party, said.

“Everyone understands it’s going nowhere. Everyone in the world gets it. So why are we bashing our heads again and again?”


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Israel would preserve ‘Jewish, democratic’ values with Palestinian deal, Tzipi Livni tells Amanpour

March 4th, 2014
03:49 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A peace deal with the Palestinians would allow Israel to keep its “values as a Jewish, democratic state,” chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“The best choice is to divide the land and to keep the state of Israel – maybe smaller – but with our values as a Jewish, democratic state living in harmony – a secured state,” Livni said from Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Washington to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and discuss, among other things, America’s renewed push for Middle East peace.

Secretary of State John Kerry is spearheading an effort to have Israel and the Palestinians reach a framework agreement – a foundation upon which a permanent deal could be negotiated.

“I’m sure that [neither] us [nor] the Palestinians are going to be in love with it,” Livni said. “But I hope that both of us can live with it, move forward, and this is something that can create trust and basis for negotiations.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Israel/Palestinian conflict needs a ‘Nelson Mandela,’ says author

January 8th, 2014
11:19 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Any “real peace” between Israeli and Palestinians will remain out of reach until both sides truly acknowledge each other’s tragedy, Israeli columnist and author Ari Shavit told CNN’s Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.

“The heart of this conflict is really mutual blindness.”

The Israelis are blind to the fact that there are a Palestinian people, he said, and the Palestinians blind to the Israelis, and their right to a Jewish state “in the ancient homeland of the Jews.”

That despite, he said, the “amazing” work U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has done trying to bring reconciliation.

Shavit has just written a new book, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has launched the largest American effort in years to bring peace to the region, having just wrapped up his 10th visit in pursuit of that goal.

“One has to recognize the fact that Secretary Kerry with unique ingenuity and pressure and commitment has surprised us all,” Shavit said.


Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Palestinian politician says talks cannot relinquish people’s rights

July 23rd, 2013
05:02 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Israel and the Palestinians need “to move fast with genuine commitment, not with P.R. statements,” a top Palestinian politician told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

The possibility of direct negotiations now looks more real than it has in years, thanks to the old-fashioned shuttle diplomacy of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Hanan Ashrawi, a long-time Palestinian peace negotiator and a senior member of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), told Amanpour that they were awaiting an invitation from Kerry.

Israel: Negotiations not a favor to U.S.

July 22nd, 2013
04:24 PM ET

By Mick Krever and Claire Calzonetti, CNN

Israel’s decision to agree to preliminary talks with the Palestinians are not because of outside pressure but rather because of the country’s own interest, the Israel's top point person for the talks, Tzipi Livni, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

“It’s not a favor to the Palestinians, not to the E.U., and not even to the President of the United States,” Livni, who is also Justice Minister, told Amanpour from Jerusalem. “It is the interest of Israel.”

Livni said that she hoped to meet with the Palestinians in the next few days, and lay the groundwork for direct negotiations between the highest levels of government among the Israelis and Palestinians.

“I support deeply not only the idea of negotiations,” Livni said, “but the idea of the need to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Israel: We do not hide our red lines

May 6th, 2013
05:08 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Syria may call Israel’s airstrikes near Damascus this weekend a "declaration of war," but if you ask Israeli officials, it's all overblown.

"There are no winds of war," Israeli commander Yair Golan told reporters while out on a jog.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn't even in Israel – he’s in Beijing – adding to the impression that all is in hand.

Indeed, Israel is bending over backward to convince Syria that it was simply going after Hezbollah-bound arms from Iran, and that its airstrikes were not to support the rebels.

Still, dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing medical sources.

“Nobody in Israel wants another war with Syria – this is not the intention,” the former head of Israel’s internal security service, Ami Ayalon, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Israel, he said, simply felt it had no alternative.  FULL POST

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Palestinian territories • Syria

Hip-hop group raps about being Arab in Israel

April 27th, 2013
01:53 PM ET

CNN's Christiane Amanpour talks to hip-hop group DAM and author Robin Wright about hip-hop in the Arab world.

Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Is America helping or hindering peace in the Middle East?

March 29th, 2013
12:40 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are completely stalled.

Parties from both sides have called for America to renew its efforts, but one person is not.

Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi argues that America's role in that peace process is actually hindering the situation, not helping it, in his new book called "Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

Khalidi believes that a trip like the one President Barack Obama just made to the region has more do with the U.S. relationship with Israel than it does with the Palestinians.

In his book, Khalidi goes as far to argue that the U.S. is largely complicit, whether deliberately or not, in the reality that there's been no peace between these two places.   FULL POST

Filed under:  Israel • Latest Episode • Palestinian territories

Home videos turn into Oscar-nominated documentary

February 19th, 2013
12:53 PM ET

By Meredith Milstein & Samuel Burke, CNN

When a Palestinian farmer named Emad Burnat bought a home video camera to record the birth of his youngest son, he didn't realize he would end up capturing the birth of a movement.

Burnat became the unofficial cameraman for his village of Bil'in in the occupied West Bank, and documented five years of local resistance against the encroaching Israeli settlements and the separation wall snaking through his and his neighbors' lands.

The home movies have now been transformed into the Oscar-nominated documentary, "5 Broken Cameras."  FULL POST

Filed under:  Israel • Palestinian territories
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