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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Liveblog: Global Perspectives About Tomorrow

This is a liveblog of the plenary session Global Perspectives About Tomorrow. It's dark here so it won't be so easy to blog. But I'll do the best I can. Details on panelists here. First speaker is Dennis Ross. If you're in Israel, this is on Channel 22 cable (I think).

Ross says Arab public tired of being left behind. He understands concern about Syria. No one can predict what will happen, but even if there are setbacks this is a moment of extraordinary promise and US has calibrated response appropriately (really? even in Syria?). Three core principles: oppose violence, support aspirations for basic human rights, urge governments to respond positively.

Regimes have turned guns on their own people in desperate attempt to stay in power at all costs. There is no going back. In Libya, coalition prevented Gadhafi from carrying out humanitarian catastrophe. In Syria, Assad has waged brutal crackdown on dissent and has refused to reform, but the people of Syria refuse to back down. So the US has deployed a range of measures to pressure Assad including sanctions. He now has a clear choice: End violence or get out of the way. In Bahrain denounced crackdown and insisted on accountability. People in this region demand to be treated as citizens and not as subjects. Iran seeing that it's power and ideas are not what is most popular in the region. We are vigilant of Iran's threats but mindful of its weaknesses. This is a new Middle East and it shows that autocracy cannot guarantee stability and status quo not sustainable. Not with Israel and Palestinians either.

He understands impulse to stand pat until things take shape and see what happens, but sitting back and doing nothing not an answer. Demographic trends (a lie) cannot be wished away. The threat of rockets and missiles grows by the day. Two years from now they will be worse. Obama knows that no peace can be imposed and that it's up to Israelis and Palestinians, but without a peace process the march to isolate Israel internationally and the Palestinian impulse to abandon negotiations will only grow stronger.

Obama believes that if Palestinians know general outline of future state and if Israelis know their security will be met, there is hope. He talks about 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps which allows parties themselves to account for changes that have taken place in last 44 years. Ultimate goal is two states for two people. (Cameras now behind me so I can see). Said Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. Ross has served in five different administrations and current support for and cooperation with Israel on security is unprecedented (tepid response). There can be no sustainable security without a lasting peace. We need not fear change. Peace and reform go hand in hand. But it does mean that those determined to tackle daunting challenges can succeed even when others consider it impossible.

Now listening to President of Macedonia. Headset keeps shutting off.

He compares Middle East to Eastern Europe 20 years ago. Sorry - the sound keeps going off and I can't both type and listen at the same time during much of the speech.

Now President of Dominican Republic talking about commodity speculation. You can watch livestream here.

Chinese culture minister now speaking. Here we go with the headsets.

Peres should be next - otherwise I would be trying to sneak out of here. Peres thanks everyone. Dennis Ross (who is no longer on the stage) is last but not least. Peres thanks him for Obama's good wishes and says that he liked that Ross said that we shouldn't speak about deficits only in terms of finance.

Peres says nation cannot exist without the global part of our life, but must have national identity. There is no longer a national economy - only a global economy. The same is true of Israel. We have to be part of the world in this age. He says that it's not an Arab spring - it's a spring of the World and the Arabs are joining in.

You can't be high tech and repress half your population.

Israel can't ignore the globe. Says we need more patience.

End of session.

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At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peres, Blair, Ross, Ben Ami...

This is the Iranian President's Conference, right?

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Shy Guy,

Yeah except for Danny Dayan and Yisrael Aumann.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Shy Guy, most of whom told Peres what he wanted to hear.

Let's not forget this depraved man, who is unfit to be President, was responsible for imposing the Oslo disaster upon Israel.

He is no moral paragon.

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but without a peace process the march to isolate Israel internationally and the Palestinian impulse to abandon negotiations will only grow stronger."

well, that's the Obama meme--buying into Palestinian pose of victimization and whitewashing the rejectionist roots of anti-Zionist BDS, cultivated by Fatah no less than Hamas--how about the President just standing by Israel and saying NO MORE


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