Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Khaled Abu Toameh @ SJSU

Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh spoke moments ago in MLK Library.

An Arab Muslim living in Jerusalem, "suffering from a crisis of identity, like most of us over there," Toameh now writes for the Jerusalem Post.

Toameh spoke about creating stability between the Palestinian and the Israeli government, speaking critically about both government’s handling of security.

“Arafat wanted to divert anger towards Israel [during the 2000 intifada],” Toameh said. “He was a disaster for the Palestinian government, as well as for the Palestinian people.”

Toameh was also critical of the US, for giving the PLO arms to defeat Hamas. “In those days,” said Toameh, referring to the elections in Palestine in which Hamas gained significant power. “Even I would have voted for Hamas; they were about internal reform.”

Toameh said that all sides in the conflict have made mistakes and been at fault, but that recognizing the Unity government in Palestine today is the wrong approach to achieving peace.

“By recognizing this Unity government today,” said Toameh, “we are now giving power to radical, fundamental Islam.”

“There should be no dialogue with radical Islam, according to Toameh. “If I were the US, I would find moderate Muslims to talk to.”

Toameh said that there is still hope for peace in the Middle East. “I still believe there is a majority on the Muslim side, and on the Israeli side, that just want to live… I am not a lone voice in the desert.”

"There must be international pressure to change things," said Toameh, "but things can change."

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