Inside the Middle East
September 1, 2010
Posted: 2003 GMT

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel speaks at the White House after having lunch with US President Barack Obama in Washington, DC, May 4, 2010 (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel is highly optimistic about the outcome of the Washington summit, despite popular cynicism surrounding yet another attempt at Middle East peacemaking.

Wiesel, the 1986 recipient of the Peace Prize and author who has chronicled humanity's darker side, spoke about the U.S. effort to launch direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the sidelines of a conference he was attending in Jerusalem. Wiesel told CNN: "President Obama, the initiator of this noble endeavor, he would not have done it had there been no indication, the kind of indication from all parts, all segments of the equation that something is about to happen."

All the parties coming to Washington must see some light at the end of the tunnel to take this kind of gamble, he said, asking rhetorically: "Why meet, to have another failure at home and abroad in the world? It makes no sense."

Wiesel also believes that both sides are now in a state of war fatigue. "I have a feeling here everybody is tired... too much war, too much violence, too much suffering, too much pain, too much death, and therefore I think that this time we are on the right way," he said.

When CNN challenged his optimism by pointing out that the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is being left out of the equation while peace talks resume, he seemed unfazed. "For the moment I don't think you deal with Gaza. Hamas is a terrorist organization and the whole civilized world refuses to deal with them, and rightly so. America, France, Israel, they don't deal with Hamas, but they can make peace with Abbas without Gaza. After all, the West Bank is not with Hamas, and they can make a deal with Abbas," he insisted.

Wiesel gained world recognition as an author who wrote about his experiences as a young man surviving Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He met President Obama when he was asked by the president to accompany him on a tour to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany a day after President Obama gave his landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 5, 2009. Later on, he became involved in controversy when he published an ad in prominent American newspapers supporting Israel's position on an undivided Jerusalem, citing its religious and historical significance. The status of Jerusalem is one of the biggest sticking points in efforts to forge a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Filed under: Israel •Jerusalem •Obama •Palestinians

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Ariely   September 2nd, 2010 5:52 am ET

**** What is Peace ???
Different definition of peace

A temporary agreement that will give them real estate assets lost when they attacked Israel and in return giving only a vague paper with open issues for conflict continuation
-- And later to destroy Israel

A long lasting peace for the Jewish state leaving peacefully along the Arab world forever

The Arabs refuse to recognize that Jews are entitled to their sovereign country- Israel.

America can lead the free world to create the conditions for peace however it will be born only when


The only way peace can happen is if Arab leaders take a real peace stand publically and work to this goal in Arab countries and Arab language

The Arab leaders will stop using the double language
1: The lying language to the infidels in the west media masking their Israel destructions narrative
2; The truth language to the believers in Arabic describing the destroy Israel stage strategy

Reading Arab leader's statements in Arabic to their people, I think we will continue to be disappointed of not achieving peace

miriam   September 3rd, 2010 10:24 am ET

An undivided Jerusalem is only controversial to those who fail to understand the importance of the city or who deny and dismiss its relevence.

If necessary, Jerusalem can be the capital of two states and not need to be "divided".

The issue is the definition of "divided".
A barrier down the middle, denying access for Jews and Christians to their holy sites as was the case between 1948 and 1967 or free access for all but with areas under different authority, based on the current reality?

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