August 25, 2008

Iranian Al-Alam TV’s “With the Event” on Rice’s Visit to “Occupied Palestine”

Today's edition of "With the Event" is hosted by Fu'ad al-Kharsa and the topic is about US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to "occupied Palestine" and the position of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas as Palestinian factions make yet another attempt to resume dialogue in Cairo and as Israel releases 199 Palestinian prisoners. The studio guest is Ali Faysal, member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation, who criticizes the partial agreement reached between President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He says that the Israeli proposals disregard Palestinian rights. The second guest, who is interviewed live via satellite from New York, is a political analyst identified as John Bumagarten [phonetic]. Speaking in English, superimposed with Arabic translation, he says that Rice's visit is aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

The third guest, interviewed live by phone from Ramallah, is Ziyad Abu-Ayn, member of Fatah's Higher Committee, who says that the US Administration wishes to resolve some outstanding issues in the Middle East before the end of Bush's term in office. He also doubts whether Washington is really willing to put pressure on Israel to obtain more concessions.

Ali Faysal also argues that Washington is not putting real pressure on Israel and will not allow the Quartet or even Egypt to play an effective role in the region with a view to reaching a just settlement. Bumagarten agrees that the USA is Israel's long- standing ally but according to him no US official will intentionally harm the Palestinians or marginalize them in any discussions. He adds that Rice will encourage the Palestinians and the Israelis to talk to another in order to strengthen peace in the region. Abu-Ayn says that if the US interests conflict with those of Israel then the US Administration will be forced to bring pressure to bear on the Israelis because, he adds, it realizes that the thorny and explosive Palestinian issue needs to be settled as part of Washington's overall Middle East strategy.

Joining the programme later, a leading member of Hamas, Ayman Taha, who is interviewed live by phone from Gaza, says that Rice is not welcome in the Palestinian territories because her visit is only aimed at backing Israel and lending support to its intransigence.

Originally published by Al-Alam TV, Tehran, in Arabic 1730 25 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.