Israeli-Arab journalist, Khaled Abu Toameh told a packed Vandenberg Room at the Michigan League that there’s no simple solution to neutralize the conflict in the Middle East, calling both a two-state and one-state solution impractical.
The event, called “Another Angle: Reporting Conflict in the Middle East” was co-sponsored by the American Movement for Israel and Israel Initiating Dialogue, Education and Advocacy, two pro-Israel campus groups.
Abu Toameh said though a two-state solution to the conflict is ideal, it would not be viable.
“The concept of the two-state solution is wonderful,” he said. “Although I think it’s not practical and will never work.”
He added that the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank and Gaza is hindering the chance for peace.
“We are stuck, there’s no way to move forward,” he said. “This is not a power struggle between good guys and bad guys. It is between bad guys and bad guys who are fighting over money or power.”
Abu Toameh also said to resolve the conflict, both Israel and the Palestinian territories would have to make internal changes themselves first.
“The change has to happen from within, you can’t send the marines or armed soldiers to enforce democracy,” he said. “I would focus on repairing conflict of Arabs and Jew within Israel.”
In addition to sharing his opinions on the conflict, Abu Toameh also discussed his experience as a journalist in the Middle East. He said that though it is sometimes difficult to remain unbiased, he focuses on the facts on the ground.
“I am not pro-anything, other than the facts,” Abu Toameh said. “I have no problem working for any newspaper that provides me with a free platform to write whatever I want.”
Abu Toameh also discussed his unique position as an Arab living in Israel.
“Israeli-Arab citizens feel as though they are being discriminated against. They are regarded as a cancer, an enemy from within,” he said. “We are fighting for integration, not separation.”
Ben Kaminsky, president of Israel IDEA, said Abu Toameh’s realism is necessary to resolve the conflict.
“He seems to be a pragmatist,” Kaminsky said. “If there ever is going to be a solution to this conflict, pragmatists need to come together to find solutions.”
Robbie Dembo, vice chair of AMI, said that Abu Toameh offers a unique perspective on the conflict.
“I think that hearing an Arab Israeli speak about the conflict brings fresh perspective to campus discourse,” he said. “He has been a correspondent covering the conflict in and outside Israel, so he brings a lot of knowledge and insight into the conflict.”