Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared before the U.N. General Assembly to request admitting the State of Palestine as a full member state. America’s veto power renders their bid largely symbolic, but there could be leverage gained– like indirect recognition of statehood– in the process. After 20 years of failed talks with Israel, can this plea to the international community be the only path left to a two-state solution, or have the Palestinians set the peace process back by bypassing negotiations?"
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti
Palestinian democracy activist Mustafa Barghouti was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19% of the vote. A medical doctor trained in the former Soviet Union and Jerusalem, he also received a degree in management from Stanford University in the United States, as a Sloan Fellow. Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, Barghouti is Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, a movement that campaigns for political reforms.
John Donvan is the moderator for "Intelligence Squared U.S." He is an author and correspondent for ABC News. He has hosted "Nightline," "World News," "Good Morning America," and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” in addition to producing “My Generation” for PBS. He has also served as ABC’s Chief White House correspondent and held postings in London, Jerusalem, Moscow and Amman. Recognized by the National Magazine Awards for his 2011 Atlantic profile piece “Autism’s First Child,” he is currently writing a book on the history of autism to be published by Crown in 2013.
Dore Gold is a world renowned expert on Middle Eastern affairs, a bestselling author, and an accomplished diplomat. During his career as the Prime Minister of Israel's Foreign Policy Adviser and later as Ambassador to the United Nations, Gold distinguished himself in negotiations with world leaders which included the President of the United States, the US Secretary of State, and the British Foreign Secretary. He also served as a special envoy to the leaders of Arab states.
Daniel Levy is a senior fellow and director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at The Century Foundation and a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation. He was the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative and prior to joining The Century Foundation was directing policy planning and international efforts at the Geneva Campaign Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
In 2003, he worked as an analyst for the International Crisis Group Middle East Program. During the Barak Government, he worked in the Prime Minister's Office as special adviser and head of the Jerusalem Affairs unit under Minister Haim Ramon. From March 2000 to March 2001, he worked as senior policy adviser to former Israeli Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin, where he was responsible for coordinating policy on various issues including peace negotiations, civil and human rights, and the Palestinian minority in Israel. He was a member of the official Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians in January 2001, and previously served on the negotiating team to the "Oslo B" Agreement from May to September 1995, under Prime Minister Rabin.
He received a Bachelors and Masters with Honors from King's College, Cambridge; he was awarded prizes in Social and Political Science and was Scholar of the College. He has published extensively in a broad range of publications including Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post, The Boston Globe, United Press International, The American Prospect, The International Herald Tribune, TPMCafe.com, and The Evening Standard.
Aaron David Miller
Aaron David Miller is currently the vice president for new initiatives and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Between 2006 and 2008, he was a public policy scholar when he wrote his fourth book The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (2008). For the prior two decades, he served at the Department of State as an advisor to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process, most recently as the senior advisor for Arab-Israeli negotiations. He also served as the deputy special Middle East coordinator for Arab-Israeli negotiations, senior member of the State Department's policy planning staff, in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the Office of the Historian. He has received the department's Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor awards.
Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, argues that admitting Palestine to the United Nations would give Palestine the opportunity to become a fully autonomous state, separate from Israel. Barghouti asserts, "it will send a message to the Israelis that they will not be really free unless Palestinians are also free."
Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former diplomat for the state of Israel, argues that Palestine's unilateral bid for United Nations statehood ignores the concerns of Israel. Gold asserts that Palestine seeks recognition, "without having to recognize my people's right to a nation state, even though I'm being asked to recognize his people's right to a nation state."
Passions run high as Dore Gold, Aaron David Miller, Mustafa Barghouti, and Daniel Levy argue about whether Palestine should be accepted as a U.N. Member state. Moderator John Donvan steps in to cool the fervor that threatened to derail the order of the debate.