The Twilight Zone Between Arabs and Israelis

From left: Kai Bird, Gideon Levy, Hardeep Singh Puri, Adam Lebor, Fedy Joudah, and Navte Sarna at the Jaipur, Literature Festival, January 2015. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

“I think ‘Twilight Zone’ is an apt term to describe what is happening” between Arabs and Israelis, said IPI Vice President Hardeep Singh Puri in his opening remarks as moderator of a January 24th panel at the Jaipur Literature Festival on the topic. “We have a situation when the negotiating process, I think, suffered a severe blow after the breakout of hostilities between the Israelis and Hamas in the summer of 2014.”

The event provided rich conversation— and, at times, spirited debate—among Ambassador Puri and his four panelists, all eminent authors:  Kai Bird, Gideon Levy, Adam LeBor, Fady Joudah, and Navtej Sarna.

Points of discussion included the upcoming March 17th election, the viability of the two-state solution, and settlements.

Said the American Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist Kai Bird, “I do believe… 100 years from now people will look back and ask, ‘Why is it that we did nothing to make it happen sooner and thus save lives in the next war from happening. Why didn’t we end the violence?’ Because it’s clear what should happen, and to be pessimistic, in looking past these elections, time is running out for a two-state solution.”

On the issue of settlements, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy said, “This cannot go on, ladies and gentlemen—it is the 21st Century in which military occupations cannot last, in which no country can continue to ignore, in a brutal way, the international law, the international community.”

The full video of the event and the transcript is below.

Download transcript