Saturday, October 28, 2006

Clash of the Titans

Yesterday I attended the fourth annual Clash of the Titans event at Regent University. Bill O’Reilly moderated between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Spokesperson Dr. Hanan Ashrawi as they debated the question: "Can Military Force Bring Lasting Peace to the Middle East?" All three participants did a really good job of conveying their point of view without being unnecessarily rude. In fact, Barak claimed that if Ashrawi was in charge of the Palestinians, there would be peace in the region.

The crowd was quite enamored with O’Reilly when he first came out on stage; I thought a few of the audience members looked as if they’d died and gone to heaven. And both Barak and Ashrawi received equal applause. There wasn’t any booing this year unlike the last debate, but I suppose that’s because last year’s subject, the war in Iraq, hit so close to home, and there was a large military presence in the audience last year.

I think Ashrawi did a really good job of conveying to the audience the Palestinians viewpoint. Both Barak and Ashrawi admitted the only solution to the current situation was the two-state solution, but neither thought this solution would come anytime soon, especially with Hamas ruling in Palestine (Ashrawi was very careful to avoid criticizing Hamas, stating they were in power due to the protest vote).

Barak stated that he wished Israel could be located somewhere else in the world. America has it pretty good since they aren’t situated in the middle of a hostile group of neighbors. Barak told an old joke about Moses that went something like this:
Moses stuttered because he was not an eloquent man. God asked him where he wanted to settle and Moses said, 'Ca-ca-ca-ca,' and God understood he meant Canaan. But Moses was trying to say 'Canada.'