tv Inside Story LINKTV August 27, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
♪ >> the headlines on al jazeera -- joe biden called the u.s. personnel killed at the kabul airport attack heroes. he says the mission will continue. >> to those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes america harm, no this -- know this, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.
i will defend our interests and my people with every measure in my command. >> isil-k claimed responsibly for the blasts. the taliban has condemned the attacks. thousands of people have been gathering, hoping to flee afghanistan, at the kabul airport. western countries have been using the airport to evacuate troops and afghan allies, as well as citizens. peru's new president is facing his toughest test yet after taking office with a razor thin election victory. they are seeking a confidence vote to support the administration's policies. russia has already seen the most coronavirus deaths in europe and
on thursday reported another daily record. 820 people died within 24 hours, bringing the national total to just under 180,000. that's the fourth worst hit country in the world in terms of cases. any russians are skeptical about the vaccine. a study two weeks ago showed 55% of people do not plan to get the jab. the world health organization says the third wave of covid-19 infections in africa appears to have stabilized. some countries are still experiencing a resurgence of the virus and debts are rising. africa's vaccination target is trailing the world with only 2.5% of its population receiving shows. those are the headlines on al jazeera. "inside story" is up next. ♪
hazem: israel's new prime minister is visiting the u.s. on his first official trip abroad. naftali bennett says he wants to improve strained ties. but what challenges will he face? can the two allies agree on the many issues facing the middle east? this is "inside story." ♪ hello, and welcome to the program. i am hazem sika. israel's former prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, had a difficult relationship with democratic u.s. leaders barack obama and joe biden. many saw him as a strong supporter of republican presidents, particularly donald trump. his successor, naftali bennet,
-- his successor, naftali bennett, is in washington, hoping to mend ties on his first official trip abroad, since taking office. but biden and bennett don't see eye to eye on a number of regional issues. at the top of that list is the 2015 iran nuclear deal. biden has been holding indirect talks with tehran to revive the agreement, while israel has been strongly against it. naftali bennett has also made it clear, he won't allow for an independent palestine. but he had a message of cooperation, as he left for washington. >> there is a new government in the united states, and a new government in israel. and i bring with me from jerusalem a new spirit of cooperation, and this is based on a special and longstanding relationship between the two countries. hazem: let's take a closer look at israel's new prime minister. 49-year-old naftali bennett is the son of jewish immigrants to the u.s., who made millions in the tech industry. he began his political career in 2006 and served as a senior aide
to benjamin netanyahu, before becoming defense minister, among other roles, in netanyahu's coalition government. bennett is part of israel's ultra right wing politics, but he is leading a coalition of different parties, including leftists and israeli palestinians. but under a special deal, his main coalition partner, yair lapid, will replace bennett as prime minister by august of 2023. we will bring in our guests shortly. but first, our white house correspondent, kimberly halkett, from washington. kimberly: the white house says that the meeting between the israeli prime minister and the u.s. president is to discuss a broad range of issues, including climate change, afghanistan, iran, am gaza. -- iran, and gaza. but it's clear that the israeli prime minister goes into this meeting with a number of agenda items that are at odds with biden administration policy. one of those issues is israel's
desire to continue expanding settlements, illegal settlements, into the occupied territories. in fact, in an interview earlier this week with the new york times, the israeli prime minister referred to this expansion as "standard political growth." and this is something that certainly will create some friction with joe biden and his policymakers. he is also opposed to the creation of an independent palestinian state, and he was vague about whether or not he would block a proposal by the biden administration to put in place a palestinian consulate in occupied east jerusalem. now, the other big friction point that is expected between these to men is the issue of the iran nuclear agreement, to limit iran's nuclear program. the biden administration has been very clear, that it seeks to revive this nuclear deal, but the israeli prime minister has a different view, in fact, he says it is no longer relevant,
and he seeks to abandon it. while he is really prime minister goes into this meeting striking an optimistic tone in his public interviews, it is clear that many of his key goals are at odds with biden administration policy. ♪ hazem: let's bring in our guests now. in west jerusalem, we have yaakov katz, editor-in-chief of the jerusalem post and author of "shadow strike" and co-author of "weapon wizards and israel vs. iran." in the u.k., natasha lindstaedt, a specialist on u.s. foreign policy and deputy dean in the department of government at the university of essex. natasha is also author of "democracies and authoritarian regimes." and in arlington, virginia, in the united states, khaled elgindy, senior fellow at middle east institute and author of "blind spot: americans and the palestinians, from balfour to trump."
good to have you all with us. natasha lindstaedt, if i could start with you, this is the first time in 12 years that an american president is meeting with an israeli prime minister who is not benjamin netanyahu. i suspect the optics of this will be more important than anything else at this point. what is the biden administration looking to get out of this? >> yeah, i do think it really is more about the optics, particularly because, for biden, he is dealing with the crisis in afghanistan, things look a bit chaotic, and he wants things to look as business as usual. i think that he does want to try to assure israel that iran is a threat, but i think you will be -- he will be communicating that his approach to dealing with iran will be different than bennett's, than israel's approach, because bennett is going to be trying to convince biden that we really need to
isolate iran further, get away from trying to get back to the nuclear deal. but biden is not on the same page about that. so i think he's going to try to both assure israel the u.s. is a committed partner, while at the same time, demonstrating the u.s. does want to get back to the iran deal and doesn't want to completely isolate iran. of course, israel will come back and try to present the case of how dangerous iran is, there's a lot more enrichment of uranium, and that iran is really a menace to the region. but we will see. i don't think they are on the same page about this. hazem: yaakov katz, naftali bennett says he wants a fresh start with the u.s. is he going to get it? >> i think he will get it for one very simple reason, at least that will give him some credit from the outset, that he is not benjamin netanyahu, right? there is no secret that benjamin
netanyahu and the democratic party in the u.s. have had a long history of tension. bennett's coming, talking about a new spirit, a new start, a new government in jerusalem that can not necessarily see i die -- see eye to eye similar to what natasha said on issues of extreme importance, whether it's the iranians or even the palestinian issue, which we might talk about, they are definitely not going to agree on all of those big issues or how to confront them, but the fact of the matter is that these are new people in new roles, and they don't have the same baggage or historical baggage that netanyahu used to carry with him. therefore, i think he will get that start. americans are going out of their way and showing him a lot of respect. he is not airing dirty laundry in public. he is not going to go to congress and speaking out against a sitting president, like netanyahu did back in 2015 when he gave that speech against barack obama, when he was entering into the iran nuclear deal. so i think that everyone is trying to respect one another. they are trying to get along, trying to work together.
but we will see what happens, when these issues need to have policy set for them and about them. that's where we might start to see a bit of cracks and more tension. hazem: what does all this mean for palestinians? is this more of the same, just the names have changed? or is there an opportunity for a fresh start? >> i think it probably is, we are going to see more of the same. historically, regardless of the ups and downs of the relationship between the two leaders, the u.s.-israel special relationship has generally been immune from personal, political, ideological, or even strategic differences. we saw that most clearly in the obama administration, where you had the president and the israeli prime minister had a terrible personal relationship. and yet, the bilateral relationship actually soared to new heights.
we had unprecedented levels of cooperation, unprecedented levels of american military aid to israel, very little pressure, even on the palestinian issue, virtually none at all. biden is even less inclined to put pressure on any israeli leadership, frankly, when it comes to the palestinian issue, both because it's not a real priority for the administration and because he is trying to avoid headaches on the domestic/political front. his party is quite divided on these issues. so, it really is, i think, going to be both the biden administration and prime minister bennett are committed to maintaining the status quo, in as calm a form as they can manage.
they are not going to disrupt it with any major announcements for -- or any major announcements or proposals or initiatives. so, yes, the palestinians will get sort of pushed to the back burner. until, of course, the situation explodes, as what we saw in may of this year. hazem: you are talking about the gaza -- the conflict over gaza. >> yes. the crisis began in jerusalem, of course, and with the pending expulsions of palestinian families by radical settlers, then it quickly spilled over into gaza. and both of those fronts remain active and volatile, and could lead to another confrontation at any moment. and so, i think the biden administration will allocate some minimal political and
diplomatic resources to conflict mitigation, trying to stabilize the situation, but they are not really going to address any of the core issues, especially those issues where there are differences with the israeli settlements. hazem: let's put some of that to natasha. i want to ask you, as well, is there a limit to how far the u.s. can push israel on so many of these issues, the palestinians, iran, so forth, given the strength of the israel lobby in washington, and their ability to influence u.s. policy in the region, regardless of who is president? >> i agree completely with what has just been said. the relationship is ironclad. it hasn't moved much or changed. as was just said, even when obama and netanyahu had a terrible relationship, more military funding was going to israel. and this was because they signed a memorandum of understanding that doesn't expire until 2028, so well after biden has had two administrations, if he gets
reelected. where at a bare minimum, the u.s. is going to give billions of dollars in aids for weapons, grants -- aid for weapons, grants. israel is the only country where the u.s. gives in a lump sum and not quarterly installments. it doesn't know where the spending is taking place. the u.s. has done this for -- repeatedly, your after year, despite the fact that there are human rights violations that do not square with what the u.s. has secured these strategies. they mentioned this idea of values and human rights, that aid should be conditioned on human rights. but these two things don't seem to go together, when it comes to israel, because this relationship is so deep and it doesn't seem to matter what israel does. what this first meeting is more
important to bennett, because he's a new perm minister, but i think israel has tended to hold the cards and the tailwagging the dog. hazem: let's get back to yaakov. the per minister leads a broad coalition. it includes leftist and is really palestinians, and if i'm not mistaken, it has a majority of one vote in parliament. does that limit him in how far he can go, and his policies and particularly toward the palestinians? >> i have to address the contradictions of the review just throughout one after the other. you talk about how deep the relationship is with the u.s., you are the same time talk about the human rights violations and the interests and the reason that the u.s. is supporting israel is because of the israel lobby.
on the other hand it is because of the deep relationship between israel and the u.s. you've got to get your story right, first of all pair would what we are talking about is that there's two issues at play. number one is that yes, the relationship between and israel and the u.s. is deep and impacts cooperation, economic ties come all because of the fact that the u.s. recognizes the critical role replacing's ability here in the middle of the least and the fact it is surrounded by terrorist organizations bent on its instruction and it has to daily defend itself. you can talk about how it's the israel lobby like some sort of criminal organization behind the scenes pulling strings. hazem: let's just be clear about this, no one said the israel lobby is a criminal organization. i simply said in the question that they do have a lot of
influence in policymaking in washington. that was it. >> you can talk about things in those terms and throughout those types of -- to the way you refer to the lobbies, some people might not even say it is on the verge of some rhetoric that might stink of a little bit of anti-semitism. we will talk about the diverse and broad coalition that israel does have. there's a government in israel that represents and is the most are presented if of israeli society. you have arab participation in the coalition. left wing participation, right wing, and center participation. all that together creates a government that is the most are presented if that israel has. he is standing at the head of a government that is the most were presented if of israel ever. with arabs who are part of the coalition.
hazem: khaled elgindy, would you like to respond to some of that? >> i certainly don't disagree with the analysis that this is probably one of the broadest coalitions we have seen in israel's history. but that also makes it quite fragile. and very status quo-oriented. this coalition is not going to take any serious steps, never mind permanent status issues like dividing jerusalem or creating a palestinian state. those things are clearly off the table. if only because is really politics have shifted so far to the right, that there is really a consensus any longer on a two state solution. the israelis have abandoned the two state solution, for the most part. you have a very solid right wing majority. we are not going to see
even the most minimally meaningful gestures, most likely coming out of this government, not just because naftali bennett as a hard-line right-winger who doesn't recognize the existence of the palestinian people or even an israeli occupation in the west bank and gaza, but we are not going to see even the most minimal kind of gestures, like lifting the siege and gaza that has caused such tremendous suffering, canceling home demolitions, curbing israeli settlement activity, those things are also on the table, often table -- off the table, because they are likely to bring down the government. i'm not sure this government can survive, the full tenure, or
even frankly to the rotation to prime minister lapid after two years. hazem: natasha lindstaedt, i will ask it was well about khaled elgindy iran, because that is obviously something there is quite a lot of this agreement on -- disagreement on between israel and the u.s. right now. is there any middleground they can find on that at this point? >> there is more common ground on the issues of iran. there's a lot of tension about the issues of settlements and expansion and so forth, but in terms of iran, i think the u.s. and israel both agree that iran is incredibly dangerous and problematic. and of course netanyahu and trump were on the same page about this and trump left the iran nuclear deal. but biden wants to return to the
deal, even though iran elected a very hard-line president and a looks like iran is becoming more conservative and hard-line than even in the past, if that's possible. there was a lot of years work put into making that -- into putting that deal together. but he has cautioned, he shares with israel great alarm about iran. they might be on the same page with israel about the idea of relationships with other arab countries in the region, israel normal his relationships recently with bahrain and the uae, with some other gulf states. there is to medication that takes place. -- some munication that takes place. it's not out in the open. there is hidden cooperation and communication that takes place.
the u.s. would be on the same page with israel if they continued to normal his relationships with some of these other countries. hazem: yaakov katz, do you expect that to continue, the normalization of relationships with other arab countries? >> there's ground for that to continue and for the administration, as well as israel to build on. with the agreements reached a year ago between israel and the uae, morocco, bahrain, sudan, we know the saudis were in talks, the omanis were in talks. it will require of the biden administration to also put some of its political capital on the table. we have yet to see that happen. i think they are distracted at the moment with matters of greater importance, such as was happening in afghanistan and some sort of resolution with iran's nuclear threat. i'm sure that's one of the issues that's going to come up
in the conversation between the prime minister and the president. it is something israel definitely wants and the region is ready for this. this region is hungry for more stability and more normalization. hazem: khaled elgindy, i want to ask you how the palestinian leadership most forward on this. we saw the protests that took place in the palestinian territories, in july, against the government there, the way the authorities cracked down on peaceful dissent, blocked any popular mobilization. the security services, it's reinforced this belief among many palestinians the authority acts as an agent of israeli occupation, and their words. what application does not have for their dealings with israel and the u.s. and the perception among many palestinians that their leaders are not acting in
their best interests? >> i am happy to address that. a quick word on the normalization front. i think we have to be a little bit more nuanced, when we talk about what normalizations mean, where they come from. happen to believe that we sort of reached the peak of what could be achieved on the normalization front. the uae and bahrain were very eager participants in the normalization dynamic. the uae led that process. i don't think the rest of the arab world is quite ready for normalization, particularly in the absence of an end to israel's occupation of 5 million palestinians were ruled by military regime, for which they cannot vote. i think the normalization and
the situation with morocco and sudan, one was coerced and one was, in some ways, a diplomatic bribe, recognition of moroccan sovereignty, over occupied territory, like the palestinian occupied territories. i don't think the bite and administer she is prepared to go to the same lengths -- administration is prepared to go to the same lengths in terms of arm-twisting and threats on coercion, as in the case of sudan, to push the normalization agenda. i think it sort of reached its limit. on the palestinian front, yes, the situation is quite terrible. the palestinian authority is becoming more and more repressive. it has always been sort of illiberal in its approach to palestinian civil society,
certainly had very little tolerance for internal dissent. but it is becoming increasingly so, i think in large part because the whole purpose of creating the palestinian authority was that it would eventually graduate and become an independent palestinian state. so here we are, and the 28th year, -- in the 20th year of a five year interim arrangement and there is no palestinian independence on the horizon. and so, in a lot of ways, the whole purpose of the palestinian authority has been taken away. it is simply off the table. and so, the palestinian authority is really existing in survival mode. the way it will survive is through repression, having lost legitimacy. hazem: we are going to leave it there. we have run out of time. thank you so much to all of our
guests, yaakov katz, natasha lindstaedt, and khaled elgindy. thank you. and thank you, too, for watching. remember, you can see the program again anytime by visiting our website, aljazeera.com. and for more discussion, go to our facebook page. that's facebook.com/ajinsidestory. you can also join the conversation on twitter. our handle is @ajinsidestory. from me, hazem sika, and the whole team here, bye for now. ♪ r■br?ok!3ó
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