While Israel-Palestine relations are always a hot-button issue, yesterday’s Intelligence2 U.S. debate on whether or not the United Nations should fully recognize the State of Palestine became particularly heated. Two Palestinian activists engaged with two former Israeli government envoys in a passionate (and sometimes personal) discussion on topics such as security, economic growth, and the right of both countries to be recognized around the world. At one point, things got so heated the moderator had to take center stage to wave the participants down. Apologies followed.
Mustafa Barghouthi, a political activist and former presidential candidate for the Palestinian National Authority, argued that recognition by the U.N. would “give Palestinians hope” and a legitimate chance for growth and development, something the country doesn’t have under Israeli rule.
Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. countered the argument by saying a unilateral decision to recognize Palestine isolates Israel and puts the country’s security in jeopardy, considering many entities within the Palestinian National Authority, such as Hamas, still renounce Israel’s existence entirely.
After a number of questions from the audience that challenged both the pros and cons of admitting Palestine into the U.N., Intelligence2 host John Donvan announced the results. Who won?