The Washington bureau chief of Al Arabiya News Channel abruptly ended an interview on Newsmax TV
on Friday after he accused Steve Malzberg, host of "The Steve Malzberg Show,'' of spewing "Israeli propaganda.''
"You know, this is ridiculous,'' Hisham Melhem told Malzberg. "You're talking Israeli propaganda. I don't want to waste my time.''
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The conversation began cordially as Melhem predicted a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, who have been engaged in a series of deadly military maneuvers in Gaza.
"There will be a cease-fire because the Israelis will realize that they cannot occupy Gaza again. They don't want to occupy Gaza again, and you're not going to eradicate Hamas,'' Melhem said, appearing on Skype.
The interview heated up when Melhem claimed that Israel only decided to recognize itself as a Jewish state in recent years, prompting Malzberg to remind him that Israel was founded as a Jewish state in 1948.
"The Palestinians recognize a state that was born in 1948. That's it. And then the issue of right of return, and the issue of settlements, the issue of refugees, the issue of the future of Jerusalem, this is left for final negotiations,'' Melhem said.
"This will never happen without the recognition verbally and in writing of Israel as a Jewish state,'' Malzberg shot back.
"George W. Bush insisted upon that. It was only [Secretary of State] John Kerry and … this anti-Israel Obama administration who said recently, 'Ahhh, you're making too big a deal about calling it a Jewish state.' I don't think Israel will ever feel that that's too big a deal, sir, with all due respect," Malzberg said.
An infuriated Melhem responded: "If you want to throw at me Israeli propaganda position, let's end the conversation now."
"Then let's end the conversation, sir, if you consider Israel wanting to be a Jewish state as Israeli propaganda? I think that's a radical position, sir," Malzberg said.
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