Two Middle East Journalists: Extremists Dominate Region

Monday, 07 Jul 2014 08:18 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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Moderate voices are being drowned out by dead-enders at both extremes of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has erupted into new violence and reprisals, two journalists covering the Middle East told Newsmax TV on Monday.

But both praised Israel for denouncing the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager and for arresting six suspects who were allegedly responding in kind to the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis.

"The question is whether this is going to contain the cycle [of violence] that's started," Ron Kampeas, Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"Already you're seeing people rolling back their rhetoric," said Kampeas. "There's a sense across the board, from left to right in Israel, that perhaps after the bodies of the three kidnapped [Israeli] teenagers were found, that some Israeli politicians might have gone overboard in their rhetoric."

Jamal Dajani, an independent journalist based in San Francisco, said that for the Palestinians' part, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quick to denounce the kidnapping and murders of the three Israelis.

But he added that Hamas, the militant Islamist organization in Gaza that wants to eliminate Israel, "has been terrible throughout all of this," and that it's Hamas that gets more attention for its behavior and rhetoric toward Israel than Abbas does for his.

"The extremists are taking control of the agenda," said Kampeas, "and you don't have a boldness on either side in terms of the moderates."

"You do have 500 Israelis who have signed up to go to the family of this murdered [Palestinian] youth . . . and pay their condolences," said Kampeas. "If you had an Israeli leader, if [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu [also] went in person and spoke to these people, that might be a transformative moment."

Dajani said Abbas "could always do more."

But he praised Abbas for taking his apology for the murdered young Israelis a step farther "when last week he went to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the middle of the Arabic world, and in Arabic he condemned the murders, which is what the Israelis always asked of him — not just to do this to the Western world, but to do this in Arabic to the Arabic world. That, I think, was a big step."

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