Video: Exclusive interview with Ambassador Dore Gold

posted at 12:41 pm on June 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

JERUSALEM — Earlier today, the Tomorrow 2013 Presidential Conference arranged an interview with one of the most knowledgeable men on regional conflicts, multilateral diplomacy, and the long history undergirding both, Ambassador Dore Gold.  Now at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Gold provides support for public officials navigating the rocky shoals of foreign and domestic policy, and educates the general public as well.  I met Ambassador Gold at his office to discuss the Presidential Conference, the conflict in Syria, and the perhaps intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well:

Ambassador Gold believes that the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as well as strategic interests there, require Western intervention.  “It would be a disaster,” he explains, “for Syria and Iran to come out victorious in the current confrontation.” Iran’s hegemonial ambitions go well beyond Syria, but without Syria they would be nearly impossible to fulfill.  “They now have boots on the ground in the Syrian War, shooting Sunni Arabs,” as well as their long-term backing of Hezbollah and their entry into the conflict. Clearly, they desperately want to keep Assad in power.

On the other hand, Gold warns that we have to be smart about our partners. In Libya, we went beyond the language of the UN resolution to topple Qaddafi, and now the Russians don’t trust us in Syria, even though there is a strong, shared interest in fighting radical Islamists.  The result: a proliferation of arms from the Libyan caches bought from the Russians, including shoulder-fired missiles capable of shooting down aircraft in Gaza.

That brought us to the conflict closer to home for Israel.  Ambassador Gold largely dismisses the value of Western intervention, telling me, “The only ones who can solve this problem are the parties themselves. … You can’t want peace more than the parties themselves.”  The pact with Egypt was realized not because of American diplomacy but because Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat wanted to head off Western dictates.  The treaty with Jordan was arranged directly.

Furthermore, Gold stresses that some of the core issues may be irresolvable, and the challenge will be not to reach a comprehensive settlement but to find ways to live with the disagreements without necessarily resolving them.  “No one has resolved Kashmir,” Gold points out, or Cyprus, the Kureil Islands, or even Taiwan.  A more limited agreement might be possible, but the view “from 100,000 feet” show that some divisions simply can’t be bridged because the demands are mutually exclusive.  “The Israelis are not going to divide Jerusalem,” Gold insists.  “People should get that through their head. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against it.”

Gold gave me two books after the interview.  The first was his 2007 bestseller The Fight for Jerusalemand the second is the latest version of the JCPA’s Israel’s Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders, a symposium of analyses from experts such as Moshe Yaalon, Uzi Dayan, and current Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror.  I will be closely examining both, and readers may want to get both on their bookshelves.

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Ambassador Gold believes that the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as well as strategic interests there, require Western intervention.

Everyone in the middle east wants to fight their enemies to the last American.

the Russians don’t trust us in Syria, even though there is a strong, shared interest in fighting radical Islamists.

Both sides are radical islamists, aka Muslims. If we really do arm al qaeda after 9/11 and the Libya debacle, then the whole decade of the so-called war on terror was a sick joke.

abobo on June 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Ed,

What a remarkable opportunity you’re having. Glad all your hard work is paying off.

Happy Nomad on June 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Everyone in the middle east wants to fight their enemies to the last American.

I don’t!

:)

Shy Guy on June 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

In the context, this is interesting, and rather disturbing:

A Republican senator blasted the Pentagon after it entered into a new helicopter contract with a Russian company which is supplying the Syrian regime — even as the U.S. moves to arm the Syrian opposition.

AesopFan on June 20, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Thanks Ed + Mr. Ambassador, this man knows what he is talking about. It is rare for diplomats to not be all about the BS 24/7. I have nothing but respect for Amb. Gold and JCPA

saus on June 20, 2013 at 4:48 PM