Israel, Palestinians lack great leaders: Barenboim

BUCHAREST- Famous Argentinian-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim said Tuesday that both Israel and the Palestinians lacked great leaders who understand that the two nations have a "common destiny".
"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a conflict between two nations deeply convinced that they have the right to live on the same strip of land," Barenboim told a press conference in Bucharest, where he performs at the George Enescu international music festival.

Israel, Palestinians lack great leaders: Barenboim
"For 60 years now, the Palestinians have been trying to push the Israelis into the sea and the Israelis have been trying to push the Palestinians into the desert. This hasn't worked and will not work."
"The people and the leaders that we lack, on either side, should understand that we have a common destiny inextricably uniting us," he stressed.
"What we lack is great individuals capable of convincing their nations."
Barenboim said that Israel should put an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and insisted that the Israeli government had a bigger responsibility, "since Israel is a nation, a country, while the Palestinians are not".
And as the Palestinians are preparing to submit a formal request to become the 194th member of the United Nations when the General Assembly begins on September 20, Barenboim wondered why the setting up of a Palestinian state was taking so long.
"Since the Clinton administration we have been talking about the two-state solution, with Israel reverting to its pre-1967 borders. Then why isn't this happening?"
"Why does the US president say this and three days later the Israeli Prime minister is in Washington and he (the US president) says: 'if the Palestinians bring this issue before the UN, the US will use its veto'. How can one say both things at the same time?"
In 1999, Barenboim and the late Palestinian-American academic Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra bringing together Arab and Israeli musicians aged 14 to 25 who have performed all over the world.

Tuesday, September 13th 2011

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