SEEDS OF PEACE
In Mideast Conflict
There’s No Escape
By Tim Boxer
HEN Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, there was Bill Clinton in the middle, arms stretched around both men so they couldn’t escape each other.
“I had to hold them together with all my might,” Clinton said at a Seeds of Peace celebrity auction at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. The event, emceed by Janeane Garofalo, raised nearly $1 million.
Still playing the role of peacemaker, the former President delivered a pep talk in which he exhorted the mostly young Jewish audience to find a way for Jew and Arab to live in harmony.
“They can live with each other or they can kill each other,” he said. “The only thing they cannot do is escape each other.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned in fights I’ve won and fights I’ve lost is that no one gets even. The only victory is peace and reconciliation.”
Ever the optimist, Clinton said he believes peace will happen “because there is no option. People in power will embrace the idea of Seeds of Peace.”
He welcomed Aaron David Miller, senior adviser for Arab-Israeli negotiations at the State Department, as the new president of Seeds of Peace. The organization brings teenagers from different wartorn regions to engage in conflict resolution at a summer camp in Maine.
“Miller played a pivotal role for the eight years that my administration was working for peace,” Clinton said.
Clinton has settled in comfortably as a New Yorker. He was stopped on the street by a woman and her child.
“Don’t you want to meet Mr. Clinton?” the woman said. “He used to be President of the United States.”
“No,” the kid said. “I want an ice cream soda.”