Does the Israeli occupation fuel ‘extremism’?

We speak to Israeli Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely, and ask a Syrian opposition political adviser about the UN peace talks

Ban Ki-moon and the Israeli government are at odds after the United Nations secretary-general criticised the Israeli occupation in an address to the Security Council last week.

Ban said it was “human nature” for Palestinians to react to the occupation, specifically pointing to settlement building as a “provocative” action. The remarks elicited strong criticism from the Israeli government, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing the UN chief of “encouraging terror”.

In this week’s UpFront, Mehdi Hasan speaks to Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, the country’s top diplomat, about Ban’s remarks.

The Reality Check points to US President Barack Obama’s national security record as proof that despite many criticisms, he is more of a hawk than a dove.

In Arena, we ask a senior political adviser to the Syrian opposition about the collapse of UN-sponsored talks and what it will take to bring peace to the country.

Headliner – Israeli minister: Palestinians under ‘ISIL influence’

As the Israeli leadership and United Nations trade barbs, does the Israeli government really believe UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “encouraging terror”?

In this week’s Headliner, Mehdi Hasan speaks to the country’s top diplomat Tzipi Hotovely about the secretary-general’s remarks.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely says Israel’s domestic and military intelligence agencies are “absolutely wrong” to suggest that Palestinian violence is created from hopelessness.

“It means that terrorism is the main problem, is the main issue, not frustration,” the de-facto foreign minister adds.

Hotovely also suggests that Palestinians may have been influenced by the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “There are many other people who are saying that the Palestinian society today is choosing … the extremist side, under the influence of ISIS, as the atmosphere of the way the youngsters are being raised,” she says, “and unfortunately also when they’re raised under the very hard incitement of the Palestinian Authority.”

Reality Check: Is Obama a wimp?

A “wimp”, “weak”, “coward” – that’s how critics often describe US President Barack Obama when it comes to what they see as national security issues.

However, a look at his record proves that he might be more of a hawk than a dove. In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan looks at his interventionist record and highlights three ways Obama is closer to his critics than some think.

Arena: Can the Syrian peace talks be saved?

Amid increased violence, the UN special envoy to Syria announced on Wednesday a temporary suspension of peace talks.

While each side placed blame on the other for the collapse of the current round of negotiations, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, said that there was “more work to be done”, adding that the talks would resume no later than February 25.

Critics argue that the negotiations were doomed to fail from the start. But after almost five years of civil war, what options, if any, are available to bring an end to the violence? What brought these current talks to a halt? And what prospects are there for peace in the future?

In Arena, Mehdi Hasan speaks to Bassam Barabandi, adviser to Riad Hijab, the head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee and  a cofounder of People Demand Change, about what it will take to bring peace to the country.

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