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Jon Stewart says he has a solution to the Gaza conflict

Cheryl Teh   

Jon Stewart says he has a solution to the Gaza conflict
  • On Monday night, Jon Stewart presented a solution to the Gaza conflict.
  • It includes the creation of a NATO for the Middle East.

On his Monday-night show, Jon Stewart outlined his idea for a solution to the Gaza conflict.

First, with his signature dry humor, he suggested a scaled-up version of a 2014 event in Maine that involved 95 Israeli and Palestinian teens trading "rockets for rackets" at a summer-camp-style gathering.

Second, Stewart, said, "Let's just ask God."

"It's his house," he added. "He's the one who started all this. Just ask God. He can tell us who is right. Is it the Jews? Is it the Muslims? Is it the Zoroastrians?"

But Stewart then got serious and outlined his proposal for ending the violence in Gaza.

"Starting now, no preconditions, no earned trust, no partners for peace," Stewart said. "Israel stops bombing. Hamas releases the hostages. The Arab countries who claim Palestine is their top priority come in and form a demilitarized zone between Israel and a free Palestinian state."

This NATO-like organization would involve Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan guaranteeing "security for both sides," Stewart said. He dubbed the proposed organization "METO" — for "Middle East Treaty Organization" — and said both the name and his proposed pronunciation, which sounds like "me too," could be workshopped further.

"Obviously, I've not worked out the exact verbiage, but anything is better than" the current "cycle," he said.

Stewart is not the first to suggest a NATO-style organization in the Middle East, but the idea has thus far failed to gain traction.

The US-led Baghdad Pact in 1955 did not bring about lasting unity in the region, and the 2002 Arab League resolution also failed. Attempts by leaders such as President Donald Trump to create an Arab NATO — and unite Middle Eastern nations with deeply conflicting security goals and aims — have fallen flat.

During his monologue, "The Daily Show" host called out various major parties, from Israel and Hamas to the US, the UN, and other countries in the Middle East, saying they did not have a feasible solution to the violence.

"The status-quo cycle of provocation and retribution is predicated on some idea that one of these groups is going to go away. And they are not," Stewart said.

"If we want a safe and free Israel and a safe and free Palestine, we have to recognize that reality. And I know that there is a twisted and much-contested history in the region that has brought us to this point. But we are at this point," Stewart said.

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