In conversation with Palestinian journalist Issam Ikirmawi (CNN, Al Jazeera): on Israelis, ‘Rambo’ & meeting Yasser Arafat

November 06, 2020

For those of you would like a break from all the American election coverage, here is another discussion from my “Conversations with friends” series.



Born in the old city of Jerusalem, near the Damascus Gate, Issam Ikirmawi has forged a 30-year career as a senior news broadcaster and producer working for CNN, ABC, Al Jazeera, Channel 4 (UK), and TV stations in Canada, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and elsewhere.

Issam discusses his life and career, the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, how Palestinians feel about their own leaders, and how, as a young man, he had roles as an extra in movies filmed in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, including ‘Rambo’.

Issam talks about the leaders he has met as a journalist, including Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert. And he asks why there is so much international interest in the Israeli-Palestinian Authority conflict.

The parts about current Palestinian views of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, and about whether there are regrets for not having accepted previous Israeli offers of independent Palestinian statehood, and Palestinian views of Israel’s new agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, start at about 17 minutes into this interview.

(Discussion by zoom with Tom Gross, November 3, 2020.)



For those interested in discussions from this series that touch upon Donald Trump’s record as US president, you could watch (or listen to while doing something else) my conversations with award-winning columnists

Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian and

Bret Stephens of The New York Times.



I have placed over 20 other videos from this series on a new website so they can be viewed in one place.

Tom Gross talks with friends from around the world about their lives. They include world-renowned musicians, leading historians, newspaper columnists and editors, retired intelligence officers, Palestinian academics and Oscar-nominated screenwriters.

(You need to press “load more” at the foot of the webpage to see or listen to the remaining videos.)

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