Sheldon Adelson discusses Palestinians, peace efforts

Sheldon Adelson in 2008.
(Kin Cheung / Associated Press)

JERUSALEM -- Casino billionaire and Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson said Tuesday that U.S. efforts to restart Mideast peace talks are doomed until Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Speaking during a break at the Jerusalem International Tourism Summit, Adelson, 80, also said he would not be investing any of his fortune in Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s new $4-billion private investment plan to develop the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

What do you think about what Secretary Kerry is doing? Is there any chance to move the ball forward on the peace process?


I won’t comment about Kerry. But I’ll ask you: How can you move the ball forward when the Israelis legitimately want peace and the Palestinians want Israel, piece by piece. I don’t know one Israeli that doesn’t want peace. It’s the other side that doesn’t want peace. When they teach their children that Jews are descended from swine and apes, pigs and monkeys, and their charter calls for the destruction of Israel ... how are you going to have peace? I’m all in favor of peace. I don’t care if it’s [a] two-state solution or not. Everybody deserves to live in peace. But I don’t see the leadership from the so-called Palestinians that says to their people, “We have to prepare to give up our charter that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.” Have you heard any Palestinian say we have to give up our hope of destroying Israel in favor of living in peace?

I don’t think the destruction of Israel is in the minds of a lot of Palestinians.

Really? How naïve and how ignorant can you be? I don’t understand why they teach their children to hate and kill Jews.

A lot of Israeli Jews are concerned about what the lack of peace is doing to the Jewish, democratic state. Are you worried that if there is no two-state solution, it will threaten Israel?

That’s completely irrelevant and that’s propaganda-ish. It’s plain stupidity to recognize a partner that wants to kill you [in order to achieve] peace.

So what’s the solution?

Put a big fence around our country and say to the guys over there that the trucks can’t go over our land if they carry weapons, the planes can’t go over our airspace if they carry weapons. Period. [Tell them,] you want to have a state, go do it the way you want.

Kerry is proposing a $4-billion private investment plan for the Palestinian territories and says it’s important to coordinate the tourism industries of Israel, West Bank and Jordan. Would you want to participate in that?

Why would I want to invest money with people who want to kill me? Of course I won’t be part.

How is Israel Today doing? [Israel Today is the Adelson-owned free-distribution daily newspaper in Israel.]

We are the No.1 newspaper.

Is it making a profit yet or breaking even?

It’s doing what we wanted it to do.

How involved are you with Israel Today?

I hesitate because I’d rather not talk about my involvement. But the fact of the matter is, I’m not involved. The newspaper goes by itself.


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