tv Amanpour on PBS PBS May 15, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to amanpour on pbs. tonight, the united states breaks with 70 years of its middle east policy and international consensus. while the palestinian leader calls for three days of mourning for the dozens of protfteesters killed, making it the deadliest day there since the 2014 gaza war. my exclusive interview with a former israeli prime minister in tel aviv. the palestinian political leader also. good evening.
welcome to the program. the sobering contrast between israel and the palestinians became even starker today. the 70th anniversary of the country's founding. in jerusalem, the united states opened a whole new vein of its foreign policy as it celebrated moving its embassy there from tel aviv. in gaza, 40 miles away, it was the deadliest day since the 2014 gaza war. israel killed at least 52 protesters and injured over 2,400 others causing the palestinian leader to declare a general strike and three days of mourning. earlier in a recorded message, president trump said the embassy move was a long time coming. >> israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. the plain reality that israel's
capital is jerusalem. >> the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu already thrilled with his part in trump's decision to leave the deal that's preventing iran from developing a nuclear weapon was positively elated today. >> what a glorious day. remember this moment. [ applause ] this is history. president trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. >> so what course will that history take now? america is the only country in the world with its embassy in jerusalem. it soon might be joined by guatemala and puin the coming days.
tomorrow, palestinians mark the catastrophe as they call israel's founding and the expulsion of thousands of palestinians. now that it has thrown its weight so far to one side, can washington remain the honest broker? we get two takes tonight from the palestinian political lea r leader. but first, on this day from the former israeli prime minister. in 2008, he sat face to face with the palestinian authority president to negotiate the fate region.salem and peace in their he joins me now from tel aviv. prime minister, welcome to the program. >> thank you. good evening. >> i want to ask you, because you did a lot in terms of face to face negotiations, whether you think this day is a day for elation and for celebration, not about the moving of the embassy
but for the root of peace now. >> certainly, i think that the american decision has been long overdue. in this respect, i think there's a good reason for israel to be happy that our capital was finally formally recognized by the united states and hopefully will be recognized by many others. we should remember, obviously, that the president say the final borders of jerusalem will be determined in future negotiations between us and the palestinians. i am certainly anxious these negotiations will start immediately. i heard president trump has a peace plan that he is going to propose. and that is very important, because if president trump believes that there is a chance for peace, then there are two now, he and if i can say myself,
i also believe that there can be peace and should be peace and that we should make every possible effort to engage in a serious, meaningful process of negotiations that unfortunately was not resumed after my departure that should lead us into full peace with the palestinians. >> okay. prime minister, let me ask you, because you make that point that the last time there was a serious sort of movement seems to have been when you were prime minister. can i first ask you to reflect on the enormous amount of bloodshed today next door in gaza in the territory there that's blockaded? 52 and counting dead. more than 1,000 wounded. >> that's a very sad event, terrible event, which is very disturbing. i mean, let's not forget that israel pulled out entirely from gaza. so we are now positioned in what
is considered by all the international community to be israel. the attempt to cross the fence and to enter into israel with thousands of people is totally unacceptable. i'm terribly sad indeed that the outcome of this is the killing of so many people and so many casualties. and we should make every possible effort, all of us, first of all, hamas and the leaders in gaza, to stop this. to top the attempt to invade the state of israel by thousands of people. and i hope that it will not be repeated tomorrow. because it's enough. it's really enough. we don't want to kill palestinians. we are terribly sad that it happened. but we have to defend our borders. >> mr. prime minister, i'm not going to nitpick with you over numbers.
we heard it was a small number that tried to breach the fence. the question really again is whether it was proportionate force. so i'm not going to argue with that, because -- the overwhe overwhelming force is with one side. what i want to ask you about is the following. that already the palestinian leadership has said that they will not enter any peace process. we have heard it from the u.n. representative and we have heard it from others. because they don't believe that the main, i guess, broker or owner, if you like, of the peace process, the united states, can be an honest broker. so how do you see today with this move any peace process moving forward? >> well, i want to say two things. which to me are very important. number one, the fact remains is that in 2008, i proposed a peace plan which i know and i heard it
from many palestinians, including the leaders, that it was the most far reaching proposal ever put on the table by an israeli side. and i regret very much that at that time the leader of the palestinians, whom i respect a lot, has failed to give me a positive answer. now, i want -- i can't dwell on the past, because it will make no difference now. now we have to move from where we are. and i want to suggest to the palestinian leader, why won't you stand up openly in front of all the televisions of the world and say, i'm ready to negotiate the peace plan that was proropod by the prime minister of israel in 2008 in order to conclude the historical conflict between israel and the palestinians? this plan has not died.
it's alive because this is the only chance within we can reach an agreement. so why not make the step forward and say, okay, there was a peace plan which was proposed by the prime minister of the state of israel, this plan was approved by everyone in the international community, and i know that he thought it was a very meaningful and serious peace plan. why not make the first step forward and say, i'm ready to negotiate within this framework in order to achieve peace on the basis of what was proposed by israel? >> okay. prime minister, let me ask you -- >> that can be a meaningful step. >> let me ask you to develop that logic. you did propose something far reaching before you, a leader from a different party proposed something that was very far reaching. in each case, if i'm not mistaken, jerusalem was in play
as a last issue and it was for the parties to decide. nobody has denied that jerusalem is the capital of israel. but people also say -- and the international consensus seems to be it's the shared capital of the palestinians as well. how does a palestinian leader now come to say, i will negotiate for a peace plan that appears to be much less generous than the one you are talking about? >> not really. what i proposed was that there are parts of jerusalem will become the capital of the palestinian state. there was clear and obvious and -- this is not a secret. i wrote it in my book in the most explicit terms. and i must say that once president trump announced that
he recognizes jerusalem as the capital of the state of israel, which was not done before officially, and the embassy was transferred, which i'm very happy about and i think this is a great and important historical event, yet at the say the time, he say the final borders of jerusalem will be determined in negotiations. so i think that there is enough room for the palestinian leader to say within this framework, we are ready to negotiate. we are ready to negotiate on the basis of a plan which explicitly said that the basis for the territorial solution will bet 9 1 1967 and it will be administered by five nations, including saudi arabia, jordan, america, israel
and that the path to jerusalem will be the capital of the palestinian state. >> precisely. >> this is the plan. it's not a secret. it can be negotiated. and i think that the palestinians have an opportunity here to show to the whole world that something which is reasonable, which is acceptable, which has been approved by so many countries, is that which they really want. and that can move things forward. i know it will not be easy. i know it will be difficult for many in my country to accept it as they opposed it when i proposed it. but i proposed it as a prime minister as the state of israel. therefore, the historical move by president trump to recognize jerusalem as capital of the state of israel does not preclude a solution which will be satisfactory to the desires of the palestinians if they will catch this opportunity and move
forward together with us. >> prime palestinian stminister there's no real alternative than negotiating. you also said that you had -- you couldn't push it forward for many reasons, including that you yourself were under, you know -- under investigation, basically. you had to resign. you did resign before -- >> that's right. >> before you could conclude this. you went to prison for that. you have come out. you have written a book. prime minister netanyahu is also under investigation. you have said, i think, that he should do as you have said the right thing and resign. do you still believe that? then who would lead these negotiations forward? >> look, i certainly don't want to go now into any accusation against the prime minister of israel. the prime minister of israel is in power. he has the authority. he has the wisdom, i believe.
he needs to have the necessary desire to move forward to solve the most important, the most crucial issue that hangs over the skies of israel, which is to make peace with the palestinians. if he will do it, i think he will make that historical impact. which he is so anxious to do. and i think that the palestinians must show from their side the necessary signs that they are ready to accept this framework and not arguing now about the past. i am not blaming anyone. i say, there was a plan which was proposed by the prime minister of israel, officially with the full authority of the prime ministership. this plan is a reasonable basis for a conclusion of an agreement. it solves the issue of jerusalem. it solves the issue of territories. it solves all the outstanding issues between us and the
palestinians. and the palestinians must relate to it, must respond to it. and they can do it. and if they will do it, believe me, it will change the middle east entirely. >> all right. >> the pains of the past and the tragedies of the past will disappear. they have to do it. and i believe that we will have the power to create the necessary environment in israel to be able to go along. >> well, i'm going to put that former prime minister, thank you for joining me. i'm going to put that to a palestinian leader who has been listening very closely from are a ramallah. >> welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> you heard the prime minister. you were there when he did put the proposal forward all those years ago in 2008.
is that still doable for you under the current framework? >> well, unfortunately, maybe we have to remind the audience that he is not the prime minister of israel. i think he was put in prison because of his plan. the real government is netanyahu and his party who are rejecting even what was proposed. let me also remind you that the one who signed the prime minister who signed the peace agreement with palestinians was assassinated by an israeli extremist. that assassination took place after a lot of instigation by the prime minister who destroyed process and the peace agreement. what netanyahu is offering us is
not a state, is not a solution. what they are offering us is a system of apartheid. a system where we have one state practically with two systems of laws, with israelis oppressing palestinians, with an occupation that has become the longest in modern history. today you have seen what they have done. a real massacre. for years we were told by foreign ministers, by prime ministers of the world, why don't you palestinians march peacefully like martin luther king did, like gandhi did? i have been advocating that. hamas accept it. >> let me ask you this. >> you saw what happened. >> we did. prime minister regretted the bloodshed. enough of blood and tears. they signed the accord on the white house lawn. there was a lot of blood and tears today. we heard from the original
non-violent protesters who said when they started that they wanted it to be non-violent. it looks like hamas hijacked it. you have to admit that. doesn't that just constantly, constantly play against you? it's enough already. >> they didn't hijack it. >> the protesters say they did, sir. they did. the protesters said that their non-violent movement was hijacked. i'm not asking you just to be argumentative, but to figure out where this leads you in trying to figure out a peace going forward. is it possible under trump, netanyahu and abbas? >> i think it's possible. not with the parameters that mr. netanyahu is proposing. let me explain. today we demonstrated also peacefully in the west bank. hamas was not the leader of the demonstrations. we were shot at. by the same israeli army.
what i'm trying to say is that by the way, israel did not withdraw from gaza. otherwise why is it beseeieging from all passages? most of the people killed today and during the last five weeks in gaza were killed in the buffer zone, inside gaza. not at the border. there's some misleading statement here when israeli says they ended occupation. their occupation is still there. can we talk about peace? yes. is there a possibility for peace? of course. it only relates to the ending occupation. if israel is ready to end its occupation, if they are ready to accept that we will also have a capital in east jerusalem and that there is a solution that provide s two states which can coexi coexist, there is a possibility. when israel kills every
agreement that exists and tries to impose on us unilateral actions like an exatinexation, will not lead to peace. what we see is that the land we live on is disappearing every day. with the expansion of settlements. if you ask us to negotiate why settlements continue, it's like asking two people to negotiate over a piece of cheese. one side is prohibited from reefireef i reaching it and the other side is eating it. mr. trump now is supporting this israeli behavior. he is killing the ability of the united states to solve this problem. he is making the united states a participant in violating
international law. >> that's the question. ected palestinian leadership of the authority, say that you do not consider the u.s. any longer an honest broker, mediator and broken with the united states since the december declaration of the embassy, what happens next? what do do you? what is your negotiating stance today? what do you do in the view of this reality that's on the ground? >> i don't think we broke united states. it's the united states that broke with us. it doesn't -- it's not important to negotiate about that. let's talk about the future. the possibility of having a peace process is related to creating an international forum that is not by us to one side. today the united states is completely biased to israel. when i listen to mr. greenblatt or mr. friedman, they look like they -- they sound like they are the spokesperson for the israeli government, not for the united states.
what we need is a decent mediator. that means an international forum and the process has to be based on international law. and u.n. resolution, security council resolutions, general assembliey s rresolution. it should be based on ending occupation. >> if you have heard any leaks or reports or anything, what do you understand about the u.s. administration's plan, the jared kushner plan, the president trump plan that's meant to be unveiled? you heard president trump, i believe they are talking about a two state solution still. >> what we heard is negative things, unfortunately. mr. trump was the first american president, that declare a change in the american policy. he said it's not necessarily two state solution. he said it's what the two sides
agreeabout. he knows very well that iael is the powerful side here. so they will never accept a two state solution. it's the united states that stopped criticizing israel about settlement building. he said that he is taking jerusalem off the table. so how can we negotiate if the most important issue for us is off the table? he wants to take it off the table. he is allowing settlements to expand. he is taking settlements off the table. what is left to negotiate about? we need a different approach. we need a balanced approach. we need an approach that accepts international law and the rights of the palestinians as equal human beings to have a state of their own, a sovereign state and not controlled by israeli side in a form that is nothing but racial discrimination against palestinian people. we need a principal position that palestinians also are
entitled to freedom, entitled to their own state, entitled to plan their own future and of course cooperate with their neighbors. first we have to be free so we can cooperate. >> quickly, do you believe the consensus, therefore, on the palestinian side is to towards a one state solution? what does that look like? >> i continue there is consensus on popular non-violent resistance which i'm proud of being one of the advocates of that. yes, there is consensus. if israel can, the only solution available will not be this but one state with equal rights. i mean by equal rights, civil and national rights, which means that state will not be jewish only, which means a palestinian could be prime minister, which means we will have total equal rights. the choice for israel is very clear. either they accept two states or they accept one state with equal rights.
they should understand that we the palestinian people will never, ever accept to be slaves of a system of occupation or aparthe apartheid. that will never happen. we will struggle whatever it takes to achieve our freedom. >> the battle lines are still drawn. thanks for joining us tonight. just a note before we go. today was also a big political victory not just for president trump and prime minister netanyahu but for a select group of american evangelicals who believe jews in israel are key to their millennial doctrine. a pastor, a controversial peacher whose endorse emergency john mccain had to repeudiate delivered the benedict. i spoke with him over a decade ago. back then, he explained that he was a christian zionist. >> a christian zionist is
someone that believes that the bible supports israel. god begins in the foreign policy statement of israel and genesis 12:3 saying i will bless those who bless you and i will curse those who curse you. >> you said god's foreign policy statement? >> yes. >> god has foreign policy statement s statements? >> absolutely. >> his is pro israel? >> concerning the jewish people, that's his foreign policy statement. >> that completes our platter of major perspectives. we had hoped to have one from the trump administration. they put no one forward despite our repeated requests. that's it for our program. thanks for watching amanpour on pbs. join us again tomorrow night.