Skip to main content

tv   National Council on U.S.- Arab Relations Hosts Policymakers Conference  CSPAN  October 31, 2018 11:03am-1:04pm EDT

11:03 am
the administration has stated that it will insist that iran's major oil customers, all its oil customers fully comply with reimposed sanctions, which go back into effect on midnight on sunday night, so monday at midnight, monday night at midnight, the sanctions, the energy sanctions go back into full effect. the administration has stated that iran's oil customers must fully comply by cutting oil purchases from iran to as close to zero as possible. if they want to retain an exception under the sanctions law, which is the fiscal year 2012 national defense authorization act, which allows for an exception if a country allows for a sanctions exception if the country significantly reduces their purchases of
11:04 am
iranian oil every six months. there needs to be a significant reduction each six months increments as measured. the agrees definition of significant reduction is 18%. so each customer must reduce their purchases of iranian oil 18% each sequential six months to retain this exception. more recently after appeals from countries such as south korea, which buys con den sate, not necessarily crude oil, but is spent for alternatives. they have modified the stance a little bit. officials will evaluate on a case by case basis and they say we will work with our partners with the goal still the goal of driving iran's oil exports as
11:05 am
close to zero as possible. maybe my talk is useful because press analysis has been all over the map. some articles say the administration is working. that is is collapsing oil, perts. other articles say the effect has been modest. i would assert that the results so far based on the figures i have today is that the results are modest as of now based on figures of oil exports from the end of september. now tonight it's october 31st, i do not have october figures. i will have those tomorrow, but the unfortunately the conference is today, the panel is today, i only have september 30th figures. based on those figures, so the figures are prior to the effective date of the reimposed sanctions which is next monday, november 5. but the september figures, the end of september figures already
11:06 am
factor in purchase cuts. it's not like everybody is going to make their moves on monday. they have already started to make their moves in terms of oil exports from iran. the figures i have as of end of september show that iran's crude oil exports fell from about 2.45 million barrels a day, when mr. trump announced the exit from the nuclear deal, to about 1.6 million barrels per day at the end of september. that's about a one-third decrease. it is a substantial decrease, but iran's exports, as of the end of september, are not even yet close to the administration's target, which was in the interim to get iran down below 1 million barrels a day of exports. so as of the end of september, iran was lower, but not even
11:07 am
near what the administration had wanted. the 1.6 million barrel a day figure might not hold. we don't know. it's a level, but it is if it does hold, it's a level iran's economy can live with. that's a level that iran's economy would be close to the flat line and not go into a very significant recession. iran's oil exports have held up probably better than sopt expected largely on the backs of china and india. as of the end of september, each one was each importing about 500,000 barrels a day of iranian oil. so together as of the end of september, they imported about 1 million barrels a day. to be fair, there are press reports out in recent days that refiners in both china and india partly on instructions from their government will cut significantly just as u.s. an t
11:08 am
sanctions kick back in on monday. however, it's possible they might decrease just ahead of the sanctions reimposed and then go back up after the dead line passes. we just don't know. but suffice it to say the governments of both china and india have said that the u.s. pull out from the iran nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions is a step they oppose and that iran is not under u.n. sanctions and really there's no justification to abide by. we have imposed u.s. sanctions. both governments, india and china, have said words to that effect. as have the europeans, although the europeans have not said they would necessarily flout these sanctions, but they have said they oppose the move. on the other side of the ledge r, iran has completely lost south korea as an oil customer. as of the end of september, south korea was at zero, zero oil imports from iran.
11:09 am
and it has almost totally lost japan, which can as of the. end of september was down to a very, very tiny import volume of 22,000 barrels a day of iranian oil. nearly zero. taiwan also a very small buyer, it is now at zero. somewhere in the middle of turkey. european buyers were still collectively taking it as mainly italy, greece and spain. still taking 300,000 barrels, about half of what they were importing when trump announced pull out from the nuclear deal in may. the companies to the u.s. market this suz diggal some degree of defiance of u.s. policy.
11:10 am
or perhaps anticipation that the administration will not take the confrontational step of actually imposing sanctions on any european companies. it's continued the approach of the previous administration, which is it's better to threaten to reimpose sanctions than to actually impose them. turkey is one-third less importing than when the u.s. pulled out. there was importing may 200,000 barrels a day of iranian oil. it's now at 133,000. it's also has said the u.s. pull out from the nuclear deal was not justified.
11:11 am
my bottom line conclusion is the administration strategy is going to hinge on what china and india do. if those two countries remain relatively defiant of the sanctions, iran will likely export enough oil to keep its economy afloat. if they start complying with u.s. sanctions and cut imports dramatically, then i would predict the administration might achieve its goal of severe damage on the iranian economy. thank you. >> thank you so much. it's great to be here. i'm going to broaden the topic
11:12 am
again. a little bit. thank you to the national council for this gathering. it's good to be here from the state department. today more than ever, energy plays a significant far reaching role in goebl economic security. it's with neighboring countries and partners alike. i want to start actually by talking about the united states. and where we are in the global energy ecosystem. ten years ago the u.s. faced a shortage. we are building import terminals and we are gearing up to receive gas from other countries and other sources. but thanks to innovation, there's been an awakening.
11:13 am
it's emerged as a super power in the natural gas sector. this boom has improved economic fortunes for countless americans. the upstream oil and gas industri industry alone brought previously unknown prosperity to communities in north dakota, ohio, pennsylvania, across the united states. the wealth and opportunity has benefitted us overseas as well. the transformation of the u.s. energy sector is a model for economic diplomacy. it shows how other nations can generate greater prosperity, greater energy security and greater national security. an ample supply of market driven energy is essential to geopolitical stability.
11:14 am
across the world, they have used energy as a political weapon hindering growth and sparking regional instability. the u.s. does not use energy as a coercive tool. we remain a reliable energy partner and not going to shut off the gas when others need it. our goal is to keep the markets open, transparent, free of manipulation and political coerci coercion. we're equally committed to preventing malign actors whether terrorist organizations like isis from using oil revenues to finance destabilizing activities. as the president said last summer, he's firmly committed to open, fair and competitive markets for energy trade. the u.s. believes these open and global gas markets will drive economic growth across the world and provide energy and economic security for our allies and for our partners. the strength of the u.s. model is that we don't direct energy
11:15 am
resources or investments for political purposes. we create the conditions to let the market work. when the market works, we believe we all win. the u.s. wants greater access to energy markets, fewer barriers to trade and development and stronger energy security. not just for ourselves but for allies and partners around the world. the economic growth it opened a enhanced the market. now it encourages domestic production, promotes exports and streamlines regulatory processes across the entire energy sector. here in the united states, we stay true to all of the above approach to our own energy security. that includes ensuring access to affordable, reliable energy including cleaner use of fossil fuels. unleashing our energy resources, coal, natural gas, petroleum, renewables improved energy efficiency, stimulatings the
11:16 am
economy and builds a foundation for future growth. in the middle east, we're committed to growing economies to meet needs of growing populations and the drive toward higher living standards. middle eastern countries compete in the same global market and that requires undertaking reforms, eliminating obstacles to hydrocarbon development and removing be the the necks that limit trade, oil, gas and other resources. in 2019 the u.s. will provide $2.8 billion in foreign assistance. this assistance is an investment in the well being of the middle eastern and american people. because helping partners ultimately leads to and has prosperity for all of us. in my bureau, we have technical assistance program that help partners create legal and regulatory frameworks. these are helpful for energy
11:17 am
infrastructure and liberalizing energy markets. specifically, my bureau's rom prams are helping build the good governance and technical capacity they need to manage oil, gas and mineral resources. we engage in numerous technical bilateral exchanges with many partners. in addition to promoting market base fossil fuel sectors in countries abroad, we provide technical assistance in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in order to increase access to affordable and reliable energy. my bureau is trying to create reliable and sustainable power sectors of trading partners and allies. we believe the liberalized markets and open competition are crucial for countries to develop energy resources to maximize long-term value for the people. u.s. companies support sustainable avenues for economic growth. u.s. companies are offering skills training and local manufacturing commitments.
11:18 am
building on a jeer ya with gas turbines and increase capacity by 70%, they signed a services deal this year that's going to generate hundreds of long-term skilled jobs in algeria. overseas in addition to promoting open markets, a key priority is energy security. the u.s. is long support of a y allies and partners. we see four key aspects. diversification by country of origin, path of delivery and fuel types including renewables, market, liberalization and energy policy, cyber and physical security of critical energy infrastructure and countering malign actors. europe offers a good case. russia using its position as europe's primary supplier of natural gas, they are able to exert influence on vulnerable countries including cutting off gas supply ises.
11:19 am
investments in new energy infrastructure has enhanced europe's energy markets, but there's a lot of work still left to be done. diversification could take some of the geopolitics out of the energy markets skpen sure adequate energy splice for all of europe's consumers. access to global markets is essential to the energy security of middle eastern countries that are blessed with natural resources. global markets and diversification are key to broadening those markets to include regional neighbors in europe, asia and beyond. diversification also allows countries to attract investment from as broad a market as possible. forn investment in countries with developed hydrocarbons can maintain an enhanced production levels. middle eastern producers have face production challenges in recent years like libya and egypt that can use transport resource management to attract
11:20 am
investment. so i wanted to wrap up with one new initiative. the president announced an initiative. to strengthen the relationship between the u.s. and arab partners. it's going to help our partners achieve and maintain security and economic prosperity. the initiative focuses on three areas, political cooperation, security cooperation and economic cooperation. and energy plays a critical role. national security is obviously built upon physical security. that's built upon economic security and we think it's built upon energy security. the bureau at the state department in cooperation with the u.s. department of energy is leading this effort to make energy cooperation the bedrock of cooperation throughout the region as part of this me is a initiative. our discussions so far with our partners have focused on five areas. regional energy infrastructure
11:21 am
et integration, structural reform, critical energy infrastructure protection and resell yens, diversification and sustainable resource development in use. this initiative is attempting to increase jobs, lower the cost of energy production and create the foundation for greater cooperation throughout the region. in conclusion, the u.s. government is is going to try our best to continue to support free, fair and transparent energy markets to support those countries that seek the same. we especially look forward to working with our arab partners, both bilaterally and through the mesa initiative to advance prosperity and strengthen energy security for all of us. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we have some questions from the audience. i'll take the first two or three that land on things that i know something about. the first is is a difficult one.
11:22 am
how best to manage the nuclear component of u.s./arab relations? most of you probably don't know one of my first jobs was to work in a nuclear laboratory. so i know a little bit about the complexity of nuclear production and how it connects with nuclear weapons. many people don't know that there's a huge leap between nuclear production and the production of nuclear weapons. but i would say the best way to manage this is carefully and smartly, like my former student adid for the uae. set issing up a one, two, three agreement with the united states. and was a complicated moment for him and for us. but the politics of u.s./saudi relations now are very
11:23 am
complicated because of recent events, which i will not get. into that everyone in this room knows about and also long-term prejudices that still are inherent. carefully and quietly, intellectually so forth, keep the press out of this until the decisions are made. i know that's difficult in this situation that we live in with information moving at a million miles an hour. but as i said in my speech, i read this morning there are five senators who said they will try to block the u.s./saudi arabia nuclear initiative. and that will build and that will grow. one way to figure out u.s. viewpoints on this is to read the big newspapers and look at the articles not necessarily on page one, but page 5 through 20 that hammer away at certain countries and certain people to
11:24 am
change the viewpoints. and also don't forget the daily caller and the interprnet, whic creates anything it wants to. this is going to be a difficult road. for egypt, the russians have already agreed to pay for it. don't go for it. buzz they will not build the right technology and what they are doing is blocking other investments. it's a big nuclear chess game going on now. the russians and chinese go in and say we're going to invest in this nuclear system. the americans say, okay, it's already blocked. i don't want to touch that. and then they don't even go in and do it. this has happened many times before. also there's a security issue in your country, sir, with regard to this. we can talk about this offline without get iting into the
11:25 am
details. i know your country well. we can talk about this. next question. would you address how the u.s. and arab world is or is not prepared for an emp attack? for those who don't know what an emp is, it's an elect ro magnetic pulse. if someone sent a nuclear weapon overhead and blew it up in the atmosphere. people are joking this is not going to happen. if i were a 15-year-old with a good brain and knew electronics, i could probably set up an emp across the street and knock out a transformer station for your entire county. easily. what is the u.s. doing? the private sector is doing nothing. if there were an emp attack on new york city, the electricity network would not only go out, it would be out until it could be entirely repaired because everything is fried when one of these things goes off. these are directed energy weps
11:26 am
and this is something of the future. why don't we get to some other questio questions. what efforts have middle eastern states made for renewable energy. anyone? one thing that really surprised me and my students when we went to the uae was to visit places working on renewable energy. and the conclusion of many of my students was, doc, they are ahead of us. what's going on here? we were astonished. the uae and their neighbor, which they don't really get along with well is working on this. the saudis are working on solar power on and off sometimes. the egyptians are building wind
11:27 am
vains and solar panels and concentrated solar power. i like that because that's my son's name. it means light. a lot is happening in renewable energy because even saudi arabia with its massive oil reserves knows this is the future. this is the future for many reasons. saudi arabia if we have super conducting batteries could be a major exporter of electricity inside of the superconduct iing bat ritz. forget oil. this would be the way to go. and also the climate effects and many of the people i met in the region including the egyptian environment and others a few years ago, they are apt plektic about climate change. the americans, for some reason, don't even debate this anymore. actually, they debate it too much and people deny it even
11:28 am
exists. and i'll end my comment on this. i took a course with a west point graduate of 1967. he was in his 80s and moved around the boat better than my son and me. and as the wind went down, he turned to me and said, you know, paul, what do you think about this climate change stuff? and i said, sir, i'm convinced it's happening. i'm convinced it's our fault. and i started looking at this at the national laboratory in 1985. wasn't convinced until four years ago. sometimes i'm slow. but he turned to me, and this is something unexpected from a seemingly very right wing west point graduate. paul, i believe it too because i can't get my sailboat under this certain bridge that i used to many years ago. and that nailed it for him. of course, my son believes in it. he went into a lecture for the
11:29 am
next half an hour, which was wonderful because he's brilliant. a little plug there for my son. any way, other questions. on iran, somebody here has a question. >> can i speak from here? i'm not sure that it means it's technologically ahead of the united states. it might mean they have money to put into these demonstration projects, but i wouldn't conclude that they are ahead of the united states technologically any way. the question was how does iran's involvement as a player in global energy markets impact u.s./arab relations. as i said in my talk, the administration strategy is to basically erase iran from the global energy market. the administration strategy is to basically eliminate iran as a global energy exporter.
11:30 am
now as i us also is said in my talk, it has not gotten to that point and probably will not get to that point. but that is what the current administration would like to see. in that sense, u.s./arab relations are affected because the administration has sought to plan for the possibility that its strategy might succeed. now as i said, iran was exporting almost 2.5 million barrels of crude oil when trump pulled out of the iran nuclear deal and reimposed u.s. sanctions. so that administration was assuming if their strategy works, you are removing 2.5 million barrels a day from the global supply. so the u.s. has engaged with saudi arabia, with other countries with spare capacity, uae, others to try to make sure
11:31 am
that if, indeed, iran's exports are reduced to that level, there will be enough supply put on the extra supply on the market so that prices do not etscalate to much. so there's been some impact on relation ps. asi aside from the strategic impact, which is that the u.s. and the gulf states particularly agree with the administration strategy of trying to basically crush iran's economy to the maximum extent possible. >> can i have another one for you, which all of us are thinking about this one, to some extent or other. sanctions against iran could potentially bring about a collapse of the islamic regime who, if anyone, would be able to form a new government? >> the thinking on that is
11:32 am
really all over the board. my reading of the administration strategy is is if the islamic regime collapses basically anything that would succeed it would be preferable to what is there now. now, we can agree or diset agag but that is what the administration thinks. the scenarios are endless. you could get guard commanders trying to come to power and reconstitute some sort of a more right wing somewhat islamist regime that keeps control. you could get student and intellect yules coming back to the forefront. there's a fear that some of the exile groups could profit and try to return and form a regime.
11:33 am
i don't think they are popular enough to institute a functioning government, but the essence of the question is my analysis is that the administrati administration, the maximum dpoel of the policy, if the policy exceeds as it was hoped, would be the collapse of the islamic regime, yes. >> how have fluctuations and oil prices over time impacted gcc domestic infrastructure and foreign investment initiatives? >> i assume that's related to
11:34 am
the oil? >> not just oil. >> well, i think not all that much because there hasn't been much need for expansion in recent years. the initiative before the u.s. energy renaissance started the perception was that gradually the demand for opec and oil would increase. it hasn't happened. we look at the oil going back 20 years, it's almost stuck a the same level around 30 million barrels a day. i remember in 1989 at the end of an opec meeting, they were accused of having overproduced. and kuwait.
11:35 am
it's not what they said about cheating, but they said, don't worry about it. as for next year going into the '90s, all of the oil outside of opec will begin to come down and the demand for opec oil will go up dramatically. now we're in 2018. the demand for opec oil is still around 30 million barrels a day. the latest projections are down another 900,000 barrels a day. but there was really no need to add much infrastructure over and above. the need is to maintain the capacity. which is adequate for the time being. the real issue right now is gas. gas is the real problem. because for some reason, all the gas is located in the middle east and iran and in qatar.
11:36 am
i think what is an interesting development about what bp has done. it is is a very good price compared to if you wanted to import. so this may be a new development and we may see that happening elsewhere. >> i think this question might be. for you. how might the u.s. work with arab countries to develop renewable energy projects? and by the way, it didn't say it was head of us. my students said they were ahead of us. that's a different thing. this is state department all over it. >> obviously, renewables is part of any good energy mix and diversification. we think it's very important. the driver in renewables is the
11:37 am
private sec torp what we try to do at the bureau is work on the right kind of framework. the regulatory framework to encourage private investment and investors to come in. that will continue to be the focus from the state department's angle on renewables. >> there's another question here, which i found curious. if the sanctions kick in for iran, what will elman do? >> some sanctions could affect oman. there's a joint chventure that they have. iran a big investor in the port project. some of the sanctions do touch and specifically name port operations, port shipping, shipping insurance as
11:38 am
sanctionable activity. so there could be, in effect, certainly. but the sanctions do not curtail or necessarily impinge on normal civil indiana trade. there's certain sectors of the iranian economy that are singled out, obviously, and any pipeline projects they might be considering would become sangable again. any pipeline projects involving iran not only with oman, but anybody would become sanctionable again once the sanctions kick back in. but normal civilian trade would not automatically be sanctionable. >> that's all the questions we got. so if we could have a few wrap up comments starting with ken.
11:39 am
>> i think it's been interesting discussion. i think i took away from herm herman's presentation the great strength of american technology. i would note, obviously, there was an opec strategy, i think, to maybe drive prices down at some point to curtail the domestic energy shale production, fracking, et cetera, that failed miserably. i think those who had that strategy found out that bet. ing against american technology is a bad bet, as everybody else who bet against american technology has found that out too. so i don't think it was a surprise. so i was encouraged by. dr. francis's presentation. but the overall point on iran is just to wrap up, that i think
11:40 am
the administration's maximum goals for its sanctions strategy on iran are probably not likely to succeed, although they are causing iran some economic damage, yes. >> well, i think we as a country are in far better shape in terms of energy than we have been since 1970. but that did you want mean that our interests in the middle east should weaken as a result of it. because the region, as i have said, contains the bulk of the world's oil and gas. it will be producing long after we have produced the last profitable oil. and particularly asia and to
11:41 am
less extent europe will continue to depend on it heavily. so far us to be short sided and leave the region and withdraw our fleet i think we were to leave it open to countries that might have less positive intentions than we have towards the gulf states. would not benefit us very much. so i hope that my wish that i have to stay attached to the region. while at the same time, what the weakness in the market has taught us that exercise is like a 2030 exercise in saudi and. that 2020 exercise in oman are
11:42 am
vital. diversification is a must to meet the goal in demands for jobs in the region. >> i can't help but echo the comments in how important the region is and will remain that way for the united states. obviously, very excited about our initiative and hope that's going to bare fruit as we continue to work with so many countries together. but energy continues to be a bedrock of a lot of the cooperation and the future of the u.s. relationship with the region. no change there. >> i suppose my wrap up is related to what i was talking about. beware of russians and chinese baring gifts. because you will pay a heavy price. we may be heading toward more ancillarity, but u.s.
11:43 am
corporations are not. there's a grand competition out there. we're still very good at what we do. thank you. [ applause ]
11:44 am
>> ladies and gentlemen, i'd like to ask to come forward. along with our very special guest. please come forward.
11:45 am
please take your seats. we'd really appreciate that. ladies and gentlemen, if you'd please take your seats. thank you very much. at this point in time, i'd like to ask our board member to come forward to introduce our special guest. >> your royal high necessary,
11:46 am
distinguished guests and friends. my name is paige peterson. the national council of u.s. arab relations is privileged to welcome back his policymakers conference a listening time friend of the national council and is known throughout the world as a prominent businessman, writer and philanthropist. i have read his book. it's an excellent read. i recommend it. we are lucky to be able to hear from him today. ladies and gentlemen. >> your royal highness, ladies and gentlemen, the national council on u.s.-arab relations, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
11:47 am
first of all, i would like to say my condolence to the american people on the loss of the victim ins in the attack in pennsylvania. may god bless their soul. it is a pleasure to be in washington, d.c. again among you. i appreciate the opportunity to exchange idea, fresh views and the great city. this is the place where decisions are made impacting not only united states of america, but also the entire world. we live in a time of a great political and economic insecurity, the future can no longer be protected. fundamental principle and values that we have since the end of
11:48 am
world war ii are being overtu overturned, all alliance are being weakened, frankly i'm concerned. america first is slow to inspire loyalty. every nation has to put their interests of people first. however, let us not forget that no country is an island by itself. we share one planet where all responsible for finding a solution to common threat. we need to be partner in the decision making. we must mend broke b countries in the middle east and africa so that refugees can go home and find safety and opportunity.
11:49 am
doing so will people in host countries, among them americans, who feel overwhelmed by foreign immigrants. working together, we can create better world for all trying to address important issues sadly that is not happening. it is every country for itself. i traveled from my country i call the jewel of the world. on my way to washington, d.c., almost 15 days. i was passing a few countries. almost 15 days ago when the news was consumed by the subpoenas of
11:50 am
jamal khashoggi. i was shocked that even while the disappearance was still under investigation, the international media analysts and washington lawmakers acted as judges and jury. fingers were being pointed at the crown prince. major international companies pulled out based purely on unproven allegation. it was a big mistake. they were the loser 100%. davos in the desert was well attended. those who turned their back sent
11:51 am
they are apology. the truth about khashoggi's murder is out. i am astonished that american lawmakers and media still call upon the united states to impose sanction against saudi arabia willing to damage a trusted seven decade long relation. this is madness. let me remind you that saudi arabia is the leader in dialogue for peace. in partnership with my country, the kingdom has been leading security. we have been setting up institution that raises awareness about extremist
11:52 am
ideologies and starting dialogues between different societies. while governments around the world served for a global strategy, to uproot the ideology of violent extremist, we have been doing just that for many years, sadly certain countries provide those criminals with refugee. i urge u.s. leaders to respect the kingdoms' authority, the law must take its course. america needs saudi arabia in the fight against terrorism, america needs saudi arabia to contain iran. let us focus on what is important.
11:53 am
last week on the anniversary of the attack on the beirut, president trump referred to them as the highest sanctioned ever imposed on hezbollah. too late even. i have to wonder why economic sanction are the go-to mechanism to punish countries that do not fall in line of t. they rarely work. yes, they have been credited with bringing north korea to the table. however, sanctioning iran has not changed its aggressive behavior toward the neighbors, just the opposite.
11:54 am
tehran is -- the u.s. foreign ministry tweeted that since the iranian revolution, iran has led assassinations in more than 20 countries worldwide. two years ago stood before you and appealed to you to act against the biggest threat facing our world. then as now i address the lack of action taken by the u.s. and putting this top tourism to iran. i asked why nothing has been done to curve their destructive activities of tehran
11:55 am
revolutionary guard and hezbollah that occupied beautiful lebanon and is partnering with syria. in the time of president saddam hussein, iran stood as a shield against the evil of ayatollah. american invasion of the creator of civilization based on the false intelligence gave iran free hand and -- iran poses an increasing threat to the whole world not only to the middle east, over the past decade america has had two presidents with very different foreign policies on the range of their issues. yet when it comes to dealing with the threat posed by iran, nothing change. president obama was soft on
11:56 am
iran. president trump talks a good talk, but hesitate to walk -- president donald trump criticized iran's corrupt dictatorship. last month the united nations general assembly has issued a new economic sanction against iran and hezbollah earlier this month, but these steps are not sufficient. they will not hurt. rush and china and europe are not involved. we need re-election. please do not imagine i am calling for war, far from it. we have nothing against the iranian people. iranian are good people. we have traded and socialized with them. we have welcomed them in our
11:57 am
country. they are a poor people and oppressed people with little freedom. they live in fear. they should be empowered by all mean to write their own future. as for the iranian regime, support of terrorism it can be stopped by eliminating global terrorist hezbollah and also by empowering the iranian minorities who are -- who are abused and crushed by the revolutionary guard, in particular, the occupied people living in extreme poverty and stripped of their basic human right and freely practice their religion of the hezbollah criminal activities have spread out from lebanon to iraq, syria, yemen, south america and
11:58 am
elsewhere, even in the united states. it is -- it is leaders hidden out is no security given. the patient with which iran is dealt surprises me. why are the united states and its western alliance so patient with iran? do they hope that iran is the son who will -- that is a pipe dream. iran defines the united states
11:59 am
and civilized world will never cease. it is time the world took action to terminate this threat to the peaceful future of our children once and for all. i don't want to continue. thank you very much. thank you. [ applause ] >> we'd like to welcome judith miller up to the podium. judith is the pulitzer prize winner journalist and they're going to have a conversation. >> greetings, everyone, and happy halloween. an appropriate holiday given the scary nature of washington these days and much of the country. we are about to have an election
12:00 pm
as you know. we are delighted to have you here and your excellencies, fellow students and experts of the middle east and on the middle east. i was a little both concerned and relieved by your remarks because up until today and your speech, the murder of jamal khashoggi has not been mentioned, in addition to the long-standing ties between saudi arabia and the united states, the gulf and the united states, a common concern about human rights, the rights that are violated by the iranian regime and other regimes in the area, also figures as a common concern for our alliance. you wonder -- its very clear to me that what has been said so far by the kingdom of saudi
12:01 pm
arabia, by the government of saudi arabia, has not alleviated concerns about the fate of jamal khashoggi, about what happened to him and who gave the orders and most importantly, as "the washington post" pointed out today, where his body is so that it can be returned to his relatives and family. would you call for an international neutral investigation of this matter behind the investigation which has already been proposed which does not seem to alleviate the concerns of so many people who want justice for him and his family? >> thank you. thank you. i'll put like a question to you as well. i mean, i'm just wondering, i
12:02 pm
mean, jamal khashoggi is saudi citizen and saudi arabia they have called, they have judges, they have fear and especially king salman is the fairiest person and they will be transparent from saudi arabia. why the world and why the media, they're not concerned about what's happening of hundreds of iranian -- iran is killing them every single day. nobody in the media is not talking about them. i mean, there's a lot happening in the world. only one person khashoggi, which he is saudi citizen, definitely -- everyone is against crime. everybody is against it, and these people which pinpointed to
12:03 pm
them, the saudi national, they will be tried and i assure you, sooner or later, soon, you will find them in the tv these people with the fair judgment. >> if presumably the people who have been blamed for his death have been interrogated already, presumably the saudi government knows full well by this point where his body is. i think deflecting attention from this critical issue raises questions for the american business community here in the united states and in europe and elsewhere about the safety of their own personnel if they choose to invest in saudi arabia. if an american resident an saudi citizen can meet such a fate in a saudi consulate in turkey, an allied muslim country, how can
12:04 pm
the business community feel safe in sending its own representatives in to such a state? >> i think this question should be raised to president of turkey. he knows where the body. >> president erdogan knows where it is? >> 100%. that's his country and the saudi consulate in the land of turkey and he knows where the body. the body cannot disappear in two minutes or a day, but he will be i think the right person to answer that. >> what do you think would be an appropriate punishment for people held responsible for the death of jamal khashoggi? >> in my opinion? >> yes. >> execution. >> execution. >> 100%. anybody participate in the killing of any person, not only khashoggi, any person should be executed. >> and supposing -- >> therefore people can learn they cannot go and kill people.
12:05 pm
>> supposing it turns out it is determined by an investigation, perhaps not a saudi one, but by an international investigation or turkish that the responsibility for this assassination and brutal murder goes higher up, what would be appropriate then? >> that is proven by the court of saudi arabia. >> can you imagine such a thing happening in the uae in your country? >> in my country? if it happened like this, i cannot answer that because it never happened and it never happened. >> perhaps that's why the world is so unsettled by this assassination. >> they will have punishment.
12:06 pm
they will also be execution. >> i want to probe a little deeper into what you see as the realistic alternatives for the policy which president trump has proposed. were you in favor of the scrapping of the jcpoa? do you think it has contributed to stability of the middle east or do you think it was a mistake? >> i think, in my opinion, god gifted us a brain. we have to use it and this gift we have to weigh what is more interest to us, death from one person or the benefit of the american? this is we have to weigh in this way in my opinion. you cannot -- i mean if somebody has been executed and murdered, i mean the people who did that are criminals. they are really criminals and there they will take definitely -- you mean as soon as judgment is taken, all of
12:07 pm
them they will be taken -- i mean fitted judgment. >> just shifting the conversation, however, to iran, you spoke about -- you said real action, if not war, what do you perceive as real action that would contain alleged iranian aggression in your region? >> i think -- this is why i wrote so many articles of supporting the minority, training them, giving them arms. >> who should do that, sir? >> all of us. not only america, the arabs and americans and its important to rescue the iranian, to rescue the people of iran. we have great relationship with them. we have good business with them and -- you mean, what's happening to them now every day
12:08 pm
is corrupted country, corrupted government, corrupted ayatollah, what they call him, you know, and nothing accept doing that, you know. definitely i'm against war, against war, against war. i'm against that 100%. >> but you're not against t destabilizing the country of iran. >> they have to move. they have to go. if we want to be civilized, they have to go. >> do you think the effort to contain iran has been hurt by the tension between several members of the gulf cooperation council and with respect to how to handle iran and the boycott of qatar? has that enabled the gcc in playing a meaningful role of
12:09 pm
iranian aggression or does that get in the way of containing iran? >> iranian aggression is continuing. they are spreading their poison everywhere with their arm, with the hezbollah, which is dangerous. highly trained and they are very dangerous. we are protecting our border. we're taking -- i mean, our country and talk about emirate, it is secured 100%. safe. but we care about everywhere. we care about everywhere to get rid of this cancer and we have to get rid of it soon or later. >> would it help not to have qatar involved? >> i don't want to talk about
12:10 pm
qatar. [ laughter ] >> every day i get them talking very bad about me. >> how serious a threat do you think the instability in yemen is to the region and what would you like to see occur with respect to that ongoing civil conflict and the internationalization of it? >> we are asking for always peace. we prefer negotiation. we want to sit down at the table and negotiate but the problem, you know, our -- our governments asking that and looking for that but no response from the other party which is the iranian and they -- otherwise i think -- i'm member of my country and member
12:11 pm
of the arabian population and therefore definitely we need peace, we want negotiation, we want to solve this problem rather than war. we are against war. we hate war. we know what war is doing around the world. we want to solve the problem. we want negotiation. believe me, we need to do that and we will help them. we are pouring billions and billions of dollar to help the people of yemen to survive. enough. we're doing a lot. we're rebuilding their infrastructure and we are the people of human right. we are the people of human right and we take care of everybody rather than talking about it elsewhere. >> this morning another threat to peace and stability was discussed here at this conference and that is the ongoing arab/israeli,
12:12 pm
palestinian/israeli conflict. are you more optimistic given the change of administrations in the presidency of donald trump, are you more or less optimistic that such a peace between palestinians and israelis is possible? >> we're trying since very long time especially the arabian gulf countries we are spending billions to assist our friends, brothers and sisters, the palestinian -- we are trying to help as much as we can and we are doing that and we are continuing in our capacity as individual and as governments. we are continuing that. definitely we need palestinian independent state and that is our dream. we need it. i wrote so many articles about that. and i spoke with a lot of israeli jewish in europe. you met them and we discussed that and but you need the proper
12:13 pm
people to negotiate and to mean it. negotiations is an art, art. not put a gun to my head and negotiate. i think -- i know prime minister netanyahu is a tough guy. he doesn't accept that, but he must accept it and i think now softened and he will negotiate and accept the state of palestine and that is very important. as for relationship, you know, we don't want to create a problem. we ask about relationship in lebanon and he ask that meetings of that we want to see peace. he doesn't want. we ask him to shake hand, come
12:14 pm
on and, you know -- i mean definitely i am with the peace and with the negotiations personally and a lot of us in the arab world. forget about few talking, that's something that they would think about and accept it at the end of the day. >> finally, because our time is limited here, apart from doing more to contain iran, which you have recommended, what other advice would you give to president trump about bringing a greater degree of peace and stability to the region? what policies would you like to see enacted under his administration? >> iran to me is a -- the most powerful is hezbollah. hezbollah, if you don't dismantle it and we know where they are heading, we know where they are hiding and they know where the location of their
12:15 pm
military, if the american and the israelis and the european serious they can dismantle that and destroy it forever. to rescue the lebanonese, they are becoming as prisoners. they are prisoner in their country. they cannot move. how do you accept terrorists as member of government? i mean, lebanon they are following a government and three or four member from hezbollah, which they are on the terrorist list, they are ministers. this is what i cannot understand and i cannot understand even our government how do they accept the ambassador to put terrorist, what you call it, member of government. >> thank you very much, doctor. we are delighted to have heard your remarks and thank you all for attending this forum.
12:16 pm
[ applause ] [ inaudible dialogue ]
12:17 pm
[ inaudible dialogue ] [ inaudible dialogue ] this is the 27th annual arab/u.s. relation conference and they're taking a break here. we expect them to resume their conference at 1:00 p.m. eastern and will have that live on c-span3. until then we'll show you some of the conference from earlier today. [ applause ]
12:18 pm
thank you very much, dr. anthony. this is a wonderful gathering and i pay tribute to you and your whole organization for being able to bring it on. no one who has ever tried to hold a meeting this big can understand how hard it is and so its a wonderful thing. thank you for inviting me. thank you honored guests for attending. i see his royal highness in the front row, welcome. speaking of our generation of people who have been toiling in this field for a long time, i'm not going to start with a joke. the times are too somber for that, but i do want to start with a quotation from 1942. he said something very pertinent to this panel and perhaps this
12:19 pm
whole gathering. the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to feel the heart. we must imagine sysophus happy. we get up every day and start anew that's not so easy, but it has its rewards and the people on this panel on palestine are young and enthusiastic, so i think you're going to hear some excellent reports. i was going to start with jim zogby because of his historical knowledge but i think we'll leap right forward to our visiting fellow. she's a human rights lawyer who is also a member of the palestine policy network and she
12:20 pm
will be the first speaker. the second will be elizabeth campbell. dr. campbell is the washington director of the unra office and has served in the state department in the bureau of international organizations affairs which i didn't know existed until i read her biography. we want to hear more about that. so let's begin with zaha hassan. [ applause ] >> good morning. thank you to the organizers of the conference and dr. anthony for inviting me to share some thoughts with you today on the subject of palestine/israel peace. what i wanted to talk about today was the nature of the palestinian relationship to israel and by extension to the u.s. the relationship has been one defined by a series of if only's. if only the arab governments and
12:21 pm
the plo would just do one more thing or not do just one more thing, peace would reign between arabs and jews and they could live together side by side in the middle east. the first if only came right after the palestinian neck that saw the expulsion of the indigenous arab population. the if only at that time was, if only israel's neighbors would sign peace agreements with israel, then israel might allow the palestinian refugees to return to their homes and property. that if only came from israel's ambassador to the u.n. during israel's bid for u.n. membership in 1949. since then we've had arab countries sign two peace agreements with israel and the plo has recognized israel on 78% of historic palestine, but not a single palestinian refugee has been allowed to return to israel. and if only pursued back by the u.s. back in the 1980s was, if
12:22 pm
only the palestinians would accept u.n. security council resolution 242 and 338 in its land for peace formula, renounce violence and recognize israel, then the plo could be a legitimate inter-lochter for peace talks and peak talks would be attainable. despite the plo accepting these conditions and signing the declaration of principles at the white house under u.s. law, the plo remains a terrorist organization, its had its representative office in washington closed this month and the u.s. consulate, the office in jerusalem that handles palestinian affairs in the occupies territory has now been merged with the u.s. embassy to israel signaling an end to the u.s.'s pursuit of a two-state solution. the list of if only's could go on and on, but the most dangerous of if only's of them
12:23 pm
all, the one that the world and especially the u.s. must stand firmly against given the current reality that's we're faced with today, i will talk about because if we don't stand firmly against this we are damning the entire region to a bible-styled armageddon. but before i tell you about this most dangerous if only's, i want to take you back to the second palestinian uprising that came after the failure of the camp david talks sponsored by president clinton. recall back in september 2000, just after the anniversary of the sovereign massacre, the architect of those mass killings, decided to take a few hundred israeli police and some members for a visit for what he just said was a simple visit. sha rone was trying to make a point at that time.
12:24 pm
he was, you know, going to be a candidate for the israeli prime ministership and he wanted to show everyone that he was going to be the prime minister of israel that would never compromise on jerusalem. predictably the presence of sharone led to mass protests resulting in the use of disproportionate force in the killing of dozens of unarmed palestinians. in protest over those killings, the palestinians citizens of israel staged their own demonstrations inside israel in october. the result of those protests was the killing of 13 unarmed palestinian citizens of israel by israeli civilian police. an independent israeli commission was established to investigate those october killings. it took them five years to get to a result, but ultimately what the commission found was that the 13 protesters were, in fact, unarmed and they posed no threat
12:25 pm
to the israeli police when they were gunned down. now despite those damning findings, those responsible for those killings were never held to account and the internal police investigation file was closed as was the file of the israeli attorney general. now this was a water shed moment for the palestinian citizens of israel. they had determined that the laws and structures of government were such in israel that palestinian citizens were never going to get justice under the law and were never going to get equal treatment under the law. therefore, the leadership and the intelligencia of the palestinian community inside israel came together for a series of meetings that took -- was over a course of two years and what -- what culminated from those meetings was in the year 2007, a paper called the future vision document. now this document called for a number of things including that the state of israel recognized
12:26 pm
the palestinian arab citizens and extend equal rights for all under a constitution. now parallel to this vision document was the preparation of a constitution for israel, which called for israel to declare its borders based on the pre-june 1967 line and end the occupation of arab lands. it included an equal rights provision and it included the right of return for refugees and restituti restitution. the response by the israeli government came a few months later. it was the eve of the annapolis talk. omar at that time in 2007 made a new demand on the palestinians and that demand was that the plo must recognize israel as a jewish state if there is to be any comprehensive agreement to end the conflict. now most people believed at that time that this new demand was an
12:27 pm
attempt to foreclose the possibility that palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to israel, but that was only part of the story. omar's demand was meant to silence the palestinian citizens of israel who were calling for a quality and restored justice. also not understood at that time was the critical impact -- is another critical impact of omar's demand which is how recognition of israel as a jewish state might also undermine palestinian demands for sovereignty and statehood, but i will come back to that later. so when the peace talks with omar ended because of his indictment on corruption and benjamin netanyahu succeeded him as prime minister in 2009, netanyahu seized on this demand for palestinian recognition of israel as a jewish state and made it a precondition, another new if only. it came in his famous speech in
12:28 pm
june 2009 in which netanyahu appeared to accept the two-state solution. he said, quote, the fundamental condition for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere palestinian recognition of israel as the national homeland of the jewish people. netanyahu said that he told president obama, quote, if palestinians recognize israel as the jewish state, israelis would be ready to agree to a real peace agreement. now obama succumbed to netanyahu's demand two years later after unsuccessfully trying to rein an israel settlement in the west bank. obama included palestinian recognition of israel as a jewish state as a new u.s. per am ter for israeli/palestinian peace. obama said, quote, what america and international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows, a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples, israel as a jewish
12:29 pm
state and a homeland of the jewish people and the state of palestine as the homeland of the palestinian people. each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition and peace, unquote. mutual recognition wasn't simply recognition of political borders to obama, but the recognition of the identity of the people within those borders. what obama overlooked, however, was the fact that 20% of the population of israel was not jewish and what that recognition would mean for their rights. in december 2016 secretary of state john kerry during his outgoing speech on israel/palestine speech reiterated obama's words. he based the two states on u.n. general assemble resolution the partition plan which recommended the creation of a jewish state. secretary kerry claimed that, quote, recognition of israel as a jewish state has been a u.s.
12:30 pm
position for years, unquote. though that had only been true for the last five years of president obama's administration. now despite what secretary kerry outlined in his speech, the partition plan never demanded that palestinian/arabs recognize israel as a jewish state. palestinian arabs would have been almost equal in number to the jewish population inside the territory allotted for a jewish state. what the partition plan did require was that each state uphold democratic principles and protect the civil and political rights of all the citizens under law, forced population transfer to alter the demographic make-up of either the arab or jewish state was specifically prohibited and yet this is exactly what the prestate israel did immediately before and after the state of israel was declared in may 1948 and since israel occupied the remainder of historic palestine in 1967,
12:31 pm
population transfer and settlement construction has continued inside the occupied territories. now with this context, we can fully appreciate the significance of israel's recent passage of the jewish nation-state basic law and what palestinian international recognition of israel as a jewish state would mean today. i want to focus on three provisions of the basic law that israel passed and how they function together. the first provision states that only jewish people have an exclusive right to national self-determination in the state of israel. this means palestinian citizens do not have a legal right to citizenship inside israel, though they are the indigenous people of the land. a second provision states that the jewish people's historic homeland is the land of israel. israel has never defined its borders as a state and the idea of a jewish homeland is not defined in the basic law, therefore the area which jewish
12:32 pm
people may assert their exclusive rights for national self-determination has no limit. a third provision encourages and promotes the establishment and consolidation of jewish settlement without identifying where that settlement is to take place and how it is to be consolidated. so long as israel leaves its borders undefined and fails to guarantee equality under the law for all of its citizens, these three provisions read together provide constitutional authority for the complete displacement of palestinian arabs from historic palestine and/or the denial of their equal rights under law, thus not only are palestinians second or third class citizens of the state of israel who's citizenship could be revoked, okay, and not only are palestinian refugees not entitled to return to israel or restitution of their property, but even those palestinians living in the occupied territories are not entitled to self-determination in a separate
12:33 pm
state or as citizens of israel. this is because the land of israel is the historic homeland of the jewish people without regard to the claims of any others. so had palestinians succumbed to israeli and u.s. pressure to recognize israel as a jewish state as part of the relaunch of peace talks back in 2014, the palestinian leadership would have conceded the entirety of historic -- their historic homeland to israel jewish colonization and settlement as well as discrimination against palestinian citizens and refugees. according to the trump campaign position paper prepared by jason greenblatt, the president's special adviser on international negotiations and david freedman the u.s. ambassador to israel, one of the reasons why the trump administration will not support palestinian statehood is because palestinians still will not agree to recognize israel as a jewish state. the position paper ought to be taken seriously because every
12:34 pm
action item in that position paper has been achieved by the trump administration. the lesson of all this history is that there is no if only that palestinians could ever respond to that would satisfy israel as long as israel is intent on a greater israel. i was asked to end with some policy recommendations. i had two quick ones, the first is that the u.s. should not be in the business of recognizing ethnonationalism in other countries and not in our own as well. recognition of israel as a jewish state should not be a u.s. per am ter and we should end take this out of the u.s. vision of what a peace between israelis and palestinians would look like because it would mean palestinians accepting indefinite occupation and denial of their basic rights. second, it is long overdue in the u.s. for us to go back to the basics.
12:35 pm
the basics are international law and precedent on this issue. that means an end to occupation, restorative justice and equal rights regardless of one's nationality, only then will israeli jews and palestinians have equal dignity. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much, zaha. you're next, elizabeth campbell. and dr. zogby is here. he'll tie up the loose ends after these two have spoken and may i say, anyone who has questions, that's what those little cards are for so come forward. >> thank you very much, dr. anthony. thank you. its really a deep pleasure to be on this esteemed panel. its been quite a year for unrwa.
12:36 pm
this year we have experienced what it means to have up ended 70 years of bipartisan agreement on the approach to unrwa. the united states as i'm sure most of you are well aware decided formally to no longer fund unrwa having long been our largest most prominent donor constituting 30% of our total budget. in the statement that the u.s. drafted publicly announcing its decision among other things it noted that unrwa is irredeemably flawed. beyond that we haven't yet received clarification about exactly what the u.s. means by that. i think most of you know a lot about unrwa or have heard the acronym over the years, but few
12:37 pm
people realize the scale and scope of our operations. unrwa today is responsible for educating more than 525,000 students across gaza, west bank, syria, lebanon and jordan. if you took that school system and put it into the united states, it would be the third largest after new york and los angeles. indeed, its a very sizeable public institution. we also provide primary health care for about 3.5 million refugees who rely on our services. we run 142 health clinics and the third pillar of our work is the provision of humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable families in these five areas. today we provide almost 2 million families emergency food and cash relief. that includes half of the population in gaza. today two-thirds of the total
12:38 pm
population living in gaza rely on unrwa for education, health care and increasingly also a source of livelihood. so the scale and scope of what we do is quite extraordinary and let me be very clear, there is absolutely no alternative in the united nation systems in the international nongovernmental organization community or at present by any government to unrwa. there is no alternative. if the idea is that unrwa has run its course and there needs to be a new paradigm in the middle east, that's fine. we're willing to figure out whatever political solution may be advanced, but to our knowledge, there is currently no solution that would allow for the sustainable transfer of these essential public services
12:39 pm
that have proven to provide excellent quality services over several decades and that is a very dangerous situation. at risk is quite a lot and if we're not able to secure the funding that we need to continue, we are looking at what i would argue is going to be a very unknown or almost sort of -- it will be catastrophic, obviously, to the families but the long-term security implications of all of this will be extraordinary. indeed, really, what we would be facing is a dedevelopment across the middle east. one of the things that in my view is extraordinary about unrwa is that it has somehow miraculously been able to contribute to the development of a people who as we all know are
12:40 pm
without a state. that is actually, i believe, unmatched in modern recent history. it is rare to find an example like that. in our education system, maybe some of you may have benefited from unrwa schools, according to the world bank, our students are outperforming their national counterparts by one year of learning. so we don't just run schools but they're truly centers of excellence. excuse me. same with our health clinics. we've long achieved 100% vaccination rate, so when i ask senior officials here in washington what's the plan, just let's be very concrete. if unrwa doesn't exist tomorrow as is the intention by many senior members of the current administration, very concretely, who will vaccinate the children? it is in the interests of everybody living in the region to continue a program like that. we are also very proud of our
12:41 pm
achievement that since the 1960s, 50% of all of the children in our schools are girls. that's very important and despite many different kinds of challenges, very concretely, if tomorrow unrwa is not providing civilian secular education to half a million children in these five areas, very concretely, who will be doing that? who will be doing that? its really important to remember and i appreciate listening to zaha's history, that unrwa's headquarters were once located in vienna. we moved them to jerusalem with the aim, very clearly, of being part of that ongoing process that would lead to eventually the elimination of unrwa. the idea that there would be some type of just and lasting solution to the refugee question and that unrwa would dissolve and that there would be a way
12:42 pm
for, of course, the palestinian authorities but others to take over responsibility. we obviously are still sitting in the region very much looking for a political solution. unrwa's job has always been and will continue to be to maintain the political space necessary for a just and lasting solution. we are providing education and health care and emergency relief services in keeping that space open until that time comes. so we are obviously deeply, deeply concerned, not only about the lack of funding which has created a tremendous amount of instability and general insecurity in our institutions and for the colleagues with whom we work and our various fields of operations, but more broadly on the growing political attacks against our mandate and our existence, which you can read very freely about in the media. we've been written about a lot. you can also read about it in legislation that has now been
12:43 pm
introduced in the house and in the senate. a lot of those attacks rest on this false premise that unrwa's is very unique in the u.n. system and, in fact, in the world because as the argument goes, its the only agency that allows refugees to pass datas to descendents thereby inflating the numbers of refugees therefore making unrwa a corrupt organization. this is the basic argument that's -- has been put forward and again, you can find it throughout the media and also in this legislation. i want to be very clear that unrwa is not unique in this regard. the only other u.n. agency that is also responsible for refugees, the u.n. high commissioner for refugees, also exercises practices globally where all refugees pass status to their children and their
12:44 pm
children's children until there is a just and lasting solution to that particular refugee problem. so this sort of set of alternative fact that's are being actively advanced really are undermining our ability to deliver services effectively and has us deeply concerned about what will happen in the near term. if i may just say something about fund-raising, as i noted, the u.s. historically provided 30% of our funding and indeed, unrwa experienced 70 years of bipartisan financial and political support for the work that we have done. to wake up suddenly early in january to learn that that funding has been frozen on the heels of conversations that our commissioner general had had here in washington with senior officials during which it was explained in great detail that our work was appreciated and valued and would continue, on the heels of having signed an
12:45 pm
agreement with the u.s. state department about continued funding in 2018, it was shocking. nevertheless, we had no choice but to find a way forward and we have been largely successful thanks very much to other governments in trying to recover some of those resources through other donations. we are nevertheless running a deficit still this year of about $64 million. each month my colleagues are really scraping together every little bit of funding that we can for our payroll which you may be aware are largely palestinian refugees themselves. our organization directly implements all of the work that we do. we have 33,000 staff across the region. so our situation remains extremely tenuous, very insecure. no one knows really what tomorrow will bring and, again, as i said, its extremely dangerous moment not least for
12:46 pm
the families who are living and experiencing this turbulence, not knowing if they will have schools to which they can send their children or places where they can receive medicine. i really do not want to -- i just really truly want to underscore the significance of what's happening in this regard and to really raise everyone's awareness about the risks involved. unrwa would be very pleased to participate in any political -- just and last political solution for the refugee question. its not about us continuing the status quo as we're often accused of or existing forever. our job is to provide these services which are essential for these families who have no other place to turn for education and for health care and emergency relief, that is our commitment. our colleagues are working under
12:47 pm
extraordinary circumstances to do this in a very uncertain political environment. we've never before in our history been tested in the way in which we are currently being tested, but maybe if i could just also end as zaha did with a couple of policy recommendations. it is in the interest of everyone to continue to fund these vital services until there is some type of alternative and therefore, clearly, the policy recommendation is for the united states to restore its funding, for other governments to step up to continue funding and then the second piece relates more to some of the politics that i mentioned. next year in the u.n. general assembly from where unrwa receives its mandate to operate, its up for renewal, its very important that member states come together to, again, renew
12:48 pm
this mandate indeed until there is some type of genuine lasting, justice solution. if not, its, again, very hard to imagine the kinds of implications that will bring to the region. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you very much and i'll turn the podium now over to dr. zogby who is an old-timer like john and me. i think he started the whole movement of what to do about palestine here in washington. >> an old-timer? i feel it too. i actually want to frame my remarks around my last 50 years of involvement on this issue
12:49 pm
beginning -- actually not quite 50. i lied. its 47. my first experience was in the camps in lebanon doing dissertation research in 1971 and following then all the way up through the period when i ran a project with vice president gore to try to promote economic development in the west bank in gaza and spent four years doing that to the present time. i have what i want to offer are three her rises, three observations that i've made in last several years that are informed by the experience of my many decades doing this. the first one i wanted to offer is, based on what i see
12:50 pm
developing right now, which is an incremental movement toward normalization, inspired by normalization. encouraged by israel and the belief that some have that promoting incremental normalizations moves the ball forward toward a just resolution. my experience is exactly the opposite. i remember in the post premadrid period shs the argument was made and i advocated that argument. we had prepared a paper on strategic piece incentives that et with thought would be a way to create incremental movement and what happened was the arab states did agree to suspend the boycott of israel.
12:51 pm
the condition was suspend the boycott and they would agree to settlements. there was no turning back. israel did turn back and within a short period of time, settlement activity began anew. i remember my first trip with the group that gore had launched called builders for peace. i traveled to israel and palestine with a delegation of arab and jewish businessmen. i remember when we were driving past tel aviv. one of the businessmen said i haven't been here in three years. what an et enormous difference as he was looking at the skyline and the lights of the different businesses, different companies that were there. a lot of japanese and korean companies that had begun to invest because the boycott was over. once they invested, once they
12:52 pm
built, once they had planted roots, they weren't going anywhere. but settlements continued to be built and as et we et see now in the madrid period, there were some 120,000 settlers. today there's 650,000 settlers. the effort to try to move israel toward feeling more secure and accepted didn't pay off. in fact, it did the opposite and em bold theed them. one of the things that came out of a movement toward bringing the region together for economic investment purposes and we had the first summit. the israelis were comical there. if they saw anyone, they made a mad dash to get a picture taken. it was like we're here and it was a period before selfies, but
12:53 pm
nevertheless, it was the equivalent of a selfie. they duck in and somebody would take a picture of them standing next to an arab. they were excite d about and it rightly so because they had been not able to do business in the arab world and there they were. but the point of casablanca was to create an international effort to help grow the economy of the west bank and gaza to support the peace process. it was to create a mutually beneficial environment for israelis and palestinians. here's what happened. israel benefitted. the palestinians didn't because the next summit took place in jordan. and guess what. i ent wp with the delegation. arabs came from owl over. there was one group who wasn't there. that was the palestinians because they refused to open the border to allow them to cross.
12:54 pm
so the argument was the palestinian hs opened the door. perez spoke at the summit. the arabs were nowhere to be found. the businessmen were not allowed to come. we then made the decision that et we would bring as an american delegation of businessmen, we would make the effort to do the meeting in jerusalem. so we did. we had the israeli team there, we had the american business team there. no palestinian businessmen. we got a note halfway through the meeting as we were continuing without them. saying that they were at the check point and they had no permits to get through in the israeli soldiersen wouldn't let them through. the effort to open the arab world to israel did not pay off in terms of support for any
12:55 pm
movement toward peace. from the very beginning, israel wanted normalization. they wanted o it skip to the end of the peace initiative and dump everything in between. and that, i'm afraid, is still where we are today. every move is pocketed with nothing coming back in return. so my sense is that we need to be very clear that normalization, not because one wants to reject the existence of israel, it exists. the foreign minister, the minister of state for foreign affairs is right. it's a state that exists in the region. but the reality is, doing business with it or accepting it as a normal state in the region doesn't help move forward the effort toward peace. the second is i i think we theed to be real about ourselves.
12:56 pm
there's no two-state solution at all that's possible. it's not going to happen. i think we need to accept it and deal with the consequences of it. there's no way to look at the west bank today and figure out how you create a viable palestinian state that can exist under the conditions that are currently there. the settlers are ideological settlers armed to the teeth and daily reports of violence against palestinian agricultural and villages. chirp on their way to school. it's really significant unreported. it becomes news. the vineyards are uprooted. it's not something we know about. the plan in the west bank has mirrored their plans for what
12:57 pm
they did in israel proper. they built settlements in. nazareth was completely cut off from its agricultural lands. they took settlement that is to say whose agricultural and family-owned lands were outside of the village. there was a collective o ownership. they didn't live in small farms as they do in upstate new york. they lived in a concentrated area and they farmed the lands outside of it. they seized the lands either declare them state lands or declared them security zones and began to build around it. so they built on nazareth land is they can't be there. some have now come to live there, but. the issue is that was the design
12:58 pm
to steal the land so that they would be uprooted from their economic source of wealth. the same has happened in the west bank. when you look up close at the maps of the west bank, you see a lot of little circles. those little circles are where t the villages are and they are state land or settlements. if you go to jerusalem, you see the villages surrounded by massive concrete housing projects. which are built on palestinian land. they were bethlehem land. it was a green zone declared by the military. they then converted the green zone into. a security zone and converted into north settlement. it's there. who is going to uproot it.
12:59 pm
who is going to mac it possible for the organic relationship to be restored? it's not going to happen. the sooner we deal with the reality of it and stop ab solving ourselves of responsibility by saying, oh, i support a two-state solution. politicians now say i support a two-state solution as if it makes them feel good about the fact they want peace. it's not going to happen. by saying it doesn't get. you off the hook. the demand today should not be for two states, but should be for equality, justice, human rights of both peoples. palestinians are existing today in what is, in fact, an apartheid state. the majority of people are now palestinian-ara palestinian-arabs. they are denied equal rights.
1:00 pm
they are denied justice. they are denied human rights. that is unacceptable and we need to recall late how we approach this issue based on that reality. the third point has to be recognizing the significance of the leadership of the palestinian community inside israel. the citizens of israel. i was dealing with what we called revitalization movements. society is under stress react by developing new consciousness. i had work ed with an african-american movements and endoe some work with native american movements in the states. so one of my. advisers said why don't you work with palestinians. they certain ly are under stres. try to see what's happening in the development of a new idea among them. so off i went to lebanon to the refugee camps and i sat down with people and collected their stories and filled notebooks of
1:01 pm
stories of people. and then i met a palestinian novelist who was talking to me about the project. he said, you're in the wrong place. he said the people in the camps have not developed new consciousness. they have frozen old consciousst. it's the logic of being a refugee where you develop an idea of the past as somehow romanticized. so they were living in the 1930s and '40s believing that that was somehow the palestine they the wanted to create. the place you need to go is to look at the arab citizens of israel. that's where new consciousness is developing. so i went and found this group of poets who developed a remarkable new sense of what it meant to be palestinian. they had been decapitated by the
1:02 pm
1948 war. most of the leadership had gone. they were landle lesless peasan. but in a period of time, they developed a national movement. israel expelled the leaders of that movement. so they continued to rebuild. the significance of that, a nationwide movement of basically what amounted to civil disobedience was amazing. when they were elected mayor of nazareth, he said if you elect him, we'll cut off your aid. they cut off the aid. what did he do? he turned to the international community and brought youth brigades to nazareth to do the road construction and the clean up and all of the projects that would no longer be. done by state funds. you look at the joint list today and the significance of this body sitting in there as what amounts to the largest group in the opposition, the second
1:03 pm
largest group in the opposition is of enormous consequence. if the joint list can increase its number from 13 to 15, let's say a small percentage of increase in the vote, it will be impossible to form an israeli government without dealing with the importance of the arab block in israel. 20% of the population, but they represent a significant political force that needs to be understood and encouraged. arabs should no longer ignore the significance of this group. the leadership has become bankrupt. it's no longer capable of, i think, providing a vision for the future. the leadership in gaza is worse. i think real leadership right now is coming from this group, which i think can play a significant role and needs to be recognize recognized as such. what policy recommendations i


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on