tv Discussion Focuses on U.S.- Israel Relations CSPAN February 8, 2017 12:30pm-2:07pm EST
core after hearing from a constituent who has had to identify a loved one or bury a and so, we worked together to take action. we armed law enforcement with the tools they need to crack down on those who profit from this crisis by preying on our most vulnerable citizens. and we equipped police and first responders with naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose antidote, allowing them to reverse more than 2,300 opioid overdoses so far. >> you can watch all of this on our website at www.c-span.org, search for pennsylvania governor. we want to take you to the washington institute with prime isister benjamin netanyahu set to come to watch it in a week from now. they are discussing the relationship between -- getting underway. >> good afternoon.
good afternoon and welcome to the washington institute. i am rob satloff, the director. i'm very happy to welcome all of you to this preview of next week's meeting between president trump and prime minister netanyahu. .irst, a couple of comments since we are beaming live through our own live stream audience and c-span audience, if i can ask everybody to please meet yourself -- mute your cell phones. feel free to tweak away. away.et no ringers please. second, i know everybody here really came today not to hear david or me but to hear our colleague dennis. regrettably, dennis came down withdavid or a horrible case of. he has been in bed and in the
doctor's care and this -- of aboutoming to talk about this topic was not going to make him feel any better. that inare delighted addition to david and myself, we have on today's panel a special guest from israel who i will introduce more in just a moment. i did want to open a by making a plug for the washington institute's transition 2017 series of publications. they may be up on the board. they are in my hand here. available, they are as you leave, especially the ones that the focus of the issues of today's event. that is one of by a dennis ross toward a newovsky
paradigm for addressing the conflict.lestinian another by means that look at the jerusalem embassy move. about eight or nine of these reports on the entire range of and theicy interests middle east. we started with turkey and we hit north africa and we are going to syria into the gulf. we are hitting the entire range of policy issues direct, candid, brief, targeted policy reports that we hope help inform of the new administration and provide what our scholars and what of the collected effort of our staff believed to be will be useful ideas on how they go forward. please pick these up and share them far and wide. all right. today, i am going to talk first, i am going to talk a bit about
overall trump middle east policy and were u.s.-israel issues fit in and a couple of words about the meeting next week. i will turn to my colleague david who will talk much more specifically about the agenda of netanyahu meeting and the peace process issues likely to be on the agenda. and then i will turn to a friend hindel to offer a view on the policy context of prime minister netanyahu's coming to washington. i think having this perspective will help inform all of our understanding of what is going on. david, of course, is the head of our program. arabes of immersion-into -- into arab-israeli issues
insert in the state department -- and served in the state department undersecretary cary under the obama administration. a political commentator, columnist, has his radiory popular broadcast. he is the head of a very important institution -- the institute for zionist studies. in 2011 and 2012 as a director of diplomacy in the office of the prime minister for netanyahu. that special perspective that he can bring to this discussion. first, what i thought would be useful, what to do we know, what do we think we know about
overall trump administration middle east policy? where does israel fit into this? seems to me when you look back on the statement of candidate in the firstearly set of moves by president trump, we do have three identities of donald j. trump we can draw on. it seems we should identify 4 main objectives for trump middle east policy. one is the clear commitment to destroy isis. not -- and not to diminish, not to degrade, not contain, not .hrink, but destroy within that, there is the larger battle against radical islamic extremism and we know the debate that is emerging around that. destroy is a very high bar. it is the lens
through which the new administration will view regional actors. thatat extent it are contributing to this goal, the destruction of isis? here, i would say that among arab state, the actor that is likely to emerge as a key party and a -- old, but to new ally will be edge -- but new ally will be egypt. egypt is likely to be the poster child on focusing on destroying isis and radical islamic extremism. -- and turkeyhe is returning to favor. we just saw a presidential telephone call with earned one -- erdogran and was there were no of this relationship. -- renewal of this relationship.
2ump other issues with these countries, the domestic issue. get tough on the run. sometimes it is described as ripping up the iran nuclear agreement, but always defined as negativeack on iran's behavior throughout the region. my own view, ripping up the agreement has essentially been settled and there are very few prominent voices for bringing up the agreement any longer. within how you enforce the hell out of it and what is the connection between enforcing the hell out of the agreement and the broader effort to push back on iran through the region? that is a good debate to have. objective, make
sure that allies like saudi arabia pay their share for collective defense. this was a prominent theme in the campaign and also in the postelection, less so since inauguration. that sub currents remains. it is more about that in a minute. is restoretheme friendship with israel on a strategic and political level. why do i freeze it that way? i-4 raise it that way because we ite gone through -- i raise that way because we have gone through the obama administration that it is true the obama administration successfully engineered with israel the deepest, broadest, most profound military security and intelligence relationship of any administration.
compared to any administration before. at the same time, not a but, but it had with and, israel one of the tensest, rawest, most thanks--- angst-fi lled relationships. it is navigated a path where it could do both at the same time. political, profound , theegic issues, iran peace process, the united states and israel were at loggerheads. on the peace process, the loggerhead from day one. on the first issue of iran, loggerhead throughout the second term am a and yet, they
maintained -- second term. a and yet they maintained relationship. my view is the trump administration will do fine objectives as being to repair the sense of deep political divide. it will begin from a different premise and begin from a premise of trying to seek strategic understanding that it will of the in israel's interest in u.s.'s interest at the highest level with a strategic understanding on the core issues obama andvided the netanyahu governments. these are the objectives. if these are the objectives, almost immediately they post -- pose contradictions. these are the contradictions i think are being grappled with, still being worked out.
of course, we know in the state noon today, one person has been appointed. the secretary. in the defense department, it is no better. the human capital is not really very yet. hopefully, it will be there soon. grappling with this conundrum is what will do fine the trump thenistration -- define trump administration. urgentstroy isis maybe but pushing back on iran is important. pushing back on iran is in many ways essential to the ultimate destruction of isis. , one of the key contributing factors to the rise of isis is the absence of sunni governance and the feeling of the vacuum by iranian supported
way inand in a different syria. how do you disentangle this? this connects to the second conundrum, the relationship with russia. if russia's potentially a key partner, potentially, i think it's railroad and partnering to do it -- its real role and --tnering to destroy isis is how do you deal with the fact that russia's number one ally in the region is iran? with seen a lot of talk about the potential or the goal of disentangling russia in iran, separating russia and iran. great in theory, tough in practice. this will be a major conundrum for the administration. isis, again,ying
one of the few specific for policy objectives promised by the president. destroy isis would be a victory without taking steps to ensure that we do not very soon thereafter have son of isis the .sis is not replaced remember, this is very much like the recitation of generations in genesis, al qaeda begets in iraq, in iraq, isis. worse,isis, perhaps even even more than a mess, sunni -- mous.more veno the only way to present to this is reasonably effective sunni ofernance in the areas
western iraq in eastern syria. sunni-arabquires allies. no avoiding it. you have to have them at some point. they may not have to be there on the takeoff, but they better be there on the landing. and if so, turkey is not the solution. russia is not the solution. iran is not the solution for uni sunni-rab -- you need arab allies. i've mentioned egypt how it could be the beneficiary of this radicalof focusing on islam. comes he will be embraced with open arms. after the embrace and after the cases, what does he really need? he needs a way to monetize that friendship.
a way to monetize that friendship. is in very serious mynomic straits and i took family on a wonderful vacation to egypt a few weeks ago over the new year's holiday. we had a great time. we were virtually the only tourists and the country. the egyptian economy at every corner a you can see how serious the situation was. i urge you all to visit egypt, it is gorgeous. they need help. and i don't very much in the trump administration will be opening up its own wallets. ,hat it means israel diplomacy real reactivation of america's leadership role to try to overcome the deep divide between the saudi's and egypt which today leads the egyptians to receive nothing from saudi arabia. and lastly, what is the conundrum with israel?
while bilateral relations with thisl and other allies, in case with israel, are likely to .e better than ever i think you're likely to see a relationship between president trump and prime minister netanyahu their rate of the relationship between bill clinton -- that rivals the relation between bill clinton and -- that is not the real question. what does israel look for in america? if dennis were here, i think he would probably tell briefly the story of kennedy when kennedy met -- athol waldorf-astoria. he thanked him and he said american-jewish community was very helpful in my election and i want to thank you and and i get the distinction between
israelis and jews at that time. he said what can i do for you? rian said there something you could do for me, be a good president for america. be a good leader. that was what we need in america -- in israel. that's what we want. leader, goodgood for america, you will be good for us. what does israel really needs? the same that the others need, they need a reassurance of american leadership in the middle east so america's team, not a perfect metaphor, it is actually one in reality. that our team, israel, modern arab states, etc., our team has andptain that is effective is doing its job. that is what israel really needs. i think is an important
test for the trump administration. will they play that captain's role for our team in the middle east? well, this leaves very quickly to the meeting next week. in some sense, maybe a little early or a little late for this meeting. a little late in the sense we sought he was not the first -- we saw he was not the first to town. the king of jordan. here first and did not have an appointment -- got here first and and not have appointment with president trump but found his way to not only have the meeting but be effective. and we saw by the end of the day of king of della'-- abdullah's meeting, a reflection of that. the first mild but still substantial, mild pretty of israeli policy on settlement. ifis a little early to come is late on that score, and a
sense there are still so few people entrenched in position in order to take whatever mr. netanyahu's message and turn it into an execute inside our government. but, there's enough for it to be relevant. -- the firstssues extremely sensitive, not at all easy. how to educate president trump on the priority of the iran issue and the challenge is to do this in such a way that it does not either embarrass or threaten the president's stated commitment to destroy isis. now, it is clear there is also a deep desire to push back on iran. know and government,
it is tough to do too many things at once and tough to do too many things effectively at once. and so, this is a real challenge i think for netanyahu. how to carefully, suddenly and engage only in a partner way that the states so effectively the priority is how to push back on iran? without the president having to walk back in wayway or withdraw in any from his commitment on destroying isis, not in easy task. secondly, to reach an understanding with the president on the volatile issues surrounding the israeli- palestinian conflict. the volatile issues surrounding settlement activity in such a way that the prime minister can
have enough of a victory here so that he can withstand whatever -- whatever pressures he has back home. i know my colleagues will speak a lot more about this. i will point it is no simple task. i think there is a real potential here to reset the agenda on the issues that caused so much tension, so much anxiety eroded theote it -- partnership on the last eight years. part of it is the embassy issue. i have written about this in one of the transition papers so i will not repeat my analysis in any detail except to say a couple points. first, this, too, was a campaign small number of campaign promises. i expect the president to find a way to implement and fulfill this campaign promise.
second, this promise also has a role to play in what i said earlier, namely how connected now who returned to it -- netanyahu returned to israel now or in the future with enough political victory from the united states to enable him to withstand the pressure from the further right? this i think plays an important role in that. it also plays a very complicated , subtle role in israel's discussion about the peace process. if, as many commentators have suggested, the u.s. moves is embassy to was jerusalem, which i think is the right way to do it and in the context of repelling the injustice of not having an embassy there for 68
says we recognize they israel and the palestinians have agreed that the eventual permanent status of jerusalem will be subject to negotiations and we will support whatever the outcome of the negotiations are. this puts a fascinating point of pressure on of the hard right in israel. yes, you want to embrace the move of the u.s. embassy to jerusalem, but at the same time, you have to embrace the idea that even the trump administration recognizes that jerusalem will be negotiated. this goes with part and parcel. it does not define what the outcome will be but to reaffirm the idea that the negotiations is, i think, is an important element of what this could be all about. i did say in my peas that
timing, -- piece that timing is one of the key criteria. i will conclude. this is one of the issues that you either due very soon or not for a while. this not one of these issues which is out there 3, 4, 5 months from now. the conventional washington area is we will do it six months from now. six months is long enough that it seems close below that of the people forget that you promised you were going to do it. you cannot do this six months from now. well before the 50th anniversary of the reunification of jerusalem, well before the anniversary of the six day war or you have to wait until that episode is behind the cause is -- because if you want to avoid the risk, limit
provocation, you do not in mesh in this and the 1967 set of issues. you anchor it and what i call .he 1948 set of issues the absence of an american embassy in jerusalem is a residue of a 1948 decision of by the truman administration. that is what president trump can repair. but to an mesh it in the 1967 set of issues only heightens the possibility that it triggers those sort of reaction you are trying to avoid. it is an issue for now and the wellseveral we -- weeks before the decision in may about whether or not to extend the waiver in of the law on the embassy -- in the law on the embassy. i will turn the floor over to my colleague, david.
afternoon.sky: good i also want to send my wishes to dennis for a speedy recovery. we missed him. i do not know if he is watching on c-span. a speedy recovery, dennis. interns for their support. look, i've just returned from much room to the region of to -- what iied think this first visit will be like. in no certainubt way there is lower expectations because indeed president trump does not have a team in place. it is easier for him to say i am in the listening mode. why is it so important that netanyahu is invited to washington after theresa may and prime minister abe of japan?
first, it is symbolic as a rob suggested. this duality at the end of the last administration of this heightened closeness when it came to military and intel and other forms of security, but bruising policy on iran and settlement there really lasted all of 18 years. it is a symbolic step. it is also a fact that knowing washington and netanyahu and israel is the second longest-serving prime minister who likes to come here and he knows that the rhythm of washington which is do not come too late before the policy is set in concrete. while everything is in flux is the time to try to influence the contours of a new approach. factors that are 2 would drive him here. where does that -- what are the issues? i would put them at 4. two of them are iran elated.
you havear issue and , scrap or rob enforce. everybody i've met in israel was of the enforcement school. they want to enforce it theyously and they felt, were worried that new administration was too invested in the deal they were worried that if they enforced vigorously it could hurt of the applecart, so they do not want to do that. hear fromfrom what i the people around netanyahu, not about the provisions of the deal but as one key advisers said, 80%, 90% coming to washington on the nuclear deal is about the so-called sunset provision. thatlement of the deal fade out in 10-15 years. that can research new enrichment now but in terms of assembling
and havinguges and unlimited enrichment from low enriched too high in rich, that will come online in 15 years. the president and netanyahu meeting and then what? that is a flip of the eye, nothing. all hope that is the key scenario that iran is transformed, but we can assume that is the best case scenario. the issue is going to be very important. issues on the sanctions and interesting that netanyahu may be surprised that the u.s. has moved on the ballistic missiles sanction idea. there will be question on terror sanctions, what is outside of the four corners? they can discuss it that. for the most part, the discussion is who will come along with the united states if you do it? is it a way to upset the apple
cart? the confirmation hearing of tillerson and mattis made it clear they were in the enforcement school, not in the scrap school. that is where the president is, too. we cannot always assumed that. to put it gently. i think that is something that netanyahu is going to come to take a pulse to get a sense of where is the president on this and force versus scrap and what is the thinking going forward. is it different messaging by u.s. to iran about to this? thet how do you deal with fading doubt of some of these provisions? how do you work with the arab states and israel and contingency planning? i heard about biblical allusions when i was over there and the book of genesis, the dream of -- joseph, theal grant interpreter of dreams, the
goodyear and the lean years. how do you make sure the lean years do not overwhelm the good years? that is here, too. most israeli officials will say in the short term has certainly made things better. in terms of taking all of these uranium out of the country and dismantling many other centrifuges, but how do you prepare for the lean years? who will use time more wisely? that seems to be the question. and how do youn constrain iranian influence in the region? i think the immediate issue is of the question of syria. this very navigated carefully. israel is sometimes more humble than it gets credit for. certain issues, they are much more humble about their ability to shape events.
they do not think they can be decisive in syria and they learned in 1982 in lebanon, it is hard to social engineer the politics of an arab country. they are more humble than they get credit for in washington and elsewhere. and theyd like to know assume trump is the dealmaker. how are you going to make a deal? what is of the deal? how can you drive a wedge between russia and iran when it comes to syria? that will be a huge questionable cause the point of departure is that russia and iran interest are not identical. --n is much more committed russia sees assad as an ally. is thereforeassad a long time to come. they see him as the linchpin in the iran access with him that and has hads allied
a long-standing relationship, no other leader will be linked. no other sunni leader will have the relationships. they think iran is all in when not ass to assad and sure as russia and they think russia is open to let's make a deal. what is the deal? and how does it israeli fit in? can they drive a wedge? iran has become a military and all to the iranians other forms of security ties and this is not a simple decision. israel most focus is on southern syria. redlinehave understanding in the 1970's with syria. you do not go beyond the river or whatever or whatever river it is. that was the understanding that was basically enforced. can you draw a new
understandings? not to have iran in this syrian part of it. one third is in syria now. how do you ensure that iran and hezbollah do not go south? on theirs hezbollah border into not want to intrude on the syrian border. hezbollah does not like there's fighting in syria and want to come that. israel would like to know what is the plan? what is the play? where does it go? terms of using the dealmaking with russia? and what is the u.s. willing to put on the table? clearly, russia would like to have lifting of sanctions. the banking said should is her -- sanctions is hurting them a lot. what is the shape of the deal and what does it mean for the border is the second issue. the third is the sunni states.
i think have used the joke from this podium -- israel has become the only sunni state to become jewish. time the allnt in because of common challenges. common threats with egypt, the -- in egypt has lost about 5000 soldiers. egypt and israel are cooperating and fortunately a lot of the details are not in the public view. -- the amountable of security cooperation. isis has brought israel and jordan closer together. deal hasnuclear brought iran and the states together. ,hese sets of ad hoc threats they often have iran mentioned, but not all of them a bucket the golf it does. these are bringing iran and the sunni states closer. , but ifot all of them
the gulf does. they get it all for free meaning to israel and arabs can share security cooperation, counterterrorism, but they do not have to do anything that is normalized. is there a way to bring more above the table? what is on it for the arab side? they say you have to do something on the palestinian. we may not be a democracy but -- we domean we have not have a public opinion. this idea of what more can be done will be a key question. suggest the idea -- could netanyahu suggest the idea of the egyptians and jordanians, they have diplomatic ties with israel, can you bring them to washington? regional tiesgive
a push. the palestinians think worst-case scenario. to bypass theot palestinians. could of case to create momentum in a way that would give augustinians -- palestinians a deal because the bilateral group has not borne fruit. the u.s. has tried to that in 2000 with bill clinton, 2007 with condoleezza rice and the talks and the third effort i was 2014. of with 2013 and we cannot hit a home run, maybe we can hit singles. that might require some regional umbrella of support. this will be a question. i think it is a mistake to think israel looks at the sunnis just through the lens of providing an umbrella on the palestinian issue. wantmight say, we do not
something in it for israel and rob alluded to it in his remarks , could there be closer u.s.-sunni ties? in that sense, israel likes of the role as regional advocate. years, hehe rabin would stop in cairo, he would stop in other places because she liked to say i am going to raise your issues in washington. that has a lot of cachet for israel. people from washington does not always appreciate that. in this case, i do not think netanyahu will make this spring he has a good phone relationship with sisi and they talk all the time. he will reinforce certain things. this idea of u.s. leadership in the region is something that he and the arab states would certainly agree upon. he might be a little nervous. thatally, he might feel
may be trump could be more like obama in that he emphasizes re-entrenchment more than he talks about asserting american leadership, isis, iran, but how much do you bulk of traditional allies? israel is coming to washington to advocate for the arabs? yes, i think it is possible. the sisi case would be a case in point. i think it is something to look at. sink of finding ways to work with the u.s. to help the iron dome to the saudi's? there might be issues, but it is something i hear from israelis. i just think we have to think just took quote lincoln, we have to think anew. i was on the palestinian issue and that is the subject of transition paper that i did with dennis and i think here, we try
to hit the home run but the leaders in my view cannot do it. there is not enough overlap in the venn diagram between them. and we should try to hit some singles, be more modest in our objectives but succeed. the publics are so disbelieving, they have heard a lot of talk and until they see actual movement, they will not -- then sis of public disbelief is not going to be helpful. what can the united states do? it takes time for the administration together people in place. this is not the number one issue on the agenda. you ignoreue that if this issue, the volatility on the ground could get worse. the palestinian authority could collapse. if there are a series of things that come into play where you have the israeli and jewish home , 60% advocating annexation
of the west bank, there are other things here that members of the right are pushing. you have to assume that is an issue. and that will create israel a difficult situation whereby -- a de facto will lead to people calling -- one person, one vote, what is wrong with that? that is against israel. and at the same time, being democratic. this is something in my view that i think -- and i would waye, i think in a strange that the israeli politics are cut for this with netanyahu. netanyahu, is convenient for him, that the united states has staked out a policy on settlements. he can go back to his party to
his right and say, the americans insist. we have to do something. but now, if there is a blank check, i think that puts them in a very difficult bind with a right because minute then it will drag them over the fence so areaeak and the non-bloc which is 92% of the west bank. i do not think netanyahu wants to go there. i think he wants to stay focused on the narrow area of 8% of the land where close to 80% of the israelis live if you include the east jerusalem lights in the mix. in the mix.ites most of the palestinians live outside of the zone. have -- we can discuss it in the q&a. that is something netanyahu wants. the magic formula, a way to get to that might be the bush letter
of 2004. he whispers into president letter ear, we have this from george w. bush with sharon, why not to reaffirm it? the obama administration do not do it and it was the beginning of the deterioration between the relationship of the two countries over the refusal to reaffirm that. that's a letter should be stated precisely does not talk about building and the settlement clusters or blocs, but says the if the population centers will be part of israel probably. it has to be agreed with the palestinians and basically implies it does not discuss land exchanges. i'm sure will like operationalize this letter. why not build there tomorrow? we gather in that night transition paper saying it might toa way that i will like
emphasize and not be misinterpreted that this requires strong u.s. quarter nation. enthink there is a preced and i go to the bush era between condoleezza rice and sharon. itaelis call it the fence, should be synchronized with the united states, not formally. before every round of the cabinet meeting in 2003, 2004, they brought to the maps. i think that is important because i do not think any president want surprises. the statement we saw at the end of king of dulles -- abdullah's meeting was the idea do not think we are for sediments at large. he said settlements might not be helpful. and that is -- it might bring us to the bush era period. instead of undifferentiated view
that it is not part of the solution, you would be saying some could be part of the solution is some are part of the problem. i see it as a reversion of the main on the settlement issue. that might be helpful in finding a way. the u.s. would have to win support of the allies. people say what are the palestinians going to contribute? the reality on the ground to avoid a deep impact that could be destabilizing, what do the palestinians contribute? sayuse this approach is to i am maintaining the viability of a to stay outcome even if i cannot implement tomorrow, i know in this area and coordination with the u.s., beyond the barrier, if the u.s. can synchronize it would be ideal. we are not dealing in the ideals right now, sub optimal space here.
do what cut the palestinians -- could the palestinians do? it is wrong that the pa through the pao is funding the foundations that give money to relatives of suicide bombers. that has got to stop. israel to take direction even if we cannot solve the problem, the palestinians have to do that too. that may be more supportive of grassroots. they will meet with the merits but what about meeting with the palestinian peace groups? may be more of a focus on palestinian governments -- a governess that has not been the focal point. i am into the single zone, solid single would be -- that is what this paper argues for would be a put forward ato direction not to shoot for the fences, swing for the fences where you can strike out.
but a solid single. i do not think we will come out with any big announcements. i would be very surprised if we did. it is an introductory meeting. as president and prime minister, but i think to introduce some of s to go forward would be very useful. the course for the next four years. thank you all very, very much. [applause] rob: david, thank you very much. would love to put on our website baseball/english translation so that everybody who is watching this can understand out of the metaphors. i am going to turn to yoaz hendel who is joining us from israel. yoaz, the floor is yours. yoaz hendel: thank you very much and thank you,metaphors, i woult
and at the fourth point, i do not know if you heard netanyahu one week ago at a government meeting. have nothe israelis been paying attention to the wall but many people all of the world is asking what is the state's mind? in order to understand that, the model he talks about is we table and maps on the -- [indiscernible] 12% which and netanyahu the majority of the is elementary -- to
the rest of leaders [indiscernible] and you see that between the 30% of most of the israelis, the majority of the right-wing, the 40% there are no jews. 30%, you can see actually what the netanyahu talks about or what he talked about when he mentioned -- [indiscernible] after public opinion, we need to be objective conditions in order primeerstand the next minister netanyahu in washington.
threatf all, there is a which just in the last week we saw a lot of military tension between israel is an hamas. there are things that we might because of hamas and the public opinion. when you have the military , there is stipulation from the extra award. specifically from the u.s. administration. second, i would say again, public opinion, we spoke about this.
righthe left and from the , it has been said before, this is a topic disagreement between israel and the palestinians. not believe that it is possible to bridge the gaps. most of them are most worried over the compromised territories and disengagement in gaza. side, the accession of the territory, we don't want israel to find themselves with 2 million palestinians that will vote. he is not talking about the next accession of all territory.
50% to create of maximum territory for the new politician. israel, they moved to the center and could be, by default, more and more mandates for peace policy. avoiding the talk of any kind of compromises or solutions in the conflict. part, which i would say is the most important, netanyahu today is facing a few domestic challenges. first of all, in the real political partner between him
and the head of the jewish home , they have the voices of the voters. in the past we could separate between them. it was a decentralized party. on the right, on the strong , today we can see how netanyahu had the same people with the same boat, with the same attitude and idea, actually themselves asribe the light wing leaders who believe in the motives and metaphors of the right.
if you add to that the fact that netanyahu today is also under investigation and a lot of pressure, that comes from this kind of situation, to understand problem to the real put something new on the table that will risk his position as a strong right-wing leader with voters. if all of that is obvious, in allisraeli dilemma first of [indiscernible] interested.be in his campaign he talks about
the israeli-palestinian conflict as a conflict that does not disturb him at all. since he was elected he changed in duration in the safe zone the eyes of the government of israel. secondly, if it is possible at all, he will offer a new attitude regarding the israeli-palestinian conflict. otherwise if netanyahu comes to this meeting, if it results in , it will be that the advisors will be looking for israeli policy and the only thing that they can find is the consideration of netanyahu and the two state solution. which, as we said, in the eyes of many israelis, has no
connection to the palestinians who have no ability to govern themselves, as it is very hard for a right-wing leader or even politicalleader or prime ministers to evacuate such a number of settlers. so, is it possible to bring these new ideas to the table? to think out of the box for a two state solution? or to put it out of the range and maybe to go back to the ideas on the steps with the palestinian authority to minimize the conflict by a small of declaration, or even to bring back the agreement
between the bush administration as mentioned before. the last comment i would like to mention is the fact that in order to bring itself, and this , theyuge debate in israel talk about the fact that as it , there is the one political discussion about the vision going to a president and his own political allies. no one knows what he is really ,oing to tell president trump and the big question and dilemma of netanyahu is to say something new. if they offer the new ideas as , it could cause
the right-wing voters to criticize. if we are going back domestically, he's under a lot of pressure and needs a fight on his plate, to make sure that the next election, many in israel think it will take place in the next year and will still remain to where he keeps his power between netanyahu and washington , basically as a huge dilemma. thank you. , thank you very much. very useful. with that, we will open the floor to your questions. if you could be kind enough to raise your hand and wait for the
microphone, keep your question -- brief and identify to whom of the panelists you are asking your question. yes? wait for the microphone. congratulations on your new position, dan. dan: now with the relaunching i-24 news, by the way. this is for david makovsky. because you are privileged to be state department, as part of a team, what can you share with us about the importance of the personalities involved in the trump administration right now? the point of view of rex tillerson will be very important. is it your view that the way it looks is that it is all up to president trump and the two men closest to him in his worldview? mike flynn, his national security advisor, and steve bannon? what is your view?
speak with some humility. i think that every administration will have its own personality. seennow, i think we have things at the beginning of this administration that we haven't seen at the beginning of others, but every administration takes .ime to get their sea legs therefore i don't agree can write things off in a significant way. we have to wait to see how things shake up and shake out a little bit in terms of the key players. you are right about tillerson. he just started. we don't know who the deputy secretary of state is or who the deputy head of the eastern affairs bureau is. we don't know how the state department is going to interact with the white house. is -- theyhite house have got so many issues, how many deep dives can they do?
we just him know. sometimes the policies more anchored in the white house, sometimes more so in the administration. we could go back to the time of jim baker and say that it was a very much state department driven policy because of that relationship. we could look at another model, eriod, where. bush p it was driven more out of the white house when elliott abrams was the senior official there. i'm a little concerned about overgeneralizing with too much extrapolation. the only thing i feel certain about is the uncertainty. to say that until they put their people in place, until we know ,ore about the interactions it's a little soon. indispensable and it matters a lot who sits in that
chair. even if they don't do the nitty-gritty work. the rolenderestimate of who's in the oval office, but how it shakes out in terms of policy, i still think -- i want to be a little cautious in extrapolating. >> ok, thank you. please? up in front? >> thank you. i am retired from the foreign service. you had mentioned about president trump saying that he .anted to destroy isis he put emphasis on that word. don't forget that he also said he wanted to destroy the johnson amendment. just use a vocabulary, not sure how important that is. , wanted to ask david makovsky
when he mentioned the palestinian need to stop the incitement and encouraging of funds to the survivors of suicide bombers, i've seen an increasing amount of material in theyress about the role had in encouraging this behavior of steadfast opposition. there has been some discussion about some serious efforts to defund unra from the united states and others as well. it's not said that if there and can't do its job, it may make the situation worse. what is your view of the value of such a campaign? 8 -- david: a lot of the -- israel knows that a lot of the kids in the schools are in unra schools. on the one hand they can give you a lot of chapter and verse about why they don't like them.
that's the you and relief agency dealing with palestinians that came into effect after the 48 war. the u.n. high commission on refugees, they will tell you a lot of chapter and verse on why they don't think they are helpful. but then ask them a second question. would you rather spend all day to them and they will say -- who fills the vacuum? who will be the teachers in the schools? who will educate? will we have to come in and i would say that if there is an ideal solution, we did a study on them many years ago. the uh cr.ome under why is this issue singled out? shouldn't there be an international agency that deals with it? not liking it is only half of an answer.
when israel doesn't see the substitute, they are not excited to pull from it. >> on this question i think you posed a bit of a red herring here. the real debate is not about defunding unra, it's more about whether the functions should appropriately fall under the unhcr. the realultimately question is, should palestinian refugees be sus -- subject to of refugeefinition as refugees around the world? which is what differentiates refugees that come under unra, mainly palestinian refugees, and all others. mainly it is an inherited that you can be third and fourth generation, living wherever you live around the world, you can still be a
refugee. this gets to the heart of the debate. ison't know anybody who saying to end the human services .eing provided by unra take down the schools, close down the hospitals, i don't know anyone who is saying that. the debate is really on a different set of issues. yes on the left, then to the right in the center, that's just the way we are. >> never been characterized as being on the left before, but thank you. --stion about whether whether you think president trump or prime minister netanyahu can find common ground in the following way. coming out of eight years of, as you have described, pressure on israel on the obama administration. palestiniansn the more and more went to the u.n. and other international bodies to make an end run around things
, they could have a common ground in saying that they will put more pressure on the palestinians. the netanyahu government will have more backing from us. perhaps manifesting in the embassy relocation to jerusalem, regarding continuing mild statements at most about settlement activity within existing blocks. that we willeing block the palestinians so that the united states, no matter where else they might go, the the avenue to be pursued is resumption of bilateral negotiations that the trump administration has repaired to play let's make a deal in the conflict. -- context. a strong and to aggressive message of -- there's a new sheriff in town and we are putting more pressure diplomatically on the palestinians. is that a common ground approach?
>> i think in practice you will see the u.s. use the veto pen more often. i believe the obama administration raised the hand doing one in eight years and was on settlements in 2011. it abstained on this controversial and, in my view, misguided resolution in december of 2016. so, i think yeah, the investor in their team will make it clear that the u.n. is not the arena to solve the issue. in my view, they need to come up with a positive approach, because my fear is that if you just say resume diplomatic talks, they say -- but these guys hate each other in don't agree on anything. i'm a little hesitant about putting all of the eggs on the resumption of bilateral
negotiations when i don't think it will lead anywhere. that is why nathan and i articulated the approach we wrote in the paper, to come up with something programmatic, something that people could see was actually a change on the ground. just a call for diplomatic talks, in my view, is going to be very lame. but i totally agree with you totallye u.n., that's going to happen. whether the u.s. declares it and which way? they will find ways, i'm sure, but that's going to be the reality, the u.n. is going to be much more activist than pushing back. >> i will add what -- add one more thought on this. this is in fact another conundrum for the trumpet administration. the president, remember, in his campaign talked about how he's going to negotiate the best deal ever. yes, there will be a desire to have the parties get back to the table.
you know, shut off internationalization, shut off the u.n., get them back to the table. but most objective observers -- i like to say that because that includes me, david, and dennis, thatof -- most conclude the circumstances for success aren't there. there are also its of other things you need to do. effectiven palestinian governance. get some corruption under control. do some economic stuff to build the situation in which a real resumption of diplomacy might succeed. well, you know, that stuff isn't as sexy as getting around a table and negotiating the best deal ever. so, that will require a decision , manpower, intellectual capital, and real effort. are they ready to invest that so that may be, later, later in the term they will be able to come back and read the benefits of
real diplomacy? well, i think that is a conundrum. >> when i say things about shutting off internationalization, there are things that israel has to do, too. there were laws passed this week , we didn't have time to go through a lot of issues, but it is telling to me that an aide of netanyahu, the cabinet secretary and attorney general, has said he won't defend it in the courts. there's a report this morning where it doesn't mean if it's true or false or what, but saying that he's going to come out against it, publicly. it just seems to me that the law is going to get overturned. it something that netanyahu wanted like a hole in the head before his visit to washington, but here he was outflanked by bennett and a lot of the energy
of the right is coming from within his party. i can go on and on. he feels very much kind of caught betwixt and between. there was the whole thing from last week with evacuation where a lot of israel had police injuries. a lot of dynamics were on the ground where he went ahead and anyway i think he is counting on the courts to kind of govern for him. it's an interesting dynamic. that's all i'll say. but to me, just as he is going to have to have some tough love for the united nations, which i think would be good, i also think that the trump statement of last week was to say -- don't associate me with the open checks pool. that's not where i am. i see it more as reverting to the mean of the bush administration more than anything else. >> do you want to add anything? may, the idea of there
being a new sheriff in town, there are a lot of folks in and there is the thought that it could change everything, the israeli also shale, where president trump will decide that he wants the nobel prize. he will call netanyahu in tell him -- look, i want to make israel great again, so let's start. cut the line here and there you can make it. what's the problem? we all understand that it's much more complicated cutting a deal. the idea today is to find ways to define where for the first time after 50 years we are deciding what we want.
without the question from outside. from that point we need to speak to decide which parts we want with ambitions to make it out of inael and how we will remain debatable areas. what will we do with the palestinians. how will we call them? to talk about those things, you need a lot of discussion. then yahoo! in president trump, it's just a stopping point. a new attitude that will change a twoct of the idea of state solution as we know it from the 90's not being visible anymore. one can say that it is because of the second thing, the palestinians, it doesn't matter. of 2011, i wasin
responsible for the blame game. the blame game is not important anymore. what is important is that it is impossible to bridge the gaps that we create. the opportunity that we need not think out-of-the-box. if israel would not do that, i'm sure that president trump is not going to find that he will just ideas of the bush administration or the obama administration. we will find ourselves in a kind of conflict between jerusalem and washington. very interesting. thank you. very quickly, i'm going to ask three people to do their questions and then we will wrap up here. yes, on the right.
yes, in the middle. yes, right here. >> i just wanted to ask each of you to say a word about the possibility of elliott abrams to government and to this issue. do you see him as a mostly helpful force? mostly unhelpful? and what is the opinion of him from israel? thank you. >> very good, yes? >> i'm not usually considered in the sentence, but the university david.land, this is for assume others seem to that the palestinians would sort of stay the same.
he's 88 years old. it's unlikely that he will last for more years area there is no obvious successor. where thek about it borrow.ians want to what do you think will happen, as probably you will, when mazzen? perhaps abruptly. vice last, right here on your left. >> for both of you, let's say that the prime minister no yahoo! is coming to the white house next week and presenting to the president the idea of a state minus. is it something that can be sold right now to the palestinians?
because there is a new sheriff in town? a pro-israeli sheriff. many israelis believe that it is dependent that the united states supports israel and show it publicly. maybe it is something that the palestinians will entertain. or at least it will be a pace for the negotiations. >> david, do you want to start? >> i'm just speaking on the issue of expertise, but i think that adding elliott abrams would be an important signal that someone who has experience in this issue will be very much at the center of administration policy. is someone who was actually the architect of the bush letter and is well versed in these west bank issues.
he is now starting afresh. this is not at all, obviously, to denigrate. new people may become with fresh eyes, of course, but i think that maybe adding him to the mixture in a key position would be a sign that -- here is somebody with experience who wants to really help out the new team. , ihink that in my view served in a democratic administration, but i think it would be welcome across the republicans,crats, and the analyst community alike. with.i associate myself as far as to the question about succession, you know, look, in march this guy turns 82, smoking two packs of cigarettes per day.
the guy said two packs and i spoke with him, i said great [laughter] . i don't see on the verge of succession -- it actually links up to the guild tomorrow a question. i don't see me i just don't see it. in the middle east they tend to look over the right shoulder, not over the left. everyone jockeys for succession. i don't see one dominant successor. leader in the arab world over and israel has ever allowed a number two to take such hold. not thend of more exception but the rule. we are where we are. i tend to see because there is no obvious accessory that the net effect is there is some sort of model collectivist leadership.
call it a transitional leadership. no one is strong enough to dominate the others. they are just strong enough to block other potential successors. it's a protracted affair where they don't hang together. they will hang separately. you say collectivism, that sounds so soviet. in the middle list -- middle east things are messy and that is true. something transitional to have the palestinians get into a new period. when he was named in 2005, he had the history of being at arafat's side, he had historical legitimacy, and he was elected by everyone, and it was a parliament. those are three things you don't have today. you don't have the obvious successor with the historical legacy. you don't have a parliament and you don't have elections. because gaza and the west bank are divided. there is a legitimacy deficit.
that to me all points to the dled,it is going to be mud where it'll be a protracted thing. i'm sure someone will emerge but nothing immediately. the final question. i don't think we are ready for a state. for me the whole issue is premature at this point. you would have to get into the five for five. orders, security regiments, jerusalem, refugees, mutual recognition. everyone of these issues is a political minefield. toon't think it's realistic come up with a bumper sticker, even a good bumper sticker or bad bumper sticker right now. it is more like, with you do now? how do you move off the impasse now? have you give dignity to both sides, change dynamics on the ground, but don't touch the supercharged issues that each
one is a political minefield? how do you navigate that? that to me is the question. elliott, iefly on concur with david. should elliott be appointed, i think he would substantially enhance the human capital of expertise on these issues. this is a complicated part of the world. it's a complicated world in general. i think elliott would be a major gain to the administration. second, what happens after he dies question. there is every model -- i can give you every speech. sadats not model -- the model. he emerged as the big leader. there was a collective model
that begins and and's and different directions. the names that everyone here , or couldther it is be some indifferent coming out of the security establishment. i do think what is quite likely is when the dust settles there will be a leader. that leader will be far more likely than the current leader to be able to take the decisions that will be necessary for peace. that is not to disparage abu masan. he made a historic decision for which he doesn't get enough credit. which was to end the official terror led by arafat against israel years ago. he went into a different direction. there are all sorts of stuff that goes on. whatever,k about -- but there's a big decision he took years ago. that in my view regrettably
was also the last big decision he took. you can't survive forever on the fumes of that decision. that is one of the big reasons we are where we are. as for state minus, the reality is that if there ever is a palestine, everyone understands it will be state minus. like dozens of other states around the world. there are numerous states around the world that come into existence with various aspects of their sovereignty circumscribed in the very independence. this is not normal. this is actually quite common -- this is not novel. it is actually quite common, quite routine. the question is where the sovereignty will be circumscribed. where, when, how long. these are all matters for negotiation. it is not the big innovation. it is really how do you get there. there, i think the ideas david
and others have been talking about, i view as essential. with that i will thank you so much for contributing in today's event. thank my colleague david and thank you all for being here today at the washington institute. [applause] >> israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu meeting with president trump one week from today. all of this is available online at c-span.org. search "israel." we take you live to the department of education and the nations capital. new education secretary betsy devos is being introduced.