after the house of lords said ministers should guarantee eu nationals‘ right to stay in the uk after the split. however, it is merely a setback as mps will be able remove the lords‘ changes when the bill returns to the house of commons. a us congressional committee has agreed to investigate russia's alleged interference in last year's us elections. the house intelligence panel inquiry will scrutinise contacts between donald trump's presidential campaign and moscow. the white house denies any improper behaviour during the election campaign. syrian government soldiers have entered the ancient city of palmyra three months after the so—called islamic state re—ca ptu red it from them. the city, which has both strategic and cultural importance, has changed hands several times during the conflict. let's have a look at the front pages of this morning's papers. the metro leads with defeat in parliament for the prime minister after the house of lords votes to amend the brexit bill. the telegraph says theresa may is determined to trigger article 50
in two weeks, despite the setback created by that vote. the daily express says the house of lords will fail in its bid to derail the government's plans for a hard brexit. the times leads with record highs. —— highs for stockmarkets on both sides of the atlantic after president trump's first speech to congress. the i has a police watchdog warning about the "perilous" state of policing — which it says is on the verge of a national crisis because of cutbacks to services. and the daily mail takes up that issue too — claiming tens of thousands of crime suspects are on the loose because of substandard policing. now it's time for hardtalk welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. for years, the israeli—palestinian conflict has been stuck, condemned to repeat itself year in, year out. but now, something has changed. the two protagonists remain deaf
to each other‘s demands, but there is a new us president, who seems to care little for washington's long established quest for a two state solution. so what does that mean? well, my guess is husam zomlot, adviser to the palestinian authority leader mahmoud abbas. does the trump era signal the end for the palestinian dream of statehood 7 husam zomlot in ramallah, welcome to hardtalk. thank you, stephen, thank you for having me. mr zomlot, you are relatively
young for a senior figure in the palestinian authority. most of your adult life you have lived with the oslo peace process. are you prepared to acknowledge today that for all intents and purposes, that notion of an oslo peace process is dead? first of all, thank you for the compliment, considering me young. i am well in my 40s. believe me, when it comes to the palestinian authority, that's pretty young. your leader's 81, most of your senior officials are in their 70s. i understand your relative theory, but i also witnessed the oslo process as a young man. witnessed the demise of the implementation of that peace process. i think, if you are talking about the process itself, yes, it has been discredited. all along, since 1997, we should have had a state according to the oslo accord,
israel should have withdrawn from all the territories it occupied in 1967. in fact, what happened ever after was the deepening of the occupation and the spread of the colonial settlements and the besiegement of the people in gaza and what have you. you are right, the process has failed miserably to deliver the outcome and to many, many people, it was a process actually designed to prevent the outcome, process that was going in the opposite direction. but the hope and the aspiration and the goal of two states, a state of palestine under the 1967 borders, the hoped—for two states that live in coexistence and peace with each other and form a bridge between east and west, is a hope that remains very firm in the hearts of the millions of palestinians and israelis and remains to receive the international consensus, has been seen in the last un security council resolution only a few weeks ago. but you can't hold onto hopes that are unrealistic, that's not doing your people any good. if oslo and that means of getting to a two—state solution is dead, maybe you should regard it
as a healthy tonic, in a way, that america's new president donald trump said, and of course you know these words well, he said, "i'm looking at a two—state solution and a one state. and i like the one that both parties like. i can live with either one." so in other words, we now have a new situation. we have an american president who, first of all, doesn't seem to care very much about what happens in israel, palestine. and simply leaves it to the parties to get on with it. he doesn't care if there's a two state or not. in fact, he'd take a one—state solution? stephen, we'd like to hear from president trump what he exactly means by one state solution, really. this is rather interesting, we want to listen to this proposition. all what we had is this one sentence and this is in complete and it's not enough. our future hangs on this one sentence. the plo official, the palestine liberation organisation official platform, until 1988 was one democratic state for
all of its citizens, in the historic land of palestine for muslims, christians and jews. but that platform had to be compromised simply because there was a condition by the international community. in fact, by the reagan administration on the plo that we must abandon our dream of a one democratic state, diverse and respecting the rule of law for all of its citizens to a two state solution. and we did respect that condition and we endorsed the two state solution, according to the us and international requirements for peace. and you know, it took us so many years to get to that national equilibrium here in palestine to establish a national consensus on the two state solution and on accepting and recognising israel on 70% of our land. so...
before we jump into another conclusion, we have too studied the history. the one state solution was always a nonstarter in israel. israel has totally, utterly rejected such a proposition. if israel rejects the one state... i'm going to stop you because you are raising ceremony different points, all of which are important about internal politics in palestine, because you claim you reached a consensus, which of course you haven't, because that's why gaza and the west bank are so deeply divided politically, so we'll get to that later. but one thing at a time, let's stick with trump, because he is the new actor in all of this. you are about to go to washington to be the new palestinian ambassador in the united states, representative in the united states. the chief palestinian negotiator said the other day, nobody in washington will talk to you palestinians. he said we've sent letters, written them messages, they don't even bother to respond to us. that must worry you that the trump team do not seem to be interested in talking to you palestinians? ok, maybe that statement came out before we actually did have
communication with the trump administration. there was a very senior palestinian official delegation visiting washington only a few weeks ago at the top level. and there was also very senior american delegation from the new administration, one of the closest associates to president trump visiting us here. you mean cia director pompeo, right? regardless, regardless... this is important. hang on, this is imported. you are telling me, oh yes, don't worry, we've got the contacts. look, the truth is binyamin netanyahu has already had a very cosy meeting with donald trump at the white house. just tell me, what's the extent of the direct personal contact between mahmoud abbas and donald trump? this is a new administration, steve and this new administration, by the way, is still in the making, it's not even completed yet. this administration also has no fully fledged policy, it's not really formed its policy about israel, palestine... ijust asked you a direct question, what is the direct answer? what is the direct answer? the direct answer, we expect a relationship and we expect to be invited to the white house and the state department,
like we have been. we have been a close partner of the us for many, many years. the long held us policy is very well—known. the huge investment the us has made with us and our investment towards this relative stability is something neither us nor the us is willing to forego and therefore we do expect that. we're not the exception, by the way, we are the rule here. let me say this sentence, most of all leaders did not have the chance to talk to president trump. binyamin netanyahu was the exception there and binyamin netanyahu misused that one ear that was given to him and misinformed the american president he wanted to legitimise his illegal settlement activities. he did not get that and it was clear that president trump asked him to back off, to stop his settlement activities. he wanted president trump to announce the abandonment of the two state solution. he did not get that actually. and all that president trump said, that he's fine with the two solutions and we want to hear from him more. and thirdly, he wanted president trump to announce the moving of the embassy tojerusalem from tel aviv, tojerusalem. and he did not get that. yet, we still have a second year of president trump and we very much
look forward to giving him the reality, the truth and the logic of the situation here. all i can say is, you do seem to me to be a wild optimist, because you seem to think the americans are in listening mode and they are waiting to talk to you. you just touched upon a very important point, the us embassy, currently, of course in tel aviv, as all international embassies are. now, donald trump has made it plain he will seriously consider the idea of moving that embassy tojerusalem, even though it seems to have been put on the back burner for now. but, what we do know for sure is the man picked to be the next us ambassador to yemen israel, david friedman, not only intends to work out ofjerusalem, he's that very plain, he has a house injerusalem, he's also very closely tied to the settler movement and sits on the board of one of the ngos that backs one of the settler blocks in the west bank. and he's going to be the next us ambassador in israel. so, when you go to washington and you think you can reach out to the trump administration, it's going to be awfully difficult, isn't it?
we hope not. we realise all what you are saying and we are worried, indeed we are worried about some of these signals. but we might not be the strongest party in this world, definitely as palestinians, but we are certainly the strongest when it comes to our issue. president trump has already said he is seeking the ultimate deal and he even continued saying, for the sake of humanity, and he even said there are two sides to this. having said there are two sides to this, having said there is little land left for the palestinians,
that is president trump we are waiting to give him the other side of the story, that's number one, it's very logical. number two, because we are invested in peace and because we have heavily maintained the situation at the expense of our own legitimacy, by the way. and because the us knows that, we are actually the ultimate partners, if he is seeking the ultimate deal. and there will be in no deal without us and yes, this is not being optimistic, this is being realistic and we have our options. for instance, about the embassy, we did formally, in a letter by the president, president abbas, send to president trump outlining the danger of such a move, how destructive it would be on the prospects of peace. so we're not sitting still, we are waiting, we are preparing, we are engaging and we would like to have the best case scenario. but should the worst case scenario happen, we are also here to make sure our issue remains to be respected as an international consensus and our rights enshrined in international law. yes, we are not existentially worried. ok, you are not existentially worried, but let's stop talking about trump for a moment and talk about your strategy,
when it comes to netanyahu. and i think most israelis, as well as people around the world, are recognising this is one of the most right—wing governments in israel's history, if not the most right wing. your boss, mahmoud abbas, said many weeks ago, he said if israel pushes ahead with this legislation to legalise settlements built on private palestinian land, then he would cut security cooperation with israel. well of course, that bill has now passed and as far as i can see it, mahmoud abbas has no intention of making good on that threat, or am i missing something? no, you are missing something because i think that decision was made, and it was even made by the plo central council, and now it has been approved by this very legitimate sort of parliament for all palestinians for the executive branch to decide on the timing. remember, steve, the issue
of security is notjust an israeli demand, it's notjust an israeli interest, it also palestinian interest and we don't want to see a situation here where we have groups and agencies from all over the region, and you know what is happening around us, just 300 kilometres all around and we want to make sure we deliver such a policy at the right time. forgive the interruption, but if i may tease out what you seem to havejust said to me, your priority is more in keeping a lid on hamas in the west bank than it is on ending security cooperation with israel? we have no lid on hamas whatsoever. hamas is in gaza and is in full control of gaza. no, that's not what i said. no, but it is the west bank we are talking about, you need the israeli security cooperation in the west bank to help you keep yourselves, fatah, on top in the west bank, israel is your ally in that?
no, no that's not true. we don't want tojump in the air at this point in time, we don't want to be maximalist at this point in time, we want to make sure that while we retain position and keep our achievements, national achievements, we also look to move forward. therefore, we will choose, the president will choose the right moment to end, not only security cooperation, but economic cooperation and reformulate our relationship with israel as occupying power. well, i want to talk economy just briefly, if i may? you say, yes, we will and security and economic cooperation with israel. i would put it to you, you can't afford to. first of all, you need the israelis to hand over the customs and the border revenues that come to you through the israelis. and if you lose those, you are in even worse economic circumstances than you are in right now. also, the tens of thousands of palestinians who either work inside israel, on the other side of the green line, or frankly, let's be honest, thousands of palestinians work on building sites and construction building the veryjewish settlements you say
are the chief obstacle to peace. if you stop all of those people doing thosejobs, your economy is going to fall apart? that's also not accurate, steve. if we are going to accept substitute liberation and independence of our own sovereignty, with pieces of bread being thrown on us by the israeli occupation, the whole situation will continue. the socio— economic situation in the west bank and gaza is simply the socio—economic situation in the west bank and gaza is simply unprecedented in terms of how deteriorated it has been. all economic indicators show some sort of an economic, what's the word? slaughterhouse, actually. let me give you some numbers very quickly, about the economic disparity. because of us having to work in israel, not by choice, but coercion. our population is around 12 .7 million. we have 95% literacy and we have 70% under the age of 29. this is a very useful,
very educated society. and we have very wealthy, natural re—sources. yet, our gdp, i am talking 2015, just quick numbers, is $12 billion, compared to $305 billion in israel. our per capita is 2800 compared to 36,000... you don't need to go any further. you don't have too persuade me that in terms of economic power, in terms of political and military leveraged, you palestinians cannot compete in any way with israel. believe me, you don't have to persuade me of that. my question to you is, why do you fail to actually make the best of the case you've got? for example, let's move on to talk about politics in the palestinian areas. why is it that president mahmoud abbas has so little credibility,
a palestinian opinion poll showed that the majority of palestinians want him gone? he hasn't won an election for what is it, at least a decade. his mandate has run out. most palestinians see the palestinian authority as corrupt. you are doing yourselves no favours. well, i can understand there is a need to renew our democratic process. in fact, as we speak now, the government has confirmed the date of the local government elections, which is a very important pillar of our democratic process. this is a decision by the president. we want to respect our own election process and its duration. four years, mean four years. now, for the president, you know he was elected democratically and we are one of the very few nations in this region that really do adhere to the democratic processes. forgive me, when you're mandate lasts for years, when you're mandate lasts for years and it was achieved 13 years ago, you don't have any legitimacy any more.
we do have legitimacy because president abbas is the president of the plo, of the palestine liberation organisation, which is much higher, even than the pa. the pa was only established to fulfil our responsibilities under oslo, which israel has failed miserably. he does have the national legitimacy. he was elected. the question is, does he want elections? he does. i can assure you, in his name now, should he decide to run this election, will he win? forget about the polls and these agendas you have quoted, in the end he was voted by fatah only two months ago in such a democratic... hang onjust a moment. hang on, you'vejust said something outrageous. you ask me a question. you've had a chance to answer. you asked me a question, stephen, let me answer it. fatah is the biggest, according to all polls, fatah is the biggest palestinian political party. it receives more than 35% in all opinion polls.
should fatah nominate mahmoud abbas to represent it in any national elections, i see you, president abbas will win the elections. congratulations. congratulations, you'vejust told me to ignore opinion polls and you proceeded to quote me an opinion poll. so let me quote you an opinion poll in return, from a leading palestinian polling organisation, they matched mahmoud abbas against ismail haniyeh from hamas in a head—to—head race at the end of last year, they asked palestinians across the territories, gaza and west bank who they'd vote for and you know what, by a couple of percentage points, haniyeh came out on top. you must be worried about that? no, no, we're not worried and we don't know did the polling. should fatah decide, we know the numbers, we know the popularity. the gaza, i went to only a few days ago.
i returned the day before yesterday. you know, it showed a very clear message to me personally, that they would like fatah and president abbas and the national front to take over. what they've suffered from in the last decade is simply unbearable. their only destination is a united palestinian front. only three years ago we completed a celebration of fatah in gaza. 1 million took to the streets, 70% of gaza, it is recorded in an all international media, if you want to follow it. now, president bass decided not to convene national elections, elections for the president because he does not want to give a stamp of approval for the division. he does not want to institutionalise the division. he wants hamas to accept the elections in gaza, otherwise our national project would disappear and therefore what is important, what is more important? this is not fearing or overstaying the welcome of the palestinian people. no it is not. i understand all the arguments you come up with. yes, we need to convene elections. the one message i had from gaza is we must convene election,
invite hamas to accept the local government elections. invite them to accept the national elections and we are even willing to go in onejoint list with hamas, if hamas fears to lose elections or fatter fears to lose their elections. that might be a bit more convincing to the outside world if fatter and that palestinian authority in the west bank didn't keep locking up opponents, didn't keep depriving people like mohammed dahlan, he is an opponent within the plo... come on, steve. you know, dahlan and his people say it's time for new leadership. you guys have refused to countenance new leadership in your own organisation. steve, we have politics here, believe me. and we have a partisan movements, history. this is not about individuals and names and this is not even for the bbc to discuss. people think we palestinians can just you know, decide whatever the leadership wants.
there is so much to do in terms of our internal arena and the palestinian people historically, would not accept the present without being elected by the people. there has to be elections and his own movement would have to endorse him for that election. final thing, we are almost out of time. you know what was interesting that came out of the trump team recently, the us, un ambassador, nikki haley, she said you know what, it is time for all sides in israel, palestine to think outside the box. in this interview, i feel we've gone through the same old issues that i've talked about with officials in fatah and the pa for the last 15 years. tell me one way in which palestinians are thinking outside the box right now? well, thinking outside the box maybe happens in academia, but in our situation, given that calamity of the israeli agenda now, the current government. it's very clear, they want full
annexation of the west bank. this is not what i'm saying, this is what they are saying and doing on a daily basis. you've just quoted some of the bill is passed. we are witnessing on a daily basis here in the west bank and jerusalem of course. now, if this is their agenda, by the way part of them pushing gaza out of the equation, so there annexation agenda can prevail. and if this is the situation, the last thing you want is to give that agenda another whip in to advance. steve, the whole situation here is that of a system of entitlement. these people, some people in tel aviv right now, the government, the right—wing extreme government, wants to keep a system whereby there is a group that our privilege, as per these numbers. they consume most of it. some groups are privilege and others that are not privileged and discriminated whether by means of occupation or by means of colonisation or by means of apartheid. the question to the us ambassador in the un, what does thinking out of the box mean? thinking out of the box means that we will accept a one—man, one vote and there will be one
democratic state. we are happy to think about it and discuss it. does this mean ending israel's occupation and establishing a state of palestine? we are happy to proceed with you as partners. but if this means we will continue being treated as slaves in our own land and we continue to put up again some people who argue that god is an estate agent and god chooses some people at the expense of others, if the whole thing is to greet us as visitors in our own land, we will continue to reject an struggle and continue to garner international support and national and struggle and continue to garner international support and national building, because we have invested so much to remain steadfast in our land and build our institutions, steve. and at that point, we have to end this interview, we are out of time. but husam zomlot in ramallah, thanks for being on hardtalk. well, a very blustery night out
there for some of us, the weather is going to be quite changeable for the rest of the week and into the weekend, quite a bit of rough weather out there across the atlantic, weather fronts making rough weather out there across the atlantic, weatherfronts making a beeline for the uk but thursday actually overall isn't looking too bad at all. in the short—term, overnight into the morning, very blustery. winds up to gale force wind places, windy inland, some rain, hill snow and showers across scotla nd rain, hill snow and showers across scotland and pretty cold in the northern half of the uk first thing and not far off freezing, five or six in the south. windy first thing
and some cloud and rain around, particularly across this central swathe of the uk, the north midlands, northern wales and showers will continue in scotland but the good news is after the windy night the winds will ease and we're left with a pretty good afternoon. this is 3pm on thursday. temperature is not spectacular, around 8—10, maybe 11, and it is still pretty breezy but at least we've got a lot of sunshine around. look at this rain across the republic of ireland, that will move to northern ireland a bit later on and we have showers dotted around many areas of western and northern scotland. then as we go through thursday evening, that rain pushes into northern ireland and then there's another weather front coming out of the south—west and the south so that means a wet start to the day for many parts of the country on friday. that rain will be pushing through i think fairly swiftly, but it will be a grey day on friday and it will feel quite chilly as well, maybe six degrees for example in leeds. quite a mixed
day for friday. saturday, low pressure stuck across the uk, more weather fronts and outbreaks of rain as well, a changeable day and a bit of sunshine around. most of the rain you see in northern areas during the course of saturday afternoon. again, chilly in the north, six to seven degrees, barely touching double figures across southern areas of the uk. on sunday, rememberwhen figures across southern areas of the uk. on sunday, remember when i told you there is a lot out there in the atlantic, lots of weather fronts on the way, that's the picture for the weekend, a low stock over us and that means there's a chance of some rain. let's rise if you're thinking about the weekend already, wet at times, the winds will be quite strong and feeling on the chilly side. hello you're watching bbc world news. i'm adnan nawaz. our top story this hour: the house democrat leader calls forjeff sessions to resign. it's over his undisclosed encounters with the russian ambassador during the election campaign. welcome to the programme.
our other main stories this hour: pressure mounts against embattled french presidential hopeful francois fillon as he suffers new setbacks to his campaign. new research suggests why elephants, the animals with the longest memories, may also have the shortest sleep. i'm sally bundock. in business: snapped up! investors scramble for snapchat — in the biggest tech flotation since twitter. but is the app a cash cow or just a craze?