tv Secretary of State John Kerry Discusses Challenges in the Middle East CSPAN December 4, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm EST
announcer: so if you just joined us, we are waiting for secretary of state john kerry to come out. he will talk about the future of u.s. policy in the middle east and the trump administration. we got the four minute warning about 10 minutes ago. as these events tend to run, we should get started shortly. live coverage from the brookings institution center here in washington.
[applause] mr. goldberg: mr. secretary, thank you very much for joining us again today. this is the fourth form you have addressed, one for each year of the tenure that you have had at the secretary of state. it is just one expression of the on your part,ment the relationship between the united states and israel. the privilege of directly working for you for 14 months.
you might remember that. i certainly do. [laughter] sec. kerry: [inaudible] one thing i have learned from the up close experience with you is your commitment to israel. a few telling examples. for 30 years as u.s. senator from massachusetts, you had a perfect voting record on israel. you promoted the unprecedented 30 billion the -- $38 billion agreement for the next decade. you have brought unbelievable passion and energy to the effort to achieve secure peace train israel and the palestinians. with one hand tied behind your back, you managed to secure an agreement that removed and syrianed the vast -- of
chemical weapons. then you went on to negotiate a deal for iran's enrichment program, ship out nuclear material and soft to the core of its heavy nuclear reaction -- reactor. the deal was hugely controversial but today, for the next decade at least, israel is much safer with the deal than it would have been without it. it is in the nature of the job of secretary of state that you do not get to finish all that you have started. what matters is you are in the arena, always fighting for peace, always fighting for security, always fighting for american values, and our interest. rabbiis a verse from a that many in this audience will know. it goes like this.
the labor vast. the workers are weary. it is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world. but neither can you desist from it. mr. secretary, you have never the task, from columbia to the central african republican every other conflict in between, especially the israeli-palestinian conflict. care deeplyhat, we about the united states, israel, and the relationship between these two democratic allies. we want to express our heartfelt thanks. [applause] sec. kerry: thank you. that is really wonderful. mr. goldberg: i am going to unveil a plaque we made for you for the occasion.
i'm the unveiling in chief here. who paid for this, brookings or me? it looks really expensive, doesn't it? [laughter] not aldberg: there is more deserving person than this guy right here. [applause] mr. goldberg: you cannot read it. john f kerry,le 58 secretary of state for his for a strong relationship between the united states and israel, a deep appreciation, you did not know but now you do, and the brookings institution. i want to say thank you. thank you so much.
for all you have done. [applause] sec. kerry: thank you. thank you. mr. goldberg: good afternoon, everyone. i will jump right in before we raise some before i of the easy questions, i wanted to ask you about some of the events in the freight -- the previous few days. president-elect trump has made diplomatic innovations on the pakistan front, the taiwan front, the philippine front. i am simply stating truth, i wanted to ask you if you are at
trumprried that the transition team will instigate national -- while you are still in charge and if you are still in contact with them at all about managing the transition process. [laughter] thank you, jeff. thank you very much. mr. goldberg: inquiring minds want to know. sec. kerry: i know. i am working to stay 1000 miles away from the trump transition in the process. it is important for me to be finalo brief whoever the nominee will be and i do not want to come at it with any engagement on any of the choices they are making publicly. me tok it is better for
stay out of the politics that i have stayed out of for four years. idid not go to the race and did not go to the convention and i'm prohibited by law. fine.ldberg: that is what i expected but i was hoping for more. let me pivot to the main subject of the forum, possibilities for peace in the middle east. in may of 2013 in the outset of the most recent process, you solution hadstate 18-24 months. if you could not achieve it in 18-20 months, it would be too late. out from thatrs date. is it too late for the two state solution? sec. kerry: that is a really good question and it is one that
will bake a little bit more lengthy and answer than i might have anticipated starting out with here. can i begin just by saying thank you to all of you and thank you to -- very much for your incredibly generous efforts and your public citizenship through this enterprise. thank you to all of you for your interest and working for this complicated and perplexing at times. aso not think it has to be everybody is making it, but those are choices of leadership. i want to weave into the answer of -- to your question some thought. that question and the possibilities in the answers to centraltill very much to my thinking and what i want to share with you here today.
saying you know, i do feel really passionate, generous -- genuinely passionate about israel. the land of milk and honey. ago thatout 120 years the first zionist convention took place in basel. 100 years ago that the declaration was laid out. weyears ago that i think resolution 181, which led to the formation of a jewett stayed in the state of israel. of course, 50 years since the six-day war. these are all very important demarcation points. i think you have to stop and go back and look at the first look -- reread
others who define zionism, and trying tot what was be achieved in the establishment of this beautiful thing close to israel, a place where the george people had their identity or the state was defined by that and history, it was a place where people could be protected, where they had a nationstate signed by place which was an example to the world of democracy and freedom and rights , rule of law. it is a great concept. it was in the movie the greatest story ever told. it is the greatest story ever told. but it is not finished. the end of the story has not yet been written.
i believe what i said. the timing, you can fight about where we are in the process that i will tell you there is no status quo. it is getting worse. it is moving in the wrong direction. i do not know how to explain the friendship of barack obama and john kerry and this administration more than what the history shows, notwithstanding this disagreement over the iran agreement. which, as martin said, nobody says today doesn't at least give you 10 to 15 years. i happen to believe it is a lifetime because we will know if and when they ever enrich above , we will know instantaneously if they have more minds because we are tracking the mining. after 25 years and then
afterwards, a lifetime agreement , inspections, advanced protocol. . am confident our defense department is confident. if they pick up. that does not mean they will not. in which case, every option we have today will be available to us then. what we have is an opportunity to redefine the middle east, to redefine the region. to meet security needs of israel, and the security needs of the rest of the region. i spent four years now at the most intensive effort. i asked my staff to go back and read the record. i have spoken to netanyahu more than 375 times in this term. those are only the republic recordings -- the public
recordings. i have talked to him in those public transactions more than 130 hours. my wife accused me of having talked to him more than having talked to her this for years. -- these four years. i've traveled 40 times or something, i met him in rome for eight hours at a time, i have met him in new york and israel, jerusalem, tel aviv, everywhere. new york, multiple times, so forth. and we are friends, we really are. i knew him back when we were sharing coffee at the charles hotel, when he was spending some time there at harvard, and we stayed friendly all the time. i was there the night he was elected. i remember him talking about what he was going to do and what we were going to do. i remember him saying to me if you are ever in a position of responsibility, we could really work together and get something
done. i look forward to doing that. but here we are. now. i speak asion where an unapologetic friend of israel. lost while the obama administration put 23.5 three and dollars on the line for foreign military financing, more than 50% of the total that we give to the entire world. that has gone to israel. just signed an agreement for $38 million over 10 years. 3.1.nd dollars per year up we have never ever shied away from vetoing a resolution or standing up against an unfair at thesed resolution u.n., at the human rights council, you name it. many times, my friends,
alone, the only nation in the world, we were there. becausel of this to you i want you to understand that i want to be very clear about my passion for this stream, for the entity, for the democracy, for the example, for the beauty of bet israel was designed to and should represent to the world and what everybody hopes that it is and will be on any given day. but here, i have to tell you the truth. i have to share with you fax. facts and describe to you why i am concerned. i come to you as somebody who is concerned for the safety and security of the state of israel. for the long-term ability of israel to be able to be what it has dreamt of paying and what the people of israel i believe wanted to be.
i am here as somebody defending israel's need for security, and any number of ways i believe we can do that that we can talk about the let me point out a few things. the questions i raise about don't are not because we care about israel. it is because we do care. we want to be able to see this into the full blossomed begin it has the potential of being. enormous agricultural skills, technology skills. finance and innovation, all of this capacity , which it could be sharing with egypt, with jordan, with saudi arabia, and all of these countries. who talk to me about their desire to do that sharing.
is, how do you get from here to there? there is a fundamental choice that comes from the question. let me ask, raise your hand, i know some of you may not want to would knowledge it, and how many of you believe in a two state solution? you believe to states is critical? it is the vast majority. how many of you don't or are willing to say so. .ust one hand up maybe a few of you don't want to say. all right. so the question for all of us is we have traveled for the last 100 years. the question is what will the next 100 years look like? where are we going? you, let me tell you a few things i have learned for sure in the last few years. there will be no separate piece basic -- between israel and the arab world.
i want to make it clear to all of you. i have heard several prominent politicians and israel sometimes saying, the art world is in a different place now and we just have to reach out to them and we can work some is with the arab world and we will deal with the palestinians. no. no. and no. reaffirmedyou that even in the last week as i have spoken with leaders of the arab community. advance ande no separate peace with the arab world without the palestinian process and the palestinian peace. everybody needs to understand that. that is a hard reality. secondly, i begin with the proposition that the palestinians have major responsibilities to contribute to the process, some of which they have not fulfilled. on capacity, we can run the list. but this is a u.s. israeli
forum. i want to talk about what the u.s. and israel can do in answer to jeff's really important and probing question. there is a basic choice that has to be made by israelis, by the leadership of israel. by all of you who supported israel and care about israel. is, they're either are going to be continued settlements, continued implementation of some policy, or is there going to be separation and the creation of two states? the reason i put the question to you is the following. when signed in 1993, the vision ,as with the signing of oslo there is area a, b, c.
palestinian security and administrative control, area b is justit and area c israel, security, and administrative still. the deal in 1993 was, over the cxt year and a half, area would be transferred to administrative control. it did not happen for a number of reasons. but back in 1993, there were 110,000 settlers in the west bank. are 385,500 or so. there was about 90,000 settlers living outside the barrier and the barrier i want to remind everyone here, was established
israel. it is a line, security line. drawn byf that line israel, there are now 90,000 israelis living in the patch works of settlements. there are 129 settlements. there are about 100 outposts. tomorrow night, there will be a vote which will decide whether or not 54 of those illegal legalizedill be within months. some 31in addition to who have already been in the legalese -- legalization process or legalized. i believe 19 have been legalized, 12 are in the process. 85 of the 100 are about to be
legalized. these outposts begin as one and what is really concerning about what is about to happen is that many of these outposts, most of them are built on what is considered to be palestinian private land. , since obama became president the population outside the barrier in the west bank has increased by 20,000 people. israel are fond of saying the settlements and other reason or the cause. no, they are not. i am not pretending that. i'm not here to tell you the settlement is the reason for the conflict. no they are not.
notionannot accept the they don't affect the peace process. that they are not a barrier to the capacity to have peace. i will tell you why i know that, because the left in israel is telling everyone they are a barrier to peace in the right that supports it openly supports it because they don't want. peace. they believe it is the greater israel. they are pursuing a policy of greater judeo samaria, building out into the west bank. they want to block the piece because they want those places to belong to israel. that is the history of the settler movement, my friends. outi can say to you is that of the mouse of -- mouths and ministers have become disturbing
statements. ago, thisa few days represents the end of the era of the two state solution. and more than 50% of the ministers and the current government have publicly stated they are opposed to a palestinian state and it will be no palestinian state. this is where we find ourselves. mr. goldberg: i was talking to lindsey graham about you. he said thing about john kerry is if you burn his house down and shoot his dog, he will put you down is undecided. even the most optimistic american who has ever lived in americans are optimistic people. you just described a situation in which you lost, the site you side youating for -- are advocating for, you describe the situation in 1993, that's one thing and in 2016 it's a
different thing. let me answer that. mr. goldberg: have we not passed the tipping point already? sec. kerry: we are getting -- i will tell you what. this is a function of leadership, a function of believe, of what choices are being put to the people. mr. goldberg: you know how hard it is to be 10,000 settlers from gaza. sec. kerry: they don't have to move depending on what the situation is, what you choose to have is your outcome. let me give you the alternatives, folks. if you're sitting there saying i want israel to be the israel i've always dreamed and said it was, that is democratic. state.is also a today there are about six point whatever millions use living between the mediterranean and the jordan valley, but there are
more arabs living between the distance. what is your vision of a unitary state? are you going to run the schools? are you going to have the roads that are completely check pointed and blocked that lead to this little island all by itself of the settlement? and the palestinians are going to live over here? are they going to vote? if they are a majority, will they have a palestinian prime minister? the answer is no. no and no and no. that is not a choice that is been put to the people of israel, i'm just telling you. this is the choice that is input there. everyone says the palestinians -- we don't have a partner or the ability to negotiate or the ability to be able to resolve the security issues with israel. i don't agree with that. we worked -- we did work no
administration has ever done. john allen, we had wanted to 50 people from our defense department working with the idf, the mossad, actor security experts -- security experts from israel. irs many of you to talk to security folks in israel. nice, longbe a conversation with people that spend their lifetimes defending the security of israel and see what they say you about long-term security capacity for the country. there is a strong, strong base within the security establishment that believes you have to resolve this question with the arab world and the palestinians. how do yout do that, -- allow the arab street ultimately come to grips with the future of the region? moreover, i am convinced, and i say this to everybody that the conversations i've had in the arab world do indicate the arab
world is ready to move into a different kind of security posture. but to get there you have got to have a serious negotiation and begin somewhere. where is the united states and that? our position has been 1967 lines, not the position of the current government. even the american position, which every president has been opposed to settlements. today when wening see a new settlement announced. nothing happens. it is ignored. the new settlement goes up. new units. mr. goldberg: why don't you have any leverage with the israeli government? you are describing the situation with zero leverage. sec. kerry: i think we do have leverage. mr. goldberg: but they never listen to you. sec. kerry: they have not listened to us on settlements. mr. goldberg: on the issue you consider to be key. sec. kerry: it really is a question -- let's stay with the
big picture here. you have to keep coming back to this ground zero question. how do you have peace? can anybody here to find for me how you would fact have peace if the world and the palestinians themselves in the arab world and the arab peace initiative are saying we want a palestinian state waste on 1967 lines and we have moved them? the mandate in 1948 was 49%. it is now lowered to 22%. that is what the palestinians have been prepared to fight for. i remember shimon perez, the wonderfully eloquent perez saying to me as recently as two months before he passed away, i think 22% is fair and that is enough. we can't ask for more. the question is how do you
resolve with the palestinians their aspirations? how do you get the arab world to make this peace? how do you make people secure for the scissor attacks in the car drive-by killings? how do you do that? i'm trying to be practical, folks. i think you have to do that by negotiating, by reaching accommodation that meets the needs of the parties. i think that is a function of leadership. mr. goldberg: -- sec. kerry: they have all had different visions of how they might move at some point in time to do that. rt was negotiating over 3% or 4% difference at one point. is there isened been an erosion over a period of time by virtue of this continued settlement process which narrows and narrows the capacity for p
eace. let me add a flavor to this. while this 20,000 additional israelis have moved into the west bank, outside of the there has simultaneously been a process of demolition of palestinian homes. there are currently about 11,000 demolition orders for homes in the west bank. 60% is area c,k under all slow -- oslo is supposed to be turned over control. isectively 70% of that 60% exclusively reserved by the state of israel. it fits into a combination of six regional boundaries and a bunch of municipal boundaries that extend well outside of the settlement housing itself so the
jurisdictional he -- so that jurisdictionally the palestinians can't build anything. in 2016 there was one permit issued to the palestinians to build an area c. tell me. how does this work? have you have one state that will be jewish and democratic and resolve the issue of israel's security? mr. goldberg: at least that back and ask you a basic question. why does this even matter from an american national security perspective? you have a situation in which half the middle east is disintegrating. that cataclysm in syria, near cataclysm in iraq, libya and failed states, arguments that are vicious and violent. settlementsves the -- the israel-palestine conflict is at the root of the middle east problems anymore. the question is was it worth
spending 130 hours in conversation with prime minister netanyahu from an american national security perspective? could your time and been spent on more pressing, violent conflicts of the moment? sec. kerry: i think everyone flotilla you that i spent more than one of 230 hours on those other issues. issues.ours on those it is about our security and israel's security and israel is our i like and friend -- ally and friend. you cannot check israel ultimately unless you can find a way to peace. if the five the imagination that you are going to have a jewish state with a unitary state. if you are not going to have a unitary state, what shape is the piece of the two states? a lot of presidents and prime ministers and a lot of secretaries of state have laid out visions of that. slots resolving
the -- swaps resolving the refugee. if you don't put those choices on the table, and now you have to rebuild trust. i understand. i am not naive about this. there was an absence of trust on both sides. i will tell you this. this fits into the entire issue of how you are going to calm down the middle east, of how you will ultimately build a society that makes the transition through this clash of modernity sectarianism,, and radical religious extremists. that is what we are seeing in these other places. . see transition there too libya. i have been working hard with the egyptians to try to get the gna and the general and the
tubruk group to come together in a unified government. we are working this right up until the end with a view to strengthening the governance of libya. and we have been able even while doing that to take on daish, isil, and defeat daish in syria and put the extremists in libya on notice they are not the future. i have confidence about where we are heading in the long run. yemen. we just had a small breakthrough yesterday with president hadi. saly tohe houti and sign on with a plan together with the u.n. to get a cease-fire in yemen. if things can work in the way i hope they will, i know the ies want to seeat
this concluded. building their economies, quieting down the region. i believe we can make progress. in syria we are still talking with all the parties about how to get to the table in geneva. aleppoamics of change in to some degree. it seems clear that everybody has been focused on daish and nisra. i can say with absolute confidence the strategy we put together two years ago now to go after daish has worked. we have taken back 55% of the territory that they took in iraq. we have liberated fallujah, tikrit, ramadi. sul.re moving on mo we are pushing it on the heart of the caliphate. we have taken up every top
leader except the very top. baghdadi, we are putting enormous restaurant on their financing. we have taken their 1000 a day recruits that a 500 last year. and now down to a dribble. we are drying up their capacity to wage this war. i believe we will be turning over to the next administration a situation that is moving absolutely in the right direction. all of this is a bold and people to realize we are not the prisoners of this extremism. we are not the prisoners of chaos. we are moving in the right direction. beael-palestine needs to there for the safety of israel and the region and our own interests. mr. goldberg: you were painting a somewhat optimistic picture. we know what is going on and aleppo and how many people have died. you go to the russians without leverage to try to get them to stop behaving in a certain way. the iranians, no leverage.
earlier this year president obama described the situation russia was working itself into syria as a future quagmire. it seems like russia is running this show despite your efforts at the negotiating table. in retrospect, could the president have given you more leverage. is there something that could have been done to assert the united states in a more muscular way into the situation? sec. kerry: there were a lot of debates and have been a lot of debates over the course of the administration about different options that existed in syria. byon't think we get anywhere going backwards and debating at this point in time. this is not the moment to be talking about the internal deliberations of the administration. we did it to say that not go in to 2013, and russia
went in to support assad because he was weak at the time. and also because the appearance was daish might have been the entity that might overthrow him and that would not have served anyone's interest. iseffect what has happened the opposition obviously has virtue of they intensive, i think, savage bombing taking place at all standards of warfare and my judgment. yes, a heavy, price has been paid by the people of syria and by the opposition. we have been united in our efforts against daish. recently we had some meeting of the minds of a how to try to deal with that. we have not been able to yet
finalize an agreement which would save aleppo and provided cease-fire. we are still talking about it. we are still in conversations. it is possible we could achieve an understanding. what is the resolution we have pursued with respect to syria? it is a diplomatic solution. from day one president obama made the decision and we have all, our military concurred, there is no military solution to syria. inn if russia succeeds driving the opposition out of aleppo, even if aleppo is finished as a contested strategic goal for any party in this war, this war does not and. -- end. everybody needs to understand that this war will not and without -- end without a
political understanding of a long -- how the opposition is integrated into the government of syria. that can only happen in geneva through some kind of negotiation. we are prepared to accept a negotiation in which there is a transition. assad is part of that transition. ultimately there is an election and the people of syria make a decision about user leadership of their country. and how you get there depends on what happens in these next week's and months in terms of what arrangement is made with russia and assad and the iranians. mr. goldberg: i want to ask you a israel question. you spent a lot of time talking to the israelis trying to convince him your vision of what is coming down the road is the correct vision. what many would say, and i'm not talking about the ideological settler movement, but the average israeli might say you are at a moment when we have
hezbollah to the north, isis in sinai, a somewhat weak, threatened jordan. iran on thea, and northern border. you were asking us to begin a process of withdrawing from territory that overlooks been gary and international airport. turn over territory to a weak and divided palestinian government. sec. kerry: no, no, no. nobody has ever suggested a turnover to a weekend divided government. mr. goldberg: it is a weekend divided entity. sec. kerry: it is today but nobody's talking about a turnover today. this is something that is going to take time. we have always said to prime minister netanyahu this will take years of work to evolve. nobody's talking about something happening tomorrow or next year or three years. it has to happen with the assurance you are not turning
the west bank into gaza. are there ways to give that assurance is? you better believe there are. we had any number of very complicated and very detailed ways in which the egyptians, the jordanians, the americans, the israelis and the palestinians would work together with respect to border, security. we have a development procedure by which you can have israeli soldiers on the north end of the jordan river valley and in the south you have the moving within six minutes by helicopter to any possible disturbance on the border. you have all kinds of ways joint troops, joint operations developed over x number of years. x to be determined by the israelis and palestinians. we have never suggested anything that imposes on them a solution. we had only said israel has to
be able to defend itself, by itself, and we said we must empower israel to be able to have the security needs fully and totally met. i believe that is not up to us to find -- defined, it is up for them to define. a demilitarized entity with carefully defined egress and exit, border control, all of it. we had king abdullah agreed it build a fence -- to build a fence on the best with electronics and cameras, drone capacity constantly patrolling with troops constantly patrolling. and the palestinians agree to build a fence on their side of the jordan river valley. we even said to bb, i challenge you. the top special forces of israel. if you can get through there, all bets are off.
yougoldberg: what the understand about israel and its security to the prime minister of israel does not understand? sec. kerry: i am not going to suggest he doesn't understand more than i did. mr. goldberg: do have this argument of the direction israel is moving in. what does he did not get that you and president of the llama -- president obama believe you have? sec. kerry: i believe there is a difference of opinion about what is needed and how it can be provided in terms of meeting the long-term needs of israel, both on security as well as in terms and what the palestinian entity could be. but i think there is also a difference in terms of what kind of risks, and risk in terms of politics that people may be willing to assume or not assume. there are political decisions
here. notcurrent coalition does -- the majority does not favor to states. i am pushing for two states. the coalition government does not believe in moving that direction. i am pushing uphill for the moment, but i believe there are people in israel that understand. and if this choice is properly in whichthere are ways the palestinian capacity could be built over whatever number of years necessary, we all understand israel's security. you want togesting have a situation like gaza where you can dig a tunnel and have the ability to build missiles and a fake factory. we all understand that challenge. what we are talking about is a police force any security force and an intelligence force worked up over time with american and
jordanian and egyptian and israeli engagement directly and it, and a cooperative fashion that changes the dynamics of who knows what, of who is doing what, and what the responsibilities are. that is a you build a state. mr. goldberg: i know you will follow this issue after you leave office. how do you know when the tipping point has been reached? israel is past the point break in a fix this problem and it will no longer be a jewish majority democratic state. what is the sign you are looking for? sec. kerry: it will be defined not by us. it will be defined by people on the ground one way or another. into usingnt to get terms and making predictions and talking about this or that. if you cannot answer the question of how you empower people who do not have full rights and how you will
empower them to preserve the jewish state and the democracy -- if you cannot answer the question, it will be self evident at some point when things are going to happen. moment, we have a not perfect entity who is committed to nonviolence. but nobody knows what happens down the road. nobody knows what the diminishment of the status quo on i continued basis will produce. history is any indicator, and the past is prologue to the future, and we all know those that don't learn the history lessons are doomed to repeat them, if we don't move on this -- there is a reason so
many presidents have grappled with two states. there is a reason prime minister's have put themselves a great risk, even to the point of prime minister rabin to put himself online for peace. there is a reason thing of all chased that. iselieve what is happening there has been a slow erosion of that commitment to that goal. there has been less debate in the country about it. an indifference to what is developing underground. i know sometimes there is a proclivity to kill the messenger. previously when i misused a word or set one thing or another some pretty tough things up inside. -- have been said. i am a friend. america is a friend. we are the best friend israel has been will remain a friend of israel. but we need to see a genuine
effort to provide answers to these questions and we need to see a genuine effort to try to move towards a resolution of something that is been there since the state of israel was created. i think it is critical we get there. mr. goldberg: if you can bring a mic over. you, the other hiam. >> who should the government of israel negotiate with? sec. kerry: i think as i said the palestinian entity is not a perfect entity at this moment in time. i am convinced if the basis of negotiations is 1967 plus swaps, with a fair understanding quietly of other components of the parameters that would be negotiated, there can be a negotiation. i have no doubt about that.
i think it can be a different kind of negotiation from any that is taken place in the past because i believe the arab world, from all the conversations i have had, is prepared to move to a different place. mr. goldberg: andrea mitchell over here, front row. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, prime minister netanyahu told this forum today that settlements are not the issue. that recognition of a jewish state's right to exist is the issue. not as a precondition, but every meeting he has had he says to his palestinian interlocutors -- interrogator, why is he wrong about that? following up on jeff's opening question, without you getting into the politics of the matter, the career diplomats who are
wondering why their inice is not being sought these opening conversations that are being had. whether they are "courtesy" or not. whether there is some value in the decades of experience of diplomacy before these conversations take place, without reference to any particular conversations. if you could just discuss for the people that have followed you, what is the value of diplomacy? sec. kerry: let me just say that we have not been contacted before any of these conversations. we have not been requested to provide talking points. mr. goldberg: have you had high-level meetings with the trunk transition yet? -- trump transition yet? sec. kerry: i have not. ou