tv Secretary of State John Kerry Discusses Challenges in the Middle East CSPAN December 5, 2016 12:40am-1:41am EST
>> 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 $38 billion agreement for the next decade. you have brought unbelievable passion and energy to the effort to achieve secure peace train -- between israel and the palestinians. with one hand tied behind your back, you managed to secure an agreement that removed and destroyed the vast bulk of syrian 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, even your harshest critics concede 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. there is a verse from a rabbi that many in this audience will know. it goes like this. the day is short 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 desisted from the task, from columbia to the central african republican every other conflict in between, especially the israeli-palestinian conflict. for all of that, we care deeply 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. >> i am going to unveil a plaque we made for you for the occasion. i'm the unveiling in chief here.
will the who paid for this, brookings or me? it looks really expensive, doesn't it? [laughter] >> there is not a more deserving person than this guy right here. [applause] >> you cannot read it. to the honorable john kerry, 58 secretary of state for his noble and unflagging pursuit 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 talk about, before i raise some of the easy questions, i wanted to ask you about some of the events of the previous few days. president-elect trump has made diplomatic innovations on the pakistan front, the taiwan front, the philippine front. i wanted to ask you -- [laughter] i am simply stating truth, i wanted to ask you if you are at all worried that the trump
transition team will instigate an international crisis while you are still in charge and if you are still in contact with them at all about managing the transition process. [laughter] sec. kerry: 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 able to brief whoever the final nominee will be and i do not want to come at it with any engagement on any of the choices they are making publicly. i think it is better for me to
stay out of the politics that i have stayed out of for four years. i did not go to the race and i did not go to the convention and i'm prohibited by law. i'll will keep it that way until january 20. mr. goldberg: fine. 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 said the two state solution had 18-24 months. if you could not achieve it in 18-20 months, it would be too late. we are 3.5 years out from that date. is it too late for the two state solution? sec. kerry: that is a really good question and it is one that will big -- beg 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 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. i do not think it has to be as perplexing as everybody is making it, but those are choices of leadership. i want to weave into the answer to your question some thought. that question and the possibilities in the answers to it are still very much central to my thinking and what i want to share with you here today.
can i begin by saying you know, i do feel really passionate, genuinely passionate about israel. the land of milk and honey. it was about 120 years ago that the first zionist convention took place in basel. 100 years ago that the declaration was laid out. 70 years ago that i think we proceeded with resolution 181, which led to the formation of a jewish state 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 reread others who
define zionism, and think about what was trying to be achieved in the establishment of this beautiful thing close to israel, a place where the george people that the jewish 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 defined by borders, a 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 3.67%, we will know instantaneously if they have more mines because we are tracking the mining. after 25 years and then afterwards, a lifetime agreement, inspections, advanced
protocol. i am confident. our defense department is confident. we will know 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. will those are only the republic -- 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. in a situation where i speak as an unapologetic friend of israel. i have watched while we, the obama administration, as put $23.5 billion 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. we have just signed an agreement for $38 million over 10 years. $3.8 billion per year, up point -- up from 3.1. we have never ever shied away from vetoing a resolution or standing up against an unfair and biased resolution at the u.n., at the human rights council, you name it. and many times, my friends, alone, the only nation in the world, we were there.
i say all of this to you because i want you to understand that i want to be very clear about my passion for this dream, for the entity, for the democracy, for the example, for the beauty of what israel was designed to be 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 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 jumped of being 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 later, but let me point out a few things. the questions i raise about israel are not because we don't care about israel. it is because we do care. we want to be able to see this thing develop into the full blossomed begin -- beacon it has the potential of being. israel has enormous agricultural skills, technology skills. remarkable 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. but the issue 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 acknowledge it, and how many of you believe in a two state solution? you believe two states is critical? it is the vast majority. how many of you don't or are willing to say so. just one hand up. maybe a few of you don't want to say. [laughter] all right. so the question for all of us is not the road we have traveled for the last 100 years. the question is what will the next 100 years look like? where are we going? let me tell you, let me tell you a few things i have learned for sure in the last few years. there will be no separate peace between israel and the arab
world. i want to make it clear to all of you. i have heard several prominent politicians in israel sometimes saying the arab 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. i can tell you that reaffirmed even in the last week as i have spoken with leaders of the arab community. there will be no advance and 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 incitement, 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. and that 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 was with the signing of oslo, there is area a, b, c. area a is palestinian security and administrative control, area
b is a split and area c is just israel, security, and administrative still. the deal in 1993 was, over the next year and a half, area c would be transferred to palestinian administrative control. it did not happen for a number of reasons. but back in 1993, there were 110,000 settlers in the west bank. today, there 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. outside of that line drawn by israel, there are now 90,000 israelis living in the patchworks of settlements. there are 129 settlements. there are about 100 outposts. know,tposts, as you all are illegal. tomorrow night, there will be a vote which will decide whether or not 54 of those illegal outposts will be legalized within months. that is in addition to some 31 who have already been in the legalization process or legalized. i believe 19 have been legalized, 12 are in the process. looking atso you are
85 of the 100 are about to be -- legalized. these outposts begin as one building, two buildings, and they become a scattering of 10 or 15 and they become a settlement. 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. now, since obama became president the population outside the barrier in the west bank has increased by 20,000 people. leaders in 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. no they are not. but i cannot accept the notion
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 and 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. belongsthey believe it blockm and they want to the iece. they want to block the peace.
that is the history of the settler movement, my friends. all i can say to you is that out of the mouths and ministers have become disturbing statements. they said a few days ago, this 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. andhis is the predicament 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 as 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 side you are advocating for, you describe the situation in 1993, that's one thing and in 2016 it's a
completely different thing. sec. kerry: 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 belief, it's a function of what are being put to the people. mr. goldberg: you know how hard it is to move 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. and it is also a state. 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? i mean, 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 israel? of is it going to be a jewish state. 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. i don't think 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.
in fact, 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, security experts from israel. by the way, i urge many of you to talk to security folks in israel. that would be a nice, long 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. if you don't do that, how do you 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 plus slops. currentposition of the government. even the american position, which every president has been opposed to settlements. we issue a warning today when we see a new settlement announced. nothing happens. it is ignored. the new settlement goes up. new units. new sales. 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. that is true.
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 define 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 based 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. they havein, sharon, all had different visions of how they might move at some point in time to do that. olmert was negotiating over 3% or 4% difference at one point. what is happened is there is been an erosion over a period of time by virtue of this continued settlement process which narrows and narrows the capacity for peace.
let me add a flavor to this. while those 20,000 additional israelis have moved into the west bank, outside of the barrier 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. in the west bank 60% is area c, under oslo is supposed to be turned over to administrative palestinians. effectively 70% of that 60% is 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 that jurisdictionally the
palestinians can't build anything. 2015 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: let me step 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.
no one believes 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 that i spent more than one of 130 hours on those issues. it is about our security and israel's security and israel is our ally and friend. you cannot check israel ultimately unless you can find a way to peace. thatfies the imagination you are going to have a jewish state without 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. 1967 lines plus 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 is an absence of trust on both sides. otherody mistrusts each 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 with tribalism, sectarianism, and radical religious extremists. that is what we are seeing in these other places. i see transition there too. libya. i have been working hard with with thetes,
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. we got the houti and saly to 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 emirates want
to see 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. dynamics have changed aleppo toin 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. we are moving on mosul. we are pushing it on the heart
of the so-called 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 emboldening 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. israel-palestine needs to be there for the safety of israel and the region and our own interests.
mr. goldberg: stay on syria for a moment because 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. i don't think we get anywhere by going backwards and debating at this point in time. this is not the moment to be talking about the internal deliberations of the administration. suffice it to say that we did
not go in in 2013 or 2014, 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. in effect what has happened is the opposition obviously has been damaged by virtue of the intensive, i think, savage bombing taking place out of all standards of warfare, in my judgment. the result is, 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. even if russia succeeds in 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 end.
everybody here needs to understand that this war will not end without a political understanding of the longterm future of 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 weeks 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 israelis 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. isis in syria, nusra and the regime and iran on the northern border. you are 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 weak and 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? 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 could have them 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 define, it is up for them to define. palestine, a demilitarized entity with carefully defined egress and exit, border control, all of it. we had king abdullah agree to build a fence on the west side 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.
there are all kinds of ways to do this, folks. mr. goldberg: what the you 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 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 of the border 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.
the current coalition does not -- the majority does not favor two 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 put, and there are ways in which the palestinian capacity could be built over whatever number of years necessary, we all understand israel's security. i am not suggesting you want to have a situation like gaza where you can dig a tunnel and have the ability to build missiles and a fake factory. israel. them against
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. i do not want to get into using terms and making predictions and talking about this or that. i believe 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. we are for the moment, we have a leader of 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 quo on a continued basis will produce. again, if 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 ministers have put themselves a great risk, even to the point of prime minister rabin to put himself on line for peace. there is a reason thing of all chased that. i believe what is happening is 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 on the ground. i know sometimes there is a proclivity to kill the messenger. i know that previously when i misused a word or said one thing or another some pretty tough things have been said. i am a friend. america is a friend. we are the best friend israel
has and 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 interrogator, if you at least recognize our jewish statea
-- 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 are wondering why their advice is not being sought in 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 trump transition yet? sec. kerry: i have not. our head of transition and the state department has that with them. mr. goldberg: do you feel it is
running adequately fast or would you like to speed up the process? sec. kerry: i will not make that judgment because there was not a nominee for the secretary of state. the first thing you need is the nominee for secretary of state. i think it will be guided somewhat by that automatically. i will not find fault without it. i do think there is a value obviously on having at least the recommendations. whether you choose to follow or not is a different issue, but i think it is valuable to ask people who work the desk and timeworked it for a long their input on what is the current state. is there some particular issue at the moment? i think it is valuable and i certainly would recommend it. obviously that is not happened in a few cases. on the issue of prime minister netanyahu and his perception and view of this, we have had long arguments about this and long
discussions about it. i don't agree with him that the settlements are not an obstacle to peace. does that mean -- i want to go back to what i said earlier. they are not the cause of the conflict. if he says the settlements are not the causes of the conflict, i agree. they are not the cause. but as i said earlier, if you have a whole bunch of people who are specifically, strategically locating outposts and settlements in areas that they could -- make it impossible to have a contiguous palestinian state, they are doing it for the specific purpose of not having a peace. that affects the peace. there is no way 20,000 additional people moved in in the last period of time does not provide you with a bunch of splotches of islands that don't have to be dealt with in the context of where do they go. what law will apply to them?
who will protect them? where will they go to school? who is responsible for the services? that greatly complicates the whole topic of peace. each other here. you can't just wipe it away by saying it doesn't have an impact. it has an impact. how you resolve it will depend on the negotiation. if you don't have a negotiation, it is obviously not going to get resolved. then the intensity grows. there have been increasing numbers -- if i show you a map that shows all the sectors of where the violence has been in israel and in the territories, you will see it is with the settlements are. that is where most of the violence is. there are other incidences that come into tel aviv and jerusalem and other places, but there is a huge amount of violence.
some of it has been settler on palestinian, palestinian on settler. that obviously is having an impact on people's perception of peace. and on rights. mr. goldberg: before i go to the last question, you have six weeks or so left. there is a lot of talk about laying down new parameters. possibly action of the security council. can you give us any insight about where your thinking is on that, or has the election of donald trump changed it so radically we will not see any further action on this from the obama administration? sec. kerry: let me make it clear at the outset. we have always stood against any imposition of a "final status solution." and against any resolution that is unfair, biased against israel and we will continue. we don't support that. there has been no decision made
about any kind of step that may or may not be taken in that regard. there are however other people out there who, because of this building frustration, need to know they are any number of countries talking about resolutions to the united nations. theill you try to stop french if they do it? kerry: if it is a biased, unfair resolution calculated and delegitimizes israel, we will oppose it. there was a building sense of what i've been saying today, with some people can shake their heads and say it is unfair. i said earlier there are real imperfections and problems inside that. we all know that. we have been adamant the palestinians about incitement and adamant to the palestinians
about their need to deal with their education system and change things kids are taught and to try to lead by example with respect to the nonviolence and so forth. all of that needs to happen. i am not suggesting we are dealing with this easy place. i will tell you what i do know. i have spent a lot of time looking at this thing. my first trip to israel was in 1986 and i have probably been more times than any secretary of state. i have been everywhere in israel. i love israel. i've had great engagements with so many friends there. but i do believe israel, because of decisions being made on a daily basis, quietly and without a lot of people seeing them or fully processing the consequences, is heading to
a place of danger. and my purpose in saying the things i've said is to say there is, i think, a better path to pursue. i think over time this small little city-state which is what effectively the west bank would be demilitarized as it would be with the proper input and guidance over x number of years to be defined by the parties -- and by the way, you can define based onwal which sets up standards that have to be met that provide for security. these are the kind of things we talked about with john allen and the idf and the israeli leadership. nobody is thinking all of a sudden, boom, there is this thing and it's called the state
and it's going to be like gaza. that is not what anybody is talking about. i think there is a very different, long-term prospectus that can be defined here that allows israel to defend itself for itself. that respects israel's security needs and respects all the other needs that would constitute ultimately trying to find peace. you can't do it if you're not talking and you certainly can't do it if all you are doing is building up your presence in what people think will be their state while they are seeing homes demolished and people moved out. that is not a winning equation. mr. goldberg: diane. >> mr. secretary, this is the case of the patients being wiser than the doctors. the people are wiser perhaps than the leaders. have you ever openly asked, are
you afraid in terms of political survival and that is why you were not willing to go ahead and stand up to the occasion and try to promote historic compromise? the other question i have given that you know where the problems are and given you have invested so much time and effort and political capital in this conflict, is there anything you would've done differently? mr. goldberg: you would have done differently? >> do you think -- sec. kerry: there are a few things. i will not discuss them now, i might write about them in the future. [laughter] kerry: inevitably we all make a mistake here or there. by and large i think we did the right thing and i think we approached it effectively.