tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 9, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EST
barton on the future of telecommunications policy under a republican house. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our guest is drew thompson, director of chinese policy at the nixon center. some say that china is a growing threat. is it? guest: threat is a combination of capability and intent. we can track their capability, but it is difficult to know what their intent is. it is an opaque system and we do not have a lot of cooperation with them at the moment. there is a lot of mistrust in the relationship, and mistrust
goes both ways other countries have robust military and they are not a threat. we have a much better sense of intent. with china, we don't have much sense of that. host: if you look at the united states, $663 billion, compared to chat, $98.8 billion. we are at spinning china but a lot. -- we are outspending china by a lot. guest: there is a lot of question about the methodology, how they come to that number. the real question is, again, what are they going to do with that? a lot of their investment is not improving significant abilities, in some cases direct a -- against -- a lot of their investment is on improving significant capabilities, in some cases directed against the united states. if you look at how they ship their military, much of the
spending went towards improving the likelihood of the soldiers. the increase the budget for food sought to elect 50 cents per day for soldier that is suddenly millions and millions of dollars. one has to take a surge in grain of salt with the total amount -- a certain grain of salt with the total amount. i the way, it is on an upward growth trajectory. -- either way, it is on an upward growth trajectory. host: there is military tension right now. why? guest: i would not call attention so much as mistrust maybe we don't appreciate one another. the united states does not have many competitors. the only potential competitor on the distant horizon is possibly china. there is mistrust, there is not a lot of the mountains of cooperation between the two, and that is how the u.s. builds its cost with other partners in countries, we cooperate together
-- builds trust with other partners and countries, that we cooperate together. there is a deficit in the amount of we trust one another. that is not the same as the tensions. there are interests or we have chinese platforms and u.s. bonds in close proximity. -- chinese platforms and you as platforms, and to close proximity. host: the president is skipping town and this could add to the mistrust or whatever is going on -- is skipping china and this could add to the mistrust or whatever is going on between the countries. guest: he has made that visit, and president hu jintao is supposed to come to the united states in january. he has of the places he has to visit, including a long-
postponed trip to indonesia, where he spent time as a young man. i think it is difficult to say that it is a mistake to skip china. we are expecting secretary of defense dick to visit china at some point before he leaves off -- secretary of defense robert gates to visit china at some point before he leaves office. look at where secretary clinton and robert gates are right now, in asia. they've been going back constantly. the u.s. presence in the region is fairly significant, and it is not just about china. host: 4 the chinese, culturally, what does it mean that secretary gates did not expect an invitation from china and now he says he will go, and for the chinese and their culture, what does it mean? anything? nothing? guest: i don't think it means anything specific rate and terms of culture, you have to look it -- the more broadly -- i don't
think it means anything specific. in terms of culture, you have to look into a more broadly than just the schedules. the impression was, certainly in southeast asia, but the west is not maintaining a very active presence politically -- that the u.s. was not attending a very active presence politically, diplomatically, and that needed to be corrected. some people see the u.s. as had a containment strategy and there are fear mongers and had their -- fear mongers in their culture who worry about the relationship with the u.s. and see the u.s. with mal intent. host: we are talking about china's military buildup. drew thompson is the china studies director at the nixon center. what is the pla?
guest: people's liberation army, 2.2 million chinese citizens who are active service members in the defense of their own country. it has a long and rich history, starting out with the civil war period. it is essentially the party of the army, the army responsible for keeping the communist party in power. it is a professional army, for sure. host: what impact does a buildup of the pla have for america and other countries? guest: that is an open question. the build itself is not necessarily a challenge or threat. the question is what do they intend to do, what is the nature of the buildup? that is a question that japan
and other countries in asia -- they have to engage china very carefully and cooperate wherever possible to determine what the intent is. the build runs a lot of risks. china has engaged in a very progressive modernization process, but it controls the pace of that itself. it determines how fast it wants to grow, a major concern amongst chinese strategists is that they get caught up in an arms race. unfortunately, they have found ourselves in another plastic and traditional security bill, -- found themselves in a rather plastic and additional security dilemma. it is spiraling into something more expensive than they intended. host: i want to get out there for our viewers your background on the issue. guest: well, i have lived in
china for about 10 of lthe last 20 years. when i was not living there, i was working and studying on projects for china. i've been working on policy issues here in washington for about 10 years now. host: oregon, mark, democratic line. you are the first color. caller: good morning, folks. thank god for c-span. sir, your expertise is appreciated. for me, all of this revolves taiwan,ime -- around and that which is going on around north korea. what is the inability -- inevitability that taiwan is eventually going to become part of china, and what will the creek for us? -- what will that create for us? guest: taiwan is central to the
military and security relationship with the united states, and it has always been something of a challenge. in 1932, the negotiated document a -- 1972, the negotiated document between the chinese and president nixon noted taiwan as a divisive factor that we needed to manage. it is impossible to predict how taiwan will turn out. the mainland's an-- mainland and taiwan are inextricably linked to the question is whether a peaceful resolution will be achieved to the satisfaction of the taiwanese people. it will continue to be a source of stress as the u.s. maintains its commitment to tim -- t o o taiwan.
it places taiwan in a position of strength. it is somewhat ironic that much of the tension that has occurred in the last year has been related to the announcement of taiwan.sale tuppeo but it occurs at that time went across great relationship -- cross-strait relationship is at its best place ever. host: tweet here. guest: that is a really good question. china has been investing really heavily in creating new submarines and a land-based missile defense. it has been actively getting
technology, both domestically and imports and other means to create an effective classic strategic deterrence. that said, it is still very small. and as a handful of missiles compared to the united states. if we look at the negotiations with the russians at the moment, china is a marginal actor, as the u.s. and russia compared their stockpiles. china has the minimal means for deterrence. the use this summer it is important, because that provides -- more c-span.org -- the use of submarines is important, because that provides a more active deterrence. submarines are very difficult to deter, very difficult to track. most of the countries in the area don't possess adequate
capability to conduct an -- to conduct anti-submarine acts. host: ohio. good morning, gary. caller: since we are spending six times more than -- host: than china. caller: ok, and the reason for that is all of our foreign aid is on the military bill. if they are going to talk about putting money and cutting -- cutting money and cutting money from social security, they have to start with foreign aid. it is all wrapped up together. why is a person from industrial part of your background be -- or
about the military buildup if it was not just to protect our interests of big companies in china? guest: well, i mean, if you are looking at economic interests abroad, both the united states and china have a significant international interests that they have to protect, and the military is one tool to protect them. if you look at the u.s. marine corps, one of their primary missions abroad is not just invading countries like afghanistan and providing security there but evacuate american citizens in places -- but he evacuating american citizens from places where there has been a natural disaster or unrest the united states will need to protect investments abroad.
it has gotten more and more economic interests, and more and more major chinese companies are investing abroad i infrastructure. the pla will eventually be called upon to protect those interests, either directly or indirectly, putting boots on the ground when needed to evacuate chinese citizens, or supporting foreign militaries or the investments are to protect chinese interests, much like the u.s. does one cooperating with allies abroad. guest: space and cyber is a complicated issue an important one. secretary gates in ' has announced any partnership initiative -- in australia has announced eight new partnership initiative for surveillance.
australia is uniquely qualified because of its location. remember when john glenn flew over in his first flight and perth turn on the lights for him -- it is at the crossroads of space. it is natural that we would work together on that. that is not as heavily -- not necessarily geared to confront china. there is a need for this regardless of china's rise. all countries face cyber threats. last week, we had a major attack in denmark, and we don't of -- who conducted -- we had an attack in myanmar, and we don't know who conducted it. it may have been the myanmar government. it's hard to pin down. there is a universal need for developing nations to build
cyber infrastructure to defend themselves. there is no reason that china cannot be part of an architecture and the feature that contributes to the security and -- the internet -- part of an architecture in the future the contribute to the security of the internet. host: next call. caller: the question i had was already asked about the monetary amounts. my idea is to cut the military and half -- military in half and use the money to help us your incident using the money to help everybody ever placed -- to help us here instead of using the money to help everybody everyplace else. host: this is the topic this morning, china's military buildup. drew thompson is the china studies director at the nixon
center. michael on the republican line in sterling heights, michigan. caller: i am of the vietnam veteran and i am apprehensive about red china. the red chinese have killed 61 million people. communism was caused more human misery, death, and despair that all of the annals of human experience. it is not on the scale as under mao zedong but it is still a totalitarian system. guest: china is still a police state, but they are a far cry from the comments of the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's -- from the communists of the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's. they have opened their economy and lifted hundreds of millions of poverty. the standards of living are much
greater than they were 30 years ago. the question is, how is the u.s. going to adapt to the changes, how will we coopt china, and how will we help china should its choices so that it can treat its own people with compassion and dignity and make sure that their rights are protected as well as being irresponsible pleasure to turn the current -- as well as being a responsible player, the term at the current administration is using, are around the world? host: medina, ohio, leslie, go ahead. caller: drew, thank you for your candid and honest report. it is refreshing. china has changed, and to the
vietnam veteran, he is right on, and it is something that can come back, even though it has moved from the vill -- veitnam era. we have got to spend our military resources on anti- submarine were for a -- warfare. at how we collect the money -- and how will we collect the money they vote? guest: in terms of chinese holdings of u.s. treasuries, it is about 6% or 7%. it is far from being a dominant older -- holder. that should make us all take a deep breath and pause. china cannot use its holdings of treasuries as economic leverage against the united states. it would not be in their
interest rate it would harm their currency as well as ours. they contain no advantage to doing that. -- they can gain no advantage by doing that. i think it is really a non- issue. it happened in the last election cycle -- it is not a weapon. in terms of the chinese submarine abilities, they are growing, but they are a long wait from being able to operate abroad. they are still a coastal forts, and if you look at the way china is investing in its navy, they are looking more and in -- investing in coastal craft than the blue water may navy. the 10,000 at the stores would be the largest ones in its fleet -- the 10,000 destroyers would be the largest ones in its fleet.
only two are on a range with the largest u.s. frigates. in terms of the submarine, isn't asymmetrical threat. -- it is an asymmetrical threat. the u.s. has a fairly strong capabilities to protect its floating assets. the real trick is working with our allies in japan, south korea, malaysia, to help build their capacities and defend their maritime rounds so that they can ensure that when some marines entered their territory, it is peaceful -- submarines enter the territory, is peaceful. host: republican line, you are on with drew thompson. caller: i want you to address why china is doing what is doing, and go back to the first
of the unequal treaties, the treaty of nanking, and how all these wars began because of trade deficits with the british. this is white china today is doing what they are doing grid -- why time that today is doing what they are doing. history repeats itself, but the circumstances are always different. when the british assault on the faulty chips before, -- they lost -- one of the british sold them at befall the ships will for -- sold them the faulty ships before, they lost the battle. they know their history and past. host: sounds like she knows the history as well. guest: up until 1997, when hong
kong was returned, they see that as the century of humiliation. it was a time of great uncertainty and tortured. -- and hardship. they were grappling with the challenge of bringing in foreign technology, and was a big challenge, and they did not succeed. i had a different formula where they can bring in technology -- they have a different formula with a can bring in technology and they are not worried as much about the communist party mandate. we see the same thing with the internet. when the internet was introduced into china, we thought it would be the undoing communism and the leadership. it has not turned out that way. they had adapted they are continuing to adapt. the world is not as bismarckian
as it was. china is not falling into the same trap as the soviet union dead. the question is whether or not the new security relationship in the future is going to help the united states and china or whether it will be 80 some equation -- whether it will be a zero sum equation. host: 4 worth, texas, john on the democratic line. caller: thank you. i find it a little bit ironic that the trillion dollars we owe china was entirely borrowed that could invade iraq and afghanistan. it seems like your guest is currently concerned about the buildup of the chinese military. one of the previous callers said it is not even 1/10 at the size of our own military.
correct me if i'm wrong, but i see that as the ankle you are taking here. guest: there is a lot of distrust of the united states abroad. there's a lot of concern that the united states means other countries harbor we see that a lot in central asia. -- there is a lot of concern that the united states means other countries harm. we see that a lot in central asia. the u.s. presence there they don't see as legitimate, they don't see it as being endorsed by the united nations. china is not injured into security efforts in afghanistan -- china is not contributing to security efforts in afghanistan. they don't see us as a trust for the actors in central asia -- as trust with the actors and central asia.
they see a different model were they would like a more consensus-driven approach that is more encompassing. and unfortunately, one that potentially excludes the united states. that is where the u.s. needs to push back, partly because our presence in these organizations were the chinese have a dominant presence is an important way to show the chinese and other countries that our intentions are generally positive. host: steve is joining us on the democratic line. caller: my comment is simply, i believe that china is in a lot of ways wiser than we are because they know history better than we are. china has very little interest in -- and thanks very little about taking us over -- thinks very little about taking us over or competing militarily. they are building their military
because they have to in this world, but they have figured out a way to weaken our country and strengthen their country is economically. guest: i think there is something to that. the real challenges economic interests and protecting them, but around the world and at home. the military has a minor role to play there. it is more important that the u.s. continues to pursue a trade agenda more aggressively, that it does not sit back and lose out in the realm of economic condition. we see china forming a free trade relationships with the allies.ost important yet we are still providers up security. look at asean.
even as the u.s. relationship with several asean countries grows, china has trade agreements with all of them. that concerns many countries in southeast asia. they are economically dependent on china, and china might use that as coercion. i think it is difficult to see at this point, but in the future is a possibility. the trading relationship between the u.s., china, and the rest of the world is complicated and integrated. but thankfully, in some ways, it is not really a security question. the role the military here is ensuring of freedom of navigation, freedom of control. that is an area where you see positive developments. you see china's contribution to the maritime policy missions in africa, cargo to and from the gulf. it is a vital contribution to
security, and an area where china and the u.s. have a similar goals. all countries have a similar interest there. it is the areas where economic interest coincide with mutual security interests and we have opportunities to cooperate. host: drew thompson is the nixon center's china studies director. line.n the republican mode caller: i would like to see comments on at the position of the philippines and that part of the world as we close down military bases, and appoint a submarine -- a point with the submarines is also being closed. if you read about world war ii,
that is every geographically important part of the world. guest: it is, but the uss made it very clear that it will --us has made it very clear that it will maintain the structure. it is not looking to expand, secretary gates has made that clear. but is looking to expand with a military allies, and it is that just southeast asia, but northeast asia as well -- not just south east asia, but northeast asia as well. the philippines is critical, but the u.s. as determine that maintaining a civilian relationship with the leadership is more important than maintaining these bases that date back to world war ii. the infrastructure in places like guam, building
relationships with the singapore, settling issues with japan -- we have a lot of debate about the status of okinawa. host: a couple more phone calls. harrisburg, pennsylvania, independent line. caller: good morning, thank you for c-span. mr. thompson, i hear more about the chinese military buildup. i go back to november 1950, and the puppet regime in north korea and the lives lost and the frozen feet and hands of our soldiers that did not have the proper equipment to fight. i think about that, and i think about what they might do in the ensuing year or two or possibly five if they have a troop buildup if they go after soft.
and the korean peninsula -- if they go after south korea on the korean peninsula. guest: since normalizing relations with south korea in 1992, they have had a fairly balanced relationship and the balance it with north korea. i don't think there is concern in south korea about china somehow invading south korea. again, there is economic interdependence between the two countries. china -- it is their no. 1 trading partner. there is concern in south korea but the economic relationship that surpasses the european or u.s. relationship might
translate into a lack of leverage. i'm not a big believer in that. i think it has proven so far to be effective. an active trading relationship was not created a different security environment. it is not about whether the economic relationship creates leverage. it is about what the to these countries can maintain economic dynamism -- it is about whether each of these countries can make an economic dynamism. should there be a situation where china is compelled to send forces to north korea, it is impossible to know what the terms would be or what the causes would be. it is hard to predict the future in this respect. we have been guessing that north korea would collapse for a long time and we have been wrong. the prospects are slim at the moment, but if we look at the
china and north korea relationship, china is committed to making sure north korea -- to ensuring north korea's survival. but that is not a military equation, it is mostly an economic one. it provides investment to north korea to keep its infrastructure rowling. that is how they are supporting it, not with weapons or troops. host: washington, d.c., go ahead. caller: you have described how china is building an asymmetrical capacity in the taiwan area to deter the united states from coming to taiwan's defense but i want you to comment on our end to do it -- our ambiguity to not coming to
the defense of taiwan. guest: the u.s. is committed to helping taiwan defend itself. i think that the current president of taiwan is on track towards that. he used his first term to cement an economic relationship that benefits taiwan and now he is looking for political advances in its next term. he has hinted that there are opportunities for dialogue between the two sides, opportunities to attract two, associations with retired officers, as well as the possibility for a peace treaty. there are positive developments that the u.s. policy towards taiwan have been able. host: 10 at t -- tennessee,
you have a question or comment? caller: i wish the united states would stop spending so much money on defense, being a threat to the rest of the world, and perhaps the rest of the world would look at us and say, "we don't have to spend all our money on defense." we are the only country taking over other countries. host: republican line, and new jersey. caller: two things. one, in general, i see the threat of war in the next 10 to 15 years to be quite large. if you look at it in terms of history, china has abandoned communism. there is the old story that nobody believes in communism except american college professors. china has instead taken up the 19th century nationalism that is giving its people a unifying
idea, which is the source of all the troubles of europe in the 20th century. i think that we sort of seat china with the same sort of psychology that germany had vis- a-vis where the u.s. as the hegemon is denying china its place in the sun. ec had a lot on chinese chat boards where they log on to make comments, were they constantly referred to the united states as holding china down. and anything that was it a tribute, a tributary or possession of the chinese empire, should by natural light be under the sway of beijing today. and contrary to what democrats have said, the united states military -- there is a basic
misconception. we pay our pride its $20,000, sgt $40,000, colonels and generals $150,000. the huge military budget we have is a lot personnel expense that people like china do not carry. host: we will get a response because we don't have a lot of time. guest: we don't have a lot of time to answer every complex question. i don't think we're headed to war with china or anyone else but the u.s. has a fairly good image abroad in many places. the countries that fear the worst of the united states are the ones that know the least about it and have least contact. it is monday, which all the optimists to date. i see this as and -- we should all be optimists today. i see this as an opportunity to cooperate where possible.
that is where the pla presents a number of opportunities. him and carried assistance in disasters. -- humanitarian assistance in disasters. the incidents recently where pla doctors serve on u.s. medical ships to learn from each other and build relationships. we are increasingly seeing extended the personnel -- exchanges of personnel. as that goes on, we will see less and less of these extremist views on chinese blogs. when they have the opportunity to meet u.s. officers and find out that we are not hellbent to invade china or central asia or colonize the rest of the world. they are not seeking at the moment to expand their territory. there are lingering territorial disputes, but jchina at the
[inaudible conversations] >> please, take your seats. this session is as important as any of them. it goes without saying that the issues surrounding the question of palestine lie at the core of american credibility in the region and american capabilities in the region. it is also beyond the question that this particular challenge
is the oldest one that has bedeviled american maximizing its policy related goals in the region. it's the most massive one. it is also the most pervasive from morocco to with musket, and in between. it to chair the session we have william corcoran, the president of american mere east refugee aid, which is one of the more established and largest of the voluntary non-governmental profit organizations helping the people in the palestinian territories and doing of the humanitarian development work in jordan and lebanon as well. william corcoran. >> thank you, john duke. i trust you have enough coffee this morning that we are going to stimulate you further with
this topic and also with the addition and eloquence of our speakers. we do have one change to the list of speakers today. unfortunately mr. daniel levy was not able to attend, so in his place we've been fortunate to secure the wisdom of barbara loubin based in berkeley california. i would like to make one other note to the biography. these volumes are quite detailed and i think sufficient for you to study them on your own, but we have one change in the bio of mr. andrew whitley and that is that soon he will be finishing his career and is moving on to a fascinating future as the policy and advocacy director of the elders based in london. so we wish him good luck in his endeavor. i would ask the commentators,
his excellency shoukry of the plo to create a lively conversation for us and engage us in their backgrounds so we have more debt in this whole illustration. one side note set in context right now i came back to days ago from palestine see in our offices throughout west bank and gaza. and in the conversation with various officials and also our staff, i came away with a foreboding sense of anxiety among the people. anxiety not the peace process. to many of them this is a non-vent. the anxiety is what follows in the intervening months. as you drive along the
darussalam road you see bridges are being built across the road now, which would then anticipate highways traversing the west bank in places they had never been before. it raises questions. the other questions are involved in for instance in terms of what happens after the midterm election here. will it be sending a signal to, for instance, right-wing politicians or settlers in israel that they have a freedom because the political clout of this administration is less than it was prior to the election. these are all questions they are raising and this would serve as the context for which i would ask our speakers to address you. and we will begin first with ms. kathleen christison, and i would ask her to please either comes to comfortably ethernet dorcy tore the podium. you're choice.
>> good morning. when benjamin netanyahu, then out of office, was caught on video talking back in 2001 to a family of sellers in the west bank, he boasted about having undermined the oslo peace agreement when he was prime minister in the mid-1990s. and speaking about the united states, he said, quote, i know what america is. america is a thing you can move very easily. move in the right direction, end of quote. i would have to say that this little truism uttered by netanyahu has never been more accurate than it is today. the so-called peace process in which president obama is currently mired is of course only the latest of a multitude of u.s. attempt to ignite the search for a peace agreement between palestinians and israelis over the last several decades. and it has to be said that each
attempt is a little more hopeless, and each time the egg united states is a little more blind to why it is hopeless. the hard reality i think is that because of the blindness it is the united states itself that is blocking any possibility of reaching a just, equitable and lasting peace. the united states itself is ultimately a party that is impeding the search for justice and equity in palestine and israel. there has been and still is to considerable degree a disturbing amount of enthusiasm for this current round of talks from what i would describe as those that have an investment as a reputation in the two-stage solution. this includes first and foremost policy makers from the obama administration as well as many former policymakers from the
clinton administration, modern zionists such as the pro-israel lobby group jay street in a great many commentators in the mainstream media. the danger in this push for a two-stage solution, and in the fact that these people have invested their reputation and its achievement is they are pursuing it for the wrong reason. because it is politically expedient or to save israel from the demographic problems of a too high palestinian population growth, or simply because this is what they staked their reputations on. and they feel or deliberately refuse to recognize the substantially obstacles to the actual realization of the peace agreement that would result in a real viable palestinian state. they don't examine the reality on the ground but stand in the way of sovereignty for the
palestinians. they refuse to see that israel, whether under netanyahu or under any other conceivable israeli government will never agree to genuine palestinian independence or ending the occupation. they don't in fact generally even acknowledge that there is an occupation. that one party to the negotiations occupies and totally controls the other. and therefore, that the two parties are in no way equal or equally able to give press their demand for a peace agreement. this is the road to disaster, meaning the most likely disaster for the palestinians. fees two state enthusiasts are locked into this particular solution no matter what. no matter that israel continues to be found for the territory where the smallest palestinian state would be located, no matter that the negotiations and the proposed solutions ignore
gaza were over one-third of the palestinian population in the occupied territories live. no matter that the united states arms one-sided negotiation, and enabled its territorial advances and all of its oppressive policies. this is really the crux of the issue. because the united states gives israel at least $3 billion in military aid every year, and usually more, as part of a ten year, 30 billion-dollar arms package agreed to by the bush administration. and because the u.s. and israel are in so many ways geopolitical partners. the united states is in fact an interested party on one side of the peace negotiations rather than a neutral mediator or an honest broker. u.s. military aid and the fact that it is essentially a signed and sealed commitment running through the year 2017 removes
any leverage of the united states might have to induce israel to make concessions. the u.s. is powerless to control or force israel to move. i think we have seen how this works in reali through the dispute over the israeli settlements and the so-called settlement freeze. the united states demanded israel made a show of complying that did not. obama covered for the israelis telling them they were making unprecedented concessions and then when we wanted an extension of the freeze, israel said flatly know. so instead of exerting pressure on the israelis or even a objecting, we have offered them more aid and more concessions. israel has never held accountable, always rewarded. which raises another critical effect of this u.s. is really
partnership. the glaring a power imbalance at work in negotiations and in all other aspects of the palestinian is really situation. this partnership places and almost totally powerless people, the palestinians, on one side of the negotiating table, opposite the very powerful occupier and the occupiers arms provider. the power dramatically skews moly the relative strength of the parties, but the very terms they are negotiating. the palestinians have already recognized israel's existence inside of its 1967 borders constituting 70% of perlstein. and should be clear actually that even hamas is willing to agree to a long-term truths with israel and live with a two state solution if israel were to move back inside its own borders and withdraw from the occupied
territories. the palestinians are now being asked to negotiate over the remaining 22% of palestine, the west bank, gaza, and east jerusalem. but israel was determined to retain a large saddling blocks inside that 22% as well as large additional areas inside that territory. and it has the military power and the u.s. support necessary to impose its demands on the disposition of territory. if the palestinians gain a stake, quote on quote, at the end of this process, it will be a state in the name only. little more than a disconnected set of tiny enclaves with no real sovereignty or independence more viability, and without gaza, which will be left to drift, a state in pieces. i think it's vital that we recognize that this totally unacceptable outcome, which is probably the best that can be
expected, will be the responsibility of those to state and tuzee guests including inside the obama administration, who are ignoring the realities that stand in the way of a solution. the noted historian recently made an important point about the power imbalance in an article in the london guardian. the prospect for reaching the permanence that this agreement are poor, he said, quote, because the israelis are too strong, the palestinians are too weak, and the american mediators are utterly ineffectual. the sheer asymmetry of power between the parties militate against a voluntary agreement by putting a long and a lamb in a cage and asking them to sort out their own differences. in order to bridge the gap, this is still the historian talking, the gap separating the two sides, america must first redress the balance of power by
putting most of its wheat on the side of the weaker party, and of quote. i would guess we are nowhere near the day when the united states is prepared to put most of its weight on the side of the weaker party in this conflict. and so we come to the reasons of identity of interest that binds the united states to israel and prevents any meaningful u.s. pressure on israel. i had to be an advocate of the school of thought that holds the pro-israel lobby please a vitally important role in determining the direction of policy in the middle east, particularly the palestinian israeli conflict and that the lobby cement the u.s. is really relationship. there is disagreement among analysts on this issue, but i think there is a mountain of evidence to support this view, the view of the strength of the lobby. it's fair to say that almost everything president obama has
done during his almost two years in office demonstrates the profound power of the lobby. to move policy in a pro-israel direction. this phrase, to move policy in a pro-israel direction, comes from the two scholars, john and stevan, who wrote a groundbreaking book on the lobby three years ago and essentially broke the taboo on discussing the lobby. it's a critical phase. it certainly doesn't mean that the lobby controls all middle east policy. it simply means the lobby has a profound effect on how policy is made in this area to get one of the most important aspects of this impact i think is the state of public discourse that is formed around the palestinian and israeli situation over the years, actually over the decades. this is a mind set and a set of assumptions that determine how we all automatically think about israel when we hear the name
mentioned and what we all think when we hear the name palestinians mentioned. this is a public discourse, a mind-set that has been building and being shaped and being internalized for almost a century and it is the zionist is really narrative. public discourse has a huge impact on how policymaker -- how many policymaker approaches the arab-israeli issue and particularly the palestinian is really a shia. i am talking about every policymaker in every administration since the zionist enterprise began promoting itself in the united states and around world war i. it's important to realize the pros honest activists have been working to mold u.s. opinion since well before there was in israel and the effort continues. in congress, in the media, in the rest of the political establishment among the public and at the top of the heap, among the key policy makers
including presidents. policymaker thinking has been directly affected in this way if. over the years since israel creation there has been a pervasive atmosphere in which israel is simply assumed to be so close to the united states its interest so closely intertwined with american interest in that it is accepted almost as a part of the u.s. to lead the lobby reinforces the sentiment maintaining it in a myriad of ways and channeling it and to institutional ways of involving ordinary americans in supporting israel. in this atmosphere, criticism of israel is silenced and the silencing has a direct impact on policy formulation. it also has a longer-term more indirect but equally critical impact because this is the atmosphere in which future policy makers call-up, an atmosphere of ignorance and
denial in which it is virtually impossible, first of all, to learn anything about the situation. and secondly, to speak out without incurring the organized wrath of the israeli supporters. this is where barack obama and the united states are today caught in an induced ignorance and blindness. i actually believed that obama fumbled so badly on the settlement three's issue precisely because he and his advisers or almost totally ignorant of the actual situation in palestine and israel. i don't believe they understand the situation on the ground in palestine and with the occupation means for palestinians, and they do not care. they are also basically i think about israel and its objectives particularly its objectives. their ignorance is the work of the israel lobby. obama's subserve against israel on the settlement freeze on the
point that officials in the u.s. government whom israel and its supporters don't like, just ask ambassador friedman, on the ecclestone report about israel's eisel on gaza last year, which the u.s. has repudiated. all of this has occurred not because of u.s. imperial ambitions or the military industrial complex, but purely and simply because the israel lobby has such a powerful influence on policy making. i don't need to tell this audience how very abysmal is the image throughout the arab and muslim world because of our unquestioning support for everything that is arnoldus. the tragedy of the present situation is that the united states and all u.s. politicians appear trapped in a web they do not even recognize. in a mindset that dominates both political parties in the united states and a wind in which it is impossible to separate the u.s. from the israel the ambitions.
this perceived convergence of interest as a profound effect on u.s. policy choices in the middle east and i believe we are seeing this all too clearly as president obama attempt always unsuccessfully to induce israel to work toward a peace agreement. commentators and former policymakers are using some very domingo language almost unprecedented. another use of that word. to describe obama's handling of benjamin netanyahu, strong words like humiliating, pandering, apathetic, that came from a former policymaker. if the united states is not able to do better than this and is unable to distinguish its own real needs from those of another state, then it simply cannot say it acts in its own best interest. in the face of the massive human rights violation being committed against palestinians to a, the failure to recognize this reality is extremely dangerous.
investor friedman told us yesterday that there will never be a peace agreement until there is a reversal of policy. unfortunately, i'm afraid he's right and i don't see it coming. if i could have just one more minute, i want to cite an example that sort of captures everything i have been saying. last night barbara and i were in the food line at the iraqi embassy, and there were a group behind us and we got talking to one and he said the or he had been with a group of 30 cadets from the three military academies on a trip to israel last summer. and i said did you go to palestine, did you go to the west bank and she said no, the israelis what and allow it. apparently they went into the west bank on a bus but they were not able to get off, and i would guess they didn't go deeply into the west bank to write to me
this speaks to the power imbalance because israel hasn't the power to control what is done, with the united states does and the united states representatives inside palestine to read it speaks to the u.s. and its penchant for going along with anything that israel desires and speaks to the interest ignorance the life been talking about because all of these cadets remained ignorant of the situation in palestine. thank you very much. [applause] >> i would ask with great pride sarah roy to join us. she is a footnote to the to remember of the advisory council. >> thank you very much. >> i am going to devote my
presentation to a discussion of what i consider to be very important, critically important and very damaging shift, paradigm shift in the way that the israeli-palestinian conflict is conceptualized and addressed, and in many ways my talk is from kathleen. since 1967 when israel conquered the territory this element that emerged have all been based on the assumptions. the first is that the palestinian refugees of 1948 would not be a primary factor in negotiations. the second, the era of minority in israel, those who remain within the newly created state of israel would not be part of any comprehensive settlement and that number three, the only territory subject to negotiation would be the west bank gaza script in east jerusalem, 22% of
the pre-palestine occupied in to 1967 which the plo agreed in 1928 and thereafter. thus according to the post 67 solomon formula 78% of what was pre-48 perlstein and later became israel and more than 50% of palestinians were minimally to be excluded from any peace-making process. over the last few years, perlstein's reality has been further compromised by certain critical shifts in the way the conflict is conceptualize and addressed. for example, since the beginning of the israeli occupation there has long been an implicit and often a explicit assumption or belief among palestinians many israelis and members of the international community that occupation can and will and that israel's expansion into the palestinian iran stops. for many this is how the
interest of the oslo peace process. the belief that occupation is reversible and should be reversed is largely unquestioned and contested. and it was catalyzing force behind many social political and economic initiatives. this belief that occupation in the fourth sustained can be slopped has itself been reversed and is powerfully illustrate informal institutional was asian and acceptance by israel and the key members of the international community of palestinian territorial demographic fragmentation and isolation. this represents a key part by a shift in the way that constitutes understood and approached. perhaps the most powerful illustration of the occupation power lies in the expansion of the israeli settlements and their infrastructure and the building of the separation very near to the to -- barrier. the effect has been damaging, not only of the land and the use of those lands been lost, and
according to the israeli human rights group that 42% of the west bank is now under total israeli control and inaccessible to palestinians was 21% a settlement being built on private hair of land but air of land is being incorporated and consolidated into the new special and political order that aims to eliminate any separation between israel and certain and increasing areas of the west bank, diminishing the presence of palestinians precluding the emergence of any viable entity that could be called a palestinian state. the mile territorial continuity in the reality of the territorial demographic fragmentation was facilitated by the physical isolation of the west bank in gaza district which was largely completed by 1998 illustrating the separation had long been an israeli policy goal as argued by many analysts
including the israeli journalists. indeed they have revealed on april 20, 2007 in a lecture delivered at the institute the brigadier-general then commander of the israeli forces of the west bank stated that, quote, subornation and not security is the main reason for building the wall of separation and security could have been achieved more effectively and cheaply through other means to be dispensed with other important paradigm shift. prior to oslo there was the belief among the israelis and the international community generally that peace and occupation were incompatible. the former could not be achieved in the presence of the ladder and this too has changed. in recent years more and more are occupation. the lives of been facilitated by the settlement network built in the west bank and the improved economy. the settlements are regarded as natural outgrowth and needed a
constituency providing detection and security is important links to the israel. thus the integration of the settlement blocks and their infrastructure into israel, that is the argument that the west bank or parts of it belonged to israel is no longer export of or contentious on the contrary it is necessary and normal. according to a recent poll carried out by the war and peace index, two-thirds of this release support a total or partial resumption of settlement building in the west bank. 47% object to the evaluation of all west bank settlements in favor of an agreement with palestinians and 66% support the establish a of a palestinian state on the 1967 borders with land swaps allowing israel to keep large settlement blocks. hence, for many if not most israelis and several key international donors, primary among them the united states, it
is no longer a question of normalizing the occupation but of removing the term altogether since it no longer applies. especially in light of the strong expanding israeli economy and virtual suicide attacks in israel for the last years. in march 2010 poll, only 8% is really jews maintained the most urgent problem facing israel. putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty. in fact, silence of the occupation has become a key condition for continued international funding of the palestinian authority. hence palestine's effective dismemberment and permanence of territorial fragmentation are accepted by certain members of the international community as legitimate and benign and totally unmanageable, especially with the virtual absence of any criticism from palestinian officials. supporting from palestinians and doing what is necessary politically, but to raleigh and
economically to ensure and maintain that subornation has also become increasingly routine and institutionalized. the occupation has been transformed from a political and legal issue with international legitimacy and a simple disputes over borders where the rules were glorified rather than occupations. in this regard, israel has successfully cast its relationship with gaza from one of occupation to one of two actors at the war. the recasting that the international community has largely come to accept. indeed as kathleen said some international actors now deny the existence of occupation altogether. the growing and applicability of occupation as an analytical and legal framework leave to another important paradigm shift regarding the intention toward palestinians and their territory. the shift is from one of ongoing occupation to one of indexation
and in post sovereignty. that is claiming the west bank or parts of it are defacto sovereign israeli territory. the shift reflects the change in the israeli policy from one that sought to control and dominate the economy shading it to its own interest as it did particularly during the first two decades of occupation, to wonder what factor and debilitate the economy and perhaps most striking of all, transform palestinians especially those in gaza from people with national and political rights into a humanitarian problem. for whom the international community bares total responsibility. this policy shift from occupation to annexation is illustrated by many policies such as settlement expansion, the severing of gaza from the west bank and so forth, but i will go beyond that if people have questions we can discuss that. the shift from occupation to the
annexation also has been accepted by key members of the international community especially after hamas's victory and seizure of gaza and the refusal to the court to demand. not only of the major donors participated in the draconian sanctions regime imposed on gaza, the privileged the west bank over gaza in their problematic work. the strategies now support and strengthen the fragmentation and isolation of the west bank in gaza strip and defied palestinians and the two distinct entities offering a exclusivity to one side, economically, politically and diplomatically and criminalizing the other. what emerges are in effect to political and economic models. the west bank model which is characterized by a restrictive levels of institution building, isolated pockets of business and commercial development, shaped by the cantonized geographical entity has seen in the
commercial and economic bubble gum and the professionalism of the security forces. this model -- this model is devoid of political content and does nothing to confront the occupation. to the contrary it advocates silence and represses criticism. there is also the gaza strip model characterized by siege, isolation and collective punishment and economic objection. where the leadership is strengthened by the occupation but is incapable of doing anything to address it. both models have failed and underlines the fact that the palestinian state has long been a u.s. israel project, not a palestinian one. the transformation or the paradigm shift that reduces palestinians from a political to a humanitarian issue is most visible in gaza and has been
accepted -- excuse me, accompanied by another equally dangerous paradigm shift. since the hamas victory in january of 2006, the israel policy goal with regard to gaza is no longer just the isolation of the territory but it's disable meant read as seen in a policy shift that addresses the economy in some manner whether positively or negatively to one that dispenses the concept of the economy altogether. that is rather than weaken the gaza econ need replenishing the closures and restrictions as it has long done the israeli government has since june of 2006 imposed siege that treats the economy is totally irrelevant as a disposable luxury. one illustration of this is the israeli supreme court decision first improving the fuel cuts to gazzo in october of 2007, permissible since it would not harm the is central humanitarian needs of the population to be followed in january of 2008 by
the electricity cuts and in may 2008 by the lowering of the acceptable levels for fuel and electricity. the court's stated and i quote, we do not accept the petitioner's argument that market forces should be allowed to play their role with regard to fuel consumption. it is recorded as permissible to harm palestinians and prevent a humanitarian crisis for political reasons or as the analyst put it, quote, the logic of the court decisions on fuel and electricity suggests that once undefined essential humanitarian needs are met all other deprivation as possible. it is no longer and in fact has not been for quite some time a question of economic growth or development, change or reform, freedom or sovereignty but it is essential humanitarian needs of reducing the needs and the rights of 1.5 million people in
the gaza strip to exercise in counting calories and truckloads of food. in this way the israeli policy blurs and in fact justifies the destruction of the gaza's economic capacity which were largely completed with the december, 2008 attack. and in such a scenario the international aid can be no more than a palliative in the world bank slink on socio-economic decline rather than a catalyst for sustainable economic to the ledge and while this problem is in a gaza it also finds expression in the west bank to read into doesn't mind the world bank observed, quote, large amounts of donor aid have produced in sycophant growth and increase in economic dependency despite the improvement in the p.a. government security performance and of quote. although the growth rates are projected to increase this year they are not sustainable as constrained particularly in private-sector development remain formidable.
they maintain a dependence on lunar and as the driver of economic growth with the aid comprising 33% of gdp. highly restricted access to that comprise the majority of the west bank and contain critical water resources. restrictions on trade including exports to israel and machinery and equipment and the severing of access to the lucrative east jerusalem market. now last month, and with this i will conclude, last month i was in the west bank, i was not in gaza but i spoke with friends and colleagues and gaza, and in the conversations of their concerns and fears were absolutely consistent. these fears no longer center on the waste of gaza but the deepening and the unwillingness to repair it on the complacency and complicity among many actors is really, american, european and arab.
it continue to relegate gaza to the status of unworthy of development, and worthy of redress. one friend of mine expressed it this way and i quote him. we are not charity cases. we are an animal farm we're all kind of products are dumped on us whether we need them or not. we are not asked what we need or want. we are not allowed to participate in our own lives but most accept our own. our horizon is big. there is no vision, no debate, no critique. the critique that does exist is for the benefit of the individual, not the society. we are not allowed to plan, to even think of planning, and we are rejected if we try. we are denied the right to live as normal people, and there is a growing feeling among people here despite the fact some still racist that this lot change. if there is a plan we believe that it is to ensure our an
abandonment in total. [applause] >> i just want to say one more filling. let me conclude with this set of questions. >> speaking to the microphone. islamic in the continued absence of a political resolution for the conflict, why must occupation be the default position? am i must gaza be popular iced and the west bank cantonized and palestinians treated as the humanitarian problem rather than the people with political and national rights entitled to self-determination and why should the palestinians be forced to accept their own dk as my friend and why should they be punished for resisting?
these are questions that demand answers. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i had just spoken to a pollster recently in the west bank and he was pulling children, youth and gaza, and to summarize what sarah said he asked them a question you would normally ask a child what you want to do when you grow up, and the two responses, it sent chills up his spine. the first was i want to get out of gaza. the second response is i would like to die. the sort of captures the tone and the statistics of what sarah just related. andrew whitley is also someone who is struggling with a number of dilemmas not the least of which is the budget as they try to sustain and give the palestinian people hope not only
in gaza but throughout the region. >> as the chairman mentioned i will no longer be a u.n. employee. being one at least for now means unfortunately i cannot be as forthright as the bold articulate predecessors, my predecessors on this podium. let me just say that at the outset the strong voice, sarah and i would add my full agreement with intellectual insight and analysis of the problems here, but unfortunately i cannot -- it is hurting u.n. officials and i see many of the things she has said so well. but in many ways they do speak for gaza. we represent 70% of the population of gaza who are refugees, 1.1 million are registered refugees and after the 1.5 million. and we are indeed the main actor responsible for preventing a major humanitarian crisis and of
allowing this situation simply to be said teach reading humiliating one that it is for a vast majority of the population. let me begin by singing just a few words about the profile of the refugee population because if i have a brief today it is to bring the refugee dimension into this discussion. it is a truism that this conflict is about land and people come and the people are primarily those who are displaced in 1948 and again in 1967 which approximately two-thirds perhaps 70% eventually ended up registering with unra. when it began some years ago it was approximately a 750,000. today we are responsible for 4.8 million people spread through to jordan, syria, lebanon, the west bank and gaza. if we looked as the population of the occupied palestinian
territory, and i will come to the importance of that singular word territory, and why that should be considered as a single territory which is been sadly undermined by a recent development. if we look to that region known as the west bank and gaza and these occupied east jerusalem to be politically correct and added that in there as well, approximately 40% of the population as a whole refugees and to look to unrwa for the basic public service and health and education and social welfare, infrastructure inside the camps rather than the palestinian authorities. this is primarily for political reasons related to the unresolved status of the refugee question. unrwa than is an organization which is extremely well known in the region such that we are known simply as the agency to most people is one that is nevertheless a controversy one in the united states where we
are often accused wrongly in my view of perpetuating dependency and perpetuating the anti-israeli feelings. i would argue to the contrary, and i am not here to be able to give a brief about unrwa that in fact the world has been a productive and constructive one to be able to help people to escape from dependency to give them better options in life and improve the quality of their lives while waiting for the political actors to eventually get around to dealing with the refugee question. this is the issue the refugee question has been put aside, put into the too difficult to deal with a basket, left until the end as being some things that could eventually be adopted as a package deal along with the rest of the remaining elements of the final status issues. it's the position of my agency and my personal firm belief that however one needs to start
dealing with a refugee issue early for for two long the refugees have been left as helpless factors and in a play not of their own making in which they are simply treated as people who will be eventually have to accept whatever is put on an offer for them, whatever that may be. the broad contours of what will be practically unacceptable solution for all parties to the refugee questions are pretty well known among policymakers. we recognize as i think most do ought it's not a position we publicly articulate the right of return is unlikely to be exercised to the territory of israel to any significant or meaningful extent. it's not a politically palatable issue. it's not one that unrwa publicly advocates but nevertheless it is a known the contour to the issue, and therefore the working assumption is the vast majority of the refugees will eventually end up either in the future
state of palestine within which boundaries we have yet to see and hopefully there will be enough land for them. that is a significant issue given the overcrowding of gaza and the lack of resources and the lack of the of resources on lack of possibilities for employment in with every means of the west bank that will eventually be part of the palestinian territory. but those are the determinants. clearly the alternatives are the refugees will remain where they are in terms of the status either as citizens of the states or alternatively as citizens of palestine residing abroad in those territories. but the status of the refuge fees will vary according to their personal circumstances according to their own personal prospects according to the compensation that might be on the alternative package's how attractive the media be and the prospect of resettlement
elsewhere in the west but i think it is a practical reality that we all recognize that the numbers who will be permitted to be settled in the western countries or elsewhere in the world are going to be limited indeed by the huge financial factors involved and difficulties of being able to observe a significant numbers of people. but i would say if one doesn't start the discussion soon with the refugees for them to start considering with their own future might be for them to start debating their own role in society rather than being left in the state of limbo where they are helpless but preserved cruel illusion is that perhaps one day they will return to their homes than we are storing up trouble for ourselves. this is an issue we need to begin now and preparing the ground for them to think not
just about how they might have better options in life but also considering the mechanics of how this might be done. who are the refugees going to trust? in the past many years it was the plo refugees department. many in this room will know the plo is a shadow of its former self. it doesn't the political financial clout, the patronage it used to have and the refugee affairs department while that remains the officials vehicle is a much weaker oregon than it used to be so they would look to others. we may be one of them. we have been at the site of the refugee population over 60 years providing the services and in poll after poll said that if in the crisis who would you turn to they would say in very heavily 60 to 70% of the met turned to unrwa as those who have seen them through times of emergency and normal times to be able to help them to improve their lives.
so while such a change would require a change in the mandate of unrwa, which is a still temporary agency from as far as the u.n. is concerned 50 years and on, and it is something we would be prepared to take up if we were given that responsibility to assist the transition of the refugees to prepare the ground and help them to move on to their final status either in the territory where they are or elsewhere. bringing about that final settlement is one that is not our responsibility. we remain as i've said a humanitarian actor, developmental but not one that has a specific political role despite the fact we work in a deeply political situation. let me turn for two minutes to the gaza situation because while sarah has lead all very well i believe the intellectual shift that have taken place perhaps some of the realities of the insult to human dignity in gaza is not so well known to you.
indeed, it is the case notwithstanding this very modest easing that is really controls on the consumer goods primarily into the gaza since the flotilla incident as it is referred to in the u.n. on the for the first of may that the economy remains effectively dead. the private-sector remains to all intents and purposes destroyed. the agriculture and fishing is virtually nonexistent any longer, exports are limited to the tokens, symbolic amounts and which have been allowed out into the detrimental market but have no real significance economically. thus the state of dependency on the international community primarily my agency but not exclusively remains high indeed in the state which we find ourselves helpless to be able to do more than we would wish to do
particularly in the area at improving housing but just to make a 68,000 new housing units are required to house natural population growth among the refugee population alone there's more than 5,000 homes damaged or destroyed that we would wish to reconstruct if we could do so. prior to the imposition of the siege in its current form in july of 2007 unrwa had a major redevelopment program for gaza which we have to put on hold. we were unable to build more than a fraction of the schools we wish to do so to taking the new intakes of students. we have a program for a hundred schools. the israeli authorities approved in principle seven recently. two of those have just been counseled. so they remain passing out the permissions for us to bring in goods and a short supply.
we were asked in the questions that we were given to address on this panel to deal with a couple of deep issues. most of these are beyond my agreement. someone who should not comment on u.s. policies. but let me just say that the issues are reunification of gaza and the west bank remain high indeed. gaza and the west bank have been deepening in their divisions in recent years socially, economically, politically, and virtually all terms hardly any contact between the two any longer and it's difficult to imagine under present circumstances how those threads in the fabric of the single palestinian territories are going to be woven again but indeed it is a high priority that it should be so. so too is the issue of reconciliation of the divided palestinian policy slash outside actors as well as themselves. that is clearly the high
priority to ensure that there is a single palestinian leadership able to eventually deliver to the people would ever negotiate a settlement might come about. we were also asked in the questions to be able to say are their third parties who can address this issue of being able to meaningfully engage with hamas on each one tryst with hamas. indeed the egyptian government has played an important role in this regard for some years now and not with full success until now but it is remained persistent, and more quietly a number of government notably norway, switzerland and lesser extent more specifically germany have retained contact, but i think it is fair to say that all governments with a they admit or not have had discreet contact with hamas. we have seen my future organization with jimmy carter in attendance was recently in both gaza and damascus attempting to play their own
part to try to find a way to deal with this quite difficult issue which now has a regional dimension to it but also brings in a variety of issues related to political legitimacy, to the security forces which have been created by both the plo, the palestinian authority, excuse me, as well as by hamas and the need to be built to restore those economic links to be able to end of the holding of prisoners, the relaxation of the controls of gaza. and it's a complex problem and one that has not been easy of the white on the part of any political actors to try to find a way out of the current morass which is so debilitating for so many people. thank you. [applause]
>> anecdotally, in addition to this, i would just note to you that we were given u.s. aid grants for water and sanitation in gaza. it has taken three months to get one truck of cement into gaza. the mood has not changed their dramatically. barbara, please, if you could also add to the human impact. >> hello, and thanks for inviting me to speak today to fill in. so i'm really not as prepared as our last speakers who were really great. so i just going to give you a little information about myself, middle east children's alliance and what we do. i start to the middle east children's alliance in 1988, and since that time we have delivered over $14 million of
aid to children palestine, iraq and the camps and lebanon. we have project and the west bank and particularly now in gaza to help children deal with the trauma of what happened in year-and-a-half ago, almost two years ago the attack on the people by gaza at by israel. i was there during that time and was able to bring ambulances and much-needed medicine and food for kids and coloring books and crayons. i want to just take the time, i'm not going to take much time that i'm going to take the time to read you a piece that was written by my isasi directors, the middle east children alliance. ziad is a man i met when he was just a kid and he grew up in the
refugee camp in the bethlehem region of the west bank. and he wrote this piece for the latest newsletter and he wrote about our project that we had been working on for the last year-and-a-half, and that project is building water purification systems in the schools in gaza. the middle east children's alliance is working to support the rights of children, particularly the right of palestinian children to survive and flourish. that gives the miya project secure in building a water purification systems in schools and nursery schools in gaza. as a result, mothers who had been worried and had watched their children drinking putrid
water, the parents whose kids go to these schools no longer have to worry about this, and i just want to interject and say the reason we are doing this project is that our project directors, dr. monona went to the camp in gaza and asked the kids with the would like the middle east children's alliance to do for them, and their response was what we want after holding meetings to the parliament at their school. they came back to dr. mona and said what we want more than anything else is to be able to come to school and have a clean glass of water to drink. since 1967, israel has continually expelling palestinians and building settlements in the jordan valley to the appropriate rich
agricultural land and plentiful water sources. on july 19th, 2010, the israeli army demolished over 50 structures, belonging to 22 palestinian families living in the northern jordan valley. saying it was a closed military area. since i started working at meca, the miya project to bring clean water to the children of perlstein has come closest to my heart. all of our projects are important to the people of palestine, lebanon, but the miya project is connected to my history and my family. it takes me back to the days when i struggled with my family to bring clean water to our house so we could drink, cooked and sometimes have a shower. my mother's, sisters and i would carry gallons of water and heavy containers on our heads
providing essentials for our family made my mother physically strong. her arms and shoulders shake by her efforts, but her health suffered. much work and time is required to achieve the basic necessity of clean water. i remember the weight in the water and the great responsibility on our neck and back every day. ..
to clean, pure water at school, but their families come to school, take water from the purification systems. take it home and use it for their own -- for all the children and their families. it's a very important project. many of our projects are important. but now we're faced with having -- under a has come to us and we are working with them. they have over 250, 268 s. andrea could tell us a number in gaza. and we have started partnering with them and building these systems in their schools. this has been a long journey for me personally. i grew up in a very right-wing zionist family who supported israel.
and it wasn't until i was a grown woman and served on the board of education at berkeley as president that i began to look at this issue. and it was quite an ordeal for me to move from where i was over here, to who i am today, a 69-year-old mother of four, grandmother of seven and somebody who's looking for partners who would like to help us continue building water systems in gaza and making life a little bit editor for the children there. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, barbara. thank you for what mecca is doing. it's tragic to see the most basic necessities of life are transformed permuted into political issues. i would ask now are two esteemed ambassadors to offer commentary
or questions on any of the issues that have been proposed so far. >> thank you very much feel about me, i will start by thanking the council for including me in this year's annual meeting. to think the panelists for their very insightful presentation. and i quite understand the level of pessimism that is in their presentations, that which is associated to the political circumstances that the peace process is currently in and has been for over two decades. or for the humanitarian crisis that's an occupied terrorist relief, which is a matter of presentation for a large segment of the arab and muslim worlds, if not for the international community at large.
but it is they think incumbent on us to at the same time try to be somewhat pragmatic. i've tried to look to the future and recognizing that -- and i don't want to be presumptuous in the presence of ambassador areikat to mention the two state solution of the palestinian people still rest of the occupied territory or in the dias pereira. in terms of achieving that it, it is that object to which states in the arab world have been actively pursuing and will continue to pursue. in recognition of that aspiration and in the necessity to yield through that solution with the humanitarian and political dilemmas that have existed. the u.s. role i think has been demonstrated under execution
during this conference. but this remains that we should also recognize that has shift and. i was privileged the day before yesterday to attend the task force on palestine, where the ambassadors of state were in attendance. the massacre itself was remarkable if we take into consideration the terms of palestine towards palestinian aspirations and towards event americans based institutions that deal with these issues. and the content of their remarks were also quite pertinent and i think recognize issues related to the occupation. there was the recognition that the united states, of the presence of the occupation and the need to end that occupation. these are the developments which should also be highlighted as important points. one or to contribute to our
common desire to find a political solution to the situation. the fragmentation of policies demonstrated by israel again have not been readily accepted as was demonstrated by some of the panelists today. to the russian community, but still adheres to international legitimacy and legality. and i don't discount that the effects of those actions might not be consequential in terms of the state of or the conditions under which palestinians live or under which the negotiating process continues. but it does remain a fact there and must be also a positive one and move our efforts to find a
just and lasting solution to the palestinian issue. on all of those accounts, we could only share in many of the frustrations that have been indicated by the panelists that does not discount the fact that we must persevere, must find a way to raise the level of understanding of the desire of both your policymakers in the u.s. around the world to his status should change the negotiating process moving forward. and again, the palestinians have been starting for self determination and there is of course a part to call inequality in terms of the strength of the
party, but not discount also the palestinian authority does muster the support and is reinforced both by many as the arab countries and the international community in many of its negotiating positions. so i think i will start at that juncture and make the more pertinent comments to a lesser erika. >> thank you very much, ambassador shoukry. it's a pleasure to be here today. i'm honored to be with the distinguished group of panelists here who have really given you the actual picture and situation on the ground in both the west bank and the gaza strip.
i believe there are -- there are two important issues here that were covered by the speakers. one is the u.s. role in how the palestinians and the arabs are perceiving this role. of course as you well know, we have been very much encouraged with the obama administration about the rhetoric and statements that were made and about their determination to see an end to the conflict. their determination to engage early their determination -- actually their description of the resolution of the conflict as being a u.s. national security interests. this has given us hope that the administration will be hopefully taking a new approach to this
conflict. two years later we are finding ourselves bogged down in the same hole that we found ourselves in the past. israeli intransigence, he refused her to comply with existing agreements and obligations, clearly defying international law, defying the united states. their strongest supporter and ally. and we are also seen people here in this country who are increasingly discouraging the administration from continuing their efforts. once by claiming that the administration has no leverage over israel. on the other is by coming in now, you don't want to clash with the israel lobby in this country. so once again, we are hearing
those apologies and supporters of israel trying to discourage the administration from continuing their efforts to try to reach an agreement in the region. i think the administration has a lot of leverage and the question is whether they want to use that leverage or not your this is the most important question. and here, i think when it comes to the issue of the sentiments, the united states government repeatedly have described these as being legitimate and illegal and in violation of international law of u.s. policies. the least that this country can do is set the east to prevent some groups in this country from transferring funds to groups inside the west bank and jerusalem to continue with their illegal product. we haven't seen any effort on the part of the administration to deal with that issue.
this is the least that we can expect them to do in order to translate these policies into some complete action. i think what we need to see as a new approach from the administration. an approach that will point plan to the parties who are really hampering the u.s. effort here. this is something that we were promised when we were first started this process, that the united states will not hesitate to name the parties who are really blocking the progress towards realization of a peaceful agreement in the region. and it is no secret today to anyone in this room that the party which is doing that is israel. israel has refused to extend the so-called moratorium. and you have to remember that
so he knew from the beginning that he is going to be in this position. and using that as failure to put pressure on the israelis to move forward is not acceptable. the other major issue i think is what do we as palestinians and arabs have as an alternative? i mean, this is the biggest question that i myself face when i go around and talked to members of the