tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 4, 2016 12:00am-12:56am EST
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now available at your favorite bookseller and also as an e-book. israel's defense minister talks about u.s.-israel relations and ongoing events in the middle east with cnn anchor jake tapper. this was part of an annual forum hosted by the brookings institution. it is just under one hour. [applause] under one hour. [applause] >> it is so nice to be here. i know some many people here i cannot acknowledge everybody. i would be remiss if i did not point out that congressman ted deutch was my junior counselor at camp.
[applause] [laughter] knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. it is an honor to be here. martin, thank you for the invitation. lieberman, inister assume you saw your brother out there, as well. i will start with the questions and we will see what he answers. do you haveberman: too many questions. let's start out with the fact that president-elect trump has named james mattis to fill your role. what you think of them? minister lieberman: i haven't met him and i don't have any but irevious experience, and who the general is,
about his stance and what he is said to the press. for my point of view, it is very positive. obviously, there are many things the president-elect has said that have to do with the state of israel. one of the things he is said, i believe he said on day one, he would want to move the capital to jerusalem. obviously, i think it is fair to say, that is easier said than done. do you think you should do that on day one -- do you think he should do that on day one? allster lieberman: first of , we've seen before and every toction, the same promise move the embassy to jerusalem. seei think we will wait and
. a year ago, i was here and it was much easier, i was in a position. now as a minister i try to be lyrically correct. -- politically correct. [laughter] think welieberman: i will wait. mr. tapper: i won't do too many follow-ups, but as a matter of whether or not the move would be perceived as incendiary and provocative, is it something that you think should happen, if it happens, immediately, or something that you think should maybe be done with more deliberations? minister lieberman: what is really crucial for us with the , notet -- administration
point, it is important, but we have other issues. we have enough challenges all around israel. i think that it will be a the in the cse focal point. i think that -- to take the embassy as the focal point. i think we have many items on our agenda. i think that maybe the embassy will be one of the points. mr. tapper: let's talk about the other items that you listed, started with the iran deal. we are getting mix messages thet whether or not
president-elect will literally rip up the iran deal or if there will be recalibrations. one senator suggested to me was that all the new administration would need to do is enforce the iran deal, which would set new sanctions into place since international monitors have said they are in violation. what would israel like to see happen when it comes to the iran deal? minister lieberman: first of all, i will speak only about my personal position. it is not a secret. my position was very clear against the deal with iran. but it really does not matter. what is the real question, it is to understand what has to happen
now that there has been a deal with iranians. there have been ballistic missiles in the center of tehran with instructions and hebrew. we saw competition in tehran for the best cartoon to deny the holocaust. a state department report regarding terror in the world, and according to this report, iran is the biggest author of terror around the world. we see penetration into human, to lebanon, to syria and iraq. we are trying -- they are trying to undermine the stability in the middle east. i think it is important to
understand what happens with iran after the deal. also --nclusion, it is it is my conclusion, that we should talk with the united states about our common position with iran. see after the meeting with the prime minister and the president elect. it was a clear violation of the agreement, especially in the area of missiles, ballistic missiles. the next up would be nuclear missiles, but at least up until now it has just been ballistic
missiles. that is a violation -- and then the violation of human rights and activity in syria. there is the massacre of half a million people. think it is necessary to continue with sanctions and to be very tough. mr. tapper: just to clarify, if i'm understanding you correctly, you believe and you are not the only one, that iran has violated the deal. you think united states needs to go to the un security council and be the trigger to enforce more sanctions on iran because they have already violated the deal, not that the deal should be torn up. is that a fair characterization? minister lieberman: look, what
happens in the world today, it is very problematic. not only iranians, all radical , they understand that there ofno payment for violation commitments of violations of norms. forget for a moment the middle east. look at north korea. one crazy guy took his own population as hostages, a clear ,iolation of all resolutions security council commitments, negotiations between north korea and the united states, north
korea nuclear bombs, etc.. i don't see any ability or political will to stop this crazy guy. it is the same with iranians. they must pay for every violation. what happens at least with ballistic missiles, it is a clear violation of their commitment according to the agreement a signed. -- they signed. mr. tapper: let's turn to syria and assad and the massacre against his own people. aleppo, were killed in we have learned. i'm wondering what you think the role of the united states in the trump administration should be when it comes to syria, is my
impression is that president-elect trump would like to basically wash his hands of syria and let vladimir putin and assad do whatever they think is necessary and have the united states focus on isis. is that a position you think would be the right one? is that a position you think would be good for the state of israel? minister lieberman: it is not only israel. mr. tapper: the region. minister lieberman: we should know that today, we are living in a small global village. everything is connected. better to see all of the picture. and the picture in the middle day is that we have every
,t least 500 people slaughtered killed, hundreds of people we don't have any readiness to stop this bloodshed. the middle all of east from south sudan to iraq, yemen, syria, iraq, you have every day at least 500 people killed and slaughtered. what is the response from the international community? isis, all of about them the same. i think that our challenge to stop radical people, it does not matter what is their name, but
this violence and bloodshed, it is clear that it is completely unacceptable for all of our people. i don't see any differences orween hamas, hezbollah islamic state. it is not right. the images but one hezbollah and hamas and islamic state, it is the same. what is crucial for any deal in , i'm notm my point sure it is possible, but iranians out of syria. it is impossible to accept the fact that the guy who is
responsible for killing of half a million people, 8 million people displaced and the first time maybe since world war i, the head of state has used chemical weapons against his own people and he will continue to be an acceptable player and the international arena. the same is with iran. their efforts are to undermine the stability of every country of the region. put something in his place. [applause] who leads that effort? minister lieberman: from our point of view, the united states is the biggest power in the world.
responsibility. impossible to speak about isolation. clear, andis especially the president-elect, he speak about the military of thend a strong army united states, and i think the biggest challenge even here in the united states is isis, also. day toe trying every recruit more people in the united states. radical islamic
people are coming from the middle east. if you want to confront this phenomenon, you must start in the middle east. mr. tapper: i know you are a minister now on you have to be more diplomatic, but you do recognize that the president-elect has talk about withdrawing more from the middle east than even whatever status you think the united states has their right now -- there right now. minister lieberman: i don't know if he spoke about withdrawing from the gulf, but with regards to syria, he will be active with regarding the solutions and to speak frankly, it is impossible to achieve any solution without active american participation in the process. we need strong america, we need
america active in at least in our region. will agreethat we about a common vision regarding the future of the middle east. mr. tapper: let's talk about the israeli-palestinian peace process. minister lieberman: no peace and no process. [laughter] mr. tapper: the future israeli-palestinian peace process. [laughter] mr. tapper: president-elect trump has said that perhaps his son-in-law can be put in charge of that peace process. have you met jared kushner? minister lieberman: no. mr. tapper: what you think of the idea of him being put in charge of the peace process? minister lieberman: what we know
, he is a really smart, tough guy, and i hope he will bring a new energy to our region. but maybe, day before yesterday, and therea convention was a public speech. will never give up the idea of refugees, and he will never recognize the right of israel to exist as a jewish state. , we those two preconditions really don't have nothing to discuss with palestinians.
the right of return for the hendtinian refugees insisted he would never recognize israel as a jewish nationstate. what exactly is the issue to discuss? is the same. clear he does not have any authority to represent the palestinian people. the presidential elections in palestinian authority were 2010.ed to be held in he doesn't have any control on the gaza strip. postponed thehe elections for many years. realnk in order to achieve
strategic breaks, to achieve comprehensive, reasonable solutions between us and the palestinians, we need someone , who hasry strong support from his own people, very popular, and somebody who is a real leader and ready to sacrifice something for peace. that the palestinian official is a good partner for that. we are waiting for a real opportunity.
israel has proved we want to achieve real peace. many times we have shined peace agreement -- signed peace agreements with egypt. we have signed a peace agreement with jordan. strip.drew from the gaza somalia tohalf of palestinians. we have 21 flourishing settlements from the gaza strip. i think we have proved our desire to achieve a real peaceful and reasonable solution. but for this kind of solution, you need a real strong partner, and i don't see that on the
palestinian side this kind of leaders. mr. tapper: one of the things that is interesting in a potential peace process, other arab states would likely have to be involved, and many of those states do not acknowledge let alone your right to exist, they don't a knowledge that they have had conversations with people like you. have you ever talked with any members of the saudi royal family about the peace process? minister lieberman: i don't remember. [laughter] we have manyerman: contacts with our neighbors in the region. [laughter] [applause] mr. tapper: this is normally when i would be very aggressive, but this is a different setting.
on the subject of the peace get into ast to little more, i think there will be a vote on monday as to whether some settlements will be made legal. you have proposed, and correct me if i'm wrong, a sort of freeze that would give any sort of these process -- peace process an opportunity to move forward. how would you describe that? minister lieberman: my proposal is to wait for the new administration and to create together with the new administration and policy. , and notany surprise fix, but to wait and discuss with the next
administration our policy. i think it makes sense because, freezew, the reasons we and the defective, the construction in jordan in jerusalem, i am personally not satisfied. the main reason is not because we really don't want to build or somalian jordan or jerusalem, it is because we have disagreements with the american administration. i think it is clear for us, for me at least, that the key to the future of that settlement is understanding who is the united states. it is not only our design.
i think the last 80 years, it was a huge problem. it was one of the main points of disagreement between us and the current administration. mr. tapper: the current administration would often feel as though -- there would be settlements announced at inopportune times. vice president biden would arrive in israel, that it was almost done in their face. prison -- unfair care characterization? minister lieberman: i would like to underlined that the settlements, they are not an obstacle to peace. peacee signed two agreements despite the settlements. even when israel evacuated after our withdrawing from the gaza strip, 21 settlements withdrawn
from the palestinian side. it is really a very biased approach to say that the settlements are problem, is the wrong approach. ,gain, all settlements together they are less than 1.5% of total territory. if i took all of the settlements other areas,uding 1.5%.less than remember the annapolis meeting .
it is impossible to offer more than was offered. we will never have any other prime minister that will offer more. everything was ready for a huge ceremony in the white house and at the last moment, he refused to sign an agreement. we were ready to open the issue of returns and swaps and everything. maybe another administration will have a different solution.
mr. tapper: do you think the vote on monday to legalize some of the settlements should be postponed until after the united togetherd israel get on the same page? i clarifiedberman: my position in cabinet publicly, in the press, and i think it is much better to postpone all of this legislation and steps until then. mr. tapper: anti-semitism reared its head quite a bit during the a wayential election, in that i think probably a lot of americans under a certain age had not seen perhaps ever in their lifetime. how much notice did that get in
israel? the rise of the so-called alt-right, a lot of them are white supremacists, and who all almost unanimously supported the president elect. did that get attention in israel? did you have any concerns? minister lieberman: we have concerns regarding all kinds of anti-semites. it doesn't matter if it comes from the left or the right or from the radical islamic groups also inwhat we saw is europe. it is not only slogans or accusations, we saw a tax on the jewish school in to >> victims with bloodshed.
is becoming more irrelevant. north korea, africa, nothing. ofidn't remember any example some successful solution. they were very respectable, not my point of view. 70% of the problems were against israel. not against iran. not against north korea, against israel. i see the weakness of the international community of the rest of the world.
when it comes to the prophets, everybody prefers larger, is the biggest problem. race going on a for the head of the devon allen -- democratic national committee. the anti-defamation league recently released a statement that said that congress may, to about israel and -- congress aboutomments about israel controlling policy and that region as compared to a much larger arab population. it didn't make much sense, it is a sloppy paraphrase. for thenough anti-defamation league to say that the comments were disqualifying. you have any take on this? itow, if it is true,
really lowers expectations from our biggest friend the united states. i hope that some kind of -- i hope that is some kind of mistake. lastly, i do think is the most serious problem, serious threat, facing the state of israel that should be at the top of the agenda? is it iran? >> no question, it is iran. that any budget is about $900 million
to fight against their publications and agitations of the jewish people. question, it has to do with the relation between the american jewish community and the israeli jewish community. i had a remake named baroque, he was a soviet immigrant. he was a tough guy. toward me summed up some of the tensions of the american jewish committee and the israeli jewish community. he thought that all of us exchange students from the united states were soft. he wasn't wrong. [laughter] he also thought we should
shut up about our opinions about israeli policy. the united states can give money or not give money, you are not living here, the client. a point in be american and israeli relations right now. american jewish and israeli relations. especially young american jews. they are concerned about the direction of the israeli politicians. whether the country is lurching to muster the right in english parliaments. i am wondering what you make of it, when you think of it, is your attitude like baroque. what does i need to be a greater effort of understanding between younger american jews and israelis? >> first of all, the state of
israel is a state for all jewish people. all around the world. , i thinkoint of view we failed, especially with jewish people in the united andes, russia and the south all around the world. the problem is not right, left, the problem is that there are -- 5% of jewish people it is the biggest problem.
i think we need to allocate money for the jewish implications. what we have for people who are more disconnected from the history, -- it is a huge problem. this is a young jewish generation problem, it is crucial for our future. my friends and i try to work to discuss with the old jewish communities.
was not clarified. i think that it is important for this audience to know. first, the fact that keith allison is a muslim, it is not an issue at all. that is not an issue. with that out of the way, if you listen to keep allison today, you can see his statements, he is more of a scientist than the other three combined. it is amazing, it is a beautiful thing. positions,ack to his his papers, his speeches, the way he has voted, he is clearly israeli-semites and anti- individual. words matter but actions a matter more. keep allison would be a disaster for the jewish community and the
democratic party. allison would be a disaster for the jewish community and the democratic party. >> that wasn't really a question. can we have another question? >> mr. minister, you mentioned being theee iran biggest problem in the region. obviously, not just toward israel but the rest of the jewish community as well. you have maintained over the years a relationship with vladimir putin. it today, you look at the russian position toward iran, nobody is doing as much to prevent iranian power in syria.
given your long-standing relationship with vladimir putin, do you see the potential to separate him from the iranians? if so how would you go about doing it? minister: we have many disagreements with the russians. we have many disagreements with china. i don't think it is right to disregard russia or china. we are a small country and we have the same moral priorities and relations. putin thinks about russian interests.
minister, i wonder if you think they can play a useful role when it comes to helping to resolve the conflict with the palestinians? the arab quartet recently intervened in an effort to try stop the palestinians. what role do you see them playing in trying to resolve that conflict? lieberman: they are the ones who pay the lipservice.
the problem is not history. from my point of view, it is possible for regional, copperheads of solutions. -- comprehensive solutions. this is the biggest threat for them. it is not israel, it is not jews. butink that they understand they still don't have political rule because they don't have enough power to move forward with this approach.
from my point of view, it does not make sense to sign an agreement with palestinian results. it must be something done simultaneously with an agreement . we are not able to impose on palestinians. impose some kind of solution. bringt think that they better futures. we saw this with the united states. we don't have enough power to
impose on palestinian people. they are able to bring other countries to the table. they can offer the solution. the problem is that there is a huge disparity between leadership andhe what happens among the people and crowds. clear that it is timing, even for their leadership. with public start opinion to explain their positions to move forward.
>> could you talk a little louder? >> sure. i would like to talk about the saudi arabians in 2002? is it a good time for initiative? i would also like to talk about the relationship with egypt? are there any talks between the israeli right and egypt? the last question, regarding to islands.- two can you elaborate about the discussions?
what are they working towards in this discussion? what are the logistics about these two islands? thank you. minister lieberman: i will start with the first question. there are some points that are very important there. we can discuss and it is for negotiations. theor the other points, rights of returns, it is completely impossible. will talk ofwe restrictions. my expectation is we will start
and talkons conditions. regarding egypt, i have normal relations. embassy and chiron, we have had some relief. is just aggravations between two normal states. regarding the relations with saudi, of course weregarding arg to fix things in that region. talks and we are looking for a deal between saudi arabia and egypt.