AFP-21S 16mm
Interview with Shimon Peres
Interview with Shimon Peres discussing negotiations and talks with Arafat, attempts for peace and the Israeli attitude towards terrorism., INTERVIEWER:,There was a time when it papered that Yasser Arafat was a suitable partner for peace. What do you think went wrong? How did we come to the point now where we do not have that situation?,01:27:02>>>, SHIMON PERES:,Basically Arafat when he was the head of the Palestine revolution he has had head of the collation of armed groups with him. The moment he became the head of the autonomy we discovered that he's not able to make the shift. To be the head of the revolution is one thing. To be the head of the state is another thing to be the head of the state is another thing. Particularly the softest point was that he didn't understand that by just disarming the Fata, his party, and letting the other party carry arms it undercut his own authority. It's either him controlling them or them controlling him. and they stopped taking orders from them. so even if he would like to cut the terror he couldn't without disarming first the terrorist, the terrorists groups. Now Arafat ah made some contributions in the beginning quite courageous but then he emerged as an extremely weak leader of a state in being. And that's the greatest problem. , INTERVIEWER:,Was this a failure of his character or personality?,02:51:09>>>, SHIMON PERES:,It was, he became a victim of his habits. Because how they ran a revolution. you have this little bit money in brown envelopes. There was no rules and no regulations. you all the time negotiating with the other groups how to act terroristically. You don't have a separation of responsibilities between the legislative, the judicial and the executive. Everything is mixed. Then it's full of conspiracies. Then you have one leader. And all these habits that he's acquired during 30 years of his leadership he couldn't get rid of them. now I talked with him at great lengths about it and I told him look at Bangolia. He was also a head of ah, armed group not only but also in order to achieve independence for the Jewish. The minute he became head of the state he says no room for any other armed group but Daganah, which was the official armed group. And he went as far as ordering to shoot at the ship that brought arms to Israel and killing 20 people Jewish because they didn't take the orders. I told him if you want, if you won't do it you don't have a future. I told many times to Arafat. I think he was suspicious that I'm trying you know to introduce a division between me, him and the other parties because his reply was I shall disarm them politically. In the elections of 1996 after the assignation of Isaac Rabin another wave of terror started. I replaced Rabin as you know. and I did things which were very controversial in the eyes of the Israelis and very important in the eyes of the Palestinians. I handed over 460 villages to the Palestinians. 6 cities. And able to have elections including in Jerusalem. They praised and appreciate. All of a sudden they started to explode ah to explode bombs in ah Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv and in Ashkiranash. Arafat are you crazy with all the reactions what are you doing?,05:21:25>>>, SHIMON PERES, And in the beginning again he tried to convince the Hamas to stop it that you had to stop it without any effect. Finally when he saw that the situation was really becoming very severe he went to fight the Hamas. And he killed 20 of the Hamas leaders. He arrested thousands. He discovered the cashes of arms there are gifts and terror went down but the person who INAUDIBLE was Netanyahu who replaced me. I lost the elections because he didn't do it in time. I lost with 1/3 of a percent. Netanyahu won because Arafat waked up too late., INTERVIEWER:,What did he gain from it from doing all this?,06:07:19>>>, SHIMON PERES:, He didn't gain anything he lost. I was told that he was crying after he heard the results of the elections., INTERVIEWER:,And why do you think he did not accept what was offered to him at Camp David?,06:20:20>>>, SHIMON PERES:, First of all I think Camp David was not conducted with great wisdom. Barak and Arafat sat at the same place for 15 days. And Barak spoke with Arafat for ½ and hour. In the eyes of the Palestinians, not only the Palestinians Palestine is a very matter. And you feel like somebody's snubbing you. It's not very, it's not done in negotiations. In negotiations you don't negotiate just about points. You negotiate about relations. And if you win too much you may loose your partner. That was one thing. And then as far as I'm concerned those negotiating with Arafat some of my friends never take Arafat yes for an answer. I learn not to take his no for an answer. I'm never impressed by his no's. ,07:19:02>>>, SHIMON PERES:, I remember when we were negotiating in Cairo the whole night chaired Mubarak. In the morning when it came to the sign the maps Arafat said I'm not signing. In front of all the television. It was a scandal. It was a shame. And Arafat approached him and they didn't I'm not going to quote how he called him and he told him sign. What happened is Arafat took out the pen and signed. That's another thing. But there is a third point which we shouldn't forget. And I told it to Barak before. Barak demanded that Arafat will announce that after the agreement he will have no claims anymore. The minute (COUGH OFF SCREEN). The minute he says he raised two impossible issues at the time the issue of Jerusalem and the issue of refuges and bought it to the central of the discussion and we knew that we can not reach an agreement. ,08:18:15>>>, SHIMON PERES:, If Arafat should declare he doesn't have anymore claims it means he has to turn his back to the Palestinian refuges. Something that he cannot do. and I thought you don't have to buy from the other party all the dreams and all the demands. Let things hang in there. (COUGH OFF SCREEN). But all told Arafat committed a terrible mistake by rejecting the proposals of Clinton and Barak despite what they have said. And he's not paying the price for this rejection. , INTERVIEWER:,If you could compare him to King Hussein what kind of a peace partner was King Hussein?,09:04:23>>>, SHIMON PERES:, King Hussein wanted peace and he was a responsible negotiator for peace. But here let me say in a wider sense historically speaking. There are 2 ½ million Palestinians here in the territories. There are another 3 ½ million Palestinians that close the door on their leader, on the King on the throne. And they might, some people say you cant not (COUGH OFF SCREEN) make peace with the Palestinians. And I'm asking myself why do we have peace with the Palestinians in trans Jordan in the kingdom of Jordan. You know there are 2 cities close to each other Elad and Dakab maybe a few miles INAUDIBLE. During the 54 years of the existence of the stated of Israel not a single bullet was fired from one city to another city. There's the piece of land between the Red and the Dead Sea almost 120, 130 miles long without fences, without INAUDIBLE, without infiltrators. (COUGH OFF SCREEN) There Jordanians don't permit ah terrorist coming from Jordan into Israel. There are no suicidal bombers. Why is that? those are the same people. Why those 2 ½ million people decided to live peace with us and these 3 ½ million people are in revolt, in terror, in violence, in bitterness. ,10:45:07>>>, SHIMON PERES:, There are 2 differences. One is that in Jordan they have an organized government. Doesn't hang upon the whim of a single man. The have one army not 12 armies like the Palestinian side. They have one treasurer they don't have several treasurers. They have one commander in chief and not many commanders of chief. And I'd say certainly it's not a complete democracy they are far from it but there is separation between their legislative and judicial and ah executive branches. The Palestinians don't have it. So they brought in a INAUDIBLE and they live in a cultic state. There was nobody in charge in spite of all the authorities. The other thing which we have to take into consideration too. We don't dominate any piece of land in Jordan. At the early times of Zionism Jabatinisky said the 2 banks of the Jordan river belongs to us the east and the west. Thanks heavens they gave up half to their program because if you would put settlements across the Jordan river we would create an INAUDIBLE there as well. So we have to correct those 2 mistakes. And I'm speaking objectively. To force the Palestinians to have a reformed government. And to enable us to retreat from the territories., INTERVIEWER:,Of course people have spoken about the settlements here as a problem. If there were no settlements do you believe that there would be peace between Israel and the Palestinians?,12:52:27>>>, SHIMON PERES:, It would help a great deal. It would be very different situation undoubtedly. I use saying you know you can break eggs and make an omelet. But you can not make from omelet eggs again. Too many eggs were broken and now we have to find a solution. The most acute situation clearly is in the Gaza strip. When I was Defense Minister in 1974 the population of Gaza was 350 thousand people. Today there are 1 million 200 thousand people. Almost four times as many. The size of the land is petit. It's 220 miles. It has the density, maybe the most densified piece of land in the world. It's a 5.2 rate of birth. Every 12 births they will double themselves. We have not 7,000 settlers in Gaza. 7,000 vis a vis 1 million 200 thousand. We are forced to close it for security reasons. They are closed so they don't work. They don't work they are very close to suffer starvation. What do we need to see them. and we have an alternative land prepared for those settlers in-between the southern tip of Gaza and Kidisberna which is on the border which Egypt. There's no sense to sit in the middle of this populated and bitter piece of land., INTERVIEWER:,He said that there's a demographic time bomb ticking in Israel and that even if Gaza's returned and even if the West Bank is returned there will still be a problem with the many Palestinians or Israeli Arabs that live here. In the long run is it possible for Israel to be true to its ideals while at the same time remaining a democracy with one person one vote?,15:37:20>>>, SHIMON PERES:, I think yes because you see the rate of birth depends upon the standard of living. The poorer the people are rate of birth is higher. And poor people produce many children and their many children produce more poverty. It's a vicious circle. You know we have here in, among the Palestinians two communities the Muslim and the Christian. The Christian community is well off better than the Muslims. So naturally their rate of birth went down. Because when you're poor you don't care how many children you have. All of them will be hungry. But you are becoming better off you want to invest more in every child than to invest in more children. So this there is while societies are imbalancing themselves. And also what happened is you see the size of a family in previous times say 50 or 100 years ago with 8 or 9 children. In many countries such a large number of children was a product of their medical situation because 3 or 4 passed away. So they would remain with 4 or 5 children. Today with an improved medicine the whole family remains alive. And the family's incapable to feed so many children. So I mean there is logic in demography as well. Geography is immobile. Demography is mobile and it is based not only upon a piece of land but also upon a piece of logic. , INTERVIEWER:,There's also religion, religion influences demography?,17:35:12>>>, SHIMON PERES:, Yes and no because religion too is changing you see. I'm not a great believer in the theory of hunting to an INAUDIBLE crash among civilizations. I'd rather believe there was a crash within every civilization. Namely adaptation of your determined religion with the changing epochs. I mean you can not compare the all you see today with what it was in the medieval time with the inquisition. You can not say to the pope of today he's like the pope in the 15th or 14th century. Now what changed Christianity the Muslims they choose no. they develop in time. you know the Russians were educating their children to be communists. All of a sudden communist fall down. What make it fall down? American intervention the European intervention. Again the intervention of a new age. And now we approach INAUDIBLE and the Muslims they can not remain with old habits in a totally different era. And I believe we shall see changes., , INTERVIEWER:,You are seen as a great statement among people in the United states, among Jewish community and the community at large. And at one time you had a vision as a center in the middle east the center. This dream seems so far away today what would you say to people today in this country and elsewhere who have given up hope for peace?,19:38:28>>>, SHIMON PERES:,That's a INAUDIBLE people they give up, they give they gave up for peace too early. Maybe we are today close to realize this vision more than ever before. I didn't say that Israel will become a center. I thought Israel should have the middle east enter (COUGH OFF SCREEN) the new age. Because today most of the political problems are being solved economically. Europe was living in hatred and blood for a thousand. And 3 years Europe changed in spite of all their memories and all their education. What John Monet did for the future of Europe is much more than napoleon did for INAUDIBLE past. What changed Europe is the economy not the wars. And the same thing goes now for china. If you ask me what is the greatest achievement of high technology I would say china. They're changing the face of china. And they said time has come for the middle east to change as well. To go from the old bitterness of wars about territory to the new horizon of economic, scientific and technological cooperation. I wrote a book it's called the New Middle East. It was criticized very much among the Arabs. One day the president of Egypt invited me and says Shimon time has come that you will listen to your critics. And in short they said look you are trying to dominate the Arab economy under the cover of having a new middle east.,19:20:25>>>, SHIMON PERES: ,I told him gentlemen there is no Arab economy there is Arab poverty. Who wants to govern poverty. What for? Toady poverty is national and affluence is global. And unless you come in the global arena and open up, open your borders, open your skies let the objectivity of science. The promise of technology(COUGH OFF SCREEN) play it's free role then you'll save your children. You'll save the land from becoming desert and your children from becoming beggars. , INTERVIEWER:,Do you see any Arab leader who will be a hypothetical peace partner should that opportunity come?,22:10:01>>>, SHIMON PERES:,The leaders on the horizon are our leaders of yesterdays. The new leaders are unseen you don't know who they were who they are. Would you know who did produce the change in ah Russia it was unseen people. Or who did it china or did it in Europe. Jean Monet was an economist not even a general. And I believe that this is a confrontation not among politicians. And among religions and not upon economies. It is if you want a confrontation between two generations the outgoing generation that refuses to leave the scene and the incoming generation that doesn't have yet enough strength to take over. , INTERVIEWER:,I have no doubt that these people exist but there are young people that see Israel as facing the greatest threat of its survival since the creation of the state. Some blame us, some blame the Arabs in general some don't know what to say but they seem so pessimistic and when we travel it seems like we've gone back into time. the roads are full of holes. The Arabs seemed terrified. They seem passive, resigned and hopeless. It seems we've gone so far can we really see any hope when people feel so threatened on both sides?,24:04:10 SHIMON PERES:,100% around the INAUDIBLE doubt about it. , INTERVIEWER:,About what?,24:12:11>>>, SHIMON PERES:,About the change coming you know usually the future is in minority but it's a winning minority (COUGH OFF SCREEN) because it is the future. In a few weeks or so there will begun, begin the great confrontation between the world of terrorism and the world of INAUDIBLE of peace. In the 20th century the main confrontation was with the Communists, the Nazi's, the Fascists. Each of them has had a country behind them, an army behind them. terrorism is a new phenomena. It's more a protest then ideology without rules, without cords, without merits, without values. And there wild and a dangerous and you can also see that a poor country economically can be a rich country militarily. They can have modern arms and so on and so forth. So the free world doesn't have a choice but to bring an end to terror and terrorism. If communism and ah nazism was in Europe terrorism is in the Middle East. And now you see in the Middle East the great confrontation between people that want to enter a plane and be sure that they will arrive to their target. That they can walk in the street, attend a coffee, drink fresh water. So the changes in the Middle East are by far closer than we think.,25:55:17>>>, SHIMON PERES:, And you will see in the coming 5 to 10 years the great confrontation between these 2 civilizations, if you want, the civilization of terror without respect for human life, without any rational approach, without reference to the changes in our time and forces that will come not only from the outside but also from within the Arab world. Within the Muslim world. Not to do a favor to anybody but to save themselves from the agonies and cost of mistakes. , INTERVIEWER:,Will they have the courage to do so?,26:41:07>>>, SHIMON PERES:,They don't have a choice you know. courage also comes when you don't have a choice. What are they going to do remain backward poor, hated, isolated, a target for attacks and blames. , INTERVIEWER:,Will there be among the Palestinians people who say they don't have a choice?,27:08:10>>>, SHIMON PERES:,Yes few day, few weeks ago the number 2 man in the autonomy Abu Mazaum stood back, stood up and says we have to cut the INAUDIBLE. It's a tragedy. it's a catastrophe for the Palestinian people. And INAUDIBLE and so are many of the people who may say publicly one thing but privately they know exactly what's happening. And they know that the Palestinians are paying an impossible cost. , INTERVIEWER:,Yesterday we spoke with Hamed Qatari who is a Hamas leader. he was one of the 450 people who came back. He and other people that we spoke with said that they will fight this till the last man, woman and child to regain Palestine. I'm sure this is all very familiar to you.,28:20:05>>>, SHIMON PERES:,What, what would you expect them to say. , INTERVIEWER:,INAUDIBLE,28:23:13>>>, SHIMON PERES:,That's normal when there is a confrontation and each party is blaming the other party. People are talking and exaggerated and inflamed language. , INTERVIEWER:,Don't you feel the fundalism is growing stronger?,28:39:07>>>, SHIMON PERES:,I think the fundalism is a problem for the Palestinians not less than for us. They destroy the Palestinian position. If Arafat lost in the eyes of the United States and Europe it's because of them not because of us. Because they paint him in an impossible posture and he doesn't know who to escape., INTERVIEWER:,What message would you give to the American people? The people out there who are yearning for peace as they look at this?,29:21:10>>>, SHIMON PERES:,I mean there is no escape but to fight terror. You can not run away from it. Let's not forget it is not the United States that has initiated the war against terror. It is the terrorist who have initiated the war against the United States. And they don't intend to stop. Mach Magandi once said that when a cat is chasing a mouse there is no sense for a mouse to suggest it is frail because it has nothing to do with strategy it has to do with nature. The United States was forced actually in a fight of self defense. And nobody should see it differently. It's not a fight against a religion or against a nation it's a fight against a menace which brings untold catastrophes to the Palestinians and the Arabs and the Muslims themselves. So I think the United States is right and justified. a combination between a dictator and nuclear is a terrible situation. If Hitler had a nuclear bomb in 1939 I don't know where the world would stand. And eventually all other nations will join the United States. I thought it will be even quicker than that because United States always came to the side of Europe. To the side of all the INAUDIBLE the communism, or generals or whatever it is. And they sacrificed the live of their boys. And they won the war and they didn't keep anything for themselves. Now America is attacked. You may expect that the rest will behave likewise historically. , ,31:07:25>>>, SHIMON PERES:,The second point I want to say is that we are really identified with the United States but differently from all other allies United States has had or is having. We never asked American soldiers to sacrifice their lives to defend Israel. Some of the Europe counties who criticize the United States are having American soldiers defending their land. We never created this situation where an American mother should be worried because her boy's in Israel defending the state of the Jewish. No we shall do it ourselves. The same goals and America helped us which I shall never forget in arms, in political support, in understanding, in financing yes but not in blood and not in dangers. The same goes now for peace. While I'm sure the United States will support the peace process it is for Israel to take the imitative. We shouldn't sit and wait until the Americans take the initiative no. it is our responsibility. We are not running to the United States. United States shouldn't run the process of peace it should support it and they will support it. And I think the sooner the better. Any postponement is a mistake. I believe today the United States is really concerned about the Iranian problem and the terroristic problem. So we shouldn't wait until this problem will be solved. We have to start the peace process on our own. ,32:57:00>>>, SHIMON PERES:,For the simple reason you can not and you shouldn't fight terrorist without fighting terrorism. What I mean by the reasons for terror. You should give hope to the other side not only to yourself. I mean we can't have the Palestinian cooperation they wont be our collaborators. They will be our party if they gonna have reasons for it. They will never serve us. They will never take orders from us. But if they will see that we are really sincere and peaceful and concerned about them as well and we suggest to cut a deal which is fair and reasonable historically and other wise we should be able to make., INTERVIEWER:,But didn't we give them a fair deal?,33:51:19>>>, SHIMON PERES:,Suppose it wasn't successful so what so we shall try again. You don't divorce history. And you don't use disappointment as your teacher. You'll try it maybe we also committed mistakes and I think we did some. Now the problem is not it's not a baseball match to decide who's the winner. What we have is to create a new ground for our living. You see in war there is no alternative to victory. In peace there is no alternative to compromise. And now that 3 politicians nothing works ever. Nobody likes compromises but you can not have a coexistence without compromise., INTERVIEWER:,You'll try again but INAUDIBLE?,34:48:09>>>, SHIMON PERES:,No no I'm told you, I told you. I see the 3 ½ million people Palestinians who live across the river and are tied to old lessons and there were times also with them we were at war. We were at war with Egypt. We were at war with Jordan. There were times that we mistook. There were times they mistook. Well we can not make mistake and excuse., INTERVIEWER:,That's on their side and now you have more than 200 thousand settlers. How will the country survive