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Israel commits war crime by assassinating senior Hamas figure: Palestinian official
ISTANBUL, TÜRKİYE - JANUARY 03:The assassination carried out by Israel against a senior Hamas figure with an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, means a violation of international law and Lebanon's sovereignty, according to a Palestinian journalist and author. The editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Palestinian journalist-author Ramzy Baroud told Anadolu that Israel's attack on civilian areas in Lebanon was a serious violation of international law, referring to the assassination of the deputy head of Hamas' Political Bureau Saleh al-Arouri. "For now, we know that six more people were killed along with Arouri," he said. "In this attack, a UAV that fired three missiles targeted a residential area and damaged the building where Arouri held his meetings along with other structures." Mentioning that Israel hit one of the busiest streets of the Lebanese capital, he criticized: "They hit a sovereign country." The Palestinian journalist further underlined: "There is a list of war crimes in this assassination." "Now, Israel is under the impression or perhaps wants to believe that it's going to be business as usual," he added. Reminding that the Tel Aviv administration had not faced any sanctions in the past despite assassinating various people in Syria, Lebanon, and other parts of the Middle East, Baroud indicated that "the rules of the games have changed," and this assassination will not go unanswered like the previous ones. (Footage by Halil Ibrahim Medet /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Interview with Jabril Mamoud al Rajoub
Interview conducted with Jabril Rajoub,00:00:00>>>,Q: (Introduce yourself),JABRIL RAJOUB: Jabril Mamoud(?) al Rajoub.,Q: (And your title),RAJOUB: I am member of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah. ,Q: (Where were you born),RAJOUB: I was born in a village near Hebron, (INAUD) in 14th of May '53. ,Q: (Your first experience with Israeli occupation),RAJOUB: I was arrested on the 3rd of December '68, I was then fifteen years and four months for I was arrested for...about five months. ,Q: (What were you arrested for),RAJOUB: I was arrested because an Israeli accused me that I was uh, I...I...assisted some people who were wanted for Israelis. ,Q: (When did you join),RAJOUB: I joined Fatah in September '69. ,Q: (Ever since you've been a member),00:02:34>>>,RAJOUB: Since then I have been a member of Fatah. During this period I was arrested many times. Second time I was arrested in 1970 for a few weeks. Then I was released, re-arrested December ‘70, till May '85. Then I was released in prisoners of war exchange 20th of May '85, then re-arrested in 18th of November '85, released in June '86, re-arrested in September of '86, released March '87, re-arrested December '87, deported January '88 to Lebanon to Tunis and I came back on 17th of May '94 and I was appointed as the chief of the preventive security on the West Bank until last July. ,Q: (Did you believe in the Oslo agreements),RAJOUB: Yeah, I think that I did believe for this reason, I supported this agreement. I think that Oslo was rational breakthrough in the dilemma between ourselves and the Israelis. ,Q: (You still support Oslo),RAJOUB: Listen, first of all you should know that I was one of the loyal and faithful Palestinian fighters, and for me fighting never was an end. It was a mean. As for me was not to kill people or to cause suffering or to suffer being arrested, so I think the end for me and the target was once to live in peace and to make peace and peace you make with enemies. I think that the only way for Palestinian people and for the Israelis to assure secured stability in this reality is to make peace. And making peace means that there should be some kind of compromise. As for this reason I think that the majority of the Palestinian people uh, do recognize Israel as a matter of fact on the ground, the existence of Israel, uh, and I think that the problem till Oslo was the Israelis who did not recognize the existence of the Palestinian people. As when the late prime minister of Israel Rabin who recognized the existence, the very existence of the Palestinian people, I think it was uh, a right step on the right direction. ,Q: (A golden age of Oslo),00:05:40>>>,RAJOUB: Listen first of all, you know a person like me who suffered - I spent about seventeen years in Israeli jails. And I know the meaning of war and the meaning of blood shedding and killing and suffering. As for the decision I think that peace for me was uh, very important. I do believe that during the first two years there was good cooperation, good coordination, because the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership did feel that they have a partner on the other side, first. Second, and I think also this partner did deal with the Palestinian leadership with respect. ,Q: (What happened after),RAJOUB: I think since Netanyahu came to the regime, uh, he had one target, how to undermine this process of reconciliation between the Palestinians and the Israelis.,Q: (After the Barak Camp David accords broke down),00:06:52>>>,RAJOUB: Listen, I think that the process of undermining and destroying the uh, this system of reconciliation started by the assassination of Rabin. Uh, when Netanyahu became prime minister from the first moment he started to work on this direction, then he exploded the whole situation by the tunnel in Jerusalem. The Americans, Clinton, tried to contain the reaction and I think that the Americans existed in opposition to Netanyahu to contain and to renew the...the channels and the talks and the dialog with the P.A. and they succeeded. And then Barak, I think that Barak tried to renew the channels, to renew the hope, for both peoples uh, maybe for his own reasons Barak did not succeed to bridge the gap. And maybe for his own internal problems he did not have the...enough time to renew the hope for both peoples but I think that Barak got very important marks on the road of reconciliation. ,Q: (Why the offer led to more Intifada) ,RAJOUB: First of all, Barak did not make a good or bad offer. The good offer is the offer that meet the Palestinian National aspirations. I think that Barak has no right, not Barak nor anyone else has the right to dictate what to offer and what not to offer. As you said that we accepted to live in twenty-two percent of the history of Palestine according to international legitimacy. I do believe that either Mr. Barak or any other prime minister if he has the courage to say listen, I am committed to peace accord, security council resolutions, believe me the Palestinians would meet the Israelis on the...the...the whole issues or controversial issues that connected to the future of both peoples. But you see as if Mr. Barak did something positive for the Palestinians this is unfair, Mr. Barak as I said made good marks on the road but I don't think that Mr. Barak was ready to do everything in order to assure a good package deal for both sides. ,Q: (What were most harmful actions of Israeli government in last two years),RAJOUB: I think that uh, the Israelis who started this unilateral war against the Palestinian people and I think that the way that the Israelis are dealing and treating the Palestinians during the last two years since they started the assassination, the closure, and so on, I think that it was a crazy policy. You can not distinguish between one step and another but the whole policy was crazy and whole policy is a destructive one. ,Q: (Were there mistakes on both sides),00:10:43>>>,RAJOUB: Listen, I myself, I think that we should have some kind of self criticism. We did make some mistakes and I think that militarizing the Intifada was a big mistake. I do believe also that involving some individuals of the security services was a mistake, I think that sometimes we did not behave as responsible authority within areas which was under our jurisdiction, was a mistake. I think also the whole series of terror attacks against Israeli civilians in the inside Israel was a big mistake. I think also that some Palestinians did not get the message of eleventh of September, was a mistake. I think that those mistakes uh, the Palestinians should recognize. But he who is responsible for the whole process of escalation during the last period I think were the Israelis. And I was one of those who paid a lot for the sake of assuring peace, security, reconciliation, between both sides. I do believe that the...all the time the...the ball was in the Israeli court, because the Israelis who can deliver more than the Palestinians in order to assure stability and security. ,Q: (Do you believe the Israelis want to rule over the Palestinians),RAJOUB: I think some Israelis are thinking this way, but I do believe most of Israel is looking for peace and for living in security. The Israeli problem is the issue of security and I think that the key for the security...their security is in our hands. Some of their demagogue leaders are trying to convince them that through the I.D.F and through this war they can assure security, sooner or later I think that the Israeli people will conclude that conclusion and understand that the key of their security is on the hands of the Palestinians who are ready to give this key if the Israelis once more to recognize the existence of the Palestinian people as their neighbors. And to recognize the fact is that the solution, two states for two peoples. This is the only way for both sides. ,Q: (How do you mean key to security is in hands of Palestinians),00:13:34>>>,RAJOUB: I think that we are living under Israeli occupation. We are facing the worst kind of terror which is the occupation, the settlements, the humiliation that every Palestinian is facing everywhere in the occupied territories. And I think that removing this situation and enabling the Palestinian people for self-determination, building their own state, I think that such a way and this is the only mean for the Israelis to convince the pal...the Palestinian people to assure uh, security for them. Because during the first two years, when the Palestinian people did feel that there is a hope for their future I think that the Israelis did feel secure, in our areas more than Tel Aviv.,Q: (What is the magical formula),RAJOUB: I think this is very simple. The Israeli government should recognize the facts on the ground. West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, was occupied by the Israelis in '67. The whole international community is pushing toward evacuating those areas from the Israelis and enabling the Palestinian people to build their own state, peaceful state, as I think that the Israelis should start by recognizing this fact. Then we are ready for everything. We do...we do understand their concern about the...the security and about other issues which I think the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership, I'm pretty sure, they are ready to meet their concerns. ,Q: (Do they have the power to ensure security),RAJOUB: According to my own experience I think that during the last...the first two or three years everything was okay, for the Israelis themselves, and I think they do recognize this as a matter of fact. But uh, what... I do believe that the majority of the Palestinian are looking for having their own Palestinian independent state and everybody knows the...the...the...what they should pay for that. What they should deliver for that. As for this reason, I think that the Palestinian people have the motivation and the reason to control their society, the people, and I do believe that most of the political factions among the Palestinians are looking for this target, and they do understand what they should do in order to reach this end. ,Q: (How can they control escalation),RAJOUB: Nothing. Nothing. We can not do anything at the time being as long as the Israelis are reoccupying our areas, assassinating the closure, the curfews, I don't think that we can do anything more than a statement denouncing or denouncing this or that act. ,Q: (Does the martyr's brigade speak for Fatah),RAJOUB: You know listen, I think that the people of Al Aksa Brigades, you know appeared after the...appeared after the dis...disappointment, the frustration among the whole Palestinian society, including Fatah. Everybody should recognize that without the Fatah support, uh, neither the PLO nor the Israelis could make any progress during the first six years of the Oslo process. Through the support of Fatah, with the assistance of the people of Fatah, who work day and night in order to assure a positive atmosphere for the Israelis and for the Palestinians, those people who became frustrated and disappointed, I think that they reacted by...this way but I do believe that till now, if Fatah could control those groups, I don't think that this is the problem. Which we are...I mean we will face in the future. ,Q: (Do you have personal contact with individual Israelis),RAJOUB: Listen, I think that some...some Israelis in the past whom we dealt with, I do believe that they were loyal to the principle of assuring reconciliation with the Palestinian people, those individuals and those people loyal...all of them I do respect till now, with some of them sort of I had personal contacts. ,Q: (Clarify the boat with arms),00:19:43>>>,RAJOUB: I think that the...all the Palestinian people are looking for peace and security and I do believe that all of the Palestinian people were against the events of September terror attacks against the Americans. And I'm not saying this as some kind of lip service. I think this is for me as a matter of principle and I think that this is for most of the Palestinian people. I do believe that and recognize that the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority were not with the legal of the Israeli propaganda in the states. The Jewish communities influence in the states, and I think that Mr. Bush made a big mistake by criticizing the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority and trying to push us in the corner following the 11th of September. He should not, and I do not think he has any reason to blame the Palestinian people for what is going on. Uh, the infrastructure of terror and terrorism is in the Israeli occupation. The cancer is the Israeli occupation. I hope that Mr. Bush will recharge his mental batteries, reconsider his views, his concerns toward the Palestinian people and toward the...the...the whole conflict in order to protect the American interests in the Middle East because I do believe that this conflict and the Israeli occupation is a threat for the whole regional for the whole regional stability. ,Q: (The Mitchell report called for a cease fire),RAJOUB: First of all, you know we did accept Mitchell report and we did accept also in it proposal and I think that he who should start the first step are the Israelis. Uh, and I do believe that this...this Israeli government has no intention to freeze the settlements. On the contrary, Mr. Sharon is trying to expand existing settlements and he's trying to build new ones as I do believe that if both sides have the good intentions, we can make business together. But he who should start the first step are the Israelis. Israelis should stop their aggressions, should end their curfews on the closures of the Palestinian cities, believe me that we have the interest and we have the wish and we have the motivation to start or to restart building confidence with the other side. ,Q: (Can you see a peace),00:23:22>>>,RAJOUB: Listen, as uh, a freedom fighter, from the first moment I had two beliefs. The first one is that our revolution will assure victory sooner or later. The second thing is that with those Israelis we will make peace. We will make a deal once uh, as I think after the Oslo experience and after the last nine years of experience uh, good experience and bad experience, I think that this belief that the end is to have a deal uh, sooner or later. But the sooner is the better for both sides, we will have the same deal. Which we may...could have it easily twenty years ago. But the question is, how much price are we going to pay, both sides, the Israelis can not dictate their expansionist policies on the whole world, the Americans, the Europeans, the Arabs, the Palestinians, and I do believe that the Israelis will understand that the only way is to end their occupation. This is the key for everything. But from our side, all the time, if I hadn't this feeling and this wish and this hope, I think that I should have been somewhere else. ,Q: (How much will it take to re-establish security services),RAJOUB: Listen, I think it's up to the Israelis. The Israeli good intentions. The Israeli cooperation. The Israeli readiness to enable us to rebuild the security services, but I think that having such an agreement or understanding is better than having nothing. Because both of us are in a vicious circle, a circle of violence, a circle of blood shedding and having such commitment I think then with good intentions, I'm pretty sure that it's a matter of limited time we can achieve such a target. ,Q: (What about Jerusalem),00:26:15>>>,RAJOUB: Jerusalem is...was occupied by the Israelis. The Israelis have no rights to decide to annex, to do anything in the whole occupied territories. For the Jews, as Jews, if they have some shrines or places in East Jerusalem like the Wailing Wall, I think that they have the right to have accesses to go, to visit, to pray, and to do everything. But East Jerusalem was occupied by the Israelis, no Palestinian leader could sign any kind of agreement without having East Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine. ,Q: (How will war in Iraq effect the plight of the Palestinian people),RAJOUB: First of all, I hope that they can find a peaceful settlement for this crisis in Iraq. But I do believe that such a war will make drastic change in the whole political map in the Middle East. ,Q: (Elaborate),RAJOUB: I don't think I should explain more. But everybody could understand the anger, the reaction... ,Q: (The war in the region could be very dangerous),RAJOUB: I think that the Americans should concentrate their efforts on their interests in the Middle East, and their interests will never be protected without adopting a clear cut policy about the Israeli occupation, the Israeli cancer, the Israeli threat for this regeional stability. The double standard policy of the Americans I think it's a threat for their interests and I think that it's a threat for the whole regional stability. ,Q: (Do Fatah and Hamas have same agenda),00:28:57>>>,RAJOUB: No, I think that it's unfair. First of all, Fatah has a secular political movement till now, Fatah has the majority of the Palestinian people. I think that the backbone of the Palestinian political factions are against any kind of terror attacks against civilians, whether those civilians are Israelis or not Israelis. This was a matter of principle during the period that we did support an arms struggle but we had some individuals, frustration, disappointment, I don't want to justify who did such terror attacks, but I think that most of the Palestinian people condemn it and are against those means, because I don't think that we can use such means in order to assure any political target. This is not the right way, and I think that most of the Palestinian people are thinking the same way. ,Q: (You do believe peace is possible),RAJOUB: Listen, as a revolutionary, I was born optimistic. Sooner or later we will have a package deal with Israelis. The sooner is the better for both sides, believe me. I say package deal...we will have it this year or after ten years. But the...the...for...the benefit of both sides, let us have it today, because just the difference is the price that both...both sides are going to pay, suffering, killing, blood shedding. ,Q: (Anything else),RAJOUB: I don't know it. ,(ROOM TONE),(END OF INTERVIEW WITH JARRIL RAJOUB)
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Les informés de France Info: 13 November 2022 issue
Radio France: filmed programmes
Interview with Dennis Ross pt 1
Interview with Dennis Ross, envoy for Pres. Clinton and head of Policy Planning for George H. Bush In '91. Re: Oslo Agreement, Rabin, Shamir, Arafat, Netanyahu and Barak ,01:07:51>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,I can certainly spell my name, -I'm actually quite good at that. It's Dennis Ross. D-e-n-n-i-s-, R-o-s-s. I'm the Director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. And I have been here since I left the government, where I was the American negotiator in the Middle East. , INTERVIEWER:,You were the negotiator through several administrations. (Inaudible) ,01:08:18>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Well, I was the, I was the envoy during the Clinton Administration, both terms. I was the - what I would say - I was the head of Policy Planning, in the President Bush 91' Administration. And in that role, I had the lead responsibility for shaping what we did towards Arab/Israeli issues. But if you were going to identify a negotiator in the Bush Administration, it was Secretary Baker. , INTERVIEWER:,You were with Aaron Miller, and - you were on Baker's team in the Middle East. ,01:08:50>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Yeah. I led that team. And Miller was on the team, and Aaron was my deputy throughout the Clinton Administration. And Dan Kurtzer was on that team for, for part of the time. , INTERVIEWER:,Can you describe, briefly, your perception of the change in the Israeli readiness for peace, and readiness for compromise? Show me your days, and when you were facing Israel under (Inaudible). ,01:09:18>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Well it was a revolution in attitudes. During Shamir's tenure as Prime Minister, Shamir operated on a premise that every action you took was, by definition, risk. It would impose risk. And not taking actions, were not seen by him as also risky. In other words, he always saw the risk of every action, but he never saw the risk of inaction. He always felt that sooner or later something would come along to save you. So he would talk about his commitment to pursuing peace, because he was, in fact, not exactly enthusiastic about doing so. ,And when we were able to get to Madrid, in no small part we were able to get to Madrid, because we got a yes from _____, first, and then Shamir felt that he had to prove that he was also up to being able to negotiate. , INTERVIEWER:,Actually, in the peace process that was famous for having been - ____ actually began working for the Shamir Administration in 91'. ,01:10:15>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Absolutely. The Madrid - what the Madrid Conference did, is end the - break the taboo on direct talks between Arabs and Israelis. When Egypt made peace with Israel, in 1979, he didn't break that taboo. Because, at least for a period of time Egypt was isolated by the rest of the Arab world. The taboo stayed in place. You couldn't have direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors; Egypt, the United States, throughout the 1980's, tried to broker different ways to create a basis for negotiations. But what Madrid did is it broke that taboo, and it made it legitimate to talk, sit directly, with Israel, if you were an Arab country. So the real peace process begins with the launching of the Madrid Conference. Not because suddenly you have a negotiation that is serious, but you have a negotiation at all. , INTERVIEWER:,What was the revolution at Oslo? ,01:11:11>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,The real revolution is, I think, a function of attitude, but also crossing the threshold to deal directly with the Palestinians. During Shamir's time, he wanted to have a dialogue with Palestinians from the territories. And if, in fact, he had been willing to have a serious dialogue with them, and empower them, and in a sense have them become authentic and authoritative because they could deliver, he might well have been able to deal with someone other than Yasser Arafat. It was not absolutely a given that Yasser Arafat would be the partner, especially after The Gulf War, when his standing was quite low. I mean, he was isolated, he was alone. The Gulf States wanted nothing to do with him. So, in fact, his vulnerability was such that it's conceivable that you might have had an alternative to him. ,01:11:56>>>,Shamir's big mistake was he - when we finally got to negotiations with the Palestinians, he engaged in behaviors that basically undercut them - showed that they couldn't change the kind of behaviors that were being carried out by the Israeli government, that most Palestinians found very difficult to live with. And settlement activity didn't go down, it went up. House confiscations and demolitions didn't go down, they went up. So rather than being able to change the realities within which Palestinians live, which might have built the authority, and weight, the Palestinians that the Israeli government, under Shamir was dealing with, he basically undercut them, and left very little choice, except to deal with the PLO. ,01:12:38>>>,What Rabin did, is cross that threshold. But obviously, in crossing the threshold, he did it, not only because he wanted to be able to deal with authoritative Palestinians, what he also felt was that there was a historic moment where you could settle his conflict. And that's what he was about. That's how he defined himself. This was his second go around as Prime Minister. He had been Prime Minister after the 1973 war. This was his chance, twenty years later, to really produce. And he felt an obligation, as the generation of founders of Israel, to pass on to the next generation what would be a situation of peace. That was an important motivation. But there was one other fact that was a motivation. ,01:13:18>>>,Rabin was a strategist, and he always thought in broader, strategic terms. And he looked at what he felt was a confluence of circumstances that made peace making, at this point, much more likely to succeed, because you have the extremists after The Gulf War, in decline. You have moderates in the Arab World, in the ascendancy. You have those who could present a threat from a distance, meaning Iraq and Iran. Also at that point, certainly in the case of Iraq, at a point where they were not really capable of offering much of a threat or presenting much of a threat, but he looked down the road, five or ten years from this particular period, and he said, if we don't take advantage of this moment, we may find later on the threat we face is much more acute. ,So, there was a strategic imperative from Rabin's standpoint, a well as, in some ways, I would suspect a moral imperative. Because he felt an obligation as Prime Minister, to pass something on to the next generation. , INTERVIEWER:,You worked closely with President Clinton, at that time. What was his sense and his hope, his high hopes for the Oslo Agreement. What kind of hope and (Inaudible) in your administration? ,01:14:28>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,I think that President Clinton, when you have this threshold crossed, when you have the September 13th, 1993 handshake at the White House, President Clinton saw this, not only as a historic threshold that had been crossed, he saw it as an indication that these two sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, who were seen as the core of the conflict in the Middle East, not the sum total of the conflict, but the core of it, that they, in fact, were able to talk peace. And we were, we were no longer in an era of diplomacy through denial, we are now in an era of diplomacy through bargaining. And I think he thought, look, if we're - in a period where we're talking about how you reach deals, it's only a matter of time. And he became convinced that you would see an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict during his tenure as President. , INTERVIEWER:,Do you think that was a somewhat realistic hope, given the situation and what happened? ,01:15:24>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Well, I think that hope was - I think it was realistic, at the time, from the following standpoint; you had had Israelis and Palestinians living in a world of mutual rejection and denial. And suddenly you're taking the, the imagery of rejection, and replacing it with recognition. And recognition and the commitment to resolve the conflict of peaceful means, the renunciation of terror and violence which was part of Arafat's letter to Rabin on September 9th, 1993, that opened the way for the recognition of the Israelis to the PLO. All of this suggested that we are in a new world. And given the outlines of the declaration of principals, that was concluded between the Israelis and the Palestinians, everything that needed to be there for a broad road map to get from where we were, to an eventual conclusion, was there. ,01:16:20>>>,Now, what was also there, were all sorts of big holes and big question marks, which suggested that you were going to have to have very difficult negotiations. But you'd had a revolution in psychology. So, with the revolution in psychology, that certainly made it seem possible, that you might be able to create a revolution on the ground, and ensure that peace making would no longer be only theoretical. , INTERVIEWER:,Was there a sense, not only - you talked about the change on the Israeli's side, can you talk more about the commitment on the Palestinian side (Inaudible) resolved in negotiations? All these new statements, on his part. Do you see a new Palestinian (Inaudible)? ,01:17:00>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Well certainly, in the commitments that Arafat made, which were in writing. What they suggested was that the PLO had gone through what was a fundamental departure. It had transformed who it was. It was now going to pursue in an explicit, open process, a negotiation with Israel. What the mutual recognition meant, from the Palestinian standpoint, was they accepted Israel's right to be there. That's what recognition meant. And the Israelis, in a sense, at least implicitly, accepted that the agenda of the PLO, which was statehood, was also going to be the end of the process. In effect the trade that was - if you look at the essence of what was being discussed first in the Declaration of Principals, and then in every interim agreement that succeeded it - there was a basic trade. It wasn't land for peace, it was security for peace. , INTERVIEWER:,We interviewed Palestinian negotiators for this. And they all said something similar which was that, this would have worked, it was this close to working had it not been for the Netanyahu Administration of 96'. That Netanyahu had somehow been so fundamental a policy change, that it just killed the peace agreement, peace process. Yet, you've negotiated deals, even during the administration. , DENNIS ROSS:,True. , INTERVIEWER:,How do you respond to the accuracy of that? ,01:18:24>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,I do think there is an element here that has to be considered. During Prime Minister Netanyahu's period, you had a three-year period where the process clearly slowed down. What was supposed to be the beginning of permanent status negotiations in 1996, didn't take place until after Barak was Prime Minister. And even when he was Prime Minister, they didn't begin right away. So there was a period where we lost time. And Palestinians, during this time, saw what was an Oslo Process that was supposed to produce the end of Israeli occupation, the end of Israeli control, they saw it being cemented in this time. Many Palestinians on the street came to believe that the process was really a sham process, because it wasn't producing what it was supposed to produce. So, from that standpoint, I think it's fair to say that cynicism about the process, among Palestinians, anger about the process among Palestinians went up during this period. And the loss of time was significant. ,01:19:20>>>,It was also significant for one other reason; two very prominent Arab leaders who might well have felt a special responsibility for Jerusalem, and who were not shy about being prepared to weigh in, and could have, in effect, I believe, put pressure on Arafat on the Jerusalem issue, both died. We lost King Hussein, and we lost King Hassad of Morocco. So, time, from that standpoint, may have cost us something very profound. Now, having said all that, it also leaves out one important factor. You know, Netanyahu never would have become Prime Minister in the aftermath of the assassination, if it weren't for Hamas and Jihad bombs, in nine days, at the end of February and beginning of March. If Yasser Arafat had been doing what he was supposed to do, in terms of insuring that they would not be a threat, he wouldn't have had those four bombs in nine days, you would have had Shimon, Shimon Peres elected in the shadow of an assassination, which gave him really a kind of unassailable quality, until the four bombs in nine days came along. ,01:20:24>>>,And so, in effect, when you say, you lost three years because of Netanyahu, the fact of the matter is, you would have had Shimon Peres representing the fulfillment of the Rabin legacy, and with a mandate committed to fulfilling that legacy. Except that doesn't happen, because you have terrorist bombings. And when Shimon Peres, in January of 1996 (before the bombing), meets with Yasser Arafat and says, you have to do something about Mohammed Deif who is the chief bomb maker, organizer of the Izzedine al Qassam Brigade for the Hamas in Gaza. And he says, you gotta do something about Mohammed Deif, to Arafat, in a meeting with the security people of both sides. And Arafat says, who's Deif, I don't know Deif?,01:21:12>>>,So, the notion that somehow it's - because Netanyahu comes in and you lose three years, tends to ignore the reality that Yasser Arafat could have done something about the threat that Hamas posed, and didn't do anything until after the four bombs in nine days. After the four bombs, which basically discredited Peres, then he cracked down. He did, seriously, crack down. Probably his most profound and systematic crackdown, at any point throughout the process. But he did it after the four bombs. ,01:21:42>>>,Now, I know, from a number of Palestinians, who were telling him in advance of this, you know, these guys are building up their strength and at some point they're gonna act, we have to do something. And he didn't. So, I would say, when we look from a historical standpoint, it is true that the three years of Netanyahu, I think, did create a sense of cynicism and doubt among Palestinians, about the worth of the process, at the level of the street. And it did cost us two significant Arab leaders who, for very different reasons, felt they had a responsibility for Jerusalem. King Mohammed, because he could trace his lineage to the prophet, and because he headed the Jerusalem Committee, of the organization of Is- of the Islamic Organization of States. And King Hussein, because he too could trace his lineage to the prophets, and felt a special linkage to Jerusalem - in fact, he had paid for the renovations on the Dome of Rock himself. ,01:22:40>>>,These were two leaders who were prepared to do something about Jerusalem. And I think had they been there, you might well have seen a very different posture on that issue, which could have effected the negotiations. But they were gone, and that's one of the consequences of losing time. , INTERVIEWER:,You've written, as recently as last year, about this crackdown that happened in February 96'. Yasser Arafat, you say, could have had the ability at the time, to stop the terror from (Inaudible). ,01:23:17>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Well the proof of it is that it did stop. You know, you had one year - Barak's first year - where you didn't have - for the only time in Israel's history, you had a year go by where you didn't lose a single fatality to terror. Now that wasn't suddenly because Hamas Islamic Jihad decided to transform themselves. It wasn't because they suddenly decided, well, gee, we really don't care about the Israelis. It wasn't because the Israelis were stopping everything, it's because the Palestinians were shutting it down. They were shutting it down, they were cooperating with Israeli security. And they were sending a very clear message. Arafat sent a very clear message, at this time: You do anything, we come down on you like a ton of bricks. So it's the period when he's not sending that message, is suddenly when you see terror. ,01:24:05>>>,Now, in the case of the four bombs in nine days, the Israelis had been able to kill Abu Ayash who was known as The Engineer. And I suspect that Arafat expected that there would be a retaliation for that. The real reason I believe that Arafat cracked down in 1996 was not because of Israeli pressure, or because of our pressure, it was because he was surprised by the scope of the Hamas infrastructure. He may have expected one bomb in retaliation for the killing of Ayash. He got four. And he saw it discrediting him, in the eyes of the world. And then he cracks down. And he cracks down dramatically. He removes Imams from the mosques. He arrests all the leaders of Hamas, not just the political leaders, but the military leaders as well. So, he does something that no one else in the Arab world has done. He's going into the mosques, directly. And he kept it up for about four months. , INTERVIEWER:,Can't he do that now? Can't he do that in the past two years? ,01:25:09>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,He certainly could have done much more than he has done. To say that he could do it today on the West Bank is not true. Because basically, the Israelis are in every city of the West Bank, except Jericho. But he could do it in Gaza. And in fact, about two months ago, Hamas kidnapped one of the officers of the Palestinian Security Organization in Gaza over a familial dispute that went back a couple of years. But the PSO there, wanted to take Hamas on, and it was Arafat who stopped them. So, in a place where his security organizations are basically intact, meaning in Gaza, they have not cracked down because he won't let them. In the West Bank, today, he doesn't have the same wherewithal, but he certainly did before the Intifada. And those who say, you know, he doesn't have the strength to do it, well he wasn't doing it when he did have the strength to do it. [OFF CAMERA COMMENTS] ,01:26:12>>>,The issue of whether Arafat is capable, today, of cracking down on Hamas the way he did in the past, is an issue that, I think, is a legitimate one, when you're talking about the West Bank. You have, in fact, Israelis in every city of The West Bank, every Palestinian city, except Jericho. They have, pretty much, destroyed the structure of the Palestinian security organizations, what is known as the PSO. So, in the West Bank, to expect him to really engineer a crackdown, when he's also basically a prisoner, within the Mukata within Ramala, would be difficult. Now, that doesn't mean that he doesn't moral suasions, still. It doesn't mean that he doesn't have moral authority to make it clear that those who carry out these kinds of attacks are enemies of the Palestinian cause, something he's never said. ,01:26:59>>>,Whenever Arafat condemns acts of terror, he condemns acts of terror against all civilians. He never condemns the groups by name. The very day that someone like Rantici [PH], who is a leader of Hamas, will take credit for a bombing or Sheik Yassin a leader of Hamas will take credit for a bombing. He'll be condemning the bombings, but he never condemns them by name. He never says that, that the people who carry out these bombings are enemies of the Palestinian cause. He never says that. He never delegitimizes them. He has the power to delegitimize, but he doesn't do it. Today in Gaza, he could act. Today in Gaza, the one thing that hasn't changed is that the Palestinian Security Organizations are basically in tact. And they could take on Hamas. But, they either do not because he doesn't let him, or they choose not to. ,01:27:48>>>,Now, two months ago, there was a point where his officers in the Palestinian Security Organization, in Gaza, were prepared to do so. Because one of their officers was kidnapped by a Hamas figure and killed. It was primarily a function of a familiar, familial struggle. But, the fact of the matter is, his organization, the Palestinian Security Organization in Gaza, was ready to go after Hamas over this issue. And he is the one who blocked it. ,So, to say that Yasser Arafat doesn't have the power today to crack down on Hamas, may be true in part, but it doesn't explain why he didn't crack down on them at a period when he did have the power. , INTERVIEWER:,That brings us to a larger issue, Camp David 2000. , DENNIS ROSS:,Yes. , INTERVIEWER:,This was a - this was another crucial juncture. There's a lot of disagreement about what happened that really caused the breakdown - what really caused this moment of revolutionary change to become a moment of revolutionary ___. ,01:28:56>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,Yeah. Well I think that - there's all sorts of explanations. I think we have to look at it, not with, not with a sense of revisionism, which I've seen a lot of people engage in, but to go back and look at this with very clear eyes. And the fact of the matter is that it is true that Yasser Arafat didn't want to go to Camp David, but the argument that he was forced to go against his will is not really true, because he was ready to go. The argument that he asked for more time is true, but then it ignores the fact that he wouldn't use any time to prepare. ,So, the issue of was he forced, were we ready, is really, I think, beside the point. The real question is, in 15 days, when we were there, did he ever say anything new? He, personally? He may have authorized his negotiators because, in fact, his negotiators did say some new things, and they did make important concessions. But he is someone we never heard anything new from him. The only thing new that he said in fifteen days, is that Solomon's Temple did not exist in Jerusalem, it was ____. Now, if you're sending a signal of trying to delegitimize or question the core of the other side's belief, this is hardly an indication that you're ready to engage in reconciliation. So, I think that Arafat goes to Camp David, but has no intention of concluding an agreement while he's at Camp David. He has his negotiators, to be fair to them, there were three important concessions that they made. ,01:30:32>>>,One concession was that they were prepared to accept settlement blocks in the West Bank, for the Israelis, that would accommodate 80% of the settlers. 80% of the settlers, not 80% of the settlements. They also were prepared to accept the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, being part of Israel. And finally, they were prepared to accept certain security arrangements, including early warning positions - early warning posts for the Israelis in the West Bank. Now, these were important concessions, they weren't sufficient to do a deal, but they were important. But we never heard from him. Never. , INTERVIEWER:,Never heard from? ,01:31:07>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,We never heard from Yasser Arafat that these concessions were ones that he embraced. We assumed, because his negotiators were prepared to put him on the table. At the end of Camp David, the last night of Camp David, President Clinton and I sat for two and a half hours with one - the Senior Israeli Negotiator, Shlomo Ben Ami and with Saeb Erekat, and we tried lots of different ideas. And the one thing that came through from Saeb Erekat, was that he didn't believe that Chairman Arafat was going to accept anything that we were putting on the table. Now, part of the reason, to be fair, is you have to understand Arafat. ,01:31:50>>>,Arafat never makes a decision one second before he has to. He's a decision avoider, he's not a decision maker. He spent his whole career maneuvering between different forces, trying to control the Palestinian Movement, or subvert the Palestinian Movement, or beat his competitors, or control him. So, he became habituated, not to deciding, but to evading. And Camp David, from his standpoint, was, you know, more than six months before the end of the Clinton Administration. As far as he was concerned, this wouldn't be the end of the road. No matter what we said. Even if we said, as you heard frequently, at Camp David, this was the end of the road for the president, after this there wasn't anything he could do. He didn't buy it. He didn't believe it. So, he wasn't going to make the historic concessions, if he was going to make them at all, in July of 2000. ,01:32:38>>>,But what convinced me, forever and always, that he wasn't up to ending the conflict, that it required too much personal redefinition, is that when time ran out, he still said no. It's one thing to have said no, at Camp David, when we didn't have a comprehensive proposal. We made proposals only on Jerusalem, and on the border. But with the Clinton ideas that we put on the table, on December 23rd, 2000, with no time left, less than a month left in the Clinton Administration, a new president already elected. At this point, with time basically having run out, with a comprehensive proposal that went farther than Camp David, not only in terms of the issues, but even in the content of the issues. You know, whereas we were talking about 92% of the territories going over to the Palestinians at Camp David, we're talking about 97% of the territories in the Clinton ideas. Whereas, we're talking about only the outer neighborhoods, the outer Arab neighborhoods, like Shuhafat [PH] and Beit becoming sovereign Palestinian territory. The outer neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, in the Clinton ideas, suddenly we transformed that into the principle that what is Arab will be Palestinian, and what is Jewish will be Israeli. Which meant that all the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem would become part of the Palestinian Capital. So, we went much farther, in terms of content, and we went much farther in terms of having a comprehensive approach that dealt with refugees and security, as well. And this is what he could not say yes to. , INTERVIEWER:,We interviewed Saab Erekat, and just to give you a point that he made - , DENNIS ROSS:,Sure. , INTERVIEWER:,-he disputes the fact that there was a no at ____, when time was running out. He said the Palestinians - the Israelis offered, the Palestinians counter offered, the Israelis said, let the people decide. Low and behold new elections. The proposal was killed by the fact that Israelis never ____ to their people, not by the fact that (Inaudible) said no. , DENNIS ROSS:,First of all, they said, no, to the Clinton ideas. , INTERVIEWER:,Who said no? ,01:35:03>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,The Palestinians said no to the Clinton ideas. Yasser Arafat said no to the Clinton ideas. Did he say it - how did he say it? He said it in the following way; he said, I accept your ideas but I have reservations. The reservations, basically emasculated each of the issues that required him to give something. So, on Jerusalem he rejected the core of the compromise that was built into the Clinton ideas. On security, he rejected the elements of security in their entirety. He took what was the easiest element of security, and said it could never be accepted. Which was, that the Israelis would be able to operate in the air space. We didn't even say control the air space. We said, operate in the air space. He said, oh the Arab League will never accept that. This was not even the most demanding element of the security provisions that we put in. Had we gone through them, specifically one by one, he would have rejected each of them. ,01:35:49>>>,On the issue of refugees, which was a very delicate balance that we put together, we came up with a formula that said the Palestinians would have the right of return, would have the right to return to either their historic homeland, or historic Palestine, as a chapeau as a, as a kind of broad slogan under which they would be able to talk about refugees. But we said, the right would only apply to two areas. There would be five homes, and it would only apply to two of those. One would be the new state of Palestine. They would have a right of return there. Two, would be areas that are currently Israel, that were going to be swapped, as part of an exchange - having to do with the fact that the Israelis were going to be annexing part of the West Bank. There was going to be a partial territorial swap. And in those areas that are currently Israel, where we also promised to invest heavily to absorb refugees who would come back, that too would be an area where Palestinians had the right for return for refuge. ,Now, there were three other homes we identified, third countries, like the United States, European countries, Canada, Australia - Arab countries would be included as a fourth home, and Israel was a fifth home. But, in regard to the third countries, the Arab countries or Israel, each of them would have the sovereign right to decide whom they would admit. So there would be no right of return to Israel. There would be a right of return to their own state. And there would be a 30 billion dollar fund to help with the rehabilitation, resettlement, and repatriation of refugees. This was the formula that we gave him. And his response to that was, we need a new formula. If that's not a rejection, I don't know what is. ,01:37:28>>>,So, on every issue where he was required to give, he rejected it. And, in fact, his words were rejected. He couldn't do it. He couldn't accept it. We talked about the Israelis having, as part of the formula for Jerusalem, Israelis would have sovereignty over the Western Wall. He would have, the Palestinians would have sovereignty over the Hiram [PH], which is the platform where the mosques are. The Israelis would have sovereignty over the Western Wall, which runs along the side, in effect underground. He said, I can't accept that. He could accept only the Wailing Wall. Well, the Wailing Wall isn't what we were proposing. The Western Wall was what we were proposing. You want to, you want to take what is a fraction of the Western Wall, and say that's acceptable, then we have to change the other part of the formula, the part that he wants. You don't get to pick and choose. This was our best judgment of what it would take. If you accepted the ideas, you accepted the ideas. If you impose reservations that basically transform the ideas or rejected them, then you rejected them. So, to say they didn't say no, is a semantic response, but not, in fact an accurate one. , INTERVIEWER:,You must have spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat. , DENNIS ROSS:,I think that's fair to say. [CHUCKLES] , INTERVIEWER:,Beneath all this talking and negotiating, was he prepared, do you think, as a revolutionary, was he prepared to sign off (Inaudible) in the Palestinian struggle? Was he prepared to say, we (Inaudible) or was he just not prepared (Inaudible)? ,01:39:05>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,I think the, the essence of why Yasser Arafat, in the end, could not accept the Clinton ideas, was because of three words, end the conflict. He had to embrace those three words. End the conflict. And as a revolutionary, the one thing he couldn't do, as someone who never closed doors or foreclosed options, what he couldn't do was close the door, foreclose the option. When he ended the conflict it meant, from here on out, that was it, no more claims. No more grievance. No more struggle. No more cause. And for him, I believe, he was prepared to live in peace with Israel. But not in a way that foreclosed the possibility that, at some point, maybe fifty years down the road, maybe a hundred years down the road. That Israel might be supplanted by a Palestinian State. ,01:39:54>>>,When he ended the conflict, when he had to accept Israel as a Jewish State, in what was a situation where there were no more agreements to be negotiated, where he couldn't go to his own public and say, look, we still have these claims that we can, that we can pursue. But we'll pursue them later on. He couldn't cross that threshold. He couldn't redefine himself that way. That was, in the end, the fundamental limitation. And that didn't mean that you couldn't have a peace process with Arafat. It meant though, that it had to always be limited. It meant that you could go for a modus avendi [PH]. And it meant that you had to construct a process that would allow you to create circumstances where you could negotiate what would be a permanent deal, after he was no longer on the scene. , INTERVIEWER:,Bernard Lewis, a scholar on the Middle East, analyzed that situation and said, basically, Yasser Arafat is too experienced engaging in terror operations. For him to stop a relationship with terror movements, is like Tiger Woods stopping playing golf. ,01:40:58>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,I guess I would put it a little differently. To understand Arafat, you have to understand someone who, as I said, constantly maneuvers; sees different forces, reacts to different pressures. And because he always feels that he has to be able to move, never be trapped, he also feels you have to keep your options open. You never know when you might need something. You never know when you might need somebody. So, are you gonna crack down on Hamas, once and for all? No. Because maybe some day you'll need them. Are you going to let your own security people ensure that the Tanzim [PH], the Fatah activists don't get armed. No, because some day you might need them. Maybe you'll need them against Hamas. Maybe you'll need them against the security people. His security people came to him, about three and a half years ago, and pleaded with him not to arm the Tanzim, the Fatah activists. But he did. Now, is it because he wants to run with the terrorists? In my judgment, no. It's because he never forecloses an option. He never knows when he might need somebody, or some thing. , INTERVIEWER:,Did you receive, in addition to the signals, the official positions and preservations ____ any behind the scenes signals from Arafat or his men, that, listen, we really can't (Inaudible) to do this. (Inaudible) any of these other non-negotiated positions, that (Inaudible)? , DENNIS ROSS:,The short answer is, no, we did not. We did not. , INTERVIEWER:,We did not what? ,01:42:40>>>, DENNIS ROSS:,We did not, I'm sorry. I'll repeat that. [CHUCKLES] The short answer is, that, throughout this period we never explicitly were told why the particular ideas that Clinton presented were not acceptable. We were never told that, while they're not acceptable because the Palestinian public won't buy this. We were never told, this goes beyond what we can accept, because we simply can't convince our public. In fact, what I have suggested, from time to time, is if the Clinton ideas were so unacceptable, why mis-portray them? Why lie about them? Why distort them? And Yasser Arafat said, he was offered cantons and bamboo stands. He was offered Palestinian islands in an Israeli sea. ,When you're offered 97% of the territory, they aren't Palestinian islands in an Israeli sea. He said, we weren't even offered 90%, when they were offered 97%. He said, they weren't offered Arab East Jerusalem, when they were. If the ideas were so bad, if they were so unacceptable to the Palestinian public, why not be honest about em? Why not say to the Palestinian public, we were offered Arab East Jerusalem, but it wasn't enough for me, and here's why. We were offered 97%, but I couldn't accept less than a hundred. I mean that should have been his posture. But it wasn't. Instead, what he did was misrepresent the ideas, mis-portray the ideas. So, I am highly skeptical that the ideas could not have been sold by him. Indeed, his own behavior suggests otherwise. [OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]
Over 100 feared dead in explosions near tomb of slain top Iranian general
KERMAN, IRAN - JANUARY 3: At least 103 people were killed on Wednesday when multiple explosions ripped through an area where a ceremony was being held to commemorate a top Iranian general who was assassinated four years ago by the US, said Sayyed Mohammad Saberi, head of the city’s Emergency Organization. The explosions took place on a route leading to the cemetery in the southeastern city of Kerman where Qassem Soleimani, the former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was laid to rest, according to state media. The cause of the explosions remains unknown. Some media reports suggested that they were caused by gas canisters. Iran’s National Medical Services Organization had earlier put the death toll at 73 and 170 others were injured. The incident happened as tens of thousands of people converged in Soleimani’s hometown Kerman to commemorate the fourth anniversary of his assassination. Soleimani was killed on Jan 3, 2020, in a US drone strike outside Baghdad Airport in Iraq. Iran’s emergency services put all hospitals and health care centers on alert to attend to the injured. Officials in Tehran have not commented on the incident yet. According to Anadolu sources, the venue of the ceremony in Kerman has been vacated by security forces and people have been asked to return home.(Footage by MEHR NEWS AGENCY / AAVN /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Middle East Extra Lebanon Hotel
Hotel still in ruins 10 years after Hariri's killing
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin gives a speech circa 1974.
AFP-133E 16mm VTM-133E Beta SP
General strike being observed across West Bank to mourn top Hamas figure's killing.mp4
BETHLEHEM, PALESTINE - JANUARY 3: A general strike is being observed across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday to mourn the assassination of deputy chief of Hamas Saleh al-Arouri. Anadolu Agency Video News (AAVN) videoed empty streets and closed shops of Bethlehem on Wednesday (January 3). Shops, banks, commercial facilities and public institutions were shut, while the transport activity seemed disrupted. Palestinian parties and factions had called for the joint action as well as protest rallies, holding Israel fully responsible for the killing. An Israeli drone killed al-Arouri in Beirut along with two commanders of the group's military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, according to Hamas and Lebanese media. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility. Israel launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7. At least 22,185 Palestinians have since been killed and 57,035 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas offensive. The attacks have left Gaza in ruins, with most of the population displaced and facing shortages of basic necessities such as food, water and medicine. (Footage by Hisham K. K. Abu Shaqra /Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Clinton Arrives from Michigan (03/04/1996)
President Clinton arrived home at the White House tonight after a day of campaigning in Michigan, where he addressed today's latest suicide bombing in Israel. Clinton said it was ironic that the people who plan these suicide attacks and those who assassinated Yitshak Rabin last year have the same goal in mind...more war. He pledged the help of the United States in helping Israel fight the radical Palestinian group, Hamas, as well as ensuring that the middle east peace process continues to go forward.
Middle East Funeral
Funeral of Palestinian man suspected of trying to assassinate Jewish activist
Guests: Isabelle de Gaulmyn, editor-in-chief of the daily La Croix