Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
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Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE PALESTINIANS, PART II
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2001
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:15 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. GILMAN. The Committee will come to order.
This morning we will hear testimony from President Clinton's former Special Envoy to the Middle East, Ambassador Dennis Ross, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Ambassador of the United States to Israel, Ambassador Martin Indyk, and former Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and Ambassador to Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, Ambassador Edward Walker, on U.S. policy toward the Palestinians as well, and the impact of the continuing violence between the Palestinians and Israel on regional stability. I want to thank our panelists for their tireless efforts to promote peace in the region and we welcome them before our Subcommittee this afternoon.
The events of September 11th have shown us that terrorism is a national security threat, not only to our country but to nations throughout the world. It is not just a price we pay for being a superpower, a some have portrayed itnot merely the ''cost of doing business.'' It is an attack on our way of life, and it can have severe consequences throughout the world. It is not an acceptable ''negotiating tactic.''
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The September 11th attacks have given Mr. Arafat, in the words of one Israeli leader, ''the opportunity to climb down from the tree of violence and terror.'' We call on Chairman Arafat to demonstrate his sincerity in the worldwide anti-terrorism coalition by immediately and unconditionally rooting out the infrastructure of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
We have been asking Mr. Arafat to accomplish this for at least the past 6 years, but without adequate cooperation to date.
The September 11th attacks have traumatized our American people and awakened them to the dangers of suicide terrorism. We should remember that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have employed suicide tactics for years. To Israelis, suicide bombings are not new.
Mr. Arafat's announcements of a ceasefire is certainly welcome, and we hope that it will hold, but it is not sufficient, in my estimation, to qualify Mr. Arafat for membership in our emerging coalition.
The terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are not only an argument for retaining a very strong strategic relationship with Israel, but our relationship with countries with whom we are forming a coalition to fight terror, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is endangered by the continuing violence. But if the aim of this recent cease-fire is merely tactical, than Mr. Arafat misses the point entirely.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Chairman Arafat must realize that a full and complete cessation of all hostilities today is in his best interest. Our nation has an inherent lack of patience for the use of terrorism as a negotiating tactic. In the disaster that has now taken place in America, the Palestinians should see the grim prospects of their own future if they maintain their violent course of the past year as a means to achieve their national aspirations. In other words, the Palestinians are playing with fire if they choose to continue violence.
What we would like to accomplish at this afternoon's hearing is to learn how the expert witnesses now view our nation's relationship with the Palestinians in the wake of their 1 year of sustained violence, the wave of terror that has been unleashed on our shores, and the prospects for rebuilding Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
I now call on our Ranking Minority Member, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Ackerman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA
This morning we will hear testimony from President Clinton's former Special Envoy to the Middle East, Ambassador Dennis Ross, the former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and Ambassador of the United States to Israel, Ambassador Martin Indyk, and former Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and Ambassador to Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, Edward Walker, on U.S. policy toward the Palestinians, and the impact of the continuing violence between the Palestinians and Israel on regional stability. I thank them for their tireless efforts to promote peace in the region and welcome them before the Subcommittee this morning
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The events of September 11, 2001 have shown us that terrorism is a national security threat. It is not just a price we pay for being a superpower, as some have portrayed itnot merely the ''cost of doing business.'' It is an attack on our way of life, and it can have severe consequences. It is not an acceptable ''negotiating tactic.''
The September 11 attacks give Arafat, in the words of one Israeli leader, ''the opportunity to climb down from the tree of violence and terror.'' I call on Chairman Arafat to demonstrate his sincerity in the worldwide anti-terrorism coalition by immediately and unconditionally rooting out the infrastructure of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. We have been asking him to accomplish this for at least the past 6 years, but without adequate cooperation to date. The September 11 attacks traumatized the American people and awakened them to the danger of suicide terrorism. We should remind Chairman Arafat that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have employed suicide tactics for years. To Israelis, suicide bombings are nothing new. Arafat's announcement of a ceasefire is certainly welcome, and we hope it holds, but it is not sufficient, in my estimation, to qualify Arafat for membership in our emerging coalition.
The terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are not only an argument for retaining a very strong strategic relationship with Israel, but our relationship with countries with whom we are forming a coalition to fight terror, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is endangered by the continuing violence. But if the aim of this recent cease-fire is merely tactical, than Arafat misses the point entirely.
Chairman Arafat must realize that a full and complete cessation of all hostilities today is in his best interests. The United States have an inherent lack of patience for the use of terrorism as a negotiating tactic. In the disaster that befell America, the Palestinians should see the grim prospects of their own future if they maintain the violent course of the past year as a means to achieve their national aspirations. In other words, the Palestinians are playing with fire if they chose to continue the violence.
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What we would like to accomplish at this morning's hearing is to learn how the expert witnesses now view the United State's relationship with the Palestinians in the wake of their 1 year of sustained violence, the wave of terror that has been unleashed on our shores, and the prospects for rebuilding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
I now call on my colleague, Mr. Ackerman, the ranking Member of the subcommittee.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank and commend you for calling this second hearing to examine U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. We have a very distinguished group of witnesses with us, and I expect the hearing to be very informative.
Even with the nation's attention fixed on the horrendous damage in New York and at the Pentagon, and the military preparations underway, I think it is very important for this Subcommittee to continue to focus on a subject which is sure to remain at the heart of debate about U.S.-Middle East policy and our bilateral relations with the Arab states and the Islamic nations of the world.
In the time of crisis such as the one our nation now faces, the need for an active, discerning and vigorous foreign policy does not go away. In fact, it increases substantially.
The movement and actions of our troops and planes and ships will not eliminate the need for the United States to engage with other nations to achieve our common goals. Indeed, our nation's campaign against international terrorism can only be successful if the two componentsdemocracy and military actionare used to complement each other.
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Today, we will focus on America's goals vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Before going any further we ought to address the suggestion that some have made that the atrocities of September 11th were the result of America's policy of supporting Israel. This theory is not only wrong, it has things exactly backwards.
The forces of terror attacked Israel because they support the same values that we do. Israel is a bulkhead of freedom and democracy and western values in that part of the world.
The goal of the terrorists who have viciously attacked our nation was not to change our policy. Their intent was to assault our nation and everything that it represents.
On September 11th, freedom was attacked. Pluralism was attacked. Religious tolerance was attacked. Free expression was attacked. While it is true that the people we believe are responsible for the barbarism of September 11th do hate Israel, the significance of this fact lies not in the complexity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but rather the character of the State of Israel.
Israel has been a target because Israel is a nation like the United States, open, diverse, democratic, capitalistic, and importantly, more importantly, a western society in its values, beliefs and orientation. Indeed, Israel has been under attack since its creation just for this reason.
Mr. Chairman, since September 2000, over 175 Israelis have been killed, more than 1700 have been injured by Palestinian terrorism of exactly the same nature as the attacks on the United States earlier this month. And every single one of these Israeli casualties represents a violation of the commitment to nonviolence the Palestinians once swore to uphold in their pursuit of peace with Israel.
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Mr. Chairman, you and I, together with Mr. Lantos, the Ranking Member of our Full Committee, have introduced legislation to require the President to impose sanctions on the Palestinians for failing to meet their freely given commitments not to engage in or to passively allow any act of violence against Israel during the pursuit of a final settlement.
We introduced this legislation after our language was blocked from being offered as a Floor amendment to the State Department's Authorization Act because of objections from the Administration.
Perhaps now, after America has been attacked, the Administration will think more carefully about what message the United States ought to send about the acceptability of violence against civilians to achieve political ends.
The time has come too for the Palestinians to choose whether they will make a final and decisive break with their old bad habits. In the world that was remade on September 11th, there are, as the President said, only two sides: those fighting with American and against terrorism, and those who are supporting it.
This struggle, which I believe looks more like the Cold War than the Gulf War, demands of the Palestinian Authority a fundamental examination of the nature of their relationship with the United States, and I hope that with this review will come a genuine realization that the use of violence to achieve their national aspirations is morally wrong, self-defeating, and utterly unacceptable to all civilized nations and to none more so than to the United States of America.
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The Palestinians have to choose which side of the fence to be on. After September 11th, there can be no more straddling.
Only a few weeks ago, I met with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah, and I handed him a list in Arabic of four individuals that the government of Israel had asked the Palestinian security forces to apprehend on five separate occasions. Then I watched a particularly Palestinian kind of ''kabuki'' dance. They looked at the list, they passed it from one to another,
''Him. I don't know if we know him. Do we know him? I thought we arrested him. No, we arrested his brother. Was it his brother? No, I think it was him. I'm sure we got him. Didn't we get him?''
And this went on and on, and I was the sixth person to present this list.
The Palestinian Authority has been playing this kind of game for far too long and at far too great a price. Terrorists get taken into custody only to be released hours later. Terrorists get incarcerated in hotels where they can do their wicked work by phone and fax and visitors. And terrorists are picked up by the Palestinian security forces only to put them in a protection plan to prevent them from being attacked and apprehended by the Israelis.
Palestinian leaders sit down with the very worst, most barbarious terrorists, and then speak plaintively of their commitment and desire for peace. This kind of offensive nonsense has got to stop. Either the Palestinian leadership is interested in peace or it is not.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Now, last week, Chairman Arafat promised to place all his capabilities at our country's service, and has offered to join a coalition to ''end terrorism against unarmed civilians.''
I hope this is for real. I really do, Mr. Chairman. There are some very promising signs but unfortunately we have a year of senseless bloodshed which makes this pledge seem a bit unreal, perhaps even a bit ridiculous. If Chairman Arafat and the people he leads are serious, they will have to do more than to read from the right set of talking points. They are going to have to take steps that they have been avoiding, ducking, or rejecting since this time last year. They are going to have to start making arrests, and when they put people in jail, they are going to have to keep them there even when there is a great deal of pressure to do otherwise. They are going to have to respond seriously to Israeli security requests, and more often still, they are going to have to act without being asked, and certainly without being reminded. They are going to have to control their security forces, and this means all of them and all the time. And they are going to have to be absolutely up front the with Palestinian people about where they stand and what they are doing. The days of talking peace in English on Monday, and preaching Jihad in Arabic on Friday have got to end.
The Palestinian account that the American Bank of Trust is in deep default. If they want to fix this, and I hope they will, they have to start making big deposits.
In my view, ending all attacks on Israel and conducting a campaign to destroy the infrastructure of Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are the only kind of payments that will suffice to open this account again.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As the President said, the choice is theirs. Either they are with us or they are with the terrorists, and I hope they choose more wisely than they did in 1990, when they decided to back Saddam Hussein.
I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for scheduling the hearing, and I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
Mr. PITTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening another important hearing regarding U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. I would like to submit my entire statement for the record, but would like to give some of it.
While the topic of this afternoon's hearings has always been a matter of U.S. priority, peace in the region has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
I want to begin by emphasizing that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that we are addressing today is complex. It has a long history. The roots of this conflict are deep. There are no easy answers or solutions.
Though this situation can seem hopeless and frustrating, we must realize that the United States does have an important role to play in bringing the two sides together. We are working to encourage a dialogue that can lead to peace and stability in the region. We have been blessed with peace and prosperity throughout much of our own history, and we have long sought to bring peace to other parts of the world.
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While it may seem that the United States now has priorities for restoring peace and security in our homeland, we must realize the importance that peace in the Middle East has to our own circumstances. It is vital that the United States have strong allies on which it can depend.
Israel is a tremendously important strategic partner in an unstable region of the world. Our nation is committed to Israel's security. This does not, however, give Israel a blank check. Israel has an even greater responsibility in this peace process. Israel should continue negotiations and to work toward peace.
I am concerned about reports detailing human rights abuses such as the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the use of inflammatory rhetoric.
As the United States continues its involvement in this arena, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with more than just political leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We are dealing with families, innocent civilians and children who want nothing more than to live in peace.
The last 2 weeks have given Americans a terrifying taste of what it feels like to live in daily fear of attack. Before, we could only imagine how it felt to live each day under the threat of another suicide bomber. Now we know what it means to live with a feeling of terror as a daily companion.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Like most Israelis, the vast majority of Palestinians simply want to live in peace. They want to be free to work and provide food and a good life for their families. Unfortunately, many of them believe that they are trapped by a hopelessness that leads them to believe they will never prosper, live in peace. This helplessness or hopelessness has provided an opening to Islamic extremists, many of them from outside the country who are effectively teaching Palestinian children that violence is the only way to get the attention of the international community.
Palestinian children are learning math by counting figures of tanks and murdered Israelis. They are taught to hate Israelis and to kill them. They are taught that the greatest thing they canthat you can do for Allah is sacrifice yourself in the murder of infidels, which is not the true teaching of Islam. The Palestinians are being brainwashed and manipulated for the political gain of a few mad men, and the longer this goes on the harder it will be to turn around.
We must teach ourselves to separate terrorist from the vast majority of Palestinian families. Seeing them all as terrorist and rebels is wrong, inaccurate and unjust. Palestinians are also people created in the image of God. A violent response to frustration is something that this world is becoming more accustomed to seeing. It is contrary to what we teach our children. It is not a response that we can ever accept.
The poverty and hopelessness can be a breeding ground for terrorist recruitment, to acts of violence and false promises made by terrorists.
So we have a difficult task at hand in the Middle East. The challenges are great, overwhelming and so are the stakes for the United States. That makes having a steadfast resolve all the more essential as we pursue our common goal of protecting American interests in a tumultuous and uncertain period. We must be clear in communicating that terrorism should not be tolerated. We must act in this region with a firm but caring hand.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for bringing us here today to determine what the United States can do to promote peace in the Middle East. It is my hope that through our policies we can offer a new spirit of hope in the region.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pitts follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOSEPH R. PITTS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening another important hearing regarding U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. While the topic of this morning's hearing has always been a matter of U.S. priority, peace in the region has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
I want to begin by emphasizing that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that we are addressing today is complex and has a long history. The roots of this conflict are deep. There are no easy answers or solutions. Though this situation can seem hopeless and frustrating, we must realize that the United States does have an important role to play in bringing the two sides together. We are working to encourage a dialogue that can lead to peace and stability in the region. We have been blessed with peace and prosperity throughout much of our own history and we have long sought to bring peace to other parts of the world.
While it may seem that the United States now has priorities for restoring peace and security in our own homeland, we must realize the importance that peace in the Middle East has to our own circumstances. It is vital that the U.S. have strong allies on which it can depend.
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Israel is a tremendously important strategic partner in an unstable region of the world. Our nation is committed to Israel's security. This does not, however, give Israel a blank check. Israel has an even greater responsibility in this peace process. Israel should continue negotiations and to work towards peace.
I am concerned about reports detailing the excessive use of force against the Palestinian civilians, the demolition of Palestinian homes, and the use of inflammatory rhetoric. As the United States continues its involvement in this arena, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with more than just political leaders from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We are dealing with families, innocent civilians, and children who want nothing more than to live in peace.
The last two weeks have given Americans a terrifying taste of what is feels like to live in daily fear of attack. Before we could only imagine how it felt to live each day under the threat of another suicide bomber. Now we know what it means to live with the feeling of terror as a daily companion. Like most Israelis, the vast majority of Palestinians simply want to live in peace. They want to be free to work and provide food and a good life for their families. Unfortunately, many of them believe that they are trapped by a hopelessness that leads them to believe they will never prosper and live in peace. This helplessness has provided an opening to Islamic extremists (many from outside of the Palestinian community) who are effectively teaching Palestinian children that violence is the only way to get the attention of the international community. Palestinian children are learning math by counting figures of tanks and murdered Israelis. They are taught to hate Israelis and to kill them. They are taught that the greatest thing you can do for Allah is to sacrifice yourself in the murder of infidels (which is not the true teaching of Islam).
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The Palestinians are being brainwashed and manipulated for the political gain of a few madmen. And, the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to turnaround. We must teach ourselves to separate terrorists from the vast majority of Palestinian families. Seeing them all as terrorists and rebels is wrong, inaccurate and unjust. Palestinians are also people created in the image of God.
A violent response to frustration is something that this world is becoming more accustomed to seeing. It is contrary to what we teach our children and it is not a response that we can ever accept. The poverty and hopelessness can be a breeding ground for terrorist recruitment to acts of violence and false promises made by terrorists.
We have a difficult task at hand in the Middle East. The challenges are great and overwhelming, and so are the stakes for the United States. That makes having a steadfast resolve all the more essential as we pursue our common goal of protecting American interests in a tumultuous and uncertain period. We must be clear in communicating that terrorism should not be tolerated. We must act in this region with a firm but caring hand.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for bringing us here today to determine what the U.S. can do to promote peace in the Middle East. It is my hope that through our policies, we can offer a new spirit of hope in the region.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Pitts.
I am going to ask our colleagues, and I will call on each one who wants to make an opening statement, to please be brief since we are called back to the four at four o'clock for a security briefing by Secretary Powell and our defense secretary, and then there will be a vote intervening, so we do not have too much time for these distinguished panelists. Please be brief.
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Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to also comment on the idea that if only we modified our policy toward Israel that this would be an effective way of making us safe from terrorism.
First of all, how did America react to Pearl Harbor? There were a few who said, well, if we only stop standing up for Chinese independence, we can placate those who attacked us. That would have been dishonorable and it would be dishonorable for us now to change our policy in response to an unprovoked attack.
But in this case, it would also be incredibly ineffective. Bin Laden's number one reason for waging war against us has nothing to do with today's hearing, but rather has to do with the fact that American troops are on the Arabian Peninsula defending Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from attack by Saddam Hussein. And only if we abandoned in an area with 75 percent of the world's oil reserves to whatever might occur, would bin Laden's chief objective be realized, and even then that would only wet his appetite. Any possible change, slight change, modest change in our policy toward Israel would only wet his appetite until he was able to force the destruction of all five million Jewish Israelis. And even then he would not rest. His appetite would be wetted.
But even if we were not worried about bin Laden, imagine what would happen to this country if we changed our foreign policy in response to this act of terror. How many people disagree with our policy in Colombia, Kovoso, Macedonia, Sumatra, Sir Lanka, Taiwan, and how many skyscrapers would they be willing to destroy in an effort to change our policy toward those areas?
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We should instead renew and reinvigorate our alliance with Israel by providing Israel with the equipment necessary to intercept and decipher even more of the messages being sent in the Middle East. We must call upon Chairman Arafat to arrest terrorists, and we must remember those who danced in the streets of Nablus when they heard that thousands of Americans had perished, and that cannot be blotted from our memory as easily as the Palestinian Authority was able to seize the video tapes.
We must also remember that the Palestinian Authority has treated those it calls martyrs, really suicide terrorists, with great honor and provided their families with pensions.
Mr. Chairman, it is now time for us to wage a war against terrorism and to ask on which side of the Palestinian Authority is in that war.
I yield back.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Sherman.
Mr. ISSA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief, but I do want to take a brief moment to caution my colleagues as we address U.S. policy toward the Palestinians to see a clear distinction between the circumstances surrounding the Arab-Israeli issue and the senseless terrorist act that occurred on September 11, 2001.
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Despite the recent escalations of violence, the situation between Palestinians and Israel has a solid political and economic dimension with grievances to be addressed on both sides. It is largely a regional conflict. It concerns territory and self-governance, and has hope for a final resolution through continued negotiations or to our colleagues here or renewed negotiations here perhaps.
Osama bin Laden and theyou would think I would be able to pronounce ital-Qaeda network, on the other hand, represents an extreme system of beliefs, not consistent with Islam or any of the rest of the world's major religions. They are at war with western civilization, as many of my colleagues so rightfully put it, and they seek out of violence as the first resort rather than the last resort. With terrorists, there are no negotiations and their goal is death and destruction and terror, and our response must be the same.
If we are going to continue to hope for peace in the Middle East, we must recognize the difference between groups that are coming to the table negotiating a peace plan and for which there is a possible positive outcome, and those who focus only on death and destruction and for whom terror is their first choice.
And I want to hope that we all separate the two because, just as many of my colleagues before me said, there are those who want to tie the actions of Osama bid Laden to the Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine. Just as that is wrong to do, it is equally wrong to in fact tie to this terrorist act old grievances and old desires.
I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Issa follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DARRELL E. ISSA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Thank you, Chairman Gilman.
I want to take a brief moment to caution my colleagues as we address U.S. Policy towards the Palestinians to see the clear distinction between the circumstances surrounding the Arab-Israeli issue and the senseless terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Despite recent escalations in violence, the situation between the Palestinians and the Israelis has a solid political and economic dimension with grievances to be addressed on both sides. It is largely a regional conflict concerned with territory and self-governance and has hope for a final resolution through continued negotiation.
Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, on the other hand, represent an extreme system of beliefs not consistent with Islam or any other major world religion. They are at war with western civilization itself and seek out violence as a first resort, rather than a last resort. With terrorists, there are no negotiations because their goal is death, destruction, and terror.
If we are going to continue to hope for peace in the Middle East, we must recognize the difference between groups that are coming to the table to negotiate a peace plan and the violent fringe groups that make it on the evening news. It is my hope that as we focus our efforts to rid the world of terrorism, that this Committee does not fall into the trap of making parallels that don't exist.
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I thank the Chairman for addressing this important issue and I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Issa.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I too will be brief because I cannot think of a more distinguished panel and I am very anxious to listen to what they have to say.
I just want to say being a New Yorker that New York will obviously never be the same and the country will never be the same. And I think that perhaps we in the United States, unfortunately, now have a better understanding of what Israeli civilians have had to go through the years.
I need to disagree a little bit with my friend, Mr. Issa, because I do agree that in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict there are legitimate grievances on both sides. But I think what is the same is that the Palestinians and the terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad use civilian terror to try to further their goals, and the terrorists that knocked down the World Trade Center and went into the Pentagon also are trying to use civilian terror to achieve their goal, and this is what must be rejected.
I am tired of hearing the idiots in the State Department continue to talk about Israel using so-called disproportionate force or asking Israel to use restraint in the fight against terrorism. There can be no restraint in the fight against terrorism, as we have seen now in this country.
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What terrorists have to have happen to them is they need to be erased. Their cells need to be broken up and they need to understand that there will be swift treatment of what they do because that is the only thing that terrorists will understand.
I am very mortified that President Bush did not include Hamas and Islamic Jihad on his list of groups to freeze assets. I think it is ludicrous to talk to Yasser Arafat and the Government of Syria and the Government of Iran to join in the war against terrorism so that we can somehow purify them or they can pretend that they are fighting terrorism when indeed they are in bed with the terrorists.
Mr. Ackerman is quite right when he says that Mr. Arafat speaks one thing in English for public consumption, and then says something quite different in Arabic. That to me is clearer than ever before.
And I think, having gone through the peace process, and I was a tremendous supporter of Oslo, and I know no one worked harder than Ambassador Ross in doing that, I have changed. I now no longer believe that Arafat wants peace or is inclined to stop using terrorism as a negotiating, violence as a negotiating tool. I wanted to believe that, but I no longer believe it given the events of the past year.
So I am anxious to hear what these gentlemen have to say. I think we need to be very careful and we need to understand that civilian terror is never acceptable. I don't care what anyone grievances are, I don't care how right anybody thinks the are, or how wronged anybody thinks they have been. Civilian terror is not acceptable. It is not acceptable in Israel. It is not acceptable in the United States. And it is not acceptable anywhere in the world.
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I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Engel.
Mr. CANTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In light of September 11th terrorist attacks, I am more convinced than ever of the critical need for the United States to stand firmly with our democratic ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Recent statements and actions notwithstanding, in my opinion Yasser Arafat remains one of the largest obstacles to stability in the Middle East today. President Bush has noted that Chairman Arafat has not lived up to the commitments he has freely made, including the rearrest of individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terrorism.
Chairman Arafat has done little to prevent acts of terrorism, and his inaction has in fact led to massive violence and terrorism against innocent Israelis, including women and children. He continues to use hostile and odious anti-semitic propaganda against the State of Israel, and refuses to stop terrorist attacks and inciteful rhetoric by organizations, individuals and groups under his control.
I would like at this time to thank the Chairman for his continued focus on examining the U.S. relationship with Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and I want to thank the panelists for being here as well.
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The events of September 11th have shaken the world, and the response of the civilized nations has been unified in its focus to destroy international terrorism. I am hopeful that once and for all there will be no more talk of any moral equivalence of a terrorist attack on innocent people and a government's right to mobilize and defend its people with all its might.
And I would just like to ask the panelists, if they could in their remarks, address, if you willwe know that the United States is working very hard to enlist the cooperation of countries all over the world in our quest to rid the world of international terrorism, and seeking intelligence and information from nations that, yes, appear on the State Department's list of terrorist nations. Although the Palestinian Authority is not on there, the fact is we have had public statements by Mr. Arafat, and there is other evidence indicating his connection to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others, and I would just ask you, if you could, just briefly during your remarks address the validity, the sincerity or the genuineness of any information that may be forthcoming by Mr. Arafat given his relationship with Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Cantor.
Ms. BERKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and it is quite a pleasure to have the three of you here. I am most anxious to hear what you have to say, although I have heard you speak many times before.
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The Chairman this morning told us that brevity is the very soul of eloquence, and I wish I could be eloquent at this moment, and I will submit my comments, but I do want to say a few words for the record.
Like many others, I was encouraged on September 18th, when the Palestinians announced that they would finally agree to a ceasefire, and the Israelis immediately agreed to halt all military operations. The ceasefire was immediately tested the very next day with the shooting death of an Israeli civilian in the West Bank, and it seems that again the Palestinians are unable to carry out their side of the bargain. Another unarmed Israeli civilian was killed while driving to her kibbutz just yesterday.
Almost 10 years into the so-called peace process and I, like my good friend, Elliot Engel, was a firm and steadfast believer and proponent of the peace process. I do believe at this point that Arafat used it for his own purposes and not for the purpose of peace. It is most unfortunate that there would have to be a ceasefire.
Yasser Arafat stood on the White House lawn as a symbol of a new Middle East where violence was to be replaced by negotiations, but Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding, Arafat and the Palestinian leadership have never failed to incite violence when they thought it would be convenient for their cause.
A new report issued in accordance with the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of 1989 states unequivocally that the PA leadership did nothing to prevent, and they have incited violence in clear violation of previous commitments. An excerpt from the report reads,
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''Available evidence indicates that elements with the PLO, specifically Tanzim Force 17, and members of other security forces, were involved in acts of violence against Israelis. It is clear that these armed elements were not disciplined. Moreover senior PLO and PA leaders did little to prevent, and they have even encouraged an atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media and through public statements of Palestinian officials.''
At our last hearing I suggested that it was time for our Palestinianfor the Palestinians to make a choice between aligning themselves with the perpetrators of terror, Hamas, Hezbollah, Saddam Hussein, or they could follow through their promises of the last 10 years to refrain from violence and negotiate in good faith. I was delighted when our President used similar remarks in his speech on Thursday, which I thought was probably one of the more outstanding speeches I have heard.
If the United States is going to continue to have a relationship with the Palestinian people, it is essential that their leadership commit in both words and actions to ending the violence and must in no uncertain terms renounce terrorism once and for all. Arafat must finally send a message to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and any others who would commit terrorist acts that there is nothat this kindthat this is no longer welcomed and acceptable.
If I could comment on Mr. Ackerman's meeting with Arafat and Erekat. We had a similar meeting 3 weeks ago when I was in Israel. At that time Erekat denied ever having received any list from anybody that had known and suspected terrorists on it. We know that to be an absolute bold-faced lie.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And I would also wish to admonish our Administration that when we put together our coalition to fight bin Laden, when we look to these people and have them mouth the words that they are going to renounce terrorism, they need to renounce terrorism period; not just in the United States, but throughout the world, particularly in Israel, because killing civilians is killing civilians, whether in Israel, England or New York City. And trying to make a distinction between the two, I think is offensive to civilized people across the planet.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Ms. Berkley.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Berkley follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE SHELLEY BERKLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEVADA
Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this important hearing. I am pleased that the committee can hear from three distinguished scholars and diplomats with unparralled experience in the Middle East.
Like many others, I was encouraged on September 18th, when the Palestinians announced that they would finally agree to a cease fire, and the Israelis immediately agreed to halt all military operations. The cease-fire was tested the very next day with the shooting death of an Israeli civilian in the West Bank. And it seems that again the Palestinians are unable to carry out their side if the bargain as yet another unarmed Israeli civilian was killed while driving to her Kibbutz just yesterday.
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Almost ten years into the so-called peace process it is ludicrous that there would have to be a cease-fire. Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn, as a symbol of a new Middle East where violence was replaced by negotiation. But Noble Peace Prize or not, Arafat and the Palestinian leadership has never failed to incite violence when they thought it was convenient for their cause.
In fact, a new report issued in accordance with the PLO Commitments Compliance Act of 1989, states unequivocally that the PA leadership did nothing to prevent, and may have incited violence in clear violation of previous commitments. An excerpt from the report reads, ''Available evidence indicates that elements within the PLO, specifically Tanzim, Force 17, and members of other security forces, were involved in acts of violence against Israelis . . . it is clear that these armed elements were not disciplined . . . Moreover, senior PLO and PA leaders did little to preventand may even have encouragedan atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media and through the public statements of Palestinian officials.''
At our last hearing I suggested that it was time for the Palestinians to make a choice between aligning themselves with the perpetrators of terror, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Saddam Hussein or they could follow through on their promises of the last 10 years, refrain from violence, and negotiate in good faith. Especially in light if recent events, I reiterate this claim. You can not be friends with America if you are friends with terror and violence.
If the United States is going to continue to have a relationship with the Palestinian people, it is essential that their leadership commit in both word and action to ending the violence, and must in no uncertain terms renounce terrorism once and for all. Arafat must send a message to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and any others who would commit terrorist acts that there kind is no longer welcome.
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Thank you very much.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Lantos.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you and the Ranking Member for holding this hearing. And I want to identify myself with your comments and those of the Ranking Member.
I will use the time given to me in an unusual way, Mr. Chairman. The media reported yesterday that a settler was killed in an automobile. It was a mother of three small children under the age of four. The mother was in her twenties. She viewed herself as a mother and her three small children called her mother.
I would like all of us to stand in a moment of silence in her memory.
[Moment of silence.]
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Lantos.
We will now proceed with testimony by our panelists, and we thank them for being patient. Our first witness is Ambassador Ross, who is writing a book about his experiences in the pursuit of peace, and has recently joined the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as a distinguished fellow and counselor.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Ambassador Ross played a instrumental role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process during the prior Administrations as director of State Department's policy planning office during the Bush Administration and President Clinton's former special envoy to the Middle East. Ambassador Ross is no stranger to our Committee.
We welcome you back before us, Ambassador Ross. You may proceed. You may put your full statement in the record or you may shorten it, as you may desire.
Mr. ROSS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILMAN. Please press your button on your microphone.
Mr. ROSS. It would help, huh?
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DENNIS B. ROSS, COUNSELOR/DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY
Mr. ROSS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to be here. I would submit my full statement for the record, and I will offer a few comments to try to summarize what I think is most important.
Mr. GILMAN. Without objection.
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Mr. ROSS. When we were invited to appear here, it was prior to September 11th, and obviously the comments that I would have made at that time would have been rather different than the comments I am about to make.
September 11th was a transforming event. As many have said, it was a defining moment. I think that President Bush was quite right when he said you either stand with us or you stand with the terrorists.
I also think that President Bush, Secretary Powell and others have been quite right in terms of saying this is no longer a war that we are simply having to counter; this is a war we are going to have to wage, and we are going to have to use all of the instruments that are available to uslegal instruments, law enforcement instruments, financial instruments, diplomatic instruments, military instruments.
But we need something even beyond that. We need to keep in mind that we are now having to wage a battle that has a major psychological component. One of the major problems we face in terms of dealing with terror is that terror flourishes in a climate where some see it as being legitimate. We are not going to be successful in contending with terror unless we can in fact delegitimize the use of terror, and that means we have to be prepared to do all we can to delegitimize any cause that thinks it can use terror for any purpose.
Terror is wrong. As many of you have said, it is always wrong. There cannot be one place where terror is fine and another place where it is not.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 If in fact there are those who want to promote a cause using terror, we have to wage a campaign that makes it very clear on an international basis that that is not the case. No place is that more important than in the Middle East, because in the Middle East, unfortunately, and too often as reflected in the Arab medias, in particular, what one sees is that terror, suicide bombing is somehow seen as legitimate.
Too often we see that those who carry out suicide bombings are portrayed as martyrs, not as the monsters that they are. Too often we see that civilians who are killed are rationalized as just part of the struggle. Too often we see that those who are in fact recruiting kids to be human bombs are somehow celebrated as opposed to being condemned.
We have to see this change. It has to change now. When I say that I am not saying that I want to see censoring of the press in the Middle East. I would like to see a free press there. But I would like to see what appears that is clearly wrong have it condemned and discredited.
I am also not saying that there is not a legitimate cause that has to be addressed politically. I believe in fact the Palestinians have legitimate aspirations that are going to have to be addressed. But one thing has to be very clear, those leadership in the Middle East, including Chairman Arafat, but not limited to Chairman Arafat, have got to take on a climate that has become one in which terror is somehow seen as legitimate.
It is not good enough to condemn what happened here on September 11th if the behavior on a day-to-day basis does not reflect it. It is not good enough to say you are going to be part of a coalition unless you are prepared to change a climate that somehow justifies the use of terror, justifies the use of suicide bombing.
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The fact of the matter is what we need to see is a readiness on the part of Arab leaders and Chairman Arafat in particular to make it clear that suicide bombing is not a reflection of Islam. It is a perversion of Islam. It is not something that can promote the cause of the Palestinians. It is something that will discredit the cause of the Palestinians. It is not something that will advance Arab interests. It will threaten Arab interests.
We need to see that from leaders because they too are going to be threatened by this. They too have to say they have a stake in changing the climate.
Now, if that happens, if in fact we see that the ceasefire that Chairman Arafat declared, which in my judgment was not accidental, he understands the consequences of being lumped with Osama bin Laden. He understands what the consequences of a suicide bombing in Israel today would be for him and his cause. And he understands that it is important not to be on the wrong side of the world the way he was in 1990.
All of that has contributed to a ceasefire which is not perfect at this point, but there clearly are signs that it is different in terms of what they are trying to do, notwithstanding the fact that there have been some fatalities. There is a different message that has gone out, but more, clearly, has to be done.
If he does what is necessary in terms of really implementing what is required in a ceasefire in terms of stabilizing, and in terms of creating a climate that makes it clear that terror is unacceptable, is illegitimate and will not be tolerated, then in fact we do have to pursue a political process.
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There is no military solution for the Israel. With all of their might, they are not going to be in a position where they can extinguish Palestinian aspirations. But for the Palestinians, violence is not only not the answer, it has been extremely destructive to what it is they want.
Almost exactly 1 year ago we were at a point where the Palestinians were closer to the achievement of their aspirations than any point in their history, and today they are very far away from it, and they are very far away from it because of violence. Violence has changed the realities.
It has made it impossible, frankly, to go back to where we were. It may well be at some point down the road, far down the road, the Clinton ideas could again become the basis of a solution, but we are not at a point where those kind of ideas can be discussed today. We are going to have to go back to first principles, and the first principle is the Israelis get security and the Palestinians get the Israelis out of their lives, no longer controlling their lives.
Every step that is taken, whether it is the implementation of the ceasefire, whether it is the implantation eventually, hopefully soon, of the Mitchell Report, whether it is our getting back to negotiations, every step somehow has to focus on how do you reaffirm for the Israelis they get security in reality, not in words, and the Palestinians get the end of the Israeli control of their lives in reality, not in words.
If we go to a political process, assuming that we have a ceasefire and stabilization, the agenda for those negotiations cannot be on Jerusalem, refugees and borders. When both sides have lost faith, not distrust and confidence, but faith in peacemaking, you have to focus on what is attainable and not what is impossible.
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What is impossible is to deal with existential questions right now. If we get to negotiations, as I hope we will, those negotiations should focus on the following agenda: statehood, because the issue of statehood is something that has to be addressed in terms of what the relationship between the Palestinians economically, how does water work, health, environment, agriculture, these are all questions that will have to be addressed.
Security arrangements would be a second agenda item because, again, that is something that is not only required, but when dealing with either the question of terror or security cooperation or a border regime for security, if it was pursued at this stage, would in fact set the stage, I think, for being able to do more over time.
And lastly, disengagement. Disengagement, sometimes referred to as separation within Israel, is best addressed mutually, not unilaterally. If it were to be addressed mutually, then in fact it could contribute to that basic first principle I talked about. It means having the two sides disengage from points of friction. It means having the two sides; for the Israelis seeing that there can be security; and for the Palestinians seeing there is a process where the Israelis will not be controlling them.
In the end, if wait to see anything work, either on terrorism or peace, there has got to be truth-telling. When it comes to terror, it cannot be tolerated and it has to be stated as such. When it comes to peace, both sides are going to have to acknowledge that each side does have grievances; that they have to prepare their publics for peace, something that was definitely done during the Brock period, something that has not been done by the Palestinians; and that when you prepare your public for peace, it means that you actually have to concede, you have to compromise. You do not get everything.
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Lastly, for our part, we too have to be prepared to tell the truth, and telling the truth for us means being prepared to stand up and say who is fulfilling their commitments and who is not. If there is one problem among a number that plagued us in the process, it is that there was never accountability.
Well, if commitments are going to be made, they are going to have to be fulfilled, and we are going to need to be very public in terms of saying that.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ross follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE DENNIS B. ROSS, COUNSELOR/DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY
The horrific attack on America is a defining moment not just for us, but also for the world. It was an attack on civilization. It was an attack on humanity. It requires a change in our mindset. We are no longer countering terror; we are waging war against it. There can be no neutrals in such a struggle. As President Bush said, ''You are either with us or you are with the terrorists.''
In this struggle, as the President also made clear, we must use all the instruments in our arsenal: intelligence, law enforcement, financial, diplomatic, and military. But to be successful, we must focus as well on the psychological dimension of fighting terror. Terror must be discredited. It must be delegitimized. We must wage an international campaign against the use of terror for any purpose. No ''cause'' justifies its use. Any cause that employs terror is itself delegitimized.
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Nowhere is it more important for the international community to make this point than in the Middle East. While terror is a global phenomenon, it is a special problem in the Middle East precisely because it has been treated too often as legitimate. In the ''struggle'' with Israel, suicide bombers are portrayed as martyrs, not as monsters. Killing innocent non-combatants has been glorified, not rejected. Recruiting kids for human destruction has been celebrated, not condemned.
There can be no victory over terror if a climate that justifies it in certain circumstances is pervasive in one part of the world. It is good that Arab leaders condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But such condemnations will mean little in practice if there is no change in day-to-day behaviors that convey a tolerance for the use of terror. And, it has not been only the fringe that has done so.
Check nearly any Friday sermon broadcast by the Palestinian Authority over the last year and you will see that suicide bombers are glorified and calls for jihad against Israel and the United States are commonplace. The editorial in al-Hayat al-Jadida, perhaps the leading Palestinian newspaper, stated that the suicide bombers in Israel were in the ''noble tradition'' of those who bombed the U.S. Marines in Lebanon. The date of its publication: September 11, 2001. The Palestinian media and public posture are not unique in the area. A few days prior to the attack, an Egyptian journalist in one of Egypt's mainstream newspapers described how he had swelled with pride when he saw the suicide bombing of the pizza parlor in Jerusalem.
I am not calling for Arab leaders to prevent a free press. (Indeed, I would like to see a free press flourish in the area.) I am also not saying that the Palestinians specifically or the Arabs generally must give up their cause or their grievance; I continue to believe that the Palestinians have legitimate aspirations that must be addressed. But I am saying that we are long past the point where Middle Eastern leaders can continue to use their media as a safety valve, designed to release anger and appease extremist sentiments. They must discredit those sentiments, not acquiesce in them. They must condemn all such efforts to legitimize the use of terror.
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It is time they made it clear that peace is legitimate; terror is not. That suicide bombing is not a reflection of Islam, but its perversion. That the Palestinian cause is not promoted by terror, but undermined by it. That Arab interests and everything they value are not advanced by terror, but threatened by it.
In short, it is time for Arab leaders to level with their publics and make it clear they will not tolerate terror. Absent that, it will be very difficult to succeed in the fight against terror. Absent that, Arab leaders should not expect that we would intervene decisively on Arab-Israeli peace. We have a responsibility to promote peace, but we stand no chance of succeeding in an environment where terror is considered a legitimate part of the struggle. If we are prepared to do our part, Middle Eastern leaders must also be prepared to do theirs.
For Chairman Arafat, this is the sine qua non for having a relationship with us. He declared a ceasefire because he knew his ''cause'' might be discredited otherwise. He understands well the consequence of his being considered the equivalent of Osama bin Laden. He understands well the consequence of being on the wrong side of the international community. And, he understands well the consequence of Hamas or Islamic Jihad suicide bombings in Israel now in terms of possible Israeli and American responses.
But his words cannot be taken at face value. What matters now is his behavior. Commitments must not only be made, but fulfilled. He must stop the glorification of suicide bombers, taking down the banners in Palestinian schools that treat bombers as heroes. He must make arrests of those who are planning or promoting terror. The Palestinian Authority can no longer be a safe haven for those who would kill Israelis.
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For those who question whether Chairman Arafat has the power to do this, the answer is that every time he has cracked down he has succeeded. True, the environment is more difficult for him today, but he has contributed to that environment and he has a responsibility to change it.
Should he do so, it will be important to develop a credible negotiating process to deal with Palestinian grievances and needs. There is no military solution for the Israelis. No amount of force will extinguish Palestinian aspirations. By the same token, violence will not work for the Palestinians and no one should underestimate how destructive the effects of the last year have been on the ability to pursue peace.
We are not in the position we were at the end of the Clinton administration. We cannot simply pick up where things left off. Chairman Arafat could not say yes to the Clinton ideasideas that would have produced an independent state in nearly all of the West Bank and an enlarged Gaza; a capital for that state in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem; security arrangements that included an international presence in the Jordan Valley 6 years into the implementation period; and an unlimited right of return for Palestinians to their state, not to Israel.
Chairman Arafat's inability to accept the Clinton ideasalong with the violence and the new emphasis on right of return to Israelconvinced the Israeli public that he could not accept any ideas and was, in fact, neither interested in nor capable of making peace. Unfortunately, for their part, the Palestinian public has a mirror image of the Israelis. The Palestinian public was never told by their leadership what was offered and what was not accepted. They were constantly told that the Israelis were resisting their obligations on peace, rejecting the implementation of ''international legitimacy.'' They believed that after seven-and-a-half years of Oslo, rather than ending Israeli control of their lives, the process was cementing that control. And, though, they initiated the Intifada, they saw the Israeli response as somehow treating them as if they were subhuman.
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In an environment in which each side has lost faith in the process, it is an illusion to think that the most existential issues of Jerusalem, refugees, and borders can be resolved. The objectives at this stage must be more limited. Reestablishing faith in peaceful coexistence and peacemaking must be the first order of priority.
I believe that the only way to do that is to focus again on the fundamental premise of peacemaking: the Israelis get security; the Palestinians get an end of Israeli control of their lives. Both sides must see this premise being fulfilled not in words, not in abstractions, but in reality. Every step taken by each side must affirm it. Faith will not be restored overnight. But if the Israelis begin to feel secure, and the Palestinians begin to feel freer, peacemaking will again become feasible.
We should have no illusions. It will take time to recreate the conditions in which the core issues of permanent status can be addressed. In the meantime, assuming stabilization, we should seek to promote a more realistic agenda for the resumption of political negotiations. That agenda can deal with statehood, security arrangements, and disengagement.
Each can provide a bridge to the core questions of permanent status. Each has an inherent logic and need. Statehood as a principle is not contentious between the two sides. But what are the attributes of this state? What kind of relations will it have with Israel? Will its economy be linked to Israel's? Questions about water, environment, health, agriculture, must all be addressed. Similarly, there will be no agreement without systematic security arrangements. Dealing with terror, defining the terms of security cooperation, and exploring border security regimes are all essential issues for the present and the future. While security arrangements cannot be finalized until borders can be resolved, the psychology for taking the next step can be developed by productive negotiations on security. Finally, disengagement, or what some in Israel call separation, also responds to the temper of the times. Both sides need to disengage from the possible points of friction between them. Disengagement will involve some Israeli withdrawal. It is the way to deal with the territorial question in the near term. Done mutually, it can do much to foster security for the Israelis and end of Israeli control for the Palestinians.
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There are no panaceas. For us and for the parties, the starting point in fighting terror and promoting peace is truth-telling. Truth-telling in terms of making it clear that terror is a threat and will not be tolerated. Truth-telling in terms of acknowledging that both sides, Israelis and Palestinians, have real grievances that must be alleviated. Truth-telling in terms of telling publics that there is no alternative to negotiations and hard compromises. And, particularly for us, truth-telling in terms of being willing to say who is living up to their commitments and who is not.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Ambassador Ross.
We will now hear from Ambassador Indyk, who is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington where he works on Middle East policy. Ambassador Indyk has worked intimately with both the Arabs and the Israelis to help promote United States peace initiatives in that region. Martin Indyk served as Ambassador to Israel from 1999 until recently, and then as Assistant Secretary to State for Near Eastern Affairs from 1997 to 1999.
Thank you for being with us, Ambassador Indyk. Please proceed. You may put your full statement in the record, you may summarize, whatever you may feel appropriate.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR MARTIN INDYK, SENIOR FELLOW, FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
Mr. INDYK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would like to put the whole statement into the record, and I will summarize it.
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Mr. GILMAN. Without objection, the full statement will be admitted to the record.
Mr. INDYK. Mr. Chairman, it is a real pleasure to be before you and the other Members of the Committee again, especially since I no longer hold the offices of the U.S. Government, and therefore am not necessarily under the same kinds of cautions and constraints that I may have been in that position. It is a little more relaxed to address you today.
I want to associate myself with many of the remarks that have been made today, especially by my colleague, Dennis Ross.
History will surely mark September 11, 2001 as a day of infinite infamy, a turning point for the United States and the civilized world, as you have all remarked.
But what I want to argue today is that it could also mark a turning point for Palestinians and for Israelis. It could also mark the day in retrospect that we will see that the Intifada actually ended.
The potential for this kind of silver lining the very darkest of clouds, I believe, is already evident in Yasser Arafat's reaction to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Recognizing that the spontaneous glee shown by the Palestinian street in West Bank cities in east Jerusalem risked any remaining change for international intervention to pressure Israel, the Chairman took a series of steps designed, first of all, to show some empathy with American victims rather than with the suicide bombers who had taken Palestinian terror tactics and raised them to a new and heinous art form.
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But beyond this public relations effort, the Chairman also took a number of other unusual steps for him to stop the Palestinian violence.
He declared another ceasefire, but this time he did it in Arabic, and he issued the unusual injunction to this forces not to fire, even in self-defense.
He appears to have persuaded both Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad to stop their terror activities, at least for the time being.
He made some arrest of lower-level people involved in terror activities.
He sent his police to patrol sensitive areas and friction points.
He made it clear to some of the Tanzim militia chief that the time had actually come for them to stop the drive-by shootings of Israelis.
And for the first time since the outbreak of the Intifada he went to Rafah in southern Gaza and visited what is essentially a gangland area that he has made no effort to control through the Intifada.
And finally, ordered the arrests there of mortar gangs that have been daily and nightly bombarding Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and also adjoining the Gaza Strip.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 As a consequence, suicide bombing against Israelis appear to have ceased, at least for the last 10 days, and the number of violent incidents is, by Israel's accounting, declining, although the drive-by attack that killed the Israeli woman yesterday that Congressman Lantos referred to is an example that the violence and terrorism has by no means been stamped out completely. But the trend is down and the Israeli government is acknowledging that as well.
We have been through this kind of cycle several times before. Why should we believe that this time anything is different?
I think, first of all, it is important to realize that over the last year gradually, but definitively, the steam has gone out of the Intifada. It is not just over 500 Palestinians have been killed and more than 10,000 casualties, but the Palestinian economy is being devastated; that some 50 percent of Palestinians now live below the poverty line; that unemployment is around 40 percent; and that the Palestinian Authority itself is beginning to disintegrate.
It is also that the Palestinians lost what support they had, not only by some Members of the Committee, but more importantly, I would argue, they lost the support in Israel that they had. The peace camp is gone. The Israeli public has moved dramatically to the right. And instead of Prime Minster Barak, who was prepared to offer them something close to 97 percent of the West Bank, all of Gaza for an independent Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, as Dennis Ross has pointed out, that offer is no longer on the table, and there doesn't seem to be any political circumstances that one could imagine in Israel any time soon in which that offer could be put back on the table.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The Palestinians had also, before September 11th, lost the sympathy of much of the world. Certainly Yasser Arafat was persona non grata here in Washington and the United States was effectively blocking any efforts that he was making to produce through UN Security Council action some kind of international intervention on behalf of the Palestinians.
But I believe perhaps the most important failure of the Intifada was its failure to generate any significant support in the Arab world beyond lip service, political statements, Israel bashing rhetoric, and some financial support, limited financial support.
What the Palestinians were unable to do was to spread their Intifada to the Arab world in a way that would generate regional instability that would precipitate the kind of international intervention that Yasser Arafat was looking for.
President Mubarak of Egypt stood up clearly and said war is not in our interest. We are not going to go to war, and neither Egypt nor Jordan nor Saudi Arabia nor, for that matter, even the Syrians were prepared to allow this Israeli/Palestinian conflict to escape the West Bank and Gaza and engulf the Middle East.
And therefore the Intifada had to essentially move from being a popular revolt to a series of suicide acts by Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad on the one hand, and other kinds of violence and terrorism by the Tanzim militia and gangs of Palestinians essentially roaming the countryside looking for Israelis to shoot up.
That was before September 11th. After September the 11th, I think that Yasser Arafat came to understand that now he had better find a way to put an end to this violence if he had any hope of gaining some international support for the Palestinian cause. He had now both the incentive and the justification for acting.
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The incentive, as Dennis has suggested, comes from what Shimon Peres colorfully refers to as the phenomenon that ''you cannot enter the non-smoker's club puffing on a fat cigar.'' And in this case any further terrorist acts emanating from areas under Yasser Arafat's control would fit very much the definition that our President, President Bush, has made clear he will apply, which is to say that he will draw no distinction between the terrorists and those that harbor them, and that you are either against the terrorists or you are with them, you are with us or you are with the terrorists.
And so Yasser Arafat, understanding that at this particular moment he faced the possibility of bringing a complete disaster down upon the heads of the Palestinians, decided to move.
The question now is what can be done about the fact that there is, it seems, such an incentive for Chairman Arafat to stop the violence.
Left to his own devices, as we have seen before, we cannot assume that he will continue to do the right thing. What he will need for his new calculus to be sustained is Israeli reciprocal steps and American engagement. Already Prime Minister Sharon has the first step in terms of stopping initiated actions by Israel into Palestinian territories. And I believe the government of Israel is ready to continue along that line. As Arafat takes steps to end the violence, I believe that the Israeli government will be prepared to ease up the pressure on the Palestinians, reduce the impact of the closures, redeploy the Israel defense forces, and help to create a more positive dynamic to get us out of this crisis.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 All of these kinds of reciprocal steps have already been outlined and agreed upon by both parties in the Tenet work plan to stop the violence and the Mitchell recommendations. Both sides have accepted them with out reservation. The challenge has always been in the implementation. And we know from the experience of the last year that the implementation will not be effective unless we also actively engage with the parties.
And I regret to say that this cannot be done effectively simply from Washington. This is especially the case when our own leaders are understandably and necessarily preoccupied with a war on terror that they now are forced to wage.
Therefore, in my view, I believe that it is time now to appoint another special envoy to take on this special responsibility, and I have to say, Mr. Chairman, that I have never made such a recommendation before. I am not one to quickly pull this out of the hat at any opportunity. But there is now, I believe, an opportunity to stop the violence, and the envoy's objective should be to do that, not to try to achieve an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but something much more modest: an end to the violence, a restoration of a meaningful negotiating process as provided in the Mitchell Report.
The horrible events of September 11th, Mr. Chairman, may have created an opportunity to do some good in the region. I believe that with pressure Yasser Arafat applied through the auspices of the special envoy, we have an opportunity now to end the violence there; that that will help in our efforts to promote a coalition against terror. It will take away the excuse that many will want to provide that they cannot join us in this effort because of the Palestinians problem. It will give us something to point to in that regard in terms of what we are doing, that we are cognizant of the need to keep that area of the Middle East calm while we prosecute our war on terror.
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Most importantly, if we can stop the violence now by pressing Arafat to do the right think in a sustained way, it will help to reestablish the principle that many of you have referred to here, which is as vital to the war on terror as it is to the promotion of Middle East peace. Terrorism is an unacceptable, illegitimate and counterproductive means for the Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, or anybody to use to try to achieve their political objections.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Indyk follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR MARTIN INDYK, SENIOR FELLOW, FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
History will surely mark September 11, 2001 as a day of infinite infamy, a turning point for the United States and the civilized world. It could also mark a turning point for Palestinians and Israelisthe day the intifadah ended.
Whether that in fact is the case will depend above all on the actions of Chairman Arafat. But Israeli and American responses to efforts he has begun to make to stop the violence and terrorism can help create a new, positive dynamic in Israeli-Palestinian relations. If, as a result, a viable negotiating process replaces the bloodshed and hatred of the past year, America's war on terrorism will benefit. And if the Palestinian leadership definitively repudiates violence and terrorism as legitimate means of pursuing its political objectives, then Israeli-Palestinian peace becomes an achievable objective again.
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This potential for a silver lining in the very darkest of clouds is already evident in Yasser Arafat's reaction to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Recognizing that the spontaneous glee shown by the Palestinian street in West Bank cities and east Jerusalem risked ending any remaining chance for international intervention to pressure Israel, Arafat took a series of steps designed to show empathy with America's victims rather than the suicide bombers who had taken Palestinian terror tactics and raised them to a new, heinous art form. But beyond the PR effort (which included his own personal donation of blood, memorial services at Palestinian schools, and suppression of media reporting of support for the terrorists), Arafat also took a number of other unusual steps to stop Palestinian violence:
He declared another ceasefire, but this time issued the orders publicly, in Arabic, with the injunction to his forces not to fire, even in self-defense;
He appears to have persuaded both Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to stop their terror activities, at least for the time being;
He made some arrests of lower-level people involved in terror activities;
He sent his police to patrol sensitive areas and friction points;
He made it clear to some Tanzim militias that this time he was actually serious about stopping drive-by shootings of Israelis;
And for the first time since the outbreak of the intifadah he visited the gangland of southern Gaza and ordered the arrest of a mortar gang there.
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As a consequence, terrorist attacks on Israelis appear to have ceased and the number of violent incidents is declining.
We have been through this kind of cycle several times before in the course of the Intifadah. Yet each time Arafat took steps to halt the violence, his failure to follow through combined with an Israeli inability to tolerate casualties while he made his half-hearted efforts to prevent them led to the inevitable reinvigoration of the cycle of violence.
Why should this time be any different?
First, it's important to recognize that much of the steam had already gone out of the intifadah. By June 2001, popular demonstrations and confrontations at checkpoints had all but ceased. The ''struggle'' had been left to armed gangs of Tanzim, Hamas and PIJ terrorists, a few mortar gangs in Gaza and the smugglers in Rafah.
The Palestinian society and economy had paid a very high price with nothing to show for the sacrifice of over 500 lives and the severe economic hardship resulting from Israel's tight closures of the West Bank and Gaza. Unemployment was over 40%, and some 50% of Palestinians were beneath the poverty line.
In Israel, Barak's ''peace cabinet'' which had been prepared to negotiate and make concessions under fire was replaced by Sharon's national unity government that refuses to even meet Arafat while violence continues. Rather than fall apart in the face of daily casualties, the Israeli polity had come together and shifted dramatically to the right in its attitudes toward the Palestinians. The independent Palestinian state on all of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital, an Israeli offer which had been on the table at the end of 2000, was now lost, perhaps forever.
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In stark contrast to the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration had essentially withdrawn from the arena. Arafat had become persona non grata in Washington and the US was blocking his efforts to internationalize the conflict through the UN Security Council. The EU had also become more sympathetic to Israel because of the far-reaching concessions the Barak government had been prepared to make. At the same time the Europeans had become more impatient with Arafat because of his tolerance of suicide bombers.
Perhaps most significant for any longer term Palestinian strategy of a war of attrition, the Arab world had only responded with lip service and minor financial subventions. The hope that the intifadah would generate regional instability which in turn would precipitate American-led, international intervention, proved forlorn. The Arab street had calmed down after some initial rumblings in the early days of the intifadah. And Arab leaders had made clear that they had no intention to be dragged back into war with Israel on the Palestinians' behalf. President Mubarak was particularly outspoken in this regard but enjoyed support from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Even Syria, which has an interest in keeping pressure on Israel to remind it that the Golan Heights are occupied territory, was not prepared to allow Hezbollah to provoke an Israeli-Syrian confrontation.
In sum, before September 11, Arafat's every avenue had been blocked off. Lacking an exit strategy, he had resorted to what he does best, surfing the waves of Palestinian anger and violence in the hope that one would eventually carry him to a safe shore.
Instead he was hit by the tidal wave of September 11, which threatened to destroy any chance of salvation. Arafat understood immediately that if he allowed any further suicide bombings, he would immediately be cast into the same pariah status as the Al Quaeda terrorists. So as President Bush was making clear that the United States would ''draw no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them,'' Arafat was already busy expressing his condolences, donating blood and suppressing Palestinian popular support for the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings. By the time President Bush had declared that ''you are either with us or you are with the terrorists,'' Arafat had convinced both Hamas and PIJ to stop their attacks, at least for the time being.
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To be sure, Arafat did not want to repeat the mistake he had made in backing Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, a move which brought the Palestinian cause to its lowest point since the disaster of 1948. And this gives him an explanation for his own people for calling off the violence to prevent damage to the Palestinian cause. But Arafat also sees in this global crisis, an opportunity to rebuild his international standing, particularly in the United States, by bringing the Palestinians into the coalition against terrorism. By his calculation, that would do much to defuse Arab anger with America and help cement a coalition between the United States and the Islamic World. This belief in the importance of his own contribution to the war on terrorism helps provide him with his own incentive for demonstrating that he is in fact on the right side of President Bush's dividing line.
This significant change in Arafat's own calculus is behind the actions he has taken in recent days to end the violence. Even though Arafat's view of the contribution he can make is overblown, the United States has an interest in reinforcing his new calculus. While we focus our initial efforts on Usama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban, we do not need the distraction of a flare-up in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would complicate our efforts to secure Arab backing for our coalition. Moreover, we also have a new opportunity to help put Israelis and Palestinians back on the long path to reconciliation. And that would help demonstrate to the Islamic world that we are cognizant of their concerns even while we are confronting the extremists and terrorists in their midst.
However, we cannot assume that left to his own devices, Arafat will continue to do the right thing. For his new calculus to be translated into a sustained effort to stop the violence and arrest the terrorists, Arafat will need Israeli reciprocal steps and American engagement. On the Israeli side, Sharon has already ordered the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to stop ''initiated actions'' into territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority. But as Arafat takes effective steps to prevent the recurrence of violent incidents, Sharon will need to ease the pressure on the Palestinian people by lifting the closures, redeploying the IDF and allowing a return to normal life. Both sides will then need to take confidence-building measures that will begin to heal the wounds of a year of bloody conflict and restore the trust and mutual respect so necessary to any resumption of negotiations.
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All these reciprocal steps to end the violence, restore normalcy and rebuild trust are outlined in the Tenet work plan and the recommendations of the Mitchell Report. Both sides have accepted them without reservation. The challenge is in the implementation. And we know from the experience of the last year, that implementation will not be effective unless we actively engage with the parties, making clear that we intend to hold both sides to their commitments. Unfortunately, this cannot be done effectively by phone calls from Washington and instructions to our Ambassador in Israel and Consul General in Jerusalem. And this is especially the case when our leaders are necessarily preoccupied with waging the war on terror.
Therefore, in my view, now is the right time to appoint a Special Envoy to take on this specific responsibility. To be effective, the envoy would need to be a person of stature and experience, enjoying the trust of Israel and the respect of the Arab world. The Envoy would need to be seen in the Middle East as having the ear of the President, but would report to the Secretary of State and be staffed by the Near East Bureau. The Envoy's objective should not be to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, but something much more modest: an end to the violence and a restoration of meaningful negotiations as provided for in the Mitchell Report.
The Bush Administration abolished the Special Middle East Coordinator's position established by the Clinton Administration, believing correctly at the time that there was no real opportunity for peacemaking. But the horrible events of September 11 have created an opportunity to end the Palestinian-Israeli violence and this has become a more important priority now that we are embarked on a complicated war on terrorism and need to avoid distractions and sources of division. The appointment of an envoy would demonstrate our interest in the Palestinian issue even while our leaders devote themselves to the cause at hand. It would give us something to point to for those who would use our lack of engagement on the Palestinian issue as an excuse for not supporting the coalition. It would give us the means to keep Arafat focused on the tasks that he now needs to fulfill if he wants to be considered eligible to join the coalition.
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Most importantly, it would help reestablish a principle vital to the war on terror as well as the promotion of Middle East peace: that terrorism is an unacceptable, illegitimate and counterproductive means for Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, or anybody to use to try to achieve political objectives.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Ambassador Indyk.
And now we will hear from Ambassador Walker, who testified earlier this year when he was still with the Administration. Recently became President and CEO of the Middle East Institute. Prior to assuming the position at MEI, Mr. Walker was Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs as a career Foreign Service Officer for nearly 35 years. Mr. Walker has served as the Ambassador to Israel from 1997 to 1999, and then as Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt, prior to that as Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 1994 to 1997. He also served as a Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN with Ambassador rank from 1993 to '94, and as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 1998 through the period of the Gulf War, to 1992.
Welcome Ambassador Walker. You may put your full statement in the record and summarize, as you may desire.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD S. WALKER, PRESIDENT, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE
Mr. WALKER. Thank you. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I will submit my statement forfull statement for the record.
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Mr. GILMAN. Full statement for the record. It will be received without objection. Please proceed.
Mr. WALKER. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for this opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to discuss the Palestinian issue and the approach that should be taken by the United States. I especially appreciate this opportunity to speak to you as a private citizen with all the candor and frankness appropriate to the occasion.
Now, Mr. Chairman, there is no just and lasting peace in the Middle East without a resolution of all the issues concerning the Palestinians. Israel's security cannot be guaranteed unless the Palestinians are accorded a fair settlement. The issue is complicated, this I know all too well. But so long as the Palestinians are denied independence, dignity, self-respect and economic opportunity, as they are denied today, there can be no solution. And so long as the Israelis are denied a sense of well being and personal security as they are denied today, there can be no solution.
Whatever the situation that prevailed before September 11, that situation has changed irrevocably today. Our approach to the Palestinian issue has to be seen now in the context of the attack by radical fundamentalists on the United States and the war on which we are engaged against terrorism. Some elements in the Palestinian community, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in particular, and certain cells in Hamas are a part of the worldwide network of terrorism.
We cannot turn a blind eye to acts of terrorism or violence directed against innocent civilians no matter what the source, the group, the excuse, the political justification, or the impact on our other interests. The people of the region and of the world must know that we are serious and that we will not rest until these groups are eliminated or abandon terrorism.
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More particularly, Chairman Arafat must know and understand that this is no longer a question of an Israeli-Palestinian issue. And let me make this very clear, this is not a question of violence or resistance in a regional dispute or under terms of occupation. It is a very specific issue of terrorism that is directed at innocent civilians and the network that supports it. No international law, no Geneva Convention, and no true religion supports such action. Therefore, it must be dealt with by the Administration as a bilateral issue between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.
We have the right, based on the bodies of over 3,500 Americans, to demand Arafat's 150 percent cooperation with our, that is, U.S. security authorities efforts to stop these people, to arrest them and to prevent any, and I repeat, any further suicide bombs or car bombs or other attacks on innocent civilians whether it is in Israel or Buenos Aires, or Philadelphia. Here, and on this issue alone the call for 100 percent effectiveness and cooperation makes sense.
Clearly, guarantees by Arafat against this kind of terrorism will help establish conditions for resumed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But it will not solve the question of Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas; it will not stop settlers from encroaching on Palestinian lands; it will not stop Palestinians boys from throwing stones at Israeli settlers, police and the IDF; it will not stop the exchanges of fire between Palestinians security forces and Israeli outposts; or firing by Palestinians on settlers and settlers on Palestinians; and it will not stop Israeli assassination efforts. It is in this context that each side sincerely doubts the intentions of the other.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Perhaps it is true that Arafat missed an opportunity at Camp David, as some claim and many complain. But what we now know of the brutal efficiency of the radial fundamentalists argues strongly that neither Arafat nor the agreement would have survived very long in the absence of prior broad Arab and Islamic moderate support, particularly for a solution to the Jerusalem issue, and that support had not been fully developed prior to Camp David.
Let me add, Mr. Chairman, that Yasser Arafat is not going to be able to come back to the path of negotiations so long as all of his objectives seem blocked by the Israeli government. And in all candor, sir, over half the people in the U.S. Administration do not believe that Sharon will accept a true freeze on settlements. Most of the people I know in the Administration do not believe that Sharon is willing to contemplate a negotiated settlement on any terms but those that the Palestinians would consider total submission and surrender.
I hope that most of the people in the Administration are wrong, and we have to make that case. We have to decide. Then we have to work with the prime minister of Israel to see.
But only the United States, working in tandem with Europe and the Arab moderate states, can hope to provide the assurances about our positions and determination that Arafat will need and Sharon will need to move back to the table. If we are able to get Arafat to crack down on terrorism, just as the whole work defines it, the human bombs in the marketplaces, the clubs and pizza places, then that would be the first step.
From that starting place it may be possible to begin the construction of confidence and reduction of more general violence. No doubt, Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat both will have to have confidence that this time, as Dennis made very clear, the United States means what it says and that it will follow up on agreements and their implementation and that there will be a price if we are ignored.
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In the absence of U.S. resolution, we will lose the support of Arab states in the region as violence in the occupied territories escalates and the local populations react and pressure their governments.
And with that loss, we could lose our fight against terrorism. The choices, in my view, are that stark. The way out begins with a single step. Arafat's full and effective cooperation to stop the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and elements of Hamas dead in their tracks. It is not the 100 percent cessation of all violence that Sharon was demanding. For that, further steps and assurances, particularly on settlements and the way forward will have to be much clearer. But from the foundation of no more bombs in the marketplace, bombs that have destroyed so many past efforts to move the negotiations forward, we can build a new edifice.
Itzhak Rabin once said,
''We will continue the fight against terror as if there is no peace process and we will the peace process as if there is no terror.''
Words for us to live by.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Walker follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF EDWARD S. WALKER, PRESIDENT, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE
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Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to discuss the Palestinian issue and the approach taken by the United States. I especially appreciate the opportunity to speak to you as a private citizen with all the candor and frankness appropriate to the occasion. Thirty-four years of public service, almost all of it spent in the Middle East, render me almost incapable of unfiltered thought. However, for your subcommittee, I will do my best to air my analysis with a minimum of obfuscation. And I know, Mr. Chairman, that you will call me on it should I regress to my old ways.
Before starting in on the Palestinian issue, I would like to second the two opening points Assistant Secretary William Burns' made at your July 25, 2001 hearing. Bill is an exceptional diplomat, a fact that, no doubt, came to your attention during his testimony. And Bill was absolutely on target with his reaffirmation of UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of Land for Peace. These concepts resonate with his second point, which supported a regional approach to finding solutions to disputes, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict. We cannot cauterize the festering wound that is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to prevent it from infecting the rest of the Middle East.
Despite the success of the Egyptian and Jordanian tracks, and even with the thus far inconclusive results of the Syrian track, there is noand let me repeat that wordno just and lasting peace in the Middle East without a resolution of all issues concerning the Palestinians. Israel's security cannot be guaranteed unless the Palestinians are accorded a fair settlement. The issue is complicated, this I know all too well. But so long as the Palestinians are denied independence, dignity, self-respect and economic opportunity, as they are denied today, there can be no solution. And so long as the Israelis are denied a sense of well being and personal security as they are denied today, there can be no solution.
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Whatever the situation that prevailed before September 11, that situation has changed irrevocably today. Our approach to the Palestinian issue has to be seen now in the context of the attack by radical fundamentalists on the United States and the war on which we are engaged against terrorism. Some elements in the Palestinian community, the Palestinians Islamic Jihad, in particular, and certain cells in Hamas are a part of the worldwide network of terrorism that is mutually supportive and that constitutes a threat to us and to civilized states everywhere.
We cannot turn a blind eye to acts of terrorism or violence directed against innocent civilians no matter what the source, the group, the excuse, the political justification, or the impact on our other interests. The people of the region and the world must know that we are serious and that we will not rest until these groups are eliminated or abandon terrorism.
More particularly, Chairman Arafat must know and understand that this is no longer a question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And let me make this very clear, this is not a question of violence or resistance in a regional dispute or under terms of occupation. It is a very specific issue of terrorism that is directed at innocent civilians and the network that supports it. No international law, no Geneva Convention, and no true religion supports such action. Therefore, it must be dealt with by the Administration as a bilateral issue between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.
We have the right, based on the bodies of over 6000 Americans, to demand Arafat's 150% cooperation with our, that is US security authorities to stop these people, to arrest them and to prevent any, and I repeat, any further suicide bombs or car bombs or other attacks on innocent civilians whether it is in Israel or Buenos Aires, or Philadelphia. Here, and on this issue alone the call for 100% effectiveness and cooperation makes sense.
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Clearly, guarantees by Arafat against this kind of terrorism will help establish conditions for resumed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But it will not solve the question of Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas; it will not stop settlers from encroaching on Palestinian lands; it will not stop Palestinian boys from throwing stones at Israeli settlers, police and the IDF; it will not stop the exchanges of fire between Palestinian security forces and Israeli outposts: or firing by Palestinians on settlers and settlers on Palestinians; and it will not stop Israeli assassination efforts. It is this kind of violence that George Tenet sought to dampen with the arrangements he negotiated so that the parties could move on the implementation of the Mitchell Commission proposals. And it is in this context that each side sincerely doubts the intentions of the other.
Arafat, I fear, has been told by many among the Palestinians and by others that Israel will back down and make compromises in the face of attacks on her people, witness the withdrawal from Lebanon. I have been told the same thing by a number of my acquaintances in the region. The Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon under what appeared to be pressure from Hizb Allah had a profound effect on the Palestinians and other Arabs. It was leverage for all those who sought to undercut a negotiated solution. And it was argued to Arafat that he could resort to violence if an agreement was not on terms he could accept and survive. When he left Camp David the proximate cause of his departure was undoubtedly the certitude that he would be dead within a matter of days if he were seen to be making a compromise on Jerusalem.
Perhaps Arafat missed an opportunity at Camp David as some claim and many complain, but what we now know of the brutal efficiency of the radical fundamentalists, argues strongly that neither Arafat nor the agreement would have survived in the absence of prior broad Arab and Islamic moderate support which had not been developed by the President.
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Arafat is not going to come back to the path of negotiations so long as all of his objectives seem blocked by the Israeli government. Over half the people in the US administration do not believe that Sharon will accept a true freeze on settlements, for example. After long experience with Israeli Prime Ministers, I do not believe it either.
Most people I know in the Administration do not believe the Sharon is willing to contemplate a negotiated settlement on any terms but those that the Palestinian would consider total submission and surrender. Arafat is not going to sell his ''birthright'' for a bowl of pottage. Bribes of food and economic benefits for his people are not going to be enough. Going back to the status quo ante is going back to occupation.
Only the United States, working in tandem with Europe and the Arab moderate states can hope to provide the assurances about our positions and determination that Arafat will need to move back to the table. But if we, the United States, are able to get Arafat to crack down on terrorism as the entire world defines it, the human bombs in the markets, clubs and pizza places, then that would be the first step. From that starting place it may be possible to begin the construction of confidence and reduction of more general violence. No doubt, Sharon and Arafat both will have to have confidence that this time, the United States means what it says, that it will follow up on agreements and their implementation and that there will be a price if we are ignored. And Arafat will have to believe that Sharon does not have a blank check from the Administration. In short, I believe that the United States will have to carry a significant burden on this issue.
In the absence of US resolution, we will lose the support of Arab states in the region as violence in the occupied territories escalates and local populations react and pressure their governments.
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And with that loss, we will lose our fight against terrorism. The choices, in my view are that stark. The way out begins with a single step. Arafat's full and effective cooperation to stop the PIJ and elements of Hamas dead in their tracks. It is not the 100% cessation of all violence that Sharon is demanding. For that, further steps and assurances, particularly on settlements and the way forward will have to be much clearer. But f rom the foundation of no more bombs in the market place, bombs that have destroyed so many past efforts to move the negotiations forward, we can build a new edifice. Itzhak Rabin once said: ''We will continue the fight against terror as if there is no peace process and we will continue the peace process as if there is no terror.'' Words for us to live by.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Ambassador Walker.
I have a few questions that I would like to address to our panelists.
Ambassador Indyk, you have called for the appointment of a special envoy; is that not correct? And what can a special envoy accomplish that has not been accomplished to date? Why recommend this step at this point?
Mr. INDYK. Mr. Chairman, to understand the importance of this is to realize that the Bush Administration understandably took a step back from engagement in the efforts to promote the peace process. They did so at the beginning of the Administration. They abolished Dennis Ross's position as special envoy because of this real sense, and the correct sense at the time, that there was not an opportunity to advance the peace process.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 What I am talking about is a very different engagement. It is an engagement to stop the violence as the first requirement, and that, we have seen, can be started by Arafat, but in order to get him to do the hard things required, arresting the terrorist that he has let out of jail, stopping his own Tanzim Fatah militia from carrying out their drive-by shootings, arresting these mortar gangs, he is not going to do it just on his own.
We can see in the last 11 days the whole issue of getting a simple meeting between Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres has plagued both parties. It has been very difficult to do. And left to their own devices, both sides will find it, just as they have before, impossible to break out of this kind of situation.
Yasser Arafat's inability to stop everything in its tracks immediately requires a certain patience and tolerance on the side of Israel, which is extremely difficult to expect of them in a situation where they are taking casualties on a daily basis, as they did yesterday.
And that is where we have a special role to play, which cannot be done by telephone from Washington. Especially not in a circumstance where our leaders are necessarily preoccupied with other events, prosecuting the war on terrorism. We need somebody who can go and basically engage in an effort at hand-holding on the Israeli side, and arm twisting on Arafat's side to make sure that we take advantage of this opportunity to get the parties to live up to their commitments, to create a series of reciprocal steps that are implemented according to things that both sides have already agreed upon.
We have in the situation now a circumstance in which Europeans, the UN are trying to fill the vacuum. But the fact of the matter is, especially after September 11th, no outside party has the kind of influence that we have now to be able to give to stop the violence.
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Mr. GILMAN. Ambassador Indyk, if the special envoy makes no progress, how would that impact upon the peace process?
Mr. INDYK. Well, you know, first of all, I think that there is a good chance now that he could make progress for all the reasons that I have described. So it is always a question of weighing the risks involved here.
I also think it is important to be seen to be trying at this moment, so that we diffuse the issue so that
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you.
Mr. INDYK [continuing]. We make clear that this is not something that we are ignoring while we are prosecuting the war on the terrorism.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you.
Ambassador Walker, State Department reported and the International Terrorism for 2000 states that Israel alleges that the Palestinian security officials and Fatah members have taken part in violence against Israel.
Should we be placing Fatah or Tanzim on the list of terrorist organizations?
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WALKER. Well, the State Department has said, and, you know, much of my knowledge comes from the stuff that I read there, that Tanzim activities are not demonstrably ordered from above. I do not quite know whether that is true or not.
Let me put it this way: If we find that organizations are engaged in acts of terrorism against innocent civilians, such as bombings in pizza huts and parlors and bars and so on, then I think there is no question of what we call those peoplethey are terroristsand we should define them as such.
The kind of activity that Tanzim is involved in, you have to take a look at exactly what it is and who is instructing and ordering it as an organization; the same thing with Fatah.
Mr. GILMAN. Former Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared before our Committee last week, and when we asked the question how would you define Mr. Arafat with regard to terrorism, he said, ''Mr. Arafat is a terrorist.''
Do you agree with that?
Mr. WALKER. No, I do not.
Mr. GILMAN. Ambassador Ross, the Bush Administration's strategy to implement the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission.
In your estimation has our approach changed at all in the light of the September 11th attack? Should it change?
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Mr. ROSS. I do not know that it needs to change in terms of whether or not there should be implementation of the Mitchell Report. I do think you have to look at the Mitchell Report as an instrument or a pathway. The Mitchell Report is not an objective. You have to decideyou have to decide what your objective is.
I believe the way to identify the right objective is focus on what is possible and what is not possible. What clearly is not possible is to go back to where we were at the end of the Clinton Administration.
On the other hand, you have an objective of trying to relegitimize the idea of peacemaking, try to relegitimize the idea of peaceful co-existence.
The Mitchell Report can be important in getting toward that for one reason. It is not just that we need to see a ceasefire, it is that we need to see both sides avoiding those steps that create a grievance on the part of the other. Where the Mitchell Report has, I think, great value, it is precisely in that area.
But again, I would treat it as part of a pathway. I would not treat it as an end in itself.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to address in the context of what our colleague, Congressman Issa said before, and that was to tie the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the disaster that occurred on 911 is wrong. And I want to take issue with that.
You know, we used to say when we were kids ''sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never harm me.'' That is not true. People who call names incite people to do things. And I think that is what we have seen.
Where I come from, and I will disagree with my good friend, Ambassador Walker, I think, the answer he gave as to whether or not Yasser Arafat was a terrorist; certainly a former terrorist. But where I come from if you help plan the murder, then drive the guy to the murder, and then hide the triggerman, you get charged with the murder.
Arafat, we have been told today, has said some things which have resulted basically in a stopping of the firing of the guns even in self-defense, stopped the drive-by shootings. He stopped the suicide bombings. My goodness, this was the guy everybody was wringing their hands about a few weeks ago, gee, I wonder if he has the ability to stop this. Can he control this? Maybe it is beyond his control.
All of a sudden the guy turns into a magician, and snaps his fingers, and everything stops. Give me a break. The rhetoric that he has used over the years, the things that he has said as the leader, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, his tolerance of those who have committed acts of terrorism against civilians, the blowing up of school buses, the blowing up of dance halls where little girls are going to a dance, or the pizza place, to allow that and to tolerate all of that over the years on a sustained, continuous level has lowered the threshold of what is acceptable as human behavior. That bar is laying on the floor it is so low. And whether or not he is complicitious in a direct fashion with Osama bin Laden still remains to be seen. But certainly he is Arafat, the enabler, because his language has tolerated that kind of behavior until it has resulted in this total disaster.
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If I get one answer to one question from each of you today, I will be satisfied, and that question is: What do you know of any tie-ins between Mr. Arafat, the organizations which are supportive of Mr. Arafat, those within his coalition, those who are sympathetic to his cause and his goals and his means, and Mr. bin Laden and as al-Qaeda and those organizations?
Maybe we should start with Ambassador Indyk because you appear to be in the middle. [Laughter.]
Mr. INDYK. As far as I am aware off the top of my head, there is no connection.
Mr. ACKERMAN. And if I can just broaden that and include Saddam Hussein.
Mr. INDYK. Well, let me just talk about Arafat and his organizations within the PLO, is what I take it you are referring to.
I think it is important and it goes to this whole question of the relationship between what happened on September 11th and the Arab-Israeli issues, I think it is important to emphasize Osama bin Laden has never really focused on Israel and Israel-related issued. As far as I am aware, the first that Osama bin Laden's operation turned up in Gaza or the West Bank was only a few months ago, and that was a small cell which the Israelis stumbled on, and were not previously aware of their activities there.
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Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network has ben far more focused on Saudi Arabia and the American presence there; on Egypt, and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad is a critical element in the al-Qaeda organization, and other places in the region like Algeria. They have also found cells, of course, in Jordan and in even Syria and Lebanon.
So on that front, I do not think there is a direct connection. But I do want to associate myself with your comments about the climate, and I guess Dennis has referred to this as well.
I am afraid that it is a sorry reality that the youths of terrorism, the killing of innocent people, men, women and children, has become acceptable within the mainstream of Arab and even Islamic societies as a weapon of the oppressed, and that is something that has to be addressed not just by the political leadership in the Arab and Islamic world, but it needs to be addressed by the religious leadership as well because it is going to destroy their societies and their governments as well. It is very important. If they play a leadership rolenow, it is not good enough for us to denounce it in our American or Australian accent, it is essential that they stand up and speak out against this kind of terrorism, which is not just un-Islamic, it is anti-Islamic.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Ambassador Walker.
Mr. WALKER. Yes, sir. I do not know of any specific ties, but I am not sure that it makes a lot of difference because if we are going to be against terrorism, we have to be against terrorism. And whatever their links are to Osama bin Laden or not, if they engage in the kind of terrorism we have been talking about this morning, then they are our enemy, they are the enemy of the Palestinians and the Israelis and the whole civilized world. So let us just keep it clear.
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Now, Arafat, the magician, I would suggest that the world changed on September 11th, and that the equation that various leaders have used in the past to judge their actions has changed because for the first time, I think, the world understands that we are serious. There is no more playing around. There is no more excuses. There is no more, well, we have got negotiations tomorrow, and well, we do not want to upset the apple cart. And I think that Arafat may have, mind you, may have taken that equation, that new equation into account when he decided that he could bring power to bear on these groups, and their understanding of that fact allowed him to do it.
So I would suggest that it is something that we want to continue to make very clear to the world that this is not going to pass. We are going to pursue this to the end, which is a victory in the war against terrorism.
Mr. ACKERMAN. I agree with you on that point, but you know, I just want to punctuate that by saying we took very sad note of the fact that those loyal to Arafat jumped up and started to applaud before he held up the applause cue card.
Mr. WALKER. I agree.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. WALKER. And there isthere is a lot to do in this area, particularly on the climate and particular in the statements on both sides, I might add.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time as expired.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman, if I could have
Mr. GILMAN. I am going to ask the cooperation of my colleagues. We have 25 minutes in which to go to the Floor for the bipartisan briefing by Colin Powell, and by our defense secretary. And I am going to ask our colleagues if they will cooperate and limit their questions and answers to 3 minutes each.
And Mr. Ackerman, I am going to ask your cooperation in that so that each Member will have the opportunity to question.
We will now proceed to Mr. Issa.
Mr. ISSA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Walker, Ambassador Walker, I just want to follow up very quickly with a couple of short questions.
I am going to assume for a moment that Osama bin Laden, if peace came to the Middle East, at least as to Palestine and Israel's disputes, that Osama Bid Laden would not change what he is doing at all; is that correct?
Mr. WALKER. That is absolutely correct.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ISSA. And on the other hand, some elements related to the PLO over which the Chairman either does or does not have some authority would disband, at least some of them?
Mr. WALKER. Some of them certainly would.
Mr. ISSA. And the ones who would not at that point be in the same boat as Osama bin Laden?
Mr. WALKER. Would oppose our culture, our society, our freedom.
Mr. ISSA. Can we say today which ones are in that camp?
Mr. WALKER. The closest, I would say, is probably the Palestinians Islamic Jihad. It is a similar nature to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and so on. They are similar.
Mr. ISSA. Right. And I would like to go on the record today as saying that at the point that we can determine that a group, if there were a just and amicable peace arrived at between the Palestinian people and Israel, those which would then find a new cause celebre, if we can isolate them, that in fact we should put them on that list even though they are not presently on that list.
Mr. WALKER. I certainly would agree with that, sir.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ISSA. Moving on to another issue, because obviously there are colleagues on both sides of this issue, but I for one would like to bifurcate the terrorist activities that we are trying to deal with today versus the goal of the Chairman, which is to continue the process of peace in the Palestinian region.
What I would like to do, I have been given a map and some talking points that I am going to ask that my assistant pass them around, and that they be included in the record, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILMAN. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. ISSA. This is for Ambassador Ross.
Looking at the map, and I realize no map is perfect, but you are familiar with this ground more than probably any other man still living, do you see any inaccuracies in this map relative to the one that was proposed at Camp David II?
Mr. ROSS. The short answer to it, yeah, this is not accurate.
Mr. ISSA. And would you
Page 160 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ROSS. And I will explain why.
Mr. ISSA. Please.
Mr. ROSS. Let me start most clearly. It is interesting how there have been a lot of mythologies that have been developed. One mythology
Mr. ISSA. Truth, the first casualty of the Middle East.
Mr. ROSS. What I was saying, truth telling is where we need to start.
At Camp David, we never presented a comprehensive set of ideas.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. I regret to have to cut
Mr. ISSA. Mr. Chairman, if I could just ask that we get a written response, classified or unclassified, preferably classified, so that we could have a full understanding of the inaccuracies.
Mr. GILMAN. Without objection, we will
Mr. ROSS. It does not need to be classified. I think it should all be in the open.
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Mr. GILMAN. I will be
Mr. ROSS. I will answer it.
[The information referred to follows:]
QUESTION POSED BY THE HONORABLE DARRELL E. ISSA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND AMBASSADOR ROSS' POST-HEARING WRITTEN RESPONSE
QUESTION BY THE HONORABLE DARRELL E. ISSA:
There have been many questions surrounding the issue of what was actually offered to the PLO at Camp David II. I have been given a map by the PLO, outlining their version of what was offered to them at Camp David II. I would be interested to know what, in your opinion, was offered to the Palestinians at this specific peace summit, and how your view differs from what the map represents.
RESPONSE BY AMBASSADOR DENNIS B. ROSS:
In response to the taken question, let me make the following points: there have been a number of mythologies created about what the Palestinians were offered, and the map in question is one of those mythologies. It is true that the maps the Israelis presented to the Palestinians would have dissected the Palestinian territories, but in the Clinton ideas the United States offered approximately 95% of the West Bankand that 95% would have been contiguous. It would not have been dissected, bisected or trisected. In addition, that 95% would have provided the Palestinian state with its own border with Jordan. Peace will be possible when facts are faced and mythologies are not perpetuated.
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Mr. GILMAN. The next inquiry is by Mr. Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. I would like to follow up on the comments of the distinguished gentleman from California, and dividing terrorist groups into those that would disband or not disband based upon what happens in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
I want to say that terrorism and killing civilians in the United States or outside the United States is totally unacceptable, and that we would be wrong to divide terrorist groups into those that will not rest until every girl in America and in any country in the world is removed from school and some sortand we have a Talibanization of the entire world, those that would rest if we withdrew our forces from Saudi Arabia, and those that supposedly would disband if only Israel made enormous concessions.
The issue is not whether the objective of the terrorist is or is not thought to be reasonable. The issue is whether terrorism is going to be allowed as a way of influencing policy. But I would like to shift to some of the panelists talking about a smaller than comprehensive partial resolution that might be in the cards in the next year or two, and this is a bit of a return to Camp David.
And that is, it seems obvious that these parties cannot reach an agreement on Jerusalem. Do you sense that the parties could reach an agreement on virtually everything else, including the right of return, and could Chairman Arafat agree that in a two-state solution with the Palestinians being given a state, then any right of return of Palestinians was to the Palestinian state and not to the other state in the area?
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And I will leave that to any of the panelists.
Mr. ROSS. The short answer to your question is I do not believe so. He was offered a right of return to his state but not to Israel as part of the Clinton's ideas in December, and he rejected it.
Mr. SHERMAN. And even if he was given statehood and did not have to reach a conclusion about Jerusalem, even in a smaller context, that is not something that he can do or would do?
Mr. ROSS. Well, at Camp David, we tried different alternatives. We tried to different fallbacks, including deferring all Jerusalem, deferring part of Jerusalem. We did not put ideas for refugees on the table at that time. We did in December. The idea is we put on in December where a right of return to their state, meaning the Palestinian state, not to Israel. We said there would be under humanitarian rubric the ability of Palestinians to return to Israel, but it would an Israeli decision. Israel would have the sovereignty over who it is who would come back, and that was not something they were prepared to accept.
So the question really is, is Arafat different today than he was then, and I for one would have my doubts, but one could always probe these things.
My own view is, given the climate today on both sides where both sides still fundamentally question whether or not the other is interested in peace, I do not see how you can deal with existential questions.
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Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I guess, Ambassador Ross, it was interesting to hear you say you had your doubts as to whether Mr. Arafat was any different today than he was a year ago. And I guess, hearing the comments that I am hearing Ambassador Walker saying that he is not a terrorist, yet several weeks ago we were talking about this bad guy over there who performed or allowed terrorist activities, and then today we are hearing that we are going to use everything we can to fight the terrorist activities with Osama bin Laden, including maybe using Chairman Arafat.
And I guess my question to you is that, we all saw, and it has been referenced today, the dancing in the streets on September 11th by the Palestinians, and can we trust Chairman Arafat?
Should we be approaching him to help us in this?
You know, I read with interest that you said that he has done some things like arresting the low-level terrorists. What about high-level terrorists? I mean, is this man sincere? Do we trust him?
I for one am not sure we do.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WALKER. Mrs. Davis.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Walker.
Mrs. DAVIS. Anybody who wants to answer it, feel free.
Mr. WALKER. Mrs. Davis, I think that the real question is I do not think you can cross anyonecertainly not Arafat at this point
Mr. GILMAN. Would you put the microphone a little closer?
Mr. WALKER. Yes. Sorry.
I do not think you can trust Arafat or take anybody at face value at this point. I think you have to have people prove themselves. The question is whether we look forward and we seek this kind of cooperation from Chairman Arafat, or not.
I do not discount the possibility, I disagree with my colleague, Dennis, and continue to believe that Chairman Arafat under the right circumstances might be able to resolve these cataclysmic issues, but he cannot do it alone. He cannot negotiate directly with Sharon and come to an agreement. He is going to have to have the broader support of the Arab world in order to make that kind of a decision.
So we have to look at the way we werewe are conducting ourselves. As Dennis said, there were certain things that you wanted to redo about the way we went about negotiations. I think that is very important for the future.
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Mr. ROSS. A quick comment.
I would say a couple of points. First, Arafat has acted against terror every time he has felt personally threatened by it. In 1996, after four bombs in 9 days by Hamas, he cracked down on Hamas in ways that nobody else in the Islamic world had cracked down on some of the Islamic extremists. If he feels that that is the situation he is in today, he might do it again.
In terms of whether or not he is capable of doing more, the problem I have, and I guess this is where Ed and I probably disagree, Arafat cannot make peace until he can demonstrate that he can give up some of his mythologies. At no time in the last year of negotiations, neither at Camp David nor with the Clinton ideas at the very end, did he ever evidence any inclination or willingness or capability to give up those mythologies.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. ENGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
There is not much time so I just want to comment on some of the things that was said. Ambassador Indyk, you said thatessentially, because of political reality Arafat has changed his behavior, at least recently.
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You know, my only thing is what happens when the political reality changes? I believe he does not operate, he does not do anything unless he feels the pressure, and then he does things only when he feels the pressure. So I really feel that essentially he is insincere, and when things go back, when the heat is away a little bit, he will just go back to his old way.
And Ambassador Walker, you said that in order for there to be any kind of a deal the Palestinians need independence, dignity and self-respect. And I agree. And I think that is what Barak offered them and Arafat walked away from it.
Finally, I would like Ambassador Ross to comment on that. What happened, I mean? And if you can, also you started to say about the map, why this was not accurate. I wonder if you could explain that. But what happened?
To those of us, it seemed pretty much like Barak was offering him the sun, the moon and the stars, and even if he didn't want to accept it, he could have made some counter-proposals and squeezed a few more concessions out of Barak.
Instead, the way I see it, he chose to walk away and then start the Intifada. What happened? Why did he walk away?
Mr. ROSS. First, I think, again, one of the mythologies is that Barak did all the offering. The fact of the matter is the most important thing that was presented to Yasser Arafat was presented by President Clinton, and they were American ideas. He did notit was not the case of turning down Barak. He turned down us. And he turned down us at a point when he could have had a state, an independent state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza would have been increased by one-third in size. He would have had all of the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem as the capital of that state. He would have had an international presence in the Jordan Valley starting at year six with the Israelis out of it, and he would have had the right of return to his state, and a very significant international fund and mechanism to deal with grievances and claims related to the refugees. He could not accept that.
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Now, the reason I believe he could not accept it is because in the end it required him, as I said before, to give mythologies. The Israelis were being asked to give us mythologies. They were asked to give up the mythology at the time that all of Jerusalem, including the Arab part of Jerusalem, would always be Israeli. They were being asked to give up what had always been valued by the IDF as something that reached the level of a core belief that they had to have the Jordan Valley. They were prepared to do it.
He was being asked to give up the myth of right of return. In 1988, they accepted a two-state solution. The idea that you are going to have a two-state solution when you have right of return to your state into their state is completely illogical.
In the end, I believe he simply could not redefine himself. The question in my mind is have circumstances changed in the last year given the consequences of the Intifada that he might be different today.
I do not believe, by the way, that he planned the Intifada. Arafat is not a strategist. He is a tactician. He responds to the pressure of the moment. And I believe what happened at the moment he saw an ability to sort of demonstrate that his hands were tied on the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount area, and he let the violence take place.
Once he knew it was coming, he let it take place. And like a surfer, he rode the waves.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
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Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We have touched on it a bit, but the concept and he fact that the government run Palestinian press, the anti-Semitism, the anti-Americanism which the street folks hear day after day after day they arewhat is taught in the schools even at a young age, you know, what these kids have to absorb, I cannot help but think that that just poisons the whole chance of ever having peace in that area of the world.
We talked about the streets breaking out in jubilation and celebrating the attacks on the United States. Now, what I saw on television was a relatively small group of people. However, it is my understanding that the AP had film of significantly larger numbers in other areas, four or five thousand people celebrating, but they were threatened with violence. If they released this statement, apparently they caved in because this has not been shown.
Do any of you gentlemen know about that? Can you relate anything about that to us?
Mr. INDYK. Maybe I will address it.
I think, first of all, your point about incitement is a very important and powerful one.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CHABOT. About what?
Mr. INDYK. Incitement.
Mr. CHABOT. Incitement.
Mr. INDYK. And it is one that has to be addressed. If we are going to get out of the crisis, and try to create a basis for resuming negotiations, then incitement has to be at the top of the agenda in terms of what Dennis refers to as changing the climate.
In terms of the expression of the tapes, the Foreign Press Association wrote a letter to Chairman Arafat complaining about that, so I think the Foreign Press Association in Israeli territories was satisfied that in fact this had taken place; that tapes were being confiscated, and they were suppressed.
And the reason is obvious; that Arafat understood that this was extremely damaging to him in the public relations battle that has been very much a war that the Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting throughout this Intifada.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay. I will yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chabot.
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Mr. BERMAN. Yes. Under the possibility that Mr. Issa might not share with me your response to him, I would like you to use my time to continue your answer to him regarding the accuracy of these maps, and particularly in the context of claims by Palestinians since that time that what was offered was a massively partitioned West Bank where no one could go from one place to another without having to cross Israeli presence. I will stop there.
Mr. ROSS. What this map reflects is an interpretation of what the Palestinians, I thinkwell, let me put it this waywhat the Palestinians are trying to portray is what was offered to them.
The fact of the matter is we are the ones at Camp David who offered a 9-percent annexation and a 1-percent swap. Let me highlight one thing to start with.
There was going to be a Jordanian-Palestinian border. This says there was no Jordanian-Palestinian border. It is true early in the negotiations the Israelis wanted a strip along this whole length that they would control, but that was not in fact what was presented.
Mr. ISSA. Actually, you will see in the footnotes that that is annotated as eventually under Palestinian sovereignty.
Mr. ROSS. It was not the case of eventually.
Mr. ISSA. Okay.
Page 172 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. ROSS. So that simply is wrong.
Secondly, the notion that there were going to be these areas that were divided into Cantons because you are going to have roads that would cut all the way through is not true. Again, it was something that the Israelis requested, but it was not something that was presented, at least by us. Now, that is number one.
Number two, this is from Camp David. Now, what the Clinton ideas offered werein territory was a range of four to 6 percent in swapsI mean, four to 6 percent in annexation, and one to 3 percent in swaps. So you probably would have ended up with what it would have been, 5 percent annex for three settlement areasblocks, and a 2-percent swap opposite Gaza which would have increased Gaza, as I said, by one-third in size.
In the 95 percent, in any map of 95 percent, again you would not have had this all divided up, and these roads that are put in here, again designed to divide it all up, were not going to be a part of what it is we presented.
So this is designed to make it look as if what was presented was unfair. But I would tell you, to this day I am not aware that the Palestinian leadership has ever presented to their public what it is the Clinton ideas were. Had they done that, perhaps the attitudes of the Palestinian public might be very different.
Mr. BERMAN. If I may just add, as pointed out by my colleagues from California, on the bottom of this is the words ''Jerusalem Task Force, Orient House.'' This is notthis is
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Mr. ISSA. If the gentleman would yield, I am not giving this credibility.
Mr. BERMAN. No, no, I just
Mr. ISSA. I brought it here specifically because the truth has not come out and this kind of questionable map serves only to hurt the cause of peace.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. CANTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If I could just turn the focus to the Administration's current efforts to build an international coalition against terror, I think something that we all support obviously. But the fact and the possibility that states that the U.S. deems terrorist nations may be able to become part of this coalition gives me some concern.
And I would just like to ask any of you or all of you if you think there needs to be some criterion which needs to be met by these nations in order to become part of the coalition, and let us say, for example, Syria or Iran, what would they have to do in order to gain some of the benefit of U.S. support to be part of that coalition against terrorism?
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WALKER. I will take a stab of it.
I think that, first of all, we have to look at what states do in the future, not what they have done in the past. I think that is what the President said. I think it is a very smart thing to say because what we want to do is stop terrorism, and that should be our focus.
Now, if you take a state like Syria, we would want to be sure, I think, that they are not having terrorist training camps under their very noses in the Bekka Valley, and they would have to see that it is in their interest not to allow that kind of activity to go on. And we would want to have a dialogue with the Syrians on their past practices as well, so that we can be as reassured in our own minds as to the direction that they are moving in the future.
But I must say the letter that President Bashar Assad wrote to President Bush was a rather extraordinary document and one that we ought to capitalize on.
Mr. INDYK. Could I address that, Mr. Cantor, in the case of Iran because there I think we face a much more difficult problems? Iran is, according to the State Department's latest report, the preeminent state sponsor for terrorism. It operates a network of truly global reach, Hezbollah, through its Embassy, through the Revolutionary Guard, through the Iranian intelligence services.
And according to what I understand of the FBI's case here, they are connected to the killing of 19 Americans in the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. And yet the Iranians are sending a signal that, you know, maybe they are sympathetic to what has happened and maybe they would cooperate in some way.
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I think here we have to be very careful to avoid the perversion of our own purposes. While there can be some tacit understandings since the Iranians are very hostile to the Taliban and vice-versa, and their neighbors in Afghanistan, that there may be some concert of interest here that can be exploited tacitly.
We have a bill of particulars with Iran that the Iranians will need to address, and I think that that will have to be on our agenda because if we are going to be serious about the broader war on terrorism beyond the essential first task of dealing with the threat from Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network, we are going to have to see a change in Iranian behavior in terms of sponsorship of terrorism.
Mr. GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
I want to thank our panelists for this very substantive hearing, and we thank you for your time.
Mr. INDYK. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. GILMAN. Yes.
Mr. INDYK. If I could just respond very briefly on what seemed to be an unclear statement for a moment.
Mr. GILMAN. We are being called to the Floor. Why do you not take it up with them directly, if you would.
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Mr. INDYK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILMAN. The Committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Material submitted for the record by the Honorable Brad Sherman, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
United States Department of State,
Washington, DC, August 27, 2001.
Hon. BENJAMIN GILMAN, Chairman,
Page 177 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia,
Committee on International Relations,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: During the hearing on July 26, you asked Assistant Secretary Burns whether the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv had refused to send representatives to the funerals of American citizens who had been killed in the recent violence.
Ambassador Kurtzer attended the August 10 funerals for both Malka Roth and Judith Greenbaum, the American citizens killed in the bombing in Jerusalem the previous day. Prior to this, I know that our officers have made every effort to contact and visit the families of the victims. Former Ambassador Indyk, for example, visited one victim's family members who live inside the green line, visited another family at the airport, and offered to visit a third victim's family at the hospital, but the family declined the offer.
Our Consulate personnel have visited families at the hospital or at their homes whenever the security situation allowed and the families agreed to the visit.
Unfortunately, the tense security situation prevailing in the West Bank has often prevented representatives of our staff from attending funerals of American citizens killed there. At the same time, let me assure you that they are committed to contacting and visiting the families at the earliest opportunity.
May I ask you to share this information with other members of the committee, or perhaps add this letter to the transcript of the session, so that members who share your concerns may be aware of the Department's position on this important issue.
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Paul V. Kelly, Assistant Secretary,