This partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, April 8, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
The question then will be whether Israel can be expected now to go beyond concessions it already offered nearly two years ago and whether Arafat can be expected to respond any differently than he did then. For answers to those questions, we turn to a man who has done as much dealing with both sides as anyone in recent history, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and former Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk.
MARTIN INDYK, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you.
HUME: First of all, what is your sense of Powell's chances on this?
INDYK: Well, I think he's really pushing a noodle uphill at this stage. He is in great danger of becoming Zinni-ized in the sense that he will go out there to try to get a cease-fire. The Israelis will essentially, I think, withdraw or begin the withdrawal before he gets there, but they'll complete it under his pressure.
And then the pressure will be on Arafat. He may accept a cease-fire. But the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Tanzim have every incentive to show that Sharon's operation didn't succeed and therefore to launch suicide bombings for that purpose.
And now with the secretary of state and the president trying to get a cease-fire, which goes very much against their strategy, which they think is a winning strategy, they have every incentive to try to blow that up as well, as they did with Zinni's missions.
HUME: In fact, Secretary Powell acknowledged as much on "Fox News Sunday," when he was asked, "Even if you do achieve a cease-fire, is it within the power of some individual terrorist bomber to blow the whole thing up?" And he didn't dispute that.
INDYK: Right. And Arafat has not shown any intention to confront the perpetrators of the terrorism and violence in the past. And now I think his ability to do so is somewhat limited. So, there's no — the problem that Powell faces is he doesn't have an effective, credible partner on the Palestinian side to a cease-fire if —
HUME: Now let's talk a little bit more about that issue. Let's go a little — let's assume a more hopeful scenario, a cease-fire occurs, and we arm-wrestle the parties back to the table. Am I wrong in thinking that I've seen the movie, that movie, and I know how it ends? In other words, we sort of fast-forwarded at the end of the Clinton administration to what a final agreement might look like. Barak put it on the table, and sort of the essential outline is that we would still expect — and Arafat rejected it — if he rejected it then, why would we expect him to accept something like that now?
INDYK: Yes. Well, there would be people around him who would be very glad to accept such a deal now.
INDYK: Yes, sure. They will openly acknowledge that they made a mistake in passing it up the last time around.
HUME: What people are they?
INDYK: People involved in the negotiations, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the Mohammeds, and the people who know what opportunity was missed there. And who also know that Arafat has done tremendous damage to the Palestinian cause. But they're not in a position to stand up and make that argument or make that decision for Arafat.
HUME: Because of the passions unleashed by this past year or two.
INDYK: Absolutely, the anger, the hatred, and the fact that the people calling the shots are not them anymore. People calling the shots are the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Tanzim militia.
HUME: The Tanzim, what is the relationship, just for the benefit of the viewers who don't know, between the Tanzim, the Al Aqsa Brigades, who we've now identified as a terrorist group, and Fatah and Arafat?
INDYK: Well, they are part of Arafat's political apparatus.
INDYK: But they're openly saying that, while they respect him as the leader or the symbol of the cause, that they're not going to follow his orders. And they are the ones who have joined up with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who have in the recent spade in the last weeks been responsible for many more of the suicide bombings than these fundamentalist terrorist organizations, and who feel that they have a winning strategy, that by doing this, they can force Israel to withdrawal.
So, they're not interested in a cease-fire. And they're not interested in a political negotiation that would essentially sideline them.
Arafat himself is in a martyrdom mode where he wants to present himself as the great struggler and the great survivor, but not as a great compromiser. The compromise can only come after he has confronted these people have no interest in such a solution.
HUME: Can you see out of this — I mean, this sounds almost hopeless — any scenario under which progress can be made here? Assuming Powell can get — let's assume there's a cease-fire, even a temporary one.
INDYK: Well, here is the great irony. The only way in which you could get real progress is to try for the big enchilada, is to try to get the Arabs involved on the basis of the Saudi initiative, the Arab leaders, and the United States and Israel involved in a final settlement deal, kind of comprehensive.
HUME: You'd throw a long ball.
INDYK: Well, in a sense you'd have to work for that. I wouldn't say you'd just jump to it.
INDYK: You'd have to work for that. And in the process, set up some kind of trusteeship on the Palestinian side with Arab involvement and as custodians for the Palestinian cause, which would give some credibility that doesn't exist now on the Palestinian side as partner for this negotiation. But the irony of this, of course, is that's precisely the kind of thing that Bush doesn't want to do because it's reminiscent of what Clinton did.
HUME: Wow. Martin Indyk, very interesting…
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