Following is a partial transcript of Fox News Sunday, April 7, 2002.
TONY SNOW, HOST, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Well, Secretary of State Colin Powell travels to Europe and the Middle East today in an effort to stop the violence between Israel and the Palestinians and restart a peace process. He joins us for a preview of that trip.
Let's begin first by talking about the very latest. Israel has, in its own words, sped up, accelerated operations in the West Bank. The president has called for withdrawal without delay. Has Israel complied?
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: What the president asked Prime Minister Sharon to do was to begin the process of withdrawal and to do it now. I'm pleased to hear that the prime minister says he is expediting his operations, "speeding them up" is the word your correspondent used. And your correspondent also indicated that there was a move to begin leaving from cities that have been occupied.
I hope that Prime Minister Sharon took President Bush's injunction very much to heart and will speed this up and start to withdraw, as President Bush said, without delay. And he means now.
SNOW: This is a little confusing to many of us. The president – most people think withdrawal without delay means start rolling tanks backward. Instead, what's going on is more troops are being parachuted into the area, taken into the area.
There is an accelerated pace of military operations. That is not inconsistent with the president's request?
POWELL: The president doesn't give orders to a sovereign prime minister of another country. But as one of Israel's best friends and most supportive friends, I think Prime Minister Sharon has taken very much to heart and he understands clearly the message the president gave to him. I spoke to Prime Minister Sharon again early this morning, and I'm quite sure he understands that message. And the president is expecting without delay, meaning now. And so we'll see how the prime minister responds in the very near future.
SNOW: Let's back up. Israel moved into the West Bank nine days ago. Was it justified in doing so in response to bombings?
POWELL: Israel acted in its own self-defense, something that the prime minister has every right to do. The people of Israel expect the prime minister to act in the self-defense of the society. And he acted because of the massacre that took place on Passover Eve, yet another horrible incident where some 27 people died, the latest casualty count, as the wounded have died. And he acted at that time.
And we understood the reason for his action, but we also suggested that he had to be somewhat considerate of the consequences of that action. We were concerned that too big an incursion, too much military force might have other consequences, and we said so at the time.
SNOW: So ...
POWELL: We have now had several days to see those consequences unfold. And while he is doing what he feels he needs to do in an act of self-defense, the consequences are affecting Israel and the United States and the interest of peace and the interest of the political process.
When we have demonstrations and riots throughout that part of the world, throughout the Middle East, and when we start to see some long- established relationships between Israel and some of its neighbors and the United States and some of those neighbors start to be damaged perhaps in an irrevocable way with respect to Israel, the president thought that we had to take consideration of those potential consequences.
And that's why he called Prime Minister Sharon yesterday and why he gave his speech last Thursday, saying that we understand what you were doing but this is the time to start moving in the other direction. And that's why we have supported the U.N. resolution saying that as well.
SNOW: So he was justified originally in going in...
POWELL: We're saying we understood why he went in. He went in in an act of self-defense. But we think that we are now seeing consequences from the massive nature of this incursion that are starting to have negative consequences.
SNOW: We're worried, in other words, about the Arab street.
POWELL: We are worried about a lot of things. I am first and foremost worried about the peace process and first and foremost worried about getting to a political settlement.
Because, for however long the Israeli incursion lasts, whether it ends tomorrow or whether it ends a month from tomorrow or two months from tomorrow, we'll be right back where we are today, and that is a need to find a way for these two peoples to live side by side in two states, a Jewish state called Israel and a Palestinian state called Palestine.
And no matter how effective the Israeli defense forces are in the period ahead, however long they're going to conduct this operation, when it's over, they will have to pull back. They have no intention of staying there. The prime minister reiterated that repeatedly. And there will still be those who, if they don't see a solution, if they don't see a political process, they will resort once again to terrorism and violence.
And we may well be radicalizing a new generation, many more terrorists waiting to act once this incursion is over.
SNOW: Nevertheless, there have been no suicide bombings since the Israeli incursion. Is that a coincidence or a consequence of ...
POWELL: There have been attempts at suicide bombings. The Israelis have been able to thwart them. And just this morning, the prime minister was telling me about another car bomb that got stopped. And so, I think the massive presence of Israeli troops certainly is a deterrent to this kind of suicide attack, and I'm pleased that that has been the effect.
But we have to realize that, sooner or later, Israel will withdraw its forces, and those same pressures will be there, that same frustration will be there, that same anger will be there. And perhaps it'll be even greater and will give rise to this kind of activity again – unless the Palestinians see hope, unless the Palestinians see Israel, the United States, the Palestinian leaders, the Arab leaders, the international community all coming together to support a cease- fire which rapidly leads to negotiations that will create a political solution.
The anger will not be dealt with, and the frustration of the Palestinian people, whether you think it's justified or not, their anger, their frustration, their desire for a state will not be satisfied by military force. You can't keep this pressure on them forever. Sooner or later, it can only be satisfied by a political process that gives them a state. And the sooner you get to that point, the better.
SNOW: I want to get to that in a minute, but a couple more questions about Israel first.
Does the United States have a specific deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank?
POWELL: The president said yesterday to the prime minister that he expects it without delay. And by that he means now, start now.
SNOW: We understand start. When does he want it finished?
POWELL: He didn't talk about a specific deadline. It's been a massive build-up. It isn't going to be over when they do start to withdraw. It's not going to be over in a day. It took a while to do it, and they are still conducting operations.
And so, the president and the prime minister did not talk about a specific end point.
SNOW: How long will you stay?
POWELL: I have not decided yet. As you know, I leave tonight for Morocco to meet with Crown Prince Abdullah, who is in Morocco at this time. It gives me a time to see King Muhammed. On to Egypt to consult with President Mubarak and others. Madrid to talk to my European colleagues, Kofi Annan, the security general, and Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister who will be there. And then back to the region, probably directly to Jerusalem. And when I get to Jerusalem, I'll make a judgment as to how long I will stay there.
SNOW: How will you measure success?
POWELL: You know, I can't answer that question right now. I would be – I would be absolutely delighted and very pleased if we are able to get a cease-fire in place in the not-too-distant future. Whether it's a result of my efforts, or just because it makes sense, or the results of the efforts of many, many others.
Anybody who thinks that in one week's time anybody can go there and come back with a completely satisfactory solution – but if we have brought the violence down, if we have started to create a dialogue again between the two sides, then my trip will have been worth the energy that I'm going to put into it and the effort we're going to put into it.
SNOW: Do you believe Yasser Arafat is interested in a cease- fire?
POWELL: I believe Yasser Arafat, by his statements, is interested in a cease-fire. But he has not done what he should have been doing to achieve such a cease-fire and get to the political process that he needs – we all need. He could have done more with respect to controlling the passions of his people by speaking out against violence, by not encouraging this kind of activity. He could have done more with the security forces that he has under his control. He could have done a lot more, and he did not. And his efforts are a disappointment to us. They were a disappointment to the previous administration.
But nevertheless, I still think he has come to the realization that there is no way forward other than through a cease-fire and a political process. He will not be able to defeat Israel if anyone thinks that is in his mind, or in the mind of any Palestinian leader. It will not happen.
And so all we're doing is killing lots of innocent people by this kind of activity. We're killing lots of innocent, young Palestinians who commit this act of murder called suicide bombing, and we're killing lots of innocents on the other side, and other Palestinian innocents are killed in the response that comes back the other way. So we've got to bring this to an end.
SNOW: You've said you're not yet decided on whether you're going to meet Yasser Arafat. However, Palestinian Authority spokesmen have said, you don't talk to him, you don't talk to anybody. You need to talk to both sides, do you not?
POWELL: I have to talk to both sides. I mean, if you're going to have a dialogue, and if you're going to try and get people to talk to one another about a cease-fire, then you have to be able to talk to both sides.
I have talked to Mr. Arafat on the phone as recently as last Monday. It's a little more difficult to do now. And I have met with him three times. General Zinni has met with him, our special envoy. And so we have spoken to him in the past. And if circumstances permit while I'm there, I will try to speak to him and others.
SNOW: "Circumstances permit" meaning the Israeli cabinet gives you permission?
POWELL: It could mean a lot of things. There are security issues, there are access issues, there – what agenda we will have. We'll just wait and see how the next several days unfold.
SNOW: If you could not meet him personally, would you talk to him by phone even though you...
POWELL: I talk to him by phone now, and we'll see.
SNOW: All right. Now, Israel says it has uncovered evidence that Yasser Arafat was directly involved in helping pay for explosives that have been used by suicide bombers. Is that true?
POWELL: I don't know. I haven't – I've seen some public presentations of the evidence, and I'm sure it's going to be made available to our side, but I haven't myself seen the evidence. And it is very damaging if the evidence does exist, if that's correct.
SNOW: The Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, the State Department has now identified that as a terrorist organization. It is assumed that that is directly under Yasser Arafat's control. It's leader has said as much.
If Yasser Arafat is in control of a terrorist organization, why would he not be considered a terrorist?
POWELL: It's not clear what he is in control of and what he isn't in control of. This is not quite the sort of hierarchical organization that I grew up living under, and there are loose aggregations. But clearly the Al-Aqsa Brigade is dedicated exclusively to terrorism, and that's why we have put them on our terrorist list.
SNOW: The president has said, and you've just said in the last couple of minutes, you want Yasser Arafat to take specific number of steps. Are there any steps that he must take before you will meet with him?
POWELL: I haven't laid out any specific steps. And we'll consider, as I conduct my consultations in the region, exactly what circumstances I would like to see met or have to be in place for me to have a conversation with him.
SNOW: If he does not meet conditions that the president or you lay out, what do we do? Anything?
POWELL: Well, let's wait and see whether or not "conditions" is the right formulation. What I want to do is begin a dialogue. He did meet with General Zinni last week, and Special Envoy Zinni said to him that it was very important for him to agree to the plan that Tony Zinni had put forward to bridge the differences between the two sides in getting toward a cease-fire under the Tenet proposal. We would like to pursue that.
One of the problems right now is that Mr. Arafat's isolation is as such that he has no contact with his principal advisers who could help bring us to this decision point where we could get agreement on General Zinni's proposal. And so we're trying to open up some communications between Chairman Arafat and his advisers, and therefore have an opportunity to move forward.
SNOW: You mean the only problem here is phone lines?
POWELL: Well, it's more than phone lines. I think he has to be able to consult with his advisers, and right now he's pretty isolated. But phone lines are also a problem. He essentially is quite isolated.
SNOW: Since he returned to the region in 1994 as a result of the Oslo Accords the previous year, what has he done to advance peace?
POWELL: We had the Oslo Accord in 1993. We have, of course, the signing ceremony that took place on the lawn of the White House. Creation of the Palestinian Authority, a peace treaty with Jordan in 1995. And there was a period of quiet in the late '90s. So it shows he can perform.
But unfortunately, all of the efforts that were made during President Clinton's administration did not result in the comprehensive agreement that we were all looking for as a result of the Oslo process. They never got there. And President Clinton gave it his all. He and Secretary Albright and National Security Advisor Berger and Dennis Ross and so many other people put their heart and soul into trying to get that agreement. And they came quite close to what would have been an historic agreement at the end of the Clinton administration, but neither side could agree to it at the end of the day.
And so we came in office, and what we found was a process that had fallen apart, and an Israeli government that had put out of office because the Israeli people were looking for an end to the intifada through security, the kind of security that Prime Minister Sharon promised in his campaign.
And so, for the last year, we've been trying to reach that level of security and confidence and in the form of a cease-fire so that the two sides could get back to the negotiating table. And that's what we have been unable to achieve.
But I'm just as convinced today as I was the first day I stepped into the office that that has to be our goal, to get that cease-fire, or you can't get to a political process.
I'm also convinced that, once you get that cease-fire in place – and I think it will come in due course because neither side will prevail on their current course. So once we get that cease-fire, it is important that the political process be moved up. We have to quickly get to negotiations, because the Palestinian people are looking to those negotiations for the creation of a state.
And we have to look for a way to get that state created as quickly as possible so both sides then have a vested interest in negotiating the permanent boundaries of the state, deciding how the two sides will live in peace with each other, restoring their economies – both economies are being destroyed right now.
SNOW: OK, we're going to take a quick break. We want to tease out the implications of all that.
Stay with us. We'll have more with Secretary of State Colin Powell in just a couple of minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: There's no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: And we're back with Secretary of State Colin Powell. Also here with questions, Brit Hume, Washington managing editor of Fox News.
Secretary Powell, one more question about Yasser Arafat. A lot of people are interpreting the president's remarks, where he says "Arafat is not a man of his word," and he expresses a lot of disappointment, are interpreting the president's remarks as saying, "This is Arafat's last chance."
POWELL: Well, the president certainly expressed the disappointment we all feel in Chairman Arafat's performance. Whether it's his last chance or not, I don't know. Maybe he doesn't have any more chances.
But I know this, that in this crisis he has got to act like a leader. He has got to speak out against the kind of violence we've been seeing, and he has to do everything in his power – as restricted as those powers are, they are still there – he has to do everything in his power to try to control the passions of the Palestinian people and to help us get out of this crisis.
SNOW: So he's got to crack down on his media?
POWELL: He's got to crack down on his media as well. I'm going to make this case to the Arab leaders I meet with this week. We need more responsible statements coming out of Arab capitals. We need all Arab leaders to act responsibly in this time of crisis.
BRIT HUME: Mr. Secretary, if Chairman Arafat doesn't respond in the way that the president and you have prescribed, what then? What's the consequences for him, as far as we're concerned?
POWELL: I don't know what those consequences might be. Chairman Arafat, whether one likes it or not and whether one approves of it or not, does occupy a position in Palestinian society. He is seen by the Palestinian people as their leader, and that has to be taken into account. He is also the chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
We don't think he has discharged those duties as well as he should, either as a leader or the chairman. And this is time for him to act.
But consequences, we'll just have to adjust our policies as we go forward and see.
HUME: Mr. Secretary, no sooner had the president spoken on Thursday, then we had a response here in Washington from the representative of the government of Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar, who wrote in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, read many places, widely circulated by the Saudi Embassy to make sure nobody missed it, that appeared to fly in the face of much of what the president had said.
I believe we have a couple of quotations from that to take a look at. "The Palestinian people," he said, "are burdened by tremendous suffering and calamity as a result of the continuing aggression of the Israeli government and the insane policies of its leader" – that, of course, a reference to Ariel Sharon. Prince Bandar went on to say other things as well about Israeli terrorism and so on.
My question to you, sir, is, how do you interpret that in the immediate aftermath of the statement made by the president and your repeated calls for a more responsible approach by Arab leaders?
POWELL: I don't think that Prince Bandar wrote that or published that letter or gave the speech from which the letter is drawn with knowledge of what the president was going to say or do.
But what Prince Bandar is reflecting in that article and the speech that he gave, and what other Arab leaders are reflecting, is the anger that exists within their societies. It is not for me to tell Prince Bandar what he should say or not say. But there is a level of anger that is rising in the Arab land that is of concern to us, and should be of concern to Israel.
Israel, in this current operation, will certainly round up terrorists, will find incriminating information, will find weapons. But when the operation is over and they withdraw, as they say they are going to do, they will still leave behind those who are committed to violence. In fact, they may leave more behind as a result of the radicalization.
And what troubles us is we are losing some of the support that we have had in the Arab world – Egypt, Jordan, you see Saudi Arabia, you saw statements of the foreign ministers – losing some of the support we had for the kind of engagement that is needed with Israel to find a way forward.
And this is really what caused the president to say to Prime Minister Sharon at the very beginning of this operation, "consider the consequences of your actions." And we're starting to see those consequences and how it affects Israel's long-term relationship with its neighbors and our long-term relationship with its neighbors, that caused the president to say, "This is the time the end this activity and begin the withdrawal now."
HUME: Well, in addition to the Bandar expression, you have the reaction of the Arab League foreign ministers' meeting. They, like Saudi Arabia's Bandar, say nothing of the terrorist attacks that we have so decried against Israeli citizens. They speak as if these attacks do not exist.
You now go to face Crown Prince Abdullah. What hope do you have that if that is the attitude of his government, and these other Arab governments which you hope to have some success, that you will have any success?
POWELL: They know that these acts of terrorism are destructive of the peace process. They know that these acts of terrorism have to stop. And that's what I will talk to them about and reinforce that, and say that we are expecting them to do more to help the Palestinian people and to bring this kind of activity under control.
POWELL: But what you're seeing in these statements, these very strong statements that are coming out of foreign ministers, coming out of good friends of the United States, such as Prince Bandar, who has been a supporter of all of these efforts – Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is the one who went to the Arab summit and got a statement out of that summit that would have been a historic statement, except for the message being drowned out by the suicide bombing on Passover eve. And so, the Saudis are prepared to play a more powerful, active, supportive role.
But what you're seeing in these statements is a reflection of the passions that exist within their own societies. And so, they feel a need to speak out in order to represent the views of their people, just as others are representing the views of their people and acting in response to the passions of their people. And this is the kind of activity that is causing us to be concerned about the effect of this continuing incursion.
SNOW: Mr. Secretary, the president called upon Arab leaders to lead. He made that statement yesterday. He's made it a number of times.
The conventional wisdom is – and I want you to help us out with this – that what we're saying to them is, OK, you need to deal with Yasser Arafat. You need to insist that he crack down on terror. You need to insist that he give, in Arabic, speeches that condemn terror. You need to make sure that he changes textbooks and so on.
Is that the role we want our Arab allies to play?
POWELL: You certainly touched on some of the points I'll be discussing with our Arab friends, and asking to play a more active role in these kinds of activities, yes.
SNOW: They are also going to argue to you that Israel has committed atrocities in this war. It's a war. Jennifer Griffin had talked about bodies rotting in the streets. You have heard stories about the inability of ambulances to get through.
Are those legitimate complaints?
POWELL: In my conversation with Prime Minister Sharon this morning, I made the point that there is a humanitarian dimension to this incursion, as well. And there are Palestinians in these cities who are innocent, who are not terrorists, but they cannot get the food, water supplies have been interrupted, power's been interrupted, there have been problems in medical services, and these issues have to be dealt with as well.
And I think he understands it, and I think he's going to try to do everything he can to move in this direction, to help with these humanitarian issues.
But that's also why the president, watching this unfold over the last several days, said this is the time to bring this to an end, to start the process of withdrawal as soon as possible, meaning now.
SNOW: But you are a military man. Do you know of any case in history where a dispute of this sort, that involves land, that involves old passions, is resolved before one side wins a war and, therefore, has the ability to dictate terms of a truce?
POWELL: Israel has not declared a war that it wants to win. It is fighting terrorism. It is not trying to take over these lands. Israel has as its goal the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel will never live in peace if it has to occupy each and every city, village and town in the West Bank and Gaza. That is not what it wants.
SNOW: So stipulated. But on the other hand, you still have a number of people, do you not, in the West Bank who want Israel to vanish?
POWELL: They will not be successful if they have that view and that vision. Israel would not vanish. It is not going anywhere. That is what the Arab leaders said in Beirut a few days ago. Twenty-two nations agreed that we have to find a solution, so that Israel can live in peace and in normal relations with 22 Arab nations. The Arab League understands this, and that was the statement they put down the day we had the terrible massacre.
There was such promise on that Wednesday afternoon, with this statement from the Arab League. It was just a vision. It would have taken a lot of difficult negotiation to make that vision a reality.
We had General Zinni there, just about to get an agreement on going forward with a cease-fire. We had good U.N. resolutions. There was so much promise, so much promise on that afternoon. And it was all destroyed by the terrible act of violence against innocent Israeli civilians practicing their faith on Passover Eve.
HUME: Is it not your concern, sir, that as you go on this mission, that even if you are able to bring the two parties close, even to a cease-fire, that all it will take is one more act of that kind by someone, perhaps, discouraged even by Palestinian leaders to blow the whole thing up again?
POWELL: Of course it's a concern. But we should have no illusions that all suicide bombers now and forever are going away and giving up that method of terror, because Israel has been in the West Bank towns for three weeks or three months. That problem will continue to exist until the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leaders can persuade the Palestinian people that this is not a tactic that will be successful, it is not needed, we have a peace process, we have a political way of achieving our vision and finding a better life for our people, and it does not come through suicide bombings and terror.
HUME: And, yet, sir, you acknowledged earlier on this broadcast that the Israeli military operation appears to have had some role in suppressing that level of violence.
That being the case, isn't it a lot to ask of Israel to give this up?
POWELL: There's no question that it has had an effect. This massive presence of Israeli troops certainly has that kind of deterrent effect, although Prime Minister Sharon mentioned to me this morning that they intercepted a car bomb. So that will always be there.
And if the Israeli defense forces want to spend from now on occupying every city, town, and village and suppressing the entire population, then perhaps they may succeed in keeping this kind of activity from taking place. But that is not their intent, and they know that that does not lead to a permanent solution.
SNOW: Finally, Mr. Secretary, the president and Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday talked at some length, both directly and indirectly, about Iraq.
Is it the case that, as long as we have the violence going on on the West Bank and in Israel, that it will be impossible for the United States to conduct an operation against Iraq?
POWELL: The United States is not yet planning an operation against Iraq. As both the president and the prime minister said, we're in close consultation with our friends and allies, especially the United Kingdom. And the president has no recommendation on his desk, and he has made no decision with respect to a military operation.
All options are open. And obviously, the kind of situation we find in the Middle East now complicates our thinking and complicates the consideration of options. But it is not a real and present problem, because the president does not have on his desk the real and present plan.
SNOW: All right. Secretary of State Colin Powell, thanks for joining us, and good luck.
POWELL: Thank you, Tony.
Thank you, Brit.