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CNN Today

Barak Holds on to Power Despite Majority No-Confidence Vote; Camp David Awaits

Aired July 10, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The Israeli prime minister is about to leave Jerusalem to play his hand at a Camp David peace summit with Yasser Arafat. It's a big gamble for Ehud Barak. The prime minister leaves behind a government that's as precarious as a house of cards. Three of Mr. Barak's governing allies walked out on him this weekend over the Camp David summit, setting up a no-confidence vote.

CNN Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna joins us to give us an update -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Kyra, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has narrowly survived a vote of no- confidence. The motion was introduced by the opposition Likud Party, which accused Mr. Barak of making unacceptable concessions in his negotiations with the Palestinians, and demanded that he not attend the planned summit in the United States, and called immediate elections.

Fifty-four members of the Knesset voted in favor of the motion, this just seven less than the 61 needed to actually pass it. But there were only 52 people who voted in favor of Mr. Barak. So therefore, what has now been confirmed is that his government does not have the support of the country's parliament or Knesset, as he prepares now to travel to the United States for the critical summit meeting on the future of the relationship between Israel and Palestine -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Mike Hanna, thank you for that report.

And with President Clinton ready to shepherd the Israeli and Palestinian leaders toward a final peace deal, the White House is closely watching the domestic politics of the Middle East today.

CNN White House correspondent Kelly Wallace is in Thurmont, Maryland, where the media are gathering nearby the private Camp David retreat -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, U.S. officials certainly paying close attention to what is happening in Israel, at the Israeli Knesset. But I just spoke to a White House official a short time ago who said that the White House will not comment on the internal domestic politics going on back in Israel. The message at the White House, from President Clinton on down is that despite Prime Minister Barak's political problems, he is still able to make peace with the Palestinians.

Mr. Clinton left the White House a short time ago for a trip to Pennsylvania. And before leaving he told reporters that polls in Israel show that a majority of the Israeli's want Prime Minister Barak to pursue a peace agreement.

Mr. Clinton also said that Prime Minister Barak has promised that the Israeli people will weigh in on any peace deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Barak has said that the people of Israel will have their say on this. So this is really, I think, a matter of trying to come to grips with the issues on the merits, asking whether the price of peace is greater than the price of continued conflict and all the associated difficulties, and heartbreaks, and uncertainties, and insecurity that that carries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And the issues to resolve, the most difficult and the most emotional in this century-old conflict. Issues such as the future of Jerusalem. Palestinians would like to have East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Israelis have so far been against that.

Another big issue: What the borders of a Palestinian state would be. And then also the fate of more than 3 million Palestinian refugees, many of whom would like to return to the region.

So lots of issues for these leaders to resolve. The Palestinian and Israeli leaders are expected to arrive in the United States sometime this evening and then the real work begins at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, tomorrow -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Kelly Davis, live -- or Kelly Wallace, rather, live near Camp David, thank you.

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