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Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses Congress

Aired April 10, 2002 - 11:01   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are waiting to hear live this hour from the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is on Capitol Hill today, standing in for the current prime minister, Ariel Sharon. Netanyahu's talk with lawmakers is being billed as a major address. You will see it live when it happens.

And to give us an idea of what he might have to say, I want to peek in on something that Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier today. He appeared on CNN a few hours ago, AMERICAN MORNING with Paula Zahn. And I thought we had that sound of your. Apparently, we don't.

Let's move on to Bill Schneider standing by, our senior political analysts, also in Washington D.C.

Bill, good morning.


KAGAN: Yes, you are. You know, we can always rely on you, that's the thing, and we do appreciate that. More reliable than videotapes, or computers or whatever it is that we're using these days.

I want to look at who is speaking today, and that is Benjamin Netanyahu. This is a man who I think has made it pretty plain he would like to have the prime minister's job once again.


KAGAN: Interesting he's here as an envoy of the prime minister's government.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. He is a member of Mr. -- Prime Minister Sharon's party. But it's widely considered to be a rival for power that after Sharon, Bibi Netanyahu -- his nickname is Bibi. His real name is Benjamin, Binjamin (ph) in Hebrew. It's Not a secret that he would like the prime minister's job once again. He held it, and then -- for a couple of yea, and then I think 1996...

KAGAN: '96-'99.

SCHNEIDER: '99, and then he was defeated by Ehud Barak, you remember, who negotiated with Mr. Arafat and President Clinton just before Clinton left office. Well, Netanyahu didn't run when Sharon was elected over Barak in 2001, but he's clearly interested in running another time. This is very interesting, because it's rare for a former prime minister to be invited to speak. And my understanding is that all members of the Senate have been invited to hear Mr. Netanyahu's remarks this morning.

KAGAN: Well, guess what, through the magic of television and computers, we have that soundbite ready to go, so let's give a glimpse of what Mr. Netanyahu might have to say as he spoke earlier today on AMERICAN MORNING.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FMR. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It is Important to say that the president talked about the beginning of a withdrawal, and Israel has begun that. But I think the important thing is that we have to complete the job. You've been cleaning up a terrorist- infested country, Afghanistan, for seven months. It's not going to take us seven months or seven weeks, but we have hardly been there seven days, and if we leave, a lot of malignant cancer, these goons fighting terrorists. Forget about their well-heeled spokesman here, these people who emulate 10-year-old, 15-year-old children in order to bomb and kill as many Israelis as possible, civilian and soldiers alike. If we leave this malignancy, this cancer in place, then it will grow. It will come back like the most virulent cancer that come back at all of us with even greatest devastation.

Let us finish the job.


KAGAN: OK, a couple of points out of that, Bill. Making the analogy once again of the U.S. fight against terrorism, the U.S. going to Afghanistan in light of 9-11, and also talking about the timetable. President Bush has made it very plain it is time for the Israelis to withdraw from the areas that they now occupied.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Last Thursday, when President Bush came out into the Rose Garden, he appeared to shift policy. He had been siding completely with Israel, or virtually completely with Israel, saying that we are backing Israel in this fight. And then he seemed to back away and say it was time for Israel to at least begin withdrawal. And then a couple of days later, he said the withdrawal must begin without delay.

The president appeared frustrated with Israel, but his policy shifted. The Israelis weren't too happy with that. And it's interesting that Mr. Netanyahu is appearing before Congress, because there's a long history in the Israeli-American relationship that every president of either party, whether it's Carter, or Reagan, or Clinton or Bush, every president has certain frictions with Israel. But Congress has always been very staunchly supportive of Israel. And I believe Israel believes that they can really on Congress for support, and I think that's why Mr. Netanyahu is there today.

KAGAN: As we look ahead to the speech, I don't think it would be a huge gap or a huge guess to say this will be a hard-liner speech. I mean, Benjamin Netanyahu is a hawk.

SCHNEIDER: He's a hawk. He's just as much, if not more of a hawk, than the Prime Minister Sharon. But the point that he's making, particularly to an American audience, American senators is, it's your fight too. We are doing in the war with the Palestinians the same thing you are doing in Afghanistan. We are going after terrorists for the same reason that President Bush articulated after September 11th. We are all on the same fight in the fight. And what he's Pleading with the Americans to let them complete the job. That's what he just said. We want to finish the job. Don't rush us out of there. The big issue, of course, is Yasser Arafat.

The president has condemned him for not taking enough action against the terrorists. But he's drawn just short of condemning Arafat specifically as a terrorist and someone who has to be removed from power, because he's the only one that America feels that will -- on the Palestinian side that we or the Israelis can deal with. The Israelis don't seem to agree with that, and that's a point of difference between the two countries.

KAGAN: All right, we'll have you stand by and watch the speech with us. Once again, we're expecting Benjamin Netanyahu to speak from the Dirkson office building in Washington D.C. And you will see those comments live when they begin.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: In the meantime, now, we've got late word that Israel is going to be pulling its forces back from Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, at least temporarily, and that's according to an Israeli government source. The move will allow Secretary of State Colin Powell to get inside that compound for a meeting with Arafat.

CNN's John Vause checks in now. He's got the latest for us from Jerusalem.

Hello, John.


Well, word came through that I think the Israelis will allow that meeting to take place on Saturday at Yasser Arafat's compound there. But also earlier, there was in fact a meeting between the Palestinian leader and a number of aides. Michael Holmes is standing by to give us a few more details about that.

But we also have some more information coming from the Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank. What we understand now is that the fighting there is pretty much over, and that they're allowing media on the ground to get into this cam to see for themselves the result of some fairly fierce fighting there between the Palestinians and the Israeli Defense Force. We understand that at least 150 Palestinians have been killed. That coming from Israeli sources. The Palestinians saying many, many more have been killed on the ground there. We should get some verification within the next couple of hours. We know that 13 Israeli soldiers were killed there in what the Israeli soldiers said was an ambush yesterday. As an interesting note, or an important note to say, is that that's been the biggest hit that the Israelis have taken during this entire 18-month uprising. The biggest hit they took in one day, 13 soldiers killed in that ambush.

We also know that in Jenin, there have been reports from Palestinians that there are just people being kept in their houses for days with no food, or water, or electricity, that they're basically -- the international aid agencies and the U.N. are now asking the Israelis to a allow those people to have access basic services.

We also had today a suicide bombing, another one. This is the first one in 10 days. The Israelis had pointed that Operation Defensive Shield is proof that those incursions on the West Bank had, in fact, been working. But this morning came word that it had not been as effective as the Israelis had hoped.

A bus traveling to Jerusalem from Haifa. A suicide bomber onboard that bus detonated a belt of explosives shortly after he got on that bus, eight people killed, another 14 wounded. The people who were near the scene say the base basically was raised feet from the road, and pieces of debris went flying across the freeway. The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility, and in an ominous sign, they warned there will be more suicide bombings while the Israeli incursions take place, and that operation defensive shield shows no sign of letting up -- Leon.

HARRIS: John, let me ask you to do some interpretation work for us. As you may know, Secretary of State Colin Powell moved up his visit there to Jerusalem before he meets with Yasser Arafat by about half a day or so. And some on the outside are looking at that as a rather positive sign.

Any word at all about how this is being interpreted there in Jerusalem?

VAUSE: Well, we have the word from the Israeli prime minister, who says that a meeting with Yasser Arafat with Colin Powell would be a fatal mistake. They say that Yasser Arafat is basically irrelevant in this equation. They would prefer that the secretary of state does not meet with Yasser Arafat. However, that meeting will go ahead at assistance it seems of the secretary of state. It seems as if the reaction more is coming from the Arab world. They are pleased that Colin Powell will arrive in the area, if not that much sooner than he originally planned. It's only about 12 hours earlier. He was going to be here Friday. He's now coming here in Thursday night. He had come from a lot of criticism for not coming to Jerusalem first, many from Arab leaders, but also the Palestinians themselves.

They wondered if there could be anything more crucial on the agenda rather than solving this or trying to get a cease-fire here on the ground between the Palestinian and the Israelis. What they are saying is surely there is nothing more urgent that you have to attend to in those other countries, in Egypt, and in Spain, where he stopped along the way.

He's cutting short, I believe, a trip in Jordan to make his way here sooner, to get on the ground about 12 hours ahead of schedule. As far as the Israelis go, they're basically seeing any meeting with Yasser Arafat as something they certainly don't view as a positive -- Leon.

HARRIS: John, let me ask you again about the humanitarian angle there. That really has been getting a lot of attention in the wider world community.

Actually, we want to wrap that up, John, because we now just see Benjamin Netanyahu entering into the Dirkson Senate building. You see him there taking the -- you saw him momentarily ago at the podium. That is Senator Jon Kyl there now at the podium. He's about to introduce Benjamin Netanyahu. He is going to be speaking in front of this group of senators in Washington.

And doing so, as Ariel Sharon's emissary, or his envoy, here this morning, and we expect him to -- we've been told what he will be saying here is to be considered a major address, not much more guidance given as to what that exactly means, but with him coming here speaking on behalf of Ariel Sharon, it's quite possible that he is going to have something to say that may an have on the talks that Secretary of State Colin Powell is going to be having in the coming hours in Israel, as well as in Ramallah with Yasser Arafat.

We will go back to this scene here any moment now, as soon as Benjamin Netanyahu takes the podium.

KAGAN: You see Senator Kyl and Senator Lieberman. So there might be a couple of rounds of introductions before we get to Benjamin Netanyahu. But when he does speak, you will see that live here on CNN.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell stopping by in Madrid, as he makes his to the Mideast.

Let's check with our Andrea Koppel who is travelling with the secretary of state.

Andrea, hello.


Well, it was a welcome show of solidarity for Secretary Powell here in Madrid. He had just come off several meeting within the Arab world where he got a warm reception but a cold shoulder as far as trying to get the Arab world to use their influence with Yasser Arafat. But here in Madrid, the leaders not only of your the European Union, but of the United Nations, represented by Kofi Annan and Russia, all threw the support and weight of their government behind Secretary Powell's admittedly extremely difficult Mideast peacekeeping mission, all of them speaking out really in an evenhanded way against both Israel's continued incursion into West Bank towns and cities, and also for the lack of any kind of movement on the part of Yasser Arafat to condemn acts of terrorism.

Secretary of State Powell speaking for the group said in a nutshell, there is no such thing as an acceptable amount of violence.


COLIN POWELL, SECY. OF STATE: Violence of whatever form, whether one would call it an act of terrorism or an act of resistance at this point is counterproductive. It does not lead to the vision that the Palestinian people have of the state where they can live side by side in peace with Israel. What we have to see now is an end to the violence, with whatever title you want to give to that violence, it's violence nonetheless, and it's totally destabilizing the region, and it is destroying that vision.


KOPPEL: Now the leaders here today in Madrid also acknowledge that they are facing a threefold crisis, not only an increase in the Israeli-Palestinian fighting, but also a mounting humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as an increase of fighting on Israel's northern boarder, what's known now as the opening of a second front. Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, called for an immediate end to any cross boarder shelling and cross-border incursions.


KOFFI ANNAN, U.N. SECY. OF GENERAL: We express our great concern about the most recent attacks from Lebanon across the U.N. determined blue line. The quartet calls on all parties to respect the blue line to halt attacks and show the utmost restraint. The conflict should not be allowed to spread and threaten regional security and stability.


KOPPEL: Now the international community, many people here today representing their government say that they have been in touch both with the Syrians and with the Iranians, both of whom...

KAGAN: Andrea, I'm sorry, I have to apologize. We need to interrupt you because Benjamin Netanyahu has begun to speak on Capitol Hill.

Let's go ahead and listen in to the former Israeli prime minister.


NETANYAHU: It is for the sake of our common values that I have come here today. I have come here to voice what I believe is an urgently needed reminder, that the war on terror can be won with clarity and courage, or lost with confusion and vacillation.

Seven months ago, on a clear day in this capital of freedom, I was given this opportunity to address you, the guardians of liberty, and I will never forget that day, a day when words that will echo for ages pierce the conscious of the free world. These were words that lifted the spirits of an American nation that had been savagely attacked by evil, words that looked at evil straight in the eye and boldly declared that it would be utterly destroyed, word that chartered a bold course for victory.

Now, these words were not mine. They were the words of the president of the United States. In an historic speech to the e world that September, and with determined action in the crucial months that followed, President Bush and his administration outlined a vision that had the moral and strategic clarity necessary to win the war on terror.

The moral clarity emanated from an ironclad definition of terror and from an impregnable moral truth. Terrorism was understood to be the deliberate targeting of civilians in order to achieve political ends, and it was always unjustifiable. With a few powerful words, President Bush said all that was needed to be said. Terrorism, he said, is never, ever justified.

And the strategic clarity emanated from the recognition that international terrorism depends on support of sovereign states, and that fighting it demands that these regimes be either deterred or dismantled.

In one clear sentence, president Bush expressed this principle. He said no distinction will be made between the terrorists and the regimes that harbor them. This moral and strategic clarity was applied with devastating force to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that supported Al Qaeda terrorism. No false moral equivalent was drawn between the thousands of Afghan civilians who were the unintentional and unfortunate casualties of America's just war, and the thousands of Americans civilian deliberately murdered on September 11th.

No strategic confusion led America to pursue Al Qaeda terrorism, while leaving the Taliban regime in place. Soon after the war began, the American victory over the forces of terror in Afghanistan brought to light the third principle in this war on terror, namely the imperative for victory, the understanding that the best way to defeat terror is to defeat it. Now, I know that sounds to be totalogist and it must have seemed at first to be a trite observation. It wasn't fully understood.

But contrary to popular belief, the motivating force behind terror is not desperation nor destitution. It is, in fact, hope, the hope of terrorist systematically brainwashed by the ideologues that brainwash them that their savagery will break the will of their enemies and help them achieve their objectives.

Now if you defeat this hope, you defeat terrorism. Convince terrorists, convince their sponsors and their potential new recruits that terrorism will be thoroughly uprooted and severely punished, and you will stop terrorism in its tracks.

By adhering to these three principles, moral clarity, strategic clarity and the imperative for victory, the forces of freedom led by America are well under way to victory against terror from Afghanistan. That is only the first step in dismantling the global terror network. The other terrorist regimes must now be dealt with rapidly in similar fashion.

Yet, today, just seven months into the war, it is far from certain that this will be done. Faced with the quintessential terrorist regime of our time, a regime that both harbors and perpetrates terror on an unimaginable scale, the free world is muddling its principles, losing its nerve, and thereby endangering the successful prosecution of this war.

The question many in my country are now asking is this, will America apply its principles consistently and win the war, or will it selectively abandon these principles and thereby risk losing the war? My countrymen ask this question, because they believe that terrorism is an indivisible evil that must be fought indivisibly. They believe that if more clarity is obfuscated, that if you allow one part of the terror network to survive, much less be rewarded for its crimes, then the forces of terror will regroup and rise again.

Until last week, I was absolutely certain that the United States would adhere to its principles and lead the free world to a decisive victory. Today, I too have my concerns. I am concerned that when it comes to terror directed against Israel, the moral and strategic clarity that is so crucial for victory is being lost. I'm concerned that the imperative of defeating terror everywhere is being ignored when the main engine of Palestinian terror is allowed to remain intact. I'm concerned that the state of Israel that has for decades bravely manned the front lines against terror is being pressed to back down just when it is on the verge of uprooting Palestinian terror.

These concerns first surfaced with the appearance of a reprehensible moral symmetry that equates Israel, a democracy that is defending itself against terror, with the Palestinian dictatorship that is perpetrating it. The deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians has been shamefully equated with the unintentional loss of Palestinian lives that is tragic but unavoidable consequence of legitimate warfare.

Worse, since Palestinian terrorist both deliberately target civilians and deliberately hide behind civilians, Israel is cast as the guilty party because more Palestinian have been killed by Arafat's terrorist war than Israelis have been killed.

No one of course would dare suggest that the United States was the guilty party in World War II, because German casualties, which by the way included millions of civilians, were 20 times higher than American casualty. So, too, only a twisted and corrupt logic would paint American and Britain as the aggressor in the Cold War, because Afghan casualties are reported by some -- I don't have conclusive figures -- to have well exceeded the death toll of September 11th.

The responsibility for civilian deaths in the U.S. on September 11th and in America's subsequent military action lies squarely with the Taliban's chief Mullah Omar and with Osama bin Laden. And similarly, the responsibility for civilian deaths in Israel and in Israel's subsequent military action in Palestinian-controlled areas lies squarely with Yasser Arafat, who has actually the dubious distinction of being the world's only terrorist chieftain who harbors and perpetrates terrorism.

Now my concern was sparked not only by this specious allegation of blame for civilian casualties. It deepened when, incredibly, Israel was asked to stop fighting terror and return to a negotiating table with regime that is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state and openly embraces terror.

Yasser Arafat brazenly pursues an ideology of policide. I think I coined this phrase "policide," which is the destruction of a state, and he meticulously pursues by promoting a cult of suicide. And with total control of the media, the schools, the ghoulish kindergarten camps for children that glorifies suicide martyrism. For God's sake, this is a man who signs the checks for the explosives for the suicide bombs. Arafat's dictatorship has indoctrinated a generation of Palestinian in a culture of death, producing waves of human bombs that massacre Jews in buses, discos, supermarkets, pizza shops, cafes, everywhere and anywhere.

Israel has not experienced a terrorist attack on the scale that you have witnessed on that horrific day in September. That unprecedented act of barbarism will never be forgotten. It, too, will live in infamy. In my judgment it will surpass in infamy the other great attack on America.

But in the last 18 months, Israel's six million citizens have buried over 400 victims of terrorist, a per capita toll equal to half a dozen September 11th. This daily, indeed hourly carnage is also unprecedented, even in terrorism's long and bloody history, yet at the very moment when support for Israel's war against terror should be stronger than ever. My nation is being asked to stop fighting.

Though, we are assured by friends we have the right to defend ourselves, we are effectively asked to suspend, not to exercise that right. But our friends should have no illusions, with or without international support, the government of Israel must fight not only to defend its people and to restore a dangerously eroded deterrence to secure the Jewish state, but also to ensure that the free world wins the war against terror in this pivotal arena in the heart of the Middle East.

I think that Israel must now do three things.First, it must dismantle Arafat's terrorist regime and expel Arafat from the region. As long as the engineer of Palestinian terror remains in the territories, terrorism will not stop and the promise of peace will never be realized.

Second, Israel must clean out the terrorist, the weapons, the explosives from all the Palestinian-controlled areas. We have discovered just in Jenin, about 1,400 Kalashnikov rifles, 12 laboratories for explosives -- for TNT explosives, and hundreds, hundreds of front-line terrorists.

No place, whether it is a refugee camp in Gaza or an office in Ramallah, can be allowed to remain a haven for terrorists.

And third, Israel much establish physical barriers separating the main Palestinian population centers from Israel's towns and its cities, and this will prevent any residual terrorists from reaching Israel. We have such a barrier around Gaza, in the form of a fence. And hardly any -- not even a single terrorist bomber has crossed from Gaza in recent months.

Done together, these three measures will dramatically reduce terrorism, they will bring security to the people of Israel, and they will restore stability to the region.

Last week, the government of Israel began to take the second of these vital steps. Rather than bomb Palestinian populated cities and towns from the air, an operation that would have claimed thousands of civilian casualties. The Israeli army is taking on a much greater risk by using ground forces that painstakingly make their way through the hornet's nest of Palestinian terror.

But instead of praising Israel for seeking to minimize civilian casualties through careful and deliberate action, most of the world's governments shamelessly condemn it. For seven months, many of these government have rightly supported the war against Afghan terror. Yet, after only seven days, their patience for Israel's war against terror has run out.

Now the explanation that are offered for this double standard are not convincing. Actually, it's a triple standard. There's a standard for the dictatorships in the world. There's a standard for the democracies and there's still a third standard for Israel. But none of the explanations for this double or triple standard are convincing. First it is said that the war on terror is different, because a political process exists that can restore security and advanced peace. This is simply not so.

There can never be a political solution for terror. There can never be a political solution for terror, for a simple reason: The grievance of terrorist can never be addressed through political concessions. If you offer terrorists political concessions, you encourage them to engage in more terror, which is more or less the process that Israel just went through. It offered Arafat's terror enormous concessions under the previous prime minister and the terror catapulted to impossible heights.

There is no political solution to terror. You have to defeat terror militarily in order to have a political process. Yasser Arafat's terrorist regime must be toppled, not forded.

And the Oslo agreements, unfortunately, are dead. Arafat killed them. He tore it to shreds, soaked it in Jewish blood, by violating every single one of the provisions of Oslo, including the two core commitments he made, to recognize a state of Israel, and to permanently renounce terrorism.

With such a regime, with such a failure of leadership, no political process is possible. In fact, a political process can only begin when the terrorist regime is dismantled.

Second, it is said that waging war on Palestinian terror today will destabilize the region and cripple the imminent war against Saddam Hussein. This concern my friends is also misplaced. First, I must state clearly that the need to topple Saddam is paramount. I think the commitment of America and Britain to dismantle this terrorist dictatorship before it obtains atomic bombs, before it obtains nuclear weapons, deserves the unconditional support of all sane governments and all sane people around the world.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, what has destabilized the region is not Israeli action against Palestinian terror, but rather the constant pressure exerted on Israel to show restraint. It is precisely the exceptional restraint shown by Israel for over a year and a half that has unwittingly emboldened its enemies and inadvertently increased the threat of a wider conflict. If the Israel restraint were to continue, the many thousands that are now clamoring for war in Arab capitals will turn into millions, and an avoidable war will become inevitable. Half measures against terrorists will leave their grievances in tact, fueled by the hope of future victory. Full measures may not redress these grievance, but it will convince them that the pursuit of terror will bring certain defeat.

America must now show that it will not heed the international call to stop Israel from exercising its right to self defense. For if the world begins to believe that America may deviate from its principles, then terrorists regimes that might have otherwise been deterred, will not be deterred. Those that might have crumbled under the weight of American resolve will not crumble. As a result, winning the war against terror will prove far more difficult and perhaps impossible.

I must tell you that the charge that Israel, of all countries, is hindering the war against Saddam is woefully unjust, because I think that my country, more than any other, has done more to make victory over Saddam possible. 21 years ago, Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent the Israeli Air Force on a pre-dawn raid hundreds of miles away, on one of the boldest military missions in our nation's history. When our pilots returned, we had successfully destroyed Saddam's atomic bomb factory, and crippled his capacity to build nuclear weapons. Israel was safer, and so was the world. But rather than thanking us for safeguarding freedom, the entire world condemned us.

Ten years later, when American troops expelled Iraqi forces in the Gulf War, then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney expressed a debt of gratitude to Israel for the bold and determined action a decade earlier that had made victory possible.

Indeed, I'm confident that in time, those who would question Israel's actions now, will understand that rooting out Palestinian terror today will also make Israel and the world safer tomorrow, and There is a reason why I'm saying this. If we do not shut down the terror factories that Arafat is hosting, those terror factories that are producing human bombs, it is only a matter of time before suicide bombers will terrorize your cities here in America. If not destroyed, this madness will strike in your buses, in your supermarkets, in your pizza parlors, in your cafes. Eventually, it is not impossible that those human bombs will supplement their murderous force with suitcases equipped with devices of mass des (ph) that could make the horrors of September 11 seem pale by comparison. Arafat pioneered the art of airline hijacking. It was used against us, and very quickly spread to the entire world. It took us 20 years to put this demon back in the box. If we do not shut down the human bomb terror factories that Arafat is pioneering today, they will surely, as the light of day, reach the United States with greater and greater devastating force.

This is why there is no alternative to winning this war without delay. No part of the terror network can be left intact. For if not fully eradicated like the most malignant cancer, it will regroup and attack again, with even greater ferocity. Only by dismantling the entire terror network will we be assured of victory. But to assure that this evil does not reemerge a decade or two from now, we must not merely uproot, but also plant the seeds of freedom. If we win against Arafat, as I know we will, if you win against Saddam and Iraq, what will prevent a new Saddam, or a new Arafat, from coming back ten years, or 20 years from now?

It is important to understand that only under tyranny can a diseased totalitarian mind-set be widely cultivated, and this totalitarian mind-set, which is essential for terrorists to suspend the normal rules that govern human beings' conscious behavior, behavior that prevents them from committing grizzly acts and blowing up babies or a bus full of innocent people, you have to brainwash people systematically under a tyrannical system in order to get them to make these acts, these suicide acts.

Well, it is impossible to produce such a mindset in a climate of democracy and freedom, because the open debate and proality (ph) of ideas that buttress all genuine democracies, and the respect for human rights and the sanctity of life that are the shared values of all free societies, these are, at the end of the day, the permanent antidote to the poison that the sponsors of terror seek to inject into the minds of their recruits, and that is why it is also imperative that once the terror regimes in the Middle East are swept away, the free world, led by America, must begin to build democracy in their place.

This will not happen overnight, and these will not become Western democracies overnight or ever. But we simply can no longer afford to allow this region to remain cloistered by a fanatic militancy. We must let the winds of freedom and independence finally penetrate the one region in the world that clings to unreformed tyranny.

I have thought many times about Israel's position in the world, having led Israel and having represented it in the forums of public opinion and leadership, such as this one. I have to tell you, my friends, that in -- I'm not surprised that in exercising our basic right to defend ourselves, Israel, my country, is condemned by Arab dictatorships. This is predictable.

That today it is condemned by Europe may not be predictable, but it is a difficult thought. Europe, which 60 years ago refused to lift a finger to save millions of Jews on whose soil they were annihilated. Israel is now turning -- or, rather, Europe, is now turning its collective back on the Jewish state that is trying to ward off mass killers with legitimate military action. I think this is downright shameful, but I have to admit that I didn't expect much better from any of these European governments.

Yet, the America I know and have come to deeply respect, has always been different. History has entrusted upon this nation the task of carrying the torch of freedom, and time again, through both war and peace, America has carried that torch with courage and with honor. Combining the might the world has never known with a sense of justice that no power in history has possessed.

I have come before you today to ask you to courageously continue to carry this torch with courage, with honor. By standing by an outpost of freedom, that is resisting an unprecedented terrorist assault. I ask you to stand by Israel's side in its fight against Arafat's tyranny of terror, and thereby help defeat an evil that threatens all of us, that threatens all of mankind. And knowing you, I am sure that you will respond. Thank you very much.


KAGAN: We have been listening to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he speaks on Capital Hill to a group of U.S. senators, talking about the situation in Israel, the tension with the Palestinians, saying that believes it is not the pressure that the Israelis have been putting on the Palestinians, but rather the restraint that Israel has been called to have in this situation that has led to the very intense violence in that area.

He called for three things in his speech. He would like to see the Arafat regime dismantled, and would like it see Yasser Arafat expelled from the region. He would also clean out, he said, terrorist areas of weapons and explosives, and he would like to put up physical barriers, like you see in Gaza, between the main Palestinian population centers and the rest of Israel.

We will have more on this, and, of course, now Palestinian reaction. With that, we go to Leon.

HARRIS: Yeah, joining us now with some reaction to the speech that we heard this morning by Benjamin Netanyahu, and with reaction as well to Israel's position here is Hasan Abdel Rahman. He is the chief PLO representative to the U.S., and he is in our New York bureau this morning. Mr. Rahman, we thank you very much for your time this morning.


HARRIS: And first of all, want to -- after welcoming here, would like to ask you for your comments after what you just heard.

RAHMAN: First of all, let me say that I am saddened to see a man like Netanyahu given this honor in the Senate of the United States, a man that was voted out of his office by his people because he lied to them, a man who was investigated in Israel for embezzlement, a man who is known to be a bigot and a racist.

Given this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the United States and to agitate against international legality, the resolutions of the security council, and against the president of the United States visage in (ph), to join international consensus asking for Israel to hold its brutal, immoral, illegal, criminal attack against the Palestinian people and withdraw it troops from the Palestinian territories.

Second, Mr. Netanyahu speaks of cancer. He forgot that the cancer that is plaguing the Palestinian-Israeli possibilities for peace is the illegal and immoral occupation of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian territories.

Third, he is advocating an apartheid system similar to what the white regime of South Africa imposed on the blacks of South Africa. He is calling for quarantining the Palestinians, in other words.

HARRIS: You are referring to those physical barriers between...

RAHMAN: Oh, absolutely. That is exactly what is happening today. They moved in Palestine 3,000 Jewish settlers and created a system of apartheid between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

I have one advice to Mr. Netanyahu. You know, the only way for the Palestinians and the Israelis to live side by side in peace is when Israel respects the right of the Palestinian people to live as a free nation next to Israel, free of returning of the occupation, free of returning of discrimination, free of returning of violating the rights of the Palestinian people. He is trying to compare between U.S. struggle against terrorism. We joined the U.S. struggle against terrorism because those who attacked New York and Washington were committing an act of aggression against the United States. Because the United States did not have Jewish -- American settlements in Afghanistan and the United States was not occupying Afghanistan in the same way that Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories.

HARRIS: Well, let me ask you about one point that he did make, though, along those same lines. He was saying that these incursions that we have been witnessing over the last few days into the Palestinian territories have been more effective at rooting out any system of terrorism. He cited the fact that 1,400 rifles and a number of bomb making labs were discovered, and that this operation has been more effective than Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority has been at getting in there and rooting those sort of sources out. What do you make of that?

RAHMAN: Well, this is a distortion of the facts. Of course, there are 1,400 guns. But those guns belong to the Palestinian police force. Israel has systematically tried to destroy or attempted to destroy the Palestinian security force. So, most of those Palestinians who are arrested by Israel are civilians, and many of them are members of the Palestinian civilian security force.

HARRIS: Then what of the... RAHMAN: So those 1,400 guns are the guns of the Palestinian police. HARRIS: Then what of the 12 bomb factories that he says that they also...

RAHMAN: That's absolutely nonsense. We challenge Israel to bring international observers. Listen, if Israel was really -- what he is saying is truthful, why would they not allow the International Red Cross to witness the atrocities that are committed by Israel. Why they would not allow journalists, if Israel was a real democracy, that he is saying, why they would not allow (UNINTELLIGIBLE) allow journalists to go in and watch what's happening. Anyone who reads the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post" today will see, without any doubt, that Israel is really committing war crimes against the Palestinians.

That much was said by the International Red Cross. That much was said by journalists, that much was said by Israeli human rights organizations.

HARRIS: Well, let me ask you about one other point that he makes here, and he is not alone in making that, because this point -- this morning, as a matter of fact, we had another expert on with us this morning who also says that that Israeli restraint, and the efforts to actually get Israel to exercise more restraint and not to actually execute these incursions, that pressure to make them stop is what is -- is what is destabilizing the region. What do you make of that?

RAHMAN: Israel did not spare any efforts. You know, there were tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers against civilian population. We do not have an army there. The most that any one Palestinian has, probably, a gun. But you have here tanks, you have Apache helicopters. You have F-16s bombarding civilian areas. This is similar to what Milosevic used in Kosovo and in Bosnia.

You know, the uprising of the Palestinian people in the refugee camp of Jenin, which is one square kilometers with 15,000 poor people living there is similar, in my views, to the uprising of the Jews in the ghettos of Warsaw against the Nazis in the Second World War. Believe me, it is no different, because then, it was the turning of the military of the Nazis, trying to control Europe, and today it is the turning of Israeli army trying to subjugate the Palestinian people forever.

HARRIS: Well, considering all of that, and considering just how far things have unraveled there, Benjamin Netanyahu this morning says there is no political solution to terror. Therefore he believes...

RAHMAN: Because he is not interested in a political solution.

HARRIS: Well, why is it that -- do you still believe a political solution actually is available?

RAHMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think the initiative that was put forward by the Arab states in Beirut last week, that calls for Israel's withdrawal and full and normal relations between the Arab countries and Israel is the basis for an agreement. It is the basis for (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but Mr. Netanyahu never believed in peace. Mr. Netanyahu's three years of tenure as a prime minister destroyed the possibilities of peace which we built with our previous partner, Mr. Rabin.

Remember that Rabin was killed by the party of Mr. Netanyahu, he was not killed by the Palestinians, because he wanted peace and he was our strategic partner in peace. Mr. Netanyahu opposed Rabin. He agitated against Rabin. In fact, the wife of Rabin, the late Leah Rabin, accused Mr. Netanyahu of agitating for the assassination of Rabin.

So, Mr. Netanyahu is a man I have known for many many years. I served at the United Nations when he was an ambassador. He has always advocated racist views. He believes in the superiority -- quote, unquote -- of the Israelis over the Palestinians. He has no respect for the rights of the Palestinians or the rights of the Arabs.

HARRIS: But all that...

RAHMAN: He wants to demonize (ph) the Arabs by force. But you know, he is really -- through this policy, is creating generations of angry Palestinians, generations of angered Arabs, who will get back at Israel. We do not want that to happen. We don't like to see our children involved in violence and terrorism. We want to see our children together with Israeli children, living in peace. I hope that wisdom will prevail. I congratulate President Bush for the courage to confront the Israelis and to join the international consensus, because only a political solution that can bring peace for us and the Israelis. No amount of military force, no amount of killing of Palestinians will make the Palestinians submit and give up their God- given right to live as a free people. We repeat what Patrick Henry said, "give me liberty or give me death."

HARRIS: And we will have to leave it there with those words. Chief PLO representative to the U.S. Hasan Abdel Rahman, we thank you very much for time and your joining us this morning.

RAHMAN: Thank you, sir.

HARRIS: Talk to you some time down the road -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Real quickly, want to turn with our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, who visited with us before the speech, and now some comments afterwards.

First, I want to pick up, Bill, on a comment that Mr. Rahman made, what was that? Why is a former Israeli prime minister with very little official standing speaking before the Senate?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, clearly he objects to some of the policies that the president has pursued, that President Bush has pursued, and Israel has found for decades that it always has friends in the United States Congress.

This is very unusual, because normally foreign powers, foreign countries that the United States deal with -- deals with, work mainly through the executive branch. It is very rare for them to work with members of Congress, but Israel is different because it has always found that Congress has been staunch supporters of Israel, even when they have had problems with the president. And that is why Mr. Netanyahu appeared before Congress today.

KAGAN: When looking at the points for what Mr. Netanyahu was calling for, not much new in terms of what he is calling for, in terms of the Arafat government and the leadership and cleaning out more terrorists and weapons. It seemed the latter part of the speech mainly was kind of like a tisk, tisk, on the U.S. From the Arab world, we would have expected this, and from Europe, but not from you.

SCHNEIDER: Well, look. The crux of his argument was this statement. He said there is no political solution for terrorism. There is only a military solution. If we treat this as a political problem, it is subject to negotiations, then we are making rewards for terrorist activities. We are saying, if you stop your terrorism, you will get your state, which is what you want, politically.

The Palestinian representative just said a minute ago, Israel must recognize the rights of Palestinians to live in a free state of their own. Which is a way of saying, the problem is essentially political and the solution must be political. That is the basic difference between the two sides, and what Mr. Netanyahu is concerned about is that the United States is doing exactly what the Israelis don't want. They are saying to the Palestinians, if you stop, or give up terrorism, then we will talk about a political solution. In fact, Colin Powell is talking about linking the cease-fire to political negotiations. The Israelis do not want to see that linkage, because they say, simply offering political negotiations is offering a reward for terrorist activities.

KAGAN: All right. Bill Schneider in Washington, D.C. Bill, thank you for watching the speech with us. We appreciate it.





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