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Israel's Shimon Peres Laid to Rest; Behind the Scenes of the Oslo Peace Deal; Racing to the Polls at Age 103

Aired September 30, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET



[14:00:17] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, peers and proteges gather to remember Shimon Peres, the last of Israel's elder statesman and

what he stood for. I'll ask one of those proteges, the former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, whether his signature policy will live or die with


Plus, with all the focus on the Oslo Peace Accord that Paris signed, I speak with the husband and wife team of Norwegian diplomats that helped

make it happen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secrecy, as Mona pointed out, is they're absolutely necessary, because it was actually forbidden by law to relate to

representatives of the PLO.


AMANPOUR: And back in America, it is early voting time. And this lady has waited 103 years to cast this ballot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never thought I would vote for a woman for president. But I'm glad the time has come.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Now the truth is that until Shimon Peres died this week, the defunct Middle East peace process was barely on anyone's radar, either inside Israel or

around the world.

But the worldwide tributes to this man, whose name was synonymous with peace, the faces and the words of world leaders at his funeral today,

conveyed a deep wistfulness of those heady days when peace seemed possible. Conveyed a deep sadness, not just for the loss of one elder statesman, but

for the loss of the ideal that had lived with him as CNN's Oren Liebermann reports from the burial sites.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last of Israel's founding fathers made his final journey. From the Knesset, which he had

served so long to Mount Herzl National Cemetery.

Shimon Peres had earned his place here long ago.

It seemed this day would never come that Peres himself at 93 years old, would live forever, and that made it so much harder to believe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembers the day Peres cried at the funeral of his brother. Today, it was the world that weeps for Peres.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Shimon lived a life of purpose. He soared to incredible heights. He swept so many with his

vision and his hope. He was a great man of Israel. He was a great man of the world.

LIEBERMANN: Peres wasn't just part of Israel's history. He was more often than not, its author. His significance extended far beyond the borders of

his tiny country. World leaders thanked him for his wisdom, his optimism and perhaps most of all, his hope.

President Bill Clinton considered him a dear friend.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Someone who listened to, learned from and laughed with him. And always was in awe of his

endless capacity to move beyond even the most crushing setbacks in order to seize the possibilities of each new day.

LIEBERMANN: Though there were so many world leaders here, Peres was the giant.

He wanted this song at his funeral, "Avinu Malkeinu," means "Our Father, Our King" speaks of compassion, of mercy, for this generation and the next.

So many spoke of Peres' dreams, he had such visions. But he worked to make his dreams happen. President Barack Obama compared him to some of the

other greats of modern history.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In many ways, he reminded me of some other giants of the 20th century that I've had the honor to meet.

Men like Nelson Mandela. Women like her majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Leaders who have seen so much, whose lives span such momentous epics.

LIEBERMANN: Peres, in a simple wooden coffin was led to his final resting place on Mount Herzl.

His son had once asked him what he wanted written on his headstone. Peres responded "Died before his time."

Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


[14:05:10] AMANPOUR: And a handshake between the Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu

spoke volumes about the peace they have not yet sealed.

The former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was briefly Netanyahu's chief negotiator. These lines that she spoke perfectly reflect her mentor.

His treaty, she said, is not made by cynics, but by realists unafraid to dream. And she joins me now from Tel Aviv.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program. You were there at the burial, of course, at the funeral. Just give me your reflections tonight about

whether this dream of his has any chance of survival.

LIVNI: You know, we are just coming back from a funeral of somebody, a leader, a great leader who never -- was not willing to give up this. And

therefore this is something that we need to understand today. This should be the outcome of his funeral. And when we saw all these leaders coming

from all over the world, it's not just about him as a leader, it is also about his vision for peace.

And this is something that we need to do. Not for the sake or memory of Shimon Peres, but for the future of our children here.

So today, I saw Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Mazen, in the funeral. We spoke a little bit, but here there's a lot of things that can be done.

AMANPOUR: Tzipi Livni, speaks volumes. I believe Abu Mazen said that it was six years since he had been to Jerusalem. And I've talked about a

peace process that has collapsed.

Who is the heir then to Shimon Peres? Who has the optimism, the weight, the authority to move this ball forward again?

LIVNI: Well, really nobody can be that optimistic. And when we look at the region, well, it's a new Middle East but not the way Shimon Peres

described it.

But yet, it's a necessity for us. This is the only way to keep the values of Israel as a Jewish Democratic state and the rare opportunities even in

this region. Because when we look at part of the Arab world, more pragmatic, moderate states, they want to have a change in their relations

with Israel. And therefore, we need to grab this opportunity instead of just letting it passing by.

Now it is true that in order to change the strategic situation of Israel in the region and in order to make peace with the Arabs, we need also to make

peace with the Palestinian. We cannot just, you know, make peace with the Arab state without the Palestinians. But if the Israelites would know,

that when you make peace with the Palestinians, the meaning is, not just peace with the palestinians, but the entire change of the region, I believe

that they would support it. But there's a need of a leadership, that understanding that he's willing to take a political price in order to do


AMANPOUR: Well, then let me ask you about that. Because I said you were Prime Minister Netanyahu's negotiator for a while. Obviously, Netanyahu

eulogized Shimon Peres fondly. Said that they had a friendship. But we all know that they were politically very, very, very polarized, poles


To that end, Ehud Barak, former prime minister also poles apart from Bibi Netanyahu told me that the party of government has become too extreme, and

that it cannot follow the two-state dream.

Listen to what he told me. And I'd like you to react. Because you brought up the notion of maintaining Israel as a Democratic Jewish state.


EHUD BARAK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: The real, most apparent threat right now is our inability to put a wedge on this slippery slope toward one

state. One state nation cuts under the very foundations of the Zionist dream and project.


AMANPOUR: Do you agree that you're on a slippery slope? That two states is fading away?


AMANPOUR: You agree?

LIVNI: I completely agree with this. And I believe that I agree, yes, I agree. And I believe that we should work in order to stop the trend and

it's very important not to pass the point of no return.

And therefore, there's a need not just to speak about two states for two peoples, but also to take some steps forward.

Now it is true that this government represent -- so this government doesn't represent the idea of two states for two peoples. But Netanyahu speaking

about it, but yet there are things that need to be done on the ground and this can change realities on the ground and open your negotiations. The

opportunities here, it's there.


AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you --


LIVNI: But there's a need for leadership that is willing to do it.

[14:10:07] AMANPOUR: OK, you say things on the ground. One of the things on the ground that the Palestinians have been saying even on these sad days

is that the continued settlement building is just a major obstacle to any kind of trust building and peace.

This is what Mustafa Barghouti said about Peres.


MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, POLITICIAN: But you have to understand that for many Palestinians and Arabs, I know it's a sad moment for the family of Mr.

Peres and his colleagues, but Mr. Peres was a very controversial figure for Palestinians and Arabs.

First of all, he is known to be responsible for the settlement policy. He was the first man who started settlements in occupied territories, which

are now the most important obstacle to peace.


AMANPOUR: Don't you agree?

LIVNI: I can -- I would like to say clearly. I believe that settlements or new settlements activities doesn't serve the interest of the state of

Israel. It's not connected to Israel security. And, therefore, they should be stopped.

As part of the negotiations with the Palestinians, we would define the border in a way that would annex part of the settlements, what we call

blocs of settlements, that takes on a few percentage of the west bank. But yet, most of these Israelis are living there. But they are going to say

something today at Peres' funeral.

Because to speak about what he did in the past is unfair. It's really unfair. Because after '67, the whole idea was to live in one state. And

therefore, settlements activities were part of the idea of living in, you know, between Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, all together, Jews and

Muslims, Israelis, Arab, Palestinians. This is not a vision anymore.

And in a moment in which Peres understood it, he stopped supporting settlement activities. And I believe that he should be respected by this.

Because he was really, I mean today, the president of Israel asked for his forgiveness. Because he was attacked in the most vicious way since he

supported peace. Because he signed the Oslo agreement. And therefore, you know, to speak now about settlement activities that he did dozens of years

ago, it's really unfair.

Since we have this vision of two states for two peoples, settlement activities is not part of this vision. And I put it clearly here in

Israel, in Hebrew, I say publicly, also today in this interview, because we need to make a distinction between Israel security, which is a necessity

and between settlement activities that are part of another vision of greater Israel. And in greater Israel, this way, there is no place for a

Palestinian state and I would not support it.

AMANPOUR: On that note, on this day, Tzipi Livni thank you very much indeed for joining us.


AMANPOUR: And when we come back, if Peres was the father of Oslo, then my next guests were its midwife. A rare, joint interview with the Norwegian

power company who paved the road to that rare peace accord.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Ever since Shimon Peres died this week and certainly throughout his farewell today, the words Oslo and peace rang loud and far.

[14:15:10] Well, one Norwegian husband-and-wife diplomatic team made Oslo happen. Terje Rod-Larsen, former United Nations special coordinator for

the Middle East peace process and Mona Juul, who is currently Norway's ambassador to the UK.

They were there to help their old friend and partner Shimon Peres to rest, and I asked them whether they feared that their life's work would disappear

with him.


AMANPOUR: Terje Rod-Larsen and Mona Juul welcome to the program.

Can I start by asking you, Ambassador Mona Juul, so many people obviously talked and thought and hoped about Oslo today? Do you believe that Oslo is

dead along with Shimon Peres? Has that finally been put to rest, that process?

MONA JUUL, NORWAY'S AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.: No Christiane, not at all. I think today proves that the whole world is supporting the mission for peace

and the foundation for peace that was laid in Oslo.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me go to you, Terje, because, you know, we've heard from Yossi Beilin in these last few days. Give me a sense, all those years

ago, in the early '90s, how even this taboo on negotiations between the Israel and the Palestinians came into fruition? How did you, guys, do it?

And how did you keep it secret?


was a law, both in Israel and the United States, by the way, not to relate to the Palestine Liberation Organization, that is the PLO, because it was

branded as a terrorist organization.

So actually by law, two of the key players were not allowed to speak to their adversary and we behind the scenes brought in. In Norway, we had no

ban on speaking to the PLO. We could then bring in the banned party. Because without the PLO, it would have been impossible to reach any kind of


AMANPOUR: But what made you do it, Mona? What made you get involved in this? How did you even get involved?

JUUL: It had to do with, with personalities. It had to do with being at the right place, at the right time, and it had to do with being in Norway

and Norwegians because we were seen as being sort of neutral, without having any vested interest in the Middle East. And we had very close and

good relation to both sides.

AMANPOUR: And, personally, how did you facilitate it? Was it in your house? What was your direct involvement with the key players, like Shimon

Peres, for instance?

JUUL: We were part of a very small Norwegian team that facilitated the talks, not only in Oslo and not only in our home but also in places outside

Oslo. In secluded places where we as Terje have just said, we had to keep it secret. So we had to sort of to try to hide the negotiators as much as

we could.

But, of course -- especially in the beginning then, none of the negotiators were all that known faces, so we managed to do that quite well. Later on

when Shimon Peres came to some of the meetings, we had a cover in the sense that he was coming on a visit as foreign minister. But then behind the

scene, a lot was happening, including the secret signing of the Oslo agreement.

AMANPOUR: Gosh, it is incredible. Terje, how did Shimon Peres get involved? How was he persuaded to give agreement to something that was

that taboo. And how did Yitzhak Rabin get persuaded? And how did Yasser Arafat get persuaded?

LARSEN: I got to know Yossi Beilin before he took office as the deputy foreign minister, and together with Mona, and then Secretary Jan Egeland of

Norway, we established a local secrets channel, which was then eventually green-lighted by Mr. Peres.

And he then sent two academics for the first few months of negotiations in Oslo because the government needed deniability that they were doing

actually real negotiations in Oslo. And this is the reason why the research institute, which I headed at the time came in so handy. Because

it could, if it leaked, be portrayed as an academic exercise.

Then after a few months, the talks were upgraded, with Israeli officials. And that secrecy as Mona pointed out was here absolutely necessary.

Because it was actually forbidden by law to relate to representatives of the PLO.

[14:20:10] AMANPOUR: It's incredible. And Yossi Beilin told us this week that once you got to the White House, and there was this huge ceremony, in

retrospect, he feels that that was perhaps a mistake. That it gave too much to what was after all, a five-year interim deal. And he said, you

know, people thought that peace had been secured and that was the end of the story and it wasn't.

JUUL: It was about a gradual approach to reaching to in the end a final status agreement and a two-state solution. But we were under no illusions

that the hard work would start the day after the signing.

AMANPOUR: And so the hard work did start, Terje and now it's come to a full stop, to all intents and purposes.

Do you see any route forward? Everybody says that the final parameters will look like Oslo, will look like Camp David.

Do you see any political route towards restarting this?

LARSEN: Now this in a way brings us back to your first question tonight, Christiane. Is Oslo dead? And I think it's been the longest-living corpse

I've heard about. It's been declared dead for 20 years and is still living.

Look, the Palestinian authority still exists. Behind the scenes, there still are contacts intensively at times between very senior Israeli

officials and their leadership of the Palestinian authority.

So I think all the groundwork is there. But there has to be, and we don't need any new plan for, for implementing the two-state solution which is

kind of ideology of Oslo. But it's required, it's the political will and its skills in negotiations to do it. And this is the challenge of the

leaders today. And here, Shimon Peres' legacy, will be absolutely essential, absolutely vital. And I think that should be his legacy, which

I hope will live on. Should now be the inspiration for both parties.

And it was heartening to see today that Abu Mazen, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was sitting in the front row together with the heads

of states from across the world. And I hope this can be the first step to restart negotiations.

AMANPOUR: Well, on that note, Terje Rod-Larsen, Mona Juul, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us tonight.

LARSEN: Thank you, Christiane.

JUUL: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And just a note also, Mona and Terje's story has been made into a play called "Oslo." And it will open on Broadway in March.

When we come back, we go back stateside as well to catch up with an old, old, very old friend of this show, who is determined to make Hillary

Clinton president. Imaging that -- next.


[14:25:10] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, in the midst of what can seem like a never-ending election campaign, imagine waiting 103 years just to

vote for a woman.

When I last spoke to our old friend Ruline Steininger, she vowed to live long enough to vote for Hillary Clinton. And since Iowa, held its early

voting this week, she's made good on her promise.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're so excited!

RULINE STEININGER, HILLARY CLINTON VOTER: I'm on my way to vote for Hillary. This is one of the big days of my life. I'm anxious to get this

voting done.

Time is precious to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is fighting for people.

STEININGER: I'm going to see the next president of the United States.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Here's a video star, isn't she? Video star Ruline here.

How are you? Oh my gosh, I'm so happy to see you.

STEININGER: Oh, well, I'm so glad to meet you again. We're going to put you in the White House.

CLINTON: With your help, we're going to get there. We're going to get there.

STEININGER: I'm going to help all the way.

CLINTON: I know you are.

STEININGER: I'm voting today.

CLINTON: Oh, that's wonderful. I'm so glad to hear it.

STEININGER: Get out and go vote today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get a photo with you, Ruline.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May I have a picture with you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you having a good time with all of these people taking their picture with you? Are you used to that yet?



STEININGER: It's just another day. I'm anxious to get to the voting part.


CLINTON: There she is. Hello, Ruline. Hello, Ruline.

Oh, it's a great honor to have Ruline supporting me. I am so pleased. And she's going to go vote early today.


STEININGER: I never thought I would vote for a woman for president. But I'm glad the time has come.

Do I have an audience?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do. Right here, it's the Democratic Party. That's what you want?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to put it in the box.

STEININGER: This is the most important election that I have ever voted in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now you're about to drop it in.

STEININGER: Oh, I sure am.


AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness. What a great story. And that is it for our program tonight.

Remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.