Return to Transcripts main page

CNN'S AMANPOUR

Trump Meets Palestinian Leader at the White House; Hamas Leader Issues Direct Plea to Trump; Donald Trump Labels Media "Fake News"

Aired May 3, 2017 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, from the West Bank to the White House, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets the U.S.

President Donald Trump, who thinks he'll be the one to finally bring peace to the Middle East.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, an adviser to Mr. Abbas joins me from Ramallah. And from Tel Aviv, the former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

Plus, it is World Press Freedom Day. And journalists from here in the United States to all corners of the globe are in mounting danger. The head

of the committee to protect journalist joins me tonight.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

There are reports that President Trump will visit Israel later this month, in pursuit of what he's called the ultimate deal -- Middle East peace.

And, today, for the first time, he's meeting the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done. We will be

working so hard to get it done.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT: Mr. President, we believe that we are capable and able to bring about success to our efforts, because

Mr. President you have the determination and you have the desire to see it become to fruition and to become successful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Now, in February, President Trump hosted the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The outlines of a two-state solution had been

pretty much clear since President Clinton's Camp David Summit in 2000. But since then, it has gotten only more complicated with wars, terrorism,

settlements, even open talk about a one-state solution.

As the Palestinian and Israeli politics are driven further and further to the extremes. In Ramallah, on the occupied West Bank today, Palestinians

had mixed opinions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There is no hope because there is nothing new. We just hope the situation stays the same and doesn't

worsen both politically and economically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We don't expect any positive results out of any meeting between Palestinians and Americans. American

politicians are very biased towards Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Trump is very strong. He will find a solution. I'm very positive. 100 percent. Only strong people can

find a solution. Weak people cannot find one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So we're going to be talking to the former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and also to Mohammed Shtayyeh, an adviser to President

Abbas and a member of the Fattah Central Committee.

First, Mohammed Shtayyeh joins me from Ramallah.

Welcome to the program.

You heard what both your president and President Trump said. You heard what the people are saying on the streets of Ramallah. First and foremost,

why is your president so optimistic that this American president will do what the others haven't been able to do?

MOHAMMED SHTAYYEH, ADVISER TO PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT: Well, it's simply because it seems that President Trump as well as his team, they seem to be

very serious about this issue. And also from day one, President Trump wanted to be fully engaged, contrary to the previous president to who

himself was actually not fully behind his secretary of state.

And President Abbas goes to Washington with aspirations of his people and to explain the narrative of the Palestinians vis-a-vis the conflict with

Israel. We are determined with the Palestinian people. We all believe that it is we who will benefit most from any successful peace talks.

And now this America president, he has loudly and clearly declared that he would like to put the political weight of the White House behind the peace

process that is to be in the making.

Now, the real test for President Trump, I think, is that will he be able to develop or deliver Prime Minister Netanyahu or not? I think the real test,

whether the American administration, the new American administration, this American administration will be able to free settlements which was the main

reason behind the breaking of the previous rounds of talks. This is something that we would like to see.

AMANPOUR: All right.

SHTAYYEH: Mr. Greenblatt was here. President Trump obviously he is into this direction and he wants to construct a deal. We are hopeful that he

will do that. We are -- our hands and minds are hoping for that.

(CROSSTALK)

[14:05:00] AMANPOUR: Let me stop you one second. Let me stop you one second because you've just mentioned the presidential envoy, Mr. Greenblatt

who was there. Obviously met people on all sides of this.

Have they given you any indication that there is a new strategy in the works? Or was the White House meeting more of a photo opportunity and sort

of a, you know -- sort of breaking the ice between two leaders who haven't met each other before? Do you believe that there is a new idea coming from

this president?

SHTAYYEH: Well, I think the White House and the envoys are still in the listening mode. And listening mode, it means that we know there is a new

team and there is a learning curve for the new team. So the whole idea of this meeting is that for our president to really explain the Palestinian

position and to put the Palestinian aspirations and to show that he is positive and he wants to engage, and he actually, with the same Israeli

prime minister, he did have so many meetings.

It was very unfortunate that Mr. Netanyahu couldn't deliver what he promised and Mr. Netanyahu continued with his settlement policy and Mr.

Netanyahu continued to sabotage the peace process.

Our side, Mr. Abbas, all of us, we were very forthcoming and really we are very ready to really engage and fully -- because at the end of the day,

time is a crucial factor and time is the enemy for peace, because Israel every single day is creating a new, better condition on the ground that

does not only sabotage, but it does destroy a possibility of a Palestinian state and consequently, it does destroy any future two-state solution.

This is a situation in which we all want to avoid. President Abbas was very hopeful that President Trump is forthcoming and he wants to engage,

and we will wait to see and we hope that President Trump and his team, they move from listening mode to the mode of action.

AMANPOUR: All right. Mr. Shtayyeh, as you know, and I said politics on both sides have moved to the extremes. You have a very, very serious

competition from Hamas, and the leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, just proposed a new, more he hopes palatable charter that will allow him to

compete with Fattah in any upcoming elections.

This is what he told our Nic Robertson in Qatar just a couple of days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KHALED MASHAL, HAMAS LEADER (through translator): This is a plea from me to the Trump administration, the new American administration. Break out

from the wrong approaches of the past, and which did not arrive at a result. And perhaps to grab the opportunity presented by Hamas' charter.

Well, do you really think the Israelis, the United States are going to engage with Hamas? And are you going to engage with Hamas? What does this

mean, this new charter for the process?

SHTAYYEH: Well, unfortunately, you know, the new charter of Hamas is 43 years behind the PLO charter. Hamas is now talking about a Palestinian

state on the border of 67. This is something that the PLO has done in 1988 and even before that in 1974.

So Hamas charter does not really bring anything new. For Hamas to try to put its credentials to the white house or to Washington or to Europe, it's

more appropriate for Hamas to put its credentials behind the Palestinian leader. President Abbas does not only represent the West Bank. President

Abbas represents and presents the Palestinian people wherever they are, in the Diaspora and Gaza and the west bank and Jerusalem and so forth. Why?

Simply because he's the chairman of the PLO. And the PLO, even to Hamas, is considered to be the sole legitimate representative to the Palestinian

people.

So for Hamas, with its new charter, which is really very old and much behind, I think it is time for Hamas to come to reconciliation with Fattah

on one hand and on the other hand to accept the charter of the PLO, to accept the commitments of the PLO, which really calls for peace, which

calls for two states, which has a commitment also vis-a-vis the international community in fighting terrorism and fighting radicalism.

So therefore, I think, it is crucial for Gaza and the West Bank to become one unity in order for us to achieve a two-state solution.

AMANPOUR: Well, let us pursue that last comment with the former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Mr. Shtayyeh, thank you for joining me.

Now to you, former foreign minister. You just heard the news from the White House, with all sides professing great optimism. You just heard Mr.

Shtayyeh from Ramallah.

First and foremost, is Israel prepared to put anything forward to advance a stalled situation? Is Israel prepared to freeze and stop the settlements,

for instance?

TZIPI LIVNI, FORMER ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: The good news is that President Trump wants to make the deal and the deal serves the interests of

Israel. And I believe that there is a great opportunity here.

And talking about a deal is referring to the core issues. And I'm optimistic since President Trump's meeting with Netanyahu when he said I

want a deal and I'm serious about it.

[14:10:00] I believe that now when we have a new president, who really wants a deal. And can -- well, we don't force him, but putting his

influence on both sides and having also the support of the Arab world, this could be a great opportunity to the region.

And Israel should take also the steps that we needed in order to do so. And I can assure you one thing, politically, in Israel, if Netanyahu wants

to make the deal, he will have the support of us and there are no political problems if he truly wants to make the deal.

And this is something that is very important to understand. The vast majority of Israelis want to make the deal. They believe in two states for

two people and also in the Israeli parliament, in the Knesset, there is a majority to support it.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, you just said Israel will have to do the things that it has to do. I assume that's code for freezing and stopping

settlements. But let me ask you this. You just said a two-state solution. But President Trump has been a little here and there on that issue, and

this is what I would like to play you from when he was meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House in February.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm looking at a two state and one state and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I

can live with either one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: You know, I don't know what you think about that. Two state, one state. I mean, even Prime Minister Netanyahu, I think I heard him

chuckling in the background.

Are we on a one state or two-state process here now?

LIVNI: There is only one deal. I mean, I believe also in thinking outside of the box, but there is only one deal between Israel and the Palestinians

that represent the interest of both sides. Both sides would need to make compromises, but this is the only deal.

I mean, the deal that President Trump referred to was not a deal between him and Netanyahu or between Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett. It's a deal

between two people and the solution is based on two states for two people.

AMANPOUR: Right.

LIVNI: This is the only solution that serves the interest of both sides and this is the only deal in town.

AMANPOUR: Listen, you just mentioned Naftali Bennett. He is really very far right. He has really out of the box idea on settlements and things. I

mentioned the Hamas, which is very far on the extremes, on the militant extremes of the Palestinians.

You said there is support in the Knesset for peace. Is there?

I mean, Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have been boxed in by his own extreme right wing flank.

LIVNI: Netanyahu's choice after the last election was to form this government. And this is why I make it very clear today that if he wants to

make a deal, he would have the support. And because there is a majority to do so, so a decision making is needed. And the support is given to make

the real decision, to make the new, the dramatic decisions that's needed.

I did like to know the comparison between extreme right in Israel and (INAUDIBLE) which is Hamas. But I would like to site few things about

Hamas, because when Hamas say today that they are willing to accept the Palestinian state '67 border, it is more important to understand that they

are not willing to end the conflict. And the only idea is not just to create another state in the region, but to end the conflict.

And this is the true meaning of two states for two people. And for many years now, Hamas is not willing to accept or to announce violence of

terrorism and to accept the right of Israel to exist. So the whole idea of two states for two people means also end of conflict.

AMANPOUR: Of course. That is the end state for peace.

Can I ask you, though, about some of the interlocketeers. You just mention president envoy, Mr. Greenblatt has been to Israel. I want to know what he

said to you. But I also want to know what you make of the president's faith in his -- I mean, let's face it, untested son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Listen to this, please.

Oh, goodness, we don't have a sound bite. But what he's saying is, if anybody can make a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, it is Jared

Kushner.

How do you see that?

LIVNI: Well, I didn't meet him, but I met Jason Greenblatt, and he is a very impressive man. He is listening as much I have said for all of us.

He is listening to the Palestinians, to Israelis, from both sides of political spectrum in Israel.

[14:15:00] He's honest, smart, and I think that the meetings with him made all of us in a way optimistic.

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: Well, that's good.

(CROSSTALK)

LIVNI: It's not just the statement made by the president, but also the seriousness that he showed in discussions with all of us.

AMANPOUR: All right. And I hope to be able to convene you again in the next few months and see where the progress report takes us.

Tzipi Livni, thank you so much for joining us from Tel Aviv.

(CROSSTALK)

LIVNI: Let's hope.

AMANPOUR: Yes you do. Yes you do.

And after a break, it is World Press Freedom Day. Amid accusations of fake news and mounting dangers, how we can protect journalism. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Today is World Press Freedom Day. It's a time to reflect on threats to journalists in countries ranging from Turkey, Russia, to even here in the

United States of America where the White House piles on insults and threatens to change libel laws that are meant to protect the press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If the media's job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: President Trump wants to play peacemaker in the Middle East, but he's still clearly at war with the press at home.

So has America joined the list of countries where press freedom is deteriorating?

Joel Simon is the executive director of the committee to protect journalists and he is joining me now from here in New York.

Joel, I am also a board member of the committee, but I want to ask you because you go deep down into the analytics of it.

Beyond President Trump's words, has there been any fallout in terms of real threats to the safety and freedom of journalists here in the United States?

JOEL SIMON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALIST: Well, if you actually talk to journalists in Washington who are covering the White

House now, they say they are able to work normally. They do not like the threats, they do not like these menacing words, they do not like the

efforts by President Trump to delegitimize them, but they don't feel chill.

They are moving. They are continuing to report aggressively. That's good. That's positive. I actually think the fallout from this effort by

President Trump to constantly attack the media is global. It's about the defense of journalists all over the world. That's where President Trump's

words really hurt.

AMANPOUR: So does it have a chilling effect? I mean, to be honest, when you look around, you can see in Turkey, China, in all sorts of other

places, some of these, you know, countries are throwing around the word fake news now, and more and more journalists are in trouble and being given

very strict, you know, definitions of what they're allowed to do and not.

SIMON: Yes. Well, I mean, what we've seen is that -- we've seen President Putin in Russia. We've seen the Chinese leadership. We've seen the Syrian

leadership embrace this term "fake news" and use it to attack and undermine and delegitimize the media, and to justify that kind of rhetoric, either

implicitly referring to President Trump. So it's actually having a very negative impact around the world. And we've seen that President Trump has

welcomed two of the leading jailers of journalists and embraced them. President Xi of China. President Sisi of Egypt who he said was doing a

fantastic job.

President Sisi is doing a fantastic job of jailing journalists. There are around 25 journalists in prison in Egypt so that was an opportunity for

President Trump to raise concerns and obviously he didn't do that.

AMANPOUR: Well, look, let's just go and read some of your stacks. According to the CPJ, there are about 259 journalists jailed worldwide.

And as you mentioned Turkey, China, Egypt, holding the most of them there.

What hope is there, if you like, of rectifying the situation? We established that the leader of the United States has sort of welcomed some

of these people and we don't know. We don't think he's raised the issues, even behind closed doors. But what recourse does a journalist today have

in Egypt, in Turkey, in China, in Mexico?

SIMON: Well, I think you're right, Christiane. Today is World Press Freedom Day, but we really don't have a lot to celebrate. That number you

mentioned, 259 journalists imprisoned around the world, that's the highest number that we've ever seen.

So countries that jail journalists should face tremendous international pressure. They should face pressure from governments with whom they have

relationships, who value press freedom. And so that's not happening right now.

That's not happening in the United States. It's not happening -- there's not the same kind of consistent pressure from the European Union. Regional

leaders like Kenya and South Africa are failing to uphold these standards. So we're seeing a deterioration of the overall climate for press freedom

globally. And that's why these autocratic leaders are able to get away with jailing large numbers of journalists.

AMANPOUR: And let's also not forget that there are scores of journalists who are killed every year, as well. And that number keeps raising and

rising, as well. In fact, I think that it's still a terrible fact that the leading cause of death amongst journalists all over the world today is

deliberate, is deliberate targeting.

Is that correct still?

SIMON: Yes. Journalists who are killed are more likely to be deliberately targeted. They're not killed on the battlefield. They're targeted in

reprisal of their reporting.

According to CPJ data, journalists who die in the line of duty, that's the most common reason they are killed.

AMANPOUR: Joel Simon, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

SIMON: Thank you so much. My pleasure, Christiane.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Cracking down on the press to hampering protests. The U.S. Justice Department is taking legal action against a 61-year-old activist

who you can see there for laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing, citing wilfully, disorderly and disruptive conduct.

That's here in the United States.

After a break, imagine the built-in inequality hindering women in the workplace. Hillary Clinton tells me how we can get equal pay. That's

next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where gender inequality set in stone, pay inequality from the very start of our careers.

In her first interview since losing the election to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton told me that misogyny had played a warm and in the workplace, she

warned women about the insidious hold of pay disparity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think we're not just at a stalled point. I think we are potentially going backwards. For

example, real quickly, on equal pay.

A number of cities and states have said, you know, one of the problems about equal pay is when you hire people, you say what was your last pay?

So if you're a young woman and you've been underpaid before, and you say what your pay is, then a slight bump looks fair. But it's not, because

you've got built-in inequity. So what is happening in current times in some places, I think is quite troubling. Because there's a great effort to

make sure that localities don't pass laws that prevent employers from asking about past pay.

Now, you know, somebody who has employed a lot of people over the course of my professional life, a lot of young men and women, it's always the case

when you offer a job to a young person that is a bump up in pay and respect and responsibility. Young women almost always say to me, do you think I

can do it? Do you think I'm ready? Young men basically say what took you so long?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: The interview was certainly Hillary unplugged. Clinton as you've never seen her before. And you can watch the entire conversation in

our special Friday weekend edition.

That's it for us tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online @Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching, and goodbye from New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END