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Trump Announces US Embassy Move to Jerusalem. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired December 6, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the President of the Untied States keeps a campaign promise and decides to move the U.S. Embassy in
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
AMANPOUR: But there's more. We'll dig deep into what has really changed. We debate the impact it would have on Israelis Palestinians and any hope of
a true state solution. Plus, why would Trump make this move now? Politics on the home front. And amidst to all of this, imaging France losing its
very own Elvis.
AMANPOUR: Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. With the global view tonight, as President
Trump has announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he has asked the state department to begin the process of moving
the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But crucially, he also said that the U.S. is standing by the two state solution.
TRUMP: We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the
resolution of contested boarders.
AMANPOUR: Despite that, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was delighted and this is what he said afterwards.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: We're propounding grateful for the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the U.S. Embassy here.
AMANPOUR: Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel capital breaks for decades of American foreign policy and international consensus on what
is probably the most contentious city in the world. Jerusalem lies at the very heart of the Israeli Palestinian conflict and both sides claim it as
their capital to be decided as part of a final peace settlement as Trump reaffirmed.
It is also home to major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites. (INAUDIBLE), leaders from all around the world had tried to persuade Trump
to change the status of this city as CNN's Ian Lee reports.
IAN LEE, CNN REPORTER: A chilly reception for U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Brussels. Shaking hands with allies, his demeanor ranged from
brisk to palpable frustration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Minister, what does the Turkish government think about a possible move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be a grave mistake; it will not bring any stability, peace but rather chaos to the region.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you tell Mr. Tillerson that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already told him and I am going to repeat it.
LEE: U.S. officials maintain that the decision will not have an impact on future Israeli and Palestinian states and that it will not hurt the peace
process. But of course of countries from the Muslim world and beyond have come out expressing their disdain from a flurry of phone calls the U.S.
Saudi Arabia warned that this could have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region. Neighboring Jordan had
a similar warning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no alternative to the state solution and Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement, it is key to the stability of the
LEE: Egypt, Iraq, Iran, even Syria has warned against such a move from Washington. Meanwhile, the tone from western leaders ranged from worry. I
cannot hide by deep concern about the situation that has developed in the last days. I pray that wisdom and prudence can prevail. To ominous
warnings of a change in would order.
SIGMAR GABRIEL, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The withdraw of the U.S. under Donald Trump from its reliable role is guarantor of western land multi
cultural; accelerate a change of the world order with immediate consequences.
LEE: Tension has stretched across the world to include China and Russia harshening against the moves. Recognizing the status of Jerusalem has one
of the most compostable issues in the long running Israeli Palestinian conflict.
AMANPOUR: SO, let's bring in Ian from Ramada in the West Bank. Ian, even before today, the state department had warned its embassies all over the
world to brace for fallout. Now, you listened to the speak, we all said words matter. It was (INAUDIBLE), the President said we're not deceasing
the sovereignty, the precise boundaries of who gets what in Jerusalem. What do you think the fallout will be where you are?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Christiane right now there's a protest behind me in Al Manar Square here in (Ramola). A couple dozen people out
there braving the cold and the rain, waving Palestinian flags. We've also seen protests in Gaza and we haven't heard from Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas. He - what we're hearing is speaking with other Arab leaders to form a consensus.
We know he's spoken with President Sisi, he's also spoken of Egypt and as well as the Katar Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani so he's trying to get a
reaction from other leaders to form a one voice, one approach is from what we're hearing. Also we heard from the PLO Secretary General Saeb Erakat,
he came out very forcefully against this, Christiane, saying that it was a dangerous speech that President Trump was isolating himself and that
President Trump essentially destroyed the two state solution which it basically says that the peace process is over despite the fact that in
President Trump's speech we heard him talk about trying to continue this peace process and how he wanted to move it forward.
It seems like his great deal, the biggest deal ever seems to be like a broke deal tonight, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Ian we're going to dig deeper into those issues with Saeb and Naftali Bennett in a second, but before I let you go obviously the
Americans also in the area were warned not to go into the West Bank. What is the situation for internationals in the region right now?
LEE: Everyone's watching this really closely Christiane. We're really going in a uncharted waters with this announcement. We do know that
American missions - diplomatic missions have increased security. You're right diplomats are told they can't go to the old city, the West Bank.
They've also warned Americans from going - going to any large gatherings of people around those areas. For other nationalities really it's just
watching to see what other countries and how other countries react to this announcement. Will other countries follow suit? Well if you look at the
international community and how they've been so strongly against it, it doesn't look like many will if any at all.
And so it does appear as we've heard from Palestinian officials that The United States is somewhat isolated in this approach.
AMANPOUR: All right, we are going to be following it as are you and next whether the peace process, what will the final outcome look like with this
announcement? Let us ask the parties themselves, from Jerusalem the Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett who's leader of the right wing
Jewish Home party.
And from Jericho, Saeb Erakat he is the Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Chair of the PLO Executive Committee. Gentlemen welcome both to the
program. I do actually want to ask you both the - the question. Did you see anything new Saeb Erekat? I know that you've condemned the speech. I
know that there was an enormous amount of criticism from yourself and the Arab leaders. But the President committed to a two state solution and said
actually it's up your parties to decide the sovereignty and the lines about Jerusalem.
SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: Hi Christiane, yes I think President Trump is in total violation. First of all for international law
and agreement signed. Agreement signed with a government of Israel in 1995 in term agreements is a fight that no side should take any action that be
in for re-judge. It shows it is there for (inaudible). We should endorse them. So tonight when the President of The United States announces into
dictation that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel changing the historic, economic, political facts of life about the Muslim, Christian you know
belonging to Jerusalem.
I think he is disqualifying his country for any possible role, that this process what so ever. He received phone calls from the King of Saudi
Arabia, King of Jordan, President of Egypt, King of Morocco, President Abbas others (inaudible). And he undermined all of them. He is really
undermining all moderates in the region, and I think his accounting extremists in the region, those who don't believe in the two step solution,
those who don't believe in the Palestinian people, and I believe President Abbas will call for an emergency meeting for the Palestine Central Council
in order to study this dangerous speech and it's implications and take the proper decisions for it.
AMANPOUR: All right.
ERAKAT: I believe the only option, Christiane, just for Palestinians tonight is to fight and struggle(ph) for equal rights from the leader of
Jordan to the leader Mediterranean(ph). I think Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are God's great religion. Jews (ph) them and Christians should live
equally in this country and this territory. And I believe this (ph) deserve democracy and (ph) and he knows very well the kind of (ph) system
Israel practices on 5 million Palestinians and those back in Gaza when they (ph)---
AMANPOUR: --Well let me-
ERAKAT --so maybe 80 percent of Palestinians could not get to church or the mosque in Jerusalem since 1967(ph) to now. They--
AMANPOUR: --So let me put that Saeb Erakat to Naftali Bennett. You've raised a lot of issues, you know, saying that not many people like the two
states solution. You don't like the two states solution, Naftali Bennett. Do you think that what President Trump said, despite the fact that he
recommitted America to the two states solution, do you believe that tonight killed that off, or not?
NAFTALI BENNETT: Well first of all, I want to congratulate President Trump. I think December 6th of 2017 will go down in history as a great
day. A day where the world made a big step forward in recognizing the obvious, that the city of Jerusalem has always been, and will always be,
the capital of Israel.
I also think though that it's a good step forward towards peace. Perhaps in the short term we may see some friction as Erakat indicated, but in the
long term we all know that never could you achieve peace that's predicated on dividing Jerusalem. And in a sense, by setting that aside, by calling a
spade a spade that Jerusalem will always be Israel's capital, now we can get down to the real business of bringing upon us peace.
AMANPOUR: All right. Naftali Bennett, let me ask you this--
BENNETT: --Erakat said, yes.
AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you but I do have to ask you, are you convinced that he said Jerusalem is only Israel's capital? I didn't hear
that and he actually said that the boundaries of the seventy of claims to Jerusalem are yet to be worked out as part of a final agreement. I didn't
hear his say that it was not the Palestinian's capital as well.
BENNETT: Oh he had to say that, but everyone knows that Jerusalem is Jerusalem. The municipal boundaries of Jerusalem are very clear. They
include the entire holy city, old city of Jerusalem Temple Mount, Mount (ph), Mount Scopus, es cedera, so that's pretty clear to everyone.
I think though there's a, a big opportunity here and I would expect that the Palestinians, or hope that this time they don't, you know, use this
opportunity to blow the opportunity. And the opportunity is to sit down and speak truth. And you know, for the past 25 years, we've been failing
peace because, precisely because it's been predicated on putting fences in the part of Jerusalem. That's not going to happen and now we can do peace.
AMANPOUR: All right, what do you say to that Saeb Erakat? Obviously the President said the same thing, it's time to try something new and this is
an opportunity. Did you hear any new ideas from the President on peace? And also just on Jerusalem did you him say it wasn't for the Palestinians
ERAKAT: Well, Christiane, I think ignoring facts don't mean they don't exist. Israel is like, Mr. Bennett, and others may dictate because they're
occupying power, they have the military power. They may seek to have one step, two systems, which is (ph). (ph) ignored this very well. The way we
are treated and the fact of life is here.
I'm trying to make peace with the Israelis and (ph) Israel right to exist on the 1967 line(ph). I've accepted the Palestinian's state, with
Jerusalem as capital to live side by side the state of Israel in (ph) security. Mr. (ph), Mr. Bennett, Mr. Leiberman(ph) have done everything
humanly possible to destroy that two state solution. OK, you did it. You succeeded and you say December 6th 2017.
Can you close your eyes for 30 seconds and walk me from the river of Jordan to the Mediterranean in 30(ph) years from now? What do you see? It's the
(ph) upper five system there is on earth and I think (ph) come tonight made the biggest mistake of his life.
Because instead of encouraging the parties to sit together, the parties to put all core issues including Jerusalem together and negotiating in good
faith, he dictates. And we're having in the history in man kind where a president of a foreign country decided the capital of other nation. And
how about Palestinian, you know, sovereign rights occupied is Jerusalem.
AMANPOUR: All right.-
ERAKAT --which is in violation with the national law. You heard what I said to the (ph) nation said, you heard what France said, China, Russia,
Africa, Asia. No one, no one will follow the steps of President Trump. President Trump has taken this hasty decision, I think it's a total mistake
and it will lead to a disaster in rushing(ph) decisions, total chaos and-
AMANPOUR: --so the UN Secretary General-
ERAKAT --and at the expense of martyrs like us.
AMANPOUR: The U.N. Secretary General, the President of [France], did, Mr. Bennett, reaffirmed the international law on Jerusalem and final [peace]
statement, settlement. So, I do want to ask you the question that Saeb Erekat has [raised]. Without a two state solution and an equitable
solution to Jerusalem for all side, you face a one state solution don't you?
As Saeb Erekat said, from the river of Jordan to the Mediterranean. That means, either you are going to be a divided state without equal rights or -
or you're going to have a demographically, you know, minority states of the Jewish people. Are you not concerned about that?
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI EDUCATIO MINISTER: Quite the contrary. First of all, it seems the Palestinians are gonna miss an opportunity, yet again,
like they did in 1948, where they were offered a Palestinian State and declined and instead started a war. And they are paying the price this
very day and it seems that hell bent on doing that again.
As respect to Abbaside ph, I just want to point out because I'm not sure your viewers know. We have Supreme Court Justice, which Arab. We have
members, Arab members of [Knesset]. Israel has full equal rights here. The Palestinians have a state in Gaza, a full blown state which we handed
over the Makhudabus ph in 2005 and they turned into a terrorist state. We are not about to create a second Palestinian state in the heart of Israel.
We do not want to govern them.
AMANPOUR: But I do have to put this to you, Mr. Bennett. I do have to put this to you. I do hear what you saying but your own military and
intelligence people say, that the continued occupation of the west bank is the biggest essential threat to you, Israel, as a Jewish state. So let me
play one of what one of you recent officials has said about that., the former head of Mossad.
(VIDEO CLIP BEGINS)
TAMIR PARDO, FORMER MOSSAD DIRECTOR: The Jewish state faces one existential threat. Israel is sitting a bomb that has been ticking
(incisively) and for some time now. Yet, for some reason, we have chosen to bury our heads in the sands, feeding ourselves alternative facts to run
away from reality while create various and varied external threats.
(VIDEO CLIP ENDS)
AMANPOUR: So, that's the issue. Mr. Bennett, I need 30 seconds from you and then 30 seconds from Mr. Erekat.
BENNETT: You know, we've been hearing these threats for seventy years now and throughout these threats, Israel is growing stronger. (Bigger) GDP,
we're exporting medicine, health, food, continology ph all across the world, doing good. We are the only democracy, true democracy, in the
Middle East. So, I am fed up all these horror stories. We're building a strong state. We want to have peace with our neighbors. It has to be
equitable and based on the Palestinian state that exists already in Gaza.
BENNETT: And self-governance in Judence Amira ph. I'm convinced that this day will bring us forward for its peace. Ph
AMANPOUR: And Saeb Erekat, does the Palestinian authority have a plan to take this forward? What are going to do? How are you going to convert
what happened last night, tonight?
EREKAT: Well, I believe in the face ph of Mr. Bennett is saying about the Palestinian state ph. I told him we will organize Israel. He even cannot
say, Palestine or instead ph Palestine. He said, no Palestinian instead. And at the same I really think that Palestinians, is my personal opinion,
should focus on struggling for equal rights from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean ph.
Tonight's President ph Fongs ph is trying to change the constant ph one ph to just ph one ph. Judaism, to me, is one God's great ph religions. Docta
ph like ph Islam ph and I think we should focus on from Jordan River to the Mediterranean.
And, one state ph, equal rights, civil rights and that's the only way out because of the actions of people like Bennett, on mind ph was the solution
ph, who was settlement ph, not peace ph. And who chose dictation ph rather than negotiation because he speaks about Israel's strengths, exports and so
What was South Africa in 1985 ph - -
AMANPOUR: All right.
EREKAT: Wasn't it the strongest nation, Africa, the biggest export, the biggest one ph, what happened to Abbasid ph? Abbasid ph is nowhere, its
failure and it will ph trip ph. - -
AMANPOUR: All right, Saeb ph, I've heard you. So, Saeb Erakat - -
BENNETT: Don't miss this opportunity.
AMANPOUR: And Naftali Bennett, it is, obviously, a serious continuous issue which we'll have a lot ramifications. Thank you, both for joining us
from Jericho and from Jerusalem tonight.
Now, when it comes to the Middle East, this isn't the first Trump decision that has provoked criticism. Seasoned diplomats were actually in disbelief
when they learned that the President had picked his thirty-six-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to negotiate Middle East peace.
Even Kushner, himself, a New York real estate developer, and deeply religious with no foreign policy charts ph, admitted that the choice was
unusual when he was asked in a public form hosted by the influential Israelian ph- American billionaire, Haams ph Devon ph this weekend.
(VIDEO CLIP BEGINS)
HAAMS ph DEVON ph: How do you operate with people who, basically, you know, with all due respect, a bunch of Orthodox Jews, over hear about
JARED KUSHNER: So.
SABAN: What are you guys doing?
KUSHNER: So I'll.
SABAN: Seriously, I don't understand this/
KUSHNER: So I'll definitely say it's not a conventional team, but.
SABAN: You can say that again.
AMANPOUR: Well, Gloria Borger our senior political correspondent in Washington, they're joking there but there's a real nugget of truth, right?
I mean Haim Saban; a very close friend of Israel is very concerned about the president's negotiating team.
GLORIA BORGER: Yes he is and so are a lot of other people who were wondering why this person in his mid-30's who happens to the president's
son-in-law and not the Secretary of State who is an Orthodox Jew who has been involved in the region before on the side of Israel, would be given
the portfolio of say, negotiating peace in the Middle East. To say that it's unconventional as Kushner just did there was a bit of an
understatement and the question is Christiane, how much progress have they made? And is this going to -- is this decision which I believe quite
frankly was a presidential decision, is this decision going to make Kushner's job even more difficult than it already was?
AMANPOUR: So Gloria, we have heard nothing in terms of substance on this so-called proposal that they have announced. It's not been put on the
table, but the real question I suppose is, why now, why did this announcement get made now? And even though the president said he's
fulfilling a campaign promise, how many voters actually said I will only vote for President Trump if only he moves that embassy? If only he
recognizes Israel -- sorry Jerusalem for Israel?
BORGER: Well it's not really how many Christiane, it's how influential they are. And you have somebody like Sheldon Adelson who's giving $25
million to Trump's PAC when he was running for president, you have Evangelicals who are strong supporters of the president and as his
popularity dwindles, he's got to hang on to those people. And you saw Mike Pence, the Vice President standing behind him today. That was no
coincidence because he's been very, very involved in this with the Evangelical community which has been crucial to Donald Trump and this is an
issue for Evangelicals.
And sort of being the go-between between Evangelicals and the president and I think what we saw in his speech today was his -- the president saying I'm
delivering, we heard that and that was the key line to me. I'm delivering because nobody else has been able to. Translation, I'm delivering on my
promise, no other president has been able to keep his promise, but by the way I'm not dictating anything about status issues.
AMANPOUR: Well to that point.
BORGER: He didn't do that.
AMANPOUR:.to that point, you're absolutely right but you saw the Palestinian strategy. They're saying you may say you're committed to the
two-state solution, but those are just are just empty words. And now we have to have a one-state solution, you heard Saeb Erekat over and over
again tonight said from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean, in other words you may find yourself a minority in your own country. Or he said,
you will rule us as an overload, he used the Apartheid.
BORGER: And you know Christiane this is why and we ought to point this out, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who did not support this, was in
Europe at the time and he's releasing a statement, but he reportedly -- according to our reporting was not in favor of this. So you have the
president's son-in-law who has to carry this out. And we're not sure where exactly he was on this; he was in favor of the waiver. You had the
secretary of state who pushed for a waiver once he knew -- once they knew the president was committed to this, they tried to soften it and to sew
some ambiguity into, but in the end it's going to cause them great grief.
AMANPOUR: Gloria Borger, this is a story we'll continue to follow.
AMANPOUR: Perhaps Secretary Tillerson was having to talk the allies down, face-to-face in Europe.
AMANPOUR: So, like America's allies all over the Arab world and in Europe, French President, Emmanuel Macron, picked up the phone to President Trump.
He was one of the first to tell him that this was a bad idea way before today's announcement. Mr. Macron now says this decision is regrettable and
it contravenes International law, but today, as Trump was announcing this major change, the French public had other things on its mind. Trying to
imagine their world without their very own Elvis, Johnny Holliday, he died today aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer. Here's a taste of his
AMANPOUR: Now, Americans may have no idea who Johnny Hallyday is but to the French he sells more than David Bowie, he's more iconic than even Elvis
and dare we say it bigger even than Baguette (ph). Born in 1943, Hallyday rose to become France's great rocker after seeing Elvis at the cinema.
Selling more than 100 million records. His success belied personal struggle though as he never managed to crack the lucrative American or
British music markets, there were failed marriages, a suicide attempt and drug addiction. But he was a hero at home and today while her husband
braces for the fallout over Jerusalem the first lady Brigitte Macron is paying her respects to Hallyday's family representing her nation who are
paying tribute to rock and roll.
And, just before we go we also take a moment to mark Time's Person or People of the Year the Silence Breakers. The brave women and men who have
spoken up about abuse and sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond. And, they started the Me Too Movement. President Trump was Time's runner up.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can listen to our podcast, see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and
Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.