Sec. John Kerry at the Saban Forum

il-z1897Ich setze mal darauf, ausführliche Exzerpte der Rede Kerrys vom 4. Dez. bringen zu können, ohne Ärger zu bekommen. Für informative Zwecke ist Kerry’s ungekürzte Redeweise unzumutbar, doch eine paraphrasierende Zusammenfassung kommt für mich aktuell aus mehreren Gründen nicht in Betracht. Ich habe besonders in der letzten Hälfte eine Reihe speziellerer Bemerkungen zu Syrien und allgemeiner Bemerkungen zur Imperiumspolitik stehen lassen, die man für entbehrlich halten kann. Herv. v.mir.

Sec. Kerry:
„Can I begin though by saying to you that I do feel really passionate, genuinely passionate, about Israel? The land of milk and honey. … 120 years ago the first Zionist Convention took place in Basel, 100 years ago the Balfour Declaration was laid out, 70 years ago … the  Resolution 181 led to the formation of a Jewish state and the state of Israel, and then, of course, it’s been about 50 years since the Six-Day War. …  I think you have to look [back] at the first declarations …re-read Herzl and others who defined Zionism, and think about what was trying to be achieved in the establishment of this beautiful thing called the state of Israel, which is a place where the Jewish people had their identity, where the state was defined by that and by history, it was a place where people could be protected … and a place which was an example to the world of democracy and freedom and rights and rule of law. It’s a great – it’s – I mean, it’s one – I mean, is – was in the movie. …I mean, it’s the greatest story ever told. But it’s not finished. The end of the story has not yet been written. And I believe …  I’ll tell you this: There is no status quo. It is getting worse. It is moving in the wrong direction.

[T]he Iran agreement, which … nobody says today doesn’t at least give you 10 to 15 years. I happen to believe it’s a lifetime because we will know if and when they ever enrich to X degree above 3.67 percent [es folgen weitere Illustrationen] So I’m confident personally. Our IAEA is confident. Our Intel Community is confident. Our Defense Department is confident. We will know if they tick up … in which case every option that we have today is available to us then.

So what we have is an opportunity to redefine the Middle East to meet the security needs of Israel and the security needs of the rest of the region.

I have traveled to Israel, what – it’s over 40 times or something extraordinary – I’ve met Bibi in Rome for eight hours at a time. I’ve met him in New York. I’ve met him in Israel, met him in Jerusalem, met him in Tel Aviv, met him everywhere – New York multiple times, so forth. And Bibi and I are friends (…) But here we are now in a situation, folks, where I speak as this unapologetic friend of Israel. [T]he Obama Administration put $23.5 billion on the line for foreign military financing. More than 50 percent of the total … has gone to Israel … And we have never, ever shied away from … standing up against an unfair and biased resolution at the UN, at the Human Rights Council, at UNESCO, you name it.

I want to be very clear about my passion for this dream … for the beauty of what Israel was designed to be and should represent to the world  … But here I have to tell you the truth. I have to share with you facts and describe to you why I am concerned. (…)

Israel has enormous agricultural skills, technology skills, remarkable finance and innovation and all this capacity, which it could be sharing with Egypt, with Jordan, with the Emirates, with Saudi Arabia, with all of these countries, who, by the way, talk to me about their desire to do that sharing. But the issue is how do you get from here to there. So there is a fundamental choice that comes to this question of two states. [L]et me tell you a few things that I’ve learned for sure … There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world. I want to make that very clear to all of you. I’ve heard several prominent politicians in Israel sometimes saying, well, the Arab world is in a different place now, we just have to reach out to them and we can work some things with the Arab world and we’ll deal with the Palestinians. No, no, no, and no. I can tell you that reaffirmed even in the last week as I have talked to leaders of the Arab community. There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without … Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that.

(…) There’s a basic choice that has to be made by Israelis, by the leadership of Israel (…): Are there going to be continued settlements? Is there going to be a continued implementation of settlement policy, or is there going to be separation and the creation of two states?
When Oslo was signed in 1993, the vision was that with the signing of Oslo, Area C – everybody knows there’s Area A, B, C – Area A is Palestinian security and administrative control, Area B is a split between administrative and security control, and Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank, is just Israel security and administrative still. But the deal of Oslo in 1993 was over the next year and a half Area C would be transferred to the Palestinian control administratively. Well, it didn’t happen for a number of different reasons. We won’t go into that now. But back then in 1993, there were 110,000 settlers in the West Bank. Today there are 385,500 or so. … Outside of that line drawn by Israel there are now 90,000 Israelis living in these patchworks of settlements. There are 129 settlements. There are about 100 outposts, and outposts, as you all know, are illegal. But tomorrow night there’ll be a vote, I believe, in Israel which will decide whether or not 54 of those illegal outposts will be legalized within months … [S]o you’re looking at 85 out of 100 that are about to be, quote, “legalized.”  [M]ost of these outposts are built on what is considered to be Palestinian private land. (…)  I’m not here to tell you that the settlements are the reason for the conflict. No, they’re not. But I also cannot accept the notion that they don’t affect the peace process … I know that, because the left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace, and the right that supports it openly supports it because they don’t want peace. They believe it’s the greater Israel … they want it to block the peace … That’s the history of the settler movement, my friends.

(…) To wit, Naftali Bennett said weeks ago [the outcome of US-elections] represents the end of the era of the two-state solution. And more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state … This is where we find ourselves.

MR GOLDBERG: Let me ask you this. I was once talking to Lindsey Graham about you, and he said the thing about John Kerry you have to know is, if you burn his house down and shoot his dog, he’ll put you down as undecided. You’re the most optimistic American that’s ever been …  But you’ve just described a situation in which you’ve lost, in which the side that you’re advocating for – not just you but Bougie Herzog and Tzipi Livni and many people in this room – you’re describing a situation in 1993 the reality on the ground was one thing, 2016 it’s this completely different thing. Is Naftali Bennett wrong? Have we not passed the tipping point already?


SECRETARY KERRY: No, we haven’t, but we’re getting very – we’re getting – I’ll tell you why we haven’t. Because this is a function of leadership. It’s a function of belief. It’s a function of what choices are being put to the people of Israel. So let me —

MR GOLDBERG: You know how hard it is to move 10,000, 8,000 settlers from Gaza. You’re talking about 90,000 —

SECRETARY KERRY: But they don’t all have to move necessarily depending on what the solution is … But let me give you the alternatives here, folks. [I]f you really are sitting there saying, “I want Israel to be the Israel I’ve always dreamed that it was and that it said it was,” that’s democratic, and it’s also a Jewish state, well, today, there are about 6-point-whatever – 1 or 5 – million Jews living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River Valley, but there are also more Arabs living between that distance. Now, what is your vision of a, quote, “unitary state”? I mean, are you going to run the schools? Are you going to continue to have these roads that are completely checkpointed and blocked that lead to this little island all by itself of the settlement? And the Palestinians are going to live over here, they’re not going to – are they going to vote? And if they’re a majority of the population, are they going to have a Palestinian prime minister of Israel and is it going to be a Jewish state? The answer is no – no and no and no. But that is not a choice that has been put to the people of Israel, I’m just telling you.
I think Bougie [Herzog], who is sitting here, would agree with me. … everybody says, well, the Palestinians – we don’t have a partner and we don’t have an ability to negotiate and we don’t have an ability to be able to resolve the security issues of Israel. I don’t agree with that. In fact we did work no administration has ever done. John Allen – we had 150 people from our Defense Department working with the IDF, Shin Bet, Mossad, security experts of Israel.
By the way, I urge many of you to talk to security folks in Israel. Have a nice, long conversation with people who have spent their lifetimes defending the security of Israel and see what they say to you about long-term security capacity for the country. I venture to tell you there is a strong, strong base within the security establishment of Israel who believe that you have to resolve this question with the Arab world and with the Palestinians, because if you don’t do that … how do you allow the Arab street to ultimately come to grips with the future of the region?
(…)  Where is the United States in that? Our position has been 1967 lines plus swaps — not the position of the current government. So even the American position, which every president, Republican and Democrat, has been opposed to settlements – we issue a warning today when we see a new settlement announced. Nothing happens. It’s ignored …

MR GOLDBERG: Why don’t you have any leverage with the Israeli Government? Why do you – what – you’re describing a situation in which you have zero leverage.

SECRETARY KERRY: I think we do – I think we do have leverage —

MR GOLDBERG: But they never listen to you.

SECRETARY KERRY: No, they don’t, and they haven’t listened on settlements, that’s correct

MR GOLDBERG: On the issue that you consider to be key.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, but it depends. Jeff, I think it really is a question – let’s stay big picture here. [Y]ou have to keep coming back to this ground zero question: How do you have peace? Can anybody here define for me how you, in fact, have peace? If the world and the Palestinians themselves and the Arab world with the Arab peace initiative are saying we want a Palestinian state based on 1967 lines and we’ve moved them to plus swaps – the mandate in 1948 was 49 percent. It’s now lowered down to 22 percent. That’s what the Palestinians have been prepared to try to fight for (…)

So the question is: How do you resolve with the Palestinians their aspirations? How do you get the Arab world to make this peace? How do you actually make people secure for the scissor attacks and car drive-by killings? How do you do that? I’m just trying to be really practical, folks. I think you have to do that by … reaching an accommodation that meets the needs of the parties.

Now, let me add a flavor to this. While those 20,000 additional Israelis have moved in to the West Bank outside of the barrier, there has simultaneously been a process of demolitions of Palestinian homes. And there are currently about 11,000 demolition orders for Palestinian homes through the West Bank. Now … in the West Bank – as I said, 60 percent of the West Bank is Area C – under Oslo, supposed to be turned over to the administrative control of the Palestinians. But effectively, 70 percent of that 60 percent is exclusively reserved by the state of Israel and it fits into a combination of six regional boundaries and a bunch of municipal boundaries that extend well outside of the settlement housing itself so that jurisdictionally, the Palestinians can’t build anything. In 2014 and 2015, ladies and gentlemen, there was one permit issued to the Palestinians to build in Area C.
So, tell me, how does this work?

MR GOLDBERG: Secretary, let me step back just for one minute and ask you a very, very basic question, which is: Why does this even matter from an American national security perspective? You have a situation in which half of the Middle East is disintegrating. You have a cataclysm in Syria; near-cataclysm in Iraq; Yemen, Libya as failed states; Sunni-Shia arguments that are vicious and violent. No one believes that the settlements – or no one believes that the Israel-Palestine conflict is at the root of the Middle East’s problems anymore …  why does this still matter from an American national security perspective?

SECRETARY KERRY: Because it is – it’s about our security and it’s about Israel’s security and Israel is our ally and our friend. [I]t defies the imagination that you are going to have a Jewish state with a unitary state …  Well, lots of presidents and lots of prime ministers and lots of secretaries of state have laid out visions of that – 1967 lines plus swaps, resolving the refugee – I mean, there are different things that constitute that resolution.

But if you don’t put those choices on the table – and now, you have to build – you have to rebuild trust. (…) There is an absence of trust on both sides.  But I’ll tell you this: This fits into the entire issue of how you are going to calm down the Middle East, of how you are going to ultimately build a society that makes the transition through this clash of modernity with tribalism, sectarianism, and radical religious extremism.

[Es folgen Kerry-typische Erfolgsberichte zu u.a. Libyen, Syrien, Yemen]

… all of this is emboldening people to realize that  we’re not the prisoners of chaos – we’re moving in the right direction. And Israel-Palestine needs to be part of that —

MR GOLDBERG: But stay on Syria —

SECRETARY KERRY: — for the safety of Israel and the region and our own interests.

MR GOLDBERG: Stay on Syria for a minute because you’re painting a somewhat optimistic picture. We know what’s going on in Aleppo; know – we know how many people have died in this conflict; we know that you go to the Russians without leverage to try to get them to stop behaving in a certain way; the Iranians, no leverage. Earlier this year, President Obama described the situation Russia was working itself into in Syria as a future quagmire. It doesn’t seem like a quagmire right now. It seems like Russia is running this show despite your efforts at the negotiating table.
In retrospect, could the President have given you more leverage? Is there something that could have been done to insert the United States in a more muscular way into the situation?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Jeff, it’s well known that there were a lot of debates and … different options that existed in Syria. And I don’t think we get anywhere by going backwards … and this is not the moment to be talking about the internal deliberations of the Administration.
Suffice it to say that we did not go in in 2013 or 2014, and Russia chose to go in to support Assad mainly because Assad was very weak at the time, but mostly also because the appearance then was that Daesh might have been the entity that might overthrow him … So in effect, what has happened is that the opposition obviously has been damaged by virtue of the intensive – I think savage – bombing that’s been taking place out of all standards of warfare, in my judgment. And the result is that, yes, a heavy price has been paid by the people of Syria and – but mostly also by the opposition and by Nusrah. We have been united in our efforts against Daesh and Nusrah recently. We’ve had some meeting of the minds about how to try to deal with that … It is still possible that we could achieve an understanding.
Now, what is the resolution that we have pursued with respect to Syria? It’s a diplomatic solution. From day one, President Obama made the decision, and we have all – the military, our military, concurred there’s no military solution to Syria. Even if Russia succeeds in driving the opposition out of Aleppo, even if Aleppo is finished as a contested strategic goal for any party in this war, this war does not end. Everybody here needs to understand that this war will not end without a political understanding about the long-term future of how the opposition is integrated into the governance of Syria.
Now, we are prepared to accept a negotiation in which there is a transition. Assad is part of that transition. Ultimately, there’s an election and the people of Syria make a decision about the future leadership of their country …

MR GOLDBERG:  I want to ask you a Syria-related Israel question … You spend a lot of time talking to Israelis, trying to convince them that your vision of what’s coming down the road is the correct vision. What many Israelis would say – and I’m not talking about the ideological settler movement, but average Israelis might say is, you’re – at a moment when we have Hizballah to our north, ISIS in Sinai, a somewhat weak, threatened Jordan, ISIS in Syria, Nusrah and the regime and Iran on our northern border, you’re asking us to begin a process of withdrawing from territory that overlooks Ben Gurion International Airport, that wants to turn over territory to a weak and divided Palestinian Government.


SECRETARY KERRY: No, Jeff. No, no, no, no, no. Nobody has ever suggested there should be a turnover to a weak and divided and (inaudible).

MR GOLDBERG: But the reality is it’s a weak and divided Palestinian entity right now.

SECRETARY KERRY: It is today, but nobody is talking about a turnover today. This is something that’s going to take time. We’ve always acknowledged that … Nobody is talking about something happening tomorrow or next year, in three years. It has to happen with the assurance that you’re not turning the West Bank into Gaza. Now, are there ways to give that assurance and to guarantee? You better believe there are. (…) And by the way, Palestine – a demilitarized entity with carefully defined egress and exit … We had King Abdullah agree to build a fence on the Jordanian side, a modern fence, like the one in the Sinai, in Egypt, with electronics and cameras and drone capacity, constantly patrolling, with troops constantly patrolling. And the Palestinians agreed to build a fence on their side of the Jordan River Valley.

MR GOLDBERG: What do you understand about Israel and its security that the prime minister of Israel doesn’t understand?

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m not going to suggest that he doesn’t understand something or that I —

MR GOLDBERG: But you’re having this extensive argument with him over years about the direction that Israel is moving in. What doesn’t he get that you and President Obama believe you have, believe the knowledge that you have?

SECRETARY KERRY: I think there is a difference of opinion about what is needed and how it could be provided in terms of meeting the long-term needs of Israel … and what the Palestinian entity could be. But I think there is also a difference in terms of what kind of risk and what risk in terms of politics that people may be willing to assume or not assume …  And the majority of the current coalition doesn’t favor two states. So I’m pushing for two states … But I believe there are people in Israel who understand …  I’m not suggesting that you want to have a situation like Gaza where you can dig a tunnel and you have the ability to build missiles in a fake factory and fire them against Israel. We all understand that challenge. But what we’re talking about is a police force and a security force and an intelligence force worked up over time with American and Jordanian and Egyptian and Israeli engagement directly in it, in a cooperative fashion, that changes the dynamics of who knows what, of who’s doing what, and of what the responsibilities are. And that’s how you build a state.

MR GOLDBERG: How will you know when … Israel has tipped past the point where it can fix [its] problem and it will no longer be a Jewish-majority democratic state? What’s the sign that you’re looking for?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I think it’s going to be defined not by us. I think it’s going to be defined by people on the ground … I mean, I do not want to get into using terms and making predictions … But I believe that if you cannot answer the question of how you empower people who don’t have full rights and … preserve the Jewish state and a democracy – if you can’t answer that question, it’s going to be self-evident at some point when things are going to happen.
Now, for the moment, we have a leader of a not-perfect entity, the Fatah, who is committed to nonviolence. But nobody knows what happens down the road. Nobody knows what the diminishment of the status quo on a continued basis will produce (…) America is a friend. We’re the best friend Israel has, and we will remain a friend of Israel. But we need to see a genuine effort to provide answers … a genuine effort to try to move towards a resolution of something that has been there since the state of Israel was created
And I think over time, this small little city state, which is what effectively the West Bank would be, demilitarized as it would be, with the proper input and guidance over X number of years to be defined by the parties – and by the way, you can define a withdrawal based on performance, which sets up standards that have to be met that provide for security …
So nobody’s thinking that all of a sudden, boom, there’s this thing and it’s there and it’s called a state and it’s going to be like Gaza.


SECRETARY KERRY:  I’m not sitting here pessimistic about the long term in the region, providing – and this is very important – providing we, the United States and the developed world, make the decisions that we need to make to address this foment that exists in South Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, elsewhere. What you have is an unparalleled rise of a number of different factors simultaneously – technology, communications, the rise of very young populations. 60 and 65 percent of the populations of many of the countries in the region are 30 years old or younger, 50 percent under the age of 21, 40 percent under the age of 18, and they don’t have jobs. There are a billion and a half kids in the world who are under the age of 15, 400 million of whom or so will not go to school. And if many of those are in these countries and they are ripe for the picking of extremists who are hijacking a major religion and lying to people about their future and what happens and life on Earth versus dying, exploding yourself and taking a lot of people with you, we’re going to have a problem –

Now, we had a Marshall Plan after World War II which put $13 billion into the redevelopment of countries we fought against and we were redeveloping developed countries …  People don’t like the idea of “Wow, why on Earth would we spend a dime over there to do something for them?” Well … it’s all about our security and it’s all about the alliances that we have and the security of our allies. And if we don’t face this, there is no “over there” anymore. It’s everywhere … And if you don’t realize that, you’re missing the biggest change of what’s happened – a whole bunch of people running around with smartphones who can see what everybody else in the world has, which also means they can see what they don’t have. (…)

[On bombing Syria]

Syria’s even more complicated. There are about six wars in Syria, folks. I mean, you’ve got Saudi Arabia and Iran, you’ve got Israel and Hizballah, you’ve got Turk versus Kurd, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turk, PKK, you’ve got Sunni-Shia, you’ve got oppositionists against Assad – it’s extraordinarily complicated in the proxyism.
So you’ve got Turkey with its interests – its own Islamic and other interests – you’ve got the differences between Egypt and Kuwait and the Emirates versus Saudi, Qatari, and Turk. The intensity of this is very, very hard to just sort of declare, “Oh, okay, we’re going to go in and bomb,” or “We’re going to go in and do this or that.” But I do believe in force and I believe in being strong. [T]he President’s decision when he decided not to enforce the redline through the bombing [is] greatly misinterpreted. People have interpreted it as his decision not to when, in fact, he never made a decision not to bomb. He made the decision to bomb. He simply decided he had to go to Congress … Well, the decision wasn’t forthcoming, and in the meantime, I got a deal with Lavrov … So in effect, we got a better result out of not doing it, but it was the threat of doing it that brought about the result, and the lack of doing it perception-wise cost us significantly in the region, I know that and so does the President. As much as we think it’s a misinterpretation …it cost.


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Eine Antwort zu Sec. John Kerry at the Saban Forum

  1. Pingback: Was ist Israel – Vorbereitende Arbeiten | Themen & Essays

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