[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:
#1. Note the difference: Secretary of State Kerry opted for the Palestinian
position - yes Israel state, no mention Jewish state, in the two state
"peace based on the two-state solution – a secure state of Israel and a
viable, independent state of Palestine"
This in contrast to remarks just days ago by another American official.
"... two states for two peoples—a secure, Jewish, and democratic state of
Israel next to a sovereign, viable Palestinian state."
Remarks On Receiving the American Jewish Committee's Distinguished Public
Service Award At the AJC's Women's Leadership Board's Annual Spring Luncheon
Susan E. Rice -U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations at the
U.S. Mission to the United Nations New York, NY May 9, 2013
(Granted, later in the address he says "In the end, the only way for Israel
to survive and thrive as a secure, Jewish, democratic and economically
successful state is through the realization of an independent and viable
Palestine" but this is as an argument by Mr. Kerry why Israel should make a
deal - not a PRINCIPLE cited as part of the formula for talks.
#2. Tourism may indeed have tremendous potential but it also is the most
sensitive to changes in local conditions. Mr. Kerry can ask the Egyptians
about this. So does it make sense to focus on pouring money into tourism
projects that a few "enemies of peace" can wreck - with the rebound effect
of even greater frustration when the projects stall? Why not instead focus
on economic activity that is significantly more resilient?
#3. Mr. Kerry doesn't read the New York Times : "And I say
to you, President Abbas: No one is talking about temporary borders. We are
talking about an end-of-conflict, end-of-claims peace. " ]
Remarks to Special Program on Breaking the Impasse World Economic Forum
Secretary of State
Dead Sea, Jordan
May 26, 2013
SECRETARY KERRY: Klaus, thank you very much for a very generous
introduction. And it is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have enjoyed
participating in the World Economic Forum for many years, as Klaus said in
his introduction. And Klaus, I think everybody here joins me in thanking you
for creating this remarkable and important institution. It gives people a
great opportunity, and we thank you. (Applause.)
I want to thank – let me say, Mr. President Abbas and Mr. President Peres,
thank you so much for those comments. I have an agreement here which you
both can come up and sign if you want. (Laughter and applause.) We’ll get
there, we’ll get there, we’ll get there.
Your Royal Highnesses and your Excellencies and distinguished many guests, I
want to first begin just by expressing a very special thank you to His
Majesty, King Abdullah. I think all of us are honored to be in a hall that
is named after his father, who fought hard for peace, and I thank him for
his leadership. I thank King Abdullah for his leadership on so many issues
in the region. (Applause.)
It’s also very special for me to be here with President Peres. He is a great
friend. For many years I have been meeting with him in Israel or elsewhere
around the world, and I have long admired him for his remarkable, eloquent,
and steady leadership. And thank you very much, Shimon, for what you do.
I’m also very, very pleased that President Abbas would be here and share his
thoughts with us. He, too, is a friend who I have gotten to know better and
better. We meet frequently now, and we all count on him to continue to be
the essential partner for peace at this critical juncture. Thank you, Mr.
President, for being here. (Applause.)
It’s also a great pleasure to be in this remarkable country of Jordan, and I
thank my counterpart Nasser Judeh, who had to get back to Amman. But I thank
him for his hospitality always, but more importantly for his partnership as
we navigate these tricky waters. And I want to say a special thank you to
the Quartet Representative, former Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Applause.) He
has never lost his passion for or interest in peace in this region. He has
labored hard in these last years, and he is working diligently on a special
project that I want to share with you in a few minutes.
I also want to acknowledge Chairwoman Kay Granger, who is here from the
United States Congress. She is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on
Appropriations, and believe me, folks, she is critical to all of us here.
I spent the last week traveling through the Middle East and Africa, and I
have spoken with national leaders, business leaders, community leaders, and
young people. I just had a session with young people at the University of
Addis Ababa earlier this morning. And we talked with them, as I have talked
with all of these leaders, about the enormous choices that are before us –
weighty decisions that confront us in the aftermath of the Arab Awakening –
decisions that we need to make and reach before the demographic tipping
points just around the corner begin to overwhelm us.
No one doubts that this is a very complex moment in international relations.
But still, I don’t think that there is any secret about the conditions that
are necessary for peace and stability to succeed. Those are: good
governance, security, and economic opportunity. And so the real question for
all of us, for President Abbas, President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu,
all of us, is a very simple one: Will we, despite the historic hurdles, have
the courage to make the choices that we know we need to make in order to
break the stalemate and provide a change of life for people in this region?
How we answer that question will determine whether the popular revolutions
that are transforming this region will indeed fulfill their promise. It will
determine whether businesses and the booming youth populations across the
Middle East and North Africa will realize their potential. It will determine
whether we grasp the possibility of peace which I believe is actually within
I want to thank those who took part and are taking part and will continue to
take part in the Breaking the Impasse. My good friends, Munib Masri, whom I
have known and worked with and been to some of those private and quiet
meetings with him in various places, and Yossi Vardi, thank you, both of
you, for stepping up and being courageous. (Applause.) They represent a
courageous and visionary group of people, civic and business leaders,
Israelis and Palestinians who have I think the uncommon ability to look at
an ageless stalemate and actually be able to see opportunities for progress.
And even as they found plenty to disagree on – and I understand they did in
the course of their discussions – even as they fully understand the
difficult history that is embedded in this conflict – they refuse to
underestimate the potential for the future.
And that’s because Breaking the Impasse’s guiding principle is to respect
the freedom and the dignity of all peoples.
I want you to think about that, and I want to put my comments about the
peace process in a larger context, if I can for a minute.
As we all remember, it was the lack of that kind of basic respect that
ignited the Arab Awakening. It started with a single protest – a street
vendor who deserved the right to be able to sell his goods without police
interruption and corruption. And then it spread to Cairo, where young
Egyptians used their cell phones and tweeted and texted and Googled and
called and summoned people to the cause. And they used the social media to
organize and demand more jobs, more opportunity, and the liberty to embrace
and direct their own destiny. In doing so, these individuals and these
individual acts embraced values that are so powerful that they, against all
probability, removed dictators who had served for years. And they did it in
a matter of days.
Now, of course, there are sectarian and religious and ideological
motivations to many of today’s clashes that have followed those events, but
those events weren’t inspired by religious extremism or ideological
extremism. They were driven by motivation for opportunity and a future.
And what is fundamentally driving the demand for change in this region is,
in fact, generational. It’s about whether the massive populations of young
people, still growing, has hope that there is something better on the
horizon. It’s about opportunity and it’s about respect and it’s about
And the aspirations that are driving the extraordinary transformations that
began in Tunisia and Tahrir Square – the same ones that sparked what has
unraveled into a brutal civil war with some sectarian overtones at this
point, those aspirations aren’t unique to any one country. They’re
universal. They have driven all of history.
So we ignore the lessons of the Arab Awakening at our own peril. And with an
important part of the world upside down, it is imperative that all of us
channel our creativity and our energy into making sure that people actually
do have better choices.
The public and private sectors alike – and this is where you all come into
this. The public and private sectors alike have a fundamental responsibility
to meet the demands of this moment. And one can’t do it without the other.
We need you at the table, Munib and Yossi and all of you.
In fact, this moment is actually – this moment in history is actually one of
the great stories of our time. But the ending remains unwritten, which is
why what we’re doing here is actually important. Insh’allah, we get to write
And how we do that is what I want to talk to you about here today. We have
to remember that the choices being made – whether they’re being made north
of here in Syria, or south of here in Yemen, or just across the Jordan River
in Jerusalem, or in Ramallah, or further west in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia –
they all have something very important in common: They each offer two clear
paths that really couldn’t be more different one from the other, and they
couldn’t have more different consequences.
If we don’t eagerly grab this moment, we will condemn ourselves to future
conflict. We are staring down a dangerous path filled with potential
violence, with the capacity to harden divisions, increase instability. And
as most here are very, very aware, this will be a path that will be haunted
by violent extremists who rush to fill the vacuum filled by the failure of
As King Abdullah said here yesterday, extremism has “grown fat” on conflict.
If we make the wrong choices or no choices at all, dangerous people will
come to possess more of the world’s most dangerous weapons. We will face
huge pressure on states from growing populations of refugees, just like the
camps that are metastasizing just over here on the border of Jordan and
Now, everybody here knows it’s not that governments or people will
purposefully choose that option. That’s not the concern. It’s that by
failing to choose the alternative and failing to take the risks for peace
and stability, those with power will make the worst possibilities
So what is the other alternative? Let me talk about that a little bit.
Governments need to pay attention to governance. They need to be open,
transparent, and accountable to people. And they need to be seen
implementing a vision that addresses the needs of their people – the needs
to be able to work, to get an education, to have an opportunity to be
treated with that dignity and respect that brought people to Tahrir Square
and to so many other causes in this region.
Countries like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia need to make the right choices, and
that is a combination of building capacity – capacity for governance,
capacity for security which doesn’t exist, capacity to provide jobs. They
need to aggressively re-emerge into the global economic community.
And in making these choices, a significant part of the outcome of the Arab
Awakening for certain will be defined by government, because the choices
that government makes clearly will have an impact on the playing field. As
Egypt moves toward the acceptance of the IMF and hopefully works to bring
the opposition to the table, Egypt will be far stronger than if Egypt doesn’t
choose to do those things.
But the burden, I want you to know, does not just lie within palaces and
parliaments. There is a huge role for business to play here and a huge
opportunity for you to share in the success. No one here should
underestimate the degree to which the private sector can promote change and
force critical choices, as well as impact the actions of government. The
fact is that good governance, peace, and economic development necessarily go
And that’s why I believe it is time to put in place a new model for
development. The old model is one that saw government make grants or give
money government-to-government or invest directly in some infrastructure,
some kind of public sector investment. The private sector pretty much did
what the private sector thought was in the best interest of the private
sector in terms of the bottom line. They did their own thing. And so while
aid was government-to-government, there was a sort of division of
responsibility, if you will.
In this new age, when there is such a greater amount of wealth, so much cash
on the sidelines, and where we see so much pressure on governments in terms
of their budgets, and where there is still such a great amount of great
poverty, we need a new model for how we are going to bring order and open up
the possibilities to the future. We need to partner with the private sector
because it is clear that most governments don’t have the money, and in
certain places, the private sector actually has a greater ability to move
things faster than government does. Government can facilitate. Government
can leverage. And in fact, government has gained skills and knowledge about
how to do that in ways that we never had 10, 15, 20 years ago. And we can do
it with greater skill than ever before.
The greater Middle East and many of the countries experiencing the upheaval
at this time need to seize on this new model because the task of building
stability by creating millions of jobs is urgent for all of us.
Now, one thing I want to make crystal clear, and President Peres mentioned
this in his comments: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the cause of
the Arab Awakening. But this fundamental principle of what economics can do
to play a profound role in meeting the needs of both peoples is critical.
And that is what we’re hoping to do now in the West Bank.
As I mentioned earlier, I have asked Quartet Representative Tony Blair and
many business leaders to join together. And Prime Minister Blair is shaping
what I believe could be a groundbreaking plan to develop a healthy,
sustainable, private-sector-led Palestinian economy that will transform the
fortunes of a future Palestinian state, but also, significantly, transform
the possibilities for Jordan and for Israel.
It is a plan for the Palestinian economy that is bigger, bolder and more
ambitious than anything proposed since Oslo, more than 20 years ago now. And
this, the intention of this plan, of all of its participants, is not to make
it merely transformative, but frankly, to make it enormously powerful in the
shaping of the possibilities of the future so that it is more transformative
than incremental and different from anything that we have seen before.
To achieve that, these leaders have brought together a group of business
experts, who have donated their time, who have come from around the world
over the course of the last six weeks to make this project real and tangible
and formidable – as we say, shovel-ready. They have come from all over the
world because they believe in peace, and because they believe prosperity is
both a promise and a product of peace.
This group includes leaders of some of the world’s largest corporations, I’m
pleased to say. It includes renowned investors and some of the most
brilliant business analysts out there – and some of the most committed. One
of these senior business leaders actually just celebrated his 69th birthday
in Jerusalem at the Colony Hotel after spending a 14-hour day in the West
Bank trying to figure it out.
When others ask them, all of them, why they’re here, doing this on their own
time, the unanimous answer is: “Because we want a better future for both
Israeli children and Palestinian children.”
Their plan begins with encouraging local, regional and international
business leaders to, and to encourage government leaders in various parts of
the world. I raised this issue with the President of China, with the Prime
Minister of Japan, with all of our European leaders, and everywhere – with
the Brazilian Foreign Minister a few days ago, with the New Zealand Foreign
Minister. All of them have on the tip of their tongues the idea that we can
make peace in the Middle East and need to, and all of them are committed to
be part of this effort in order to change life on the ground.
The fact is that we are looking to mobilize some $4 billion of investment.
And this team of experts – private citizens, donating their time – are here
right now. They’re analyzing the opportunities in tourism, construction,
light manufacturing, building materials, energy, agriculture, and
information and communications technology.
This group will make recommendations to the Palestinians. They’re not going
to decide anything. The Palestinians will decide that in their normal course
of governance. But they will analyze and make recommendations on a set of
choices that can dramatically lift the economy.
The preliminary results already reported to me by Prime Minister Blair and
by the folks working with him are stunning: These experts believe that we
can increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50 percent over three years.
Their most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment
by nearly two-thirds – to 8 percent, down from 21 percent today – and to
increase the median annual wage along with it, by as much as 40 percent.
These experts hope that with their plan in full force, agriculture can
either double or triple. Tourism can triple. Home construction can produce
up to 100,000 jobs over the next three years, and many of them would be
Ultimately, as the investment climate in the West Bank and Gaza improves, so
will the potential for a financial self-sufficient Palestinian Authority
that will not have to rely as much on foreign aid. So just think, my
friends – we are talking about a place with just over 4 million people in a
small geographic area. When you’re talking about $4 billion or more and this
kind of economic effort, you are talking about something that is absolutely
I am happy to say that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas
support this initiative, knowing that just as people find the dignity in a
good job, a nation finds pride by functioning and growing an economy that
can stand on its own two feet. This will help build the future.
Now, is this fantasy? I don’t think so, because there are already great
examples of investment and entrepreneurship that are working in the West
So we know it can be done – but we’ve never experienced the kind of
concentrated effort that this group is talking about bringing to the table.
Now, everyone here also knows how much more can be done if we lift some of
the barriers to doing business, build confidence, bring people together. I
just ask you to imagine the benefits from a new, open market next door, a
new wave of foreign investment that could flow into both Israel and
Palestine – and Jordan, and all of them share it.
The effect that could echo throughout the region, and if we prove that this
can work here, that can become a model for what can work in other places
that are facing similar confrontations.
So my friends, as we gather on the shore of the Dead Sea, a destination
unlike any other destination in the world, it’s worth noting the key role
that tourism could play in all of this. It’s just one element of the broad
sector analysis that I talked about, but it is one of the best opportunities
for both countries, for all of the region, for economic vitality and for
worldwide use of its reputation.
Today, the Palestinian Authority – the Palestinian Territories attract fewer
tourists than Yemen. Even Israel’s tourism is not fully met. Until 2011,
Egypt, Jordan and Syria all attracted significantly more tourists than
Israel. And despite all the incredible rich archaeological and religious
sites in Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, together they still attract
fewer tourists than the United Arab Emirates.
There is just no question whatsoever – ask Tony Blair, ask the people
working on this effort – there is no question whatsoever that the powerful
combination of investment in business and investment in peace – risks both
worth taking – could turn all of this all around. Imagine a welcoming part
of the world that boasts the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site
of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, the Western
Wall, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and more of the world’s other great
sites that have drawn tourists and religious pilgrims for centuries.
Most importantly, the success of this this new approach to development
could, in fact, become its own example, its own model for the Sahel, for the
Maghreb, for the Arabian Peninsula, and beyond. Foreign direct investment –
private investment, leveraged investment, visionary investment – has the
ability to be able to change the world.
Now, maybe you can get a sense that I actually believe in the potential that
we have the power to unleash. But this effort – and this is critical,
critical to what was said by both of our speakers before – this effort is
only part of the answer, and it will not blossom to its full potential
without the other critical part of the equation.
As we learned in the Arab Awakening, as long as prospects for economic
advancement remain weak, so do the prospects for peace and stability.
But the opposite is true. The economics will never work properly or fully
without the political process. The economic approach is absolutely not – Mr.
President Abbas, the economic approach is not a substitute for the political
approach. The political approach is essential and it is our top priority.
(Applause.) In fact, none of this vision – but it’s good to have the vision,
it’s good to know where you want to go, it’s good to know what’s possible –
but none of it will happen without the context of the two-state solution.
And the consequences of prolonging the status quo in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is simply in no one’s interest.
We are compelled to come here today to the Dead Sea in the contexts of
Breaking the Impasse to ask: If we don’t break the age-old deadlock, if we
don’t create the conditions for economic opportunity and responsive,
representative governments, where does all this go?
The absence of peace is, in fact, perpetual war, even if it’s low intensity.
Are we ready? Do we want to live with a permanent intifada? Most important,
the Palestinian Authority, to its credit and credit to the leadership of
President Abbas, has taken great risks and invested deeply in a policy of
nonviolence in a region where not a lot of people always adopt that in these
circumstances. If this experiment is allowed to fail, what is going to
replace it? (Applause.)
The truth is that when considering the security of Israelis or Palestinians,
the greatest existential threat and the greatest economic threat to both
sides is the lack of peace, and the ugly realities that are festering under
the surface, capable of catching fire at any time. To not try to head these
off would be tragic and it would be irresponsible.
Now, I have been around long enough and I have heard all the arguments
against working for Middle East peace. It is famously reputed to be
diplomatic quicksand. I am familiar with the cynicism and the skepticism.
And after so much disappointment on all sides, I can understand exactly
where it comes from.
So of course now, there is huge cynicism about this journey and it greets
any push for peace. But cynicism has never built anything, certainly not a
state. (Applause.) It is true that the challenge of peace is formidable. But
let me say unequivocally: the necessity for peace is much greater.
Indeed, right now the strategic case for peace based on the two-state
solution – a secure state of Israel and a viable, independent state of
Palestine – the case for that has never been stronger. We talked earlier
about the turmoil in the region. There is a reason for that discussion,
because everyone feels the uncertainty and the instability as the Middle
East slowly releases itself from the past and tries to forge a new and a
It’s now clear that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians
is not the cause, as I mentioned. But it’s equally clear that the resolution
of the conflict would bring enormous gains in the political and social
environment of the region and help to symbolize and help to crystallize and
help to advance the future of the entire region.
Most of all, those who suggest that a two-state solution is already a
casualty of years of failed negotiation, and who say that we should search
for a new and a different solution, my friends, they have noticeably failed
to actually articulate one. And this is for a very simple reason: It is
because there is no sustainable alternative solution that exists.
A greater Israel that would end up trying to swallow up the Palestinian
people could only possibly survive in a state of institutionalized division
and discord, a pale shadow of the democratic vision that motivated and
animated the founders of Israel. (Applause.)
And any attempt by Palestinian politicians to wait out Israel in the hope
that somehow, some day, the Israelis will just give up and go away, or that
somehow they can win a one-state solution, that will only result in decades
of futile confrontation and eventual disillusion, and perhaps worse,
So we have no choice but to try again for peace and to find it. We have no
alternative to its inevitable difficulty but of challenging and moving down
that path. We have to go down that path. And we should negotiate,
recognizing that despite all the frustrations, large majorities in the
Palestinian Territories and in Israel both support a two-state solution.
They support peace. (Applause.) What they need more than anything from all
of us is a renewal of hope that peace can actually be achieved. Now, I am
well aware that the credibility of anything that is called a “peace process”
right now is at a very low base. I know that. I understand that.
But if we give up, we give to those who don’t want reform, or who don’t have
the stomach to make the tough choices, an excuse for their own inaction. And
two great peoples could come to be known not just for their proud cultures
and their contributions to history, or their entrepreneurial energy, but
they could come to be known for what they failed to do – or even worse, what
they refused to do.
My friends, beyond all the strategies and all the maneuvering, all the
politics, there really are some simple realities.
The second graders I have personally seen and met in Sderot, they shouldn’t
have to worry about running into a bunker as part of their school day in
order to avoid rockets.
And the little girls that I saw playing in rubble in Gaza when I visited it
four years ago, they should be able to grow up in a neighborhood where the
playgrounds aren’t made of debris, and their lives are not determined by
terrorists in their midst.
And the shop owners that I met in Ramallah, some just the other day, they
should know that their businesses can flourish without the restrictions that
are placed on them, or without the threat of violence.
Time is not on anyone’s side in this – (applause) – and changes on the
ground could rob all of us of the possibilities of peace.
The leaders of the Arab Initiative, as have been mentioned earlier, with
whom I met in Washington last month, moved and changed and offered an update
of the Arab Peace Initiative, and they are committed to making a dramatic
step towards peace.
And we all hope and pray that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas
don’t allow this conflict to outlast their administrations.
Negotiations can’t succeed if you don’t negotiate. We are reaching a
critical point where tough decisions have to be made. And I just ask all of
you to keep your eyes focused on what can really be done here. Think of all
that can change. That’s what should motivate us. With renewed and normal
relations between Israel and the Arab nations, we could end the regional
boycott of Israeli goods. New markets would open up and would connect to one
another, and jobs would follow in large numbers.
With renewed strength, the new neighbor states of Israel and Palestine could
actually become another hub in the Middle East for technology, finance,
tourism. Israel and Palestine and Jordan together could become an
international finance center, attracting companies that simply won’t take
that risk today.
With a bold, fresh approach like the West Bank project that Tony Blair is
heading up and that we discussed earlier, other things can develop here.
In the end, the only way for Israel to survive and thrive as a secure,
Jewish, democratic and economically successful state is through the
realization of an independent and viable Palestine.
And the only way Palestinians will obtain their sovereignty and the
opportunity that comes with it is through direct negotiations with Israelis
for a solution of two states for two peoples.
And I say to you, President Abbas: No one is talking about temporary
borders. We are talking about an end-of-conflict, end-of-claims peace.
So I come here today to say at this important gathering on Break the Impasse
that President Obama is deeply committed to this solution. That is why he
came to Israel in an effort to try to open up the people’s minds and hopes
and ideas about those possibilities of peace. And I believe that people in
both places responded to his call for action.
The only way that both states can succeed side-by-side is with the kind of
work that we’re doing here today and the kind of work that must go on in
these next months in negotiations.
The true significance of the Arab Awakening isn’t about what was torn down,
but it’s about what the people of this region can now choose to build up.
Similarly, the story of the stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians
simply can no longer be about all the times that we have been let down by
failed efforts. It has to be about the very real ways that we can lift
people up, create opportunity, and create the conditions for peace.
I think everybody here believes in this possibility. And standing here with
you at the lowest point on earth, I believe we can actually reach for the
heights. And I hope we will get about the business of doing it.
Thank you. (Applause.)