Whether that's fair or not, whatever Israel did, we supported. So I think the president believed it was very important in advance of the speech to push Netanyahu on settlements to show that we returned to that role.
And let me say that I think it's very important to note what didn't happen domestically around settlement. Criticizing Israel had become the third rail of American politics. You did that at risk as an American politician.
But when Netanyahu was here a few weeks ago, he met a united front from Jewish members of Congress, from heads of Jewish organizations agreeing with the president that he needed to freeze settlements.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, it's interesting, it's sort of -- go ahead.
DOWD: One thing, I mean, I think it's -- to keep in mind is that if you think about where we've been in the Middle East since the mid-1960s, we've had nine or 10 presidents, liberals, conservatives, various places, various relationships with the Middle East. There has been 10 or 11 prime ministers of Israel, liberal, conservative, various stands on various issues.
We, as of yet, have failed to reach a Middle East peace. In the end, I believe, when you have all of that change in the United States and Israel and still cannot bring it to bear, it's contingent upon the Palestinians. If there's going to be peace in the Middle East, it's going to be totally contingent on the Palestinians' relationship with the United States and Israel.
SHIPMAN: A couple of things that the administration is saying, first, they've said since the speech, they've already heard promising things from the Israelis. Not from anybody else yet, but the Israelis, not enough though. But what...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Netanyahu is going to come out for the two-state solution at minimum.
SHIPMAN: Yes, yes. And I think what they're hoping, somebody said, it's a bad analogy, but it's like casting a Hollywood movie. All of this has to happen at the same time. You get Brad Pitt in the movie by saying Tom Cruise.
SHIPMAN: You get Tom Cruise by -- and it all literally has to happen in concert. And what they're pushing for is these other steps...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm imagining Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise around a table with George Mitchell. You're exactly right. Because what they think then is that if Israel comes out for the two-state solution, the Palestinians will sit down and the other Arab nations, which is also key, will...
SHIPMAN: Recognize Israel.
WILL: But in July 2000 at Camp David, Bill Clinton got Arafat together and Ehud Barak together, and Ehud Barak gave probably more than the Israeli public would have taken, and the Palestinians said no.
The problem is never that Israel is being provocative, it's that Israel's being is provocative to these people. And until Israel gets an interlocutor, no progress is possible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to switch topics with that right now because I want to get back what was happening on the home front as well. Before the president left this week, he found another Republican, John McHugh, congressman from New York, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to leave the House and become his secretary of the Army.
Here's Congressman McHugh.
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