'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

I traveled to northern Israel and the Iron Dome, which is the missile intercept, that they're so nervous that Syria or Lebanon -- more likely Lebanon Hezbollah -- will start launching missiles towards Israel that they've got these interceptors set up all over the northern border. And those chemical weapons, if I can just say, those chemical weapons I was told are now all consolidated in certain areas. They believe it was Assad and the Syrian regime who helped Hezbollah get those, try to get those weapons...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if they've -- if they're consolidated in certain areas, and Israel knows where they are, should we expect another strike from Israel?

RADDATZ: I think you very well will see another strike. If they do anything with those weapons, they said it's easier to take them out and it's not easy to take out chemical weapons than to send people in to safeguard them, because it would take so many people.

COLE: Well, again, remember, we went into -- were involved in Libya and weapons got out of Libya and we're dealing with them in Mali and other places now. At least those weren't American weapons, but we helped destabilize a country. We've released them through the region. We ought to be pretty careful here. I couldn't agree more with you about Assad. I really couldn't. But, again, I don't sense there's a lack of weapons in the region. And the rebels seem pretty well armed...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLISON: But there's a lack of humanitarian assistance.

COLE: Well, again, we agree on that.

ELLISON: Yeah.

COLE: But here be careful -- and there are times when you do break with your advisers. Frankly, President Bush broke on surge with almost all his advisers. I think he was right to do that. The president here, I think, is running risks. Now, the political risk is he owns it. I mean, you can't point to anybody else. I made this decision above people. That speaks well to him, and I hope history bears him out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: About -- about to -- again, Middle East policy more broadly, the president announced this week that he's going to go to Israel in March. You were there when the announcement came. What was the reaction? And what is the trip really about? I mean, we're hearing from the White House they don't really expect this to be the sign that the president is going to have a new peace plan on the table. It seems like it's largely about mending fences with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

RADDATZ: I think it probably is about mending fences. And, in fact, I've never seen lower expectations. As soon as the announcement was made, it's like, "Nothing's really going to happen. We're never going to get there." If you talk to people on the street -- and there are some people I've known there for 25 years who said, you know, nothing will happen, never ever has.

And usually you get a little bit of a spark, "Oh, the president is coming. Isn't that great?" People were talking to me about -- I said, oh, you know, the president's coming, what do you think? And they said, oh, the traffic is going to be terrible.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Like New York City.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

RADDATZ: So that's where the expectations are on that, but I do think he needs to mend some fences with Netanyahu. It's time that the president engaged over there.

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