'This Week' Transcript: Tony Blair


AMANPOUR: So, Tom Friedman, is this real hope? Is something different this time than all the previous times?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I've been around this track so many times. Here's what strikes me about this moment, if you look at the commentary about everyone's basically saying, "Been there, done that, not possible." And my attitude is, you know what? Let's let this story breathe.

I think there's -- there are some new things here that just -- I make no predictions whatsoever.

AMANPOUR: But the president's involvement at such an early stage of his -- of his presidency is different than the previous president.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, I don't think that's the decisive thing, though, because I think there's -- the things that are important, I think Netanyahu is more serious. That's what he strikes me. He's come out for a two-state solution. He did do a moratorium freeze on settlements. We don't know if it's going to continue. But those are important.

AMANPOUR: Don't you think that's the key indicator...


AMANPOUR: ... in three weeks from now, when that moratorium is maybe lifted...

FRIEDMAN: We'll see if they can finesse that, you know, some way or another. Second, you have a rebuilt Palestinian security force in the West Bank that the Israeli army will tell you, these guys are serious.

There -- we had an incident right in the middle of these peace talks, four settlers in the West Bank murdered, one pregnant woman, OK? Normally that would have blown up everything. Everyone would have walked away. It didn't this time.

So you have an Arab world that's obsessed with Iran, OK? And so you have a natural Sunni-Israel alliance building. So all I'm saying is, let is breathe. Don't be smarter than the story. I make no predictions, but we could be surprised.

JORDAN: But Israel, too -- don't you think that their number-one enemy one or their number-one concern is Iran? And they would be happy to make peace with Palestine more than they have in the future just so they can focus on Iran?

FRIEDMAN: (inaudible) you know, the structural problem we have now is both Israelis and Palestinians are going to have to have a civil war to get this thing over the -- you know...

AMANPOUR: Literally?

FRIEDMAN: Well, something close to it. You have 300,000 settlers in the West Bank. If a deal to swap land and whatnot makes 80 percent of those settlers part of Israel, you're still dealing with 60,000 people. Remember, it took Israel 55,000 soldiers to evacuate 8,100 Jews from Gaza, which was not part of the land of Israel. Ditto the Palestinians. Hamas now has its own state, OK? And they are going to fight this tooth and nail.

So -- but I'm just saying, let it breathe, you know? I think Netanyahu is in an interesting place. I think Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, is, the Arab world is. I'm going to sit back and pop popcorn, put up my feet, watch this, hope for the best, make no predictions.

AMANPOUR: Well, and Hillary Clinton's -- in rather an extraordinary joint interview with both Palestinian and Israeli journalists said that this would be the last chance for a very, very long time.

But, also, let's go back to President Obama's Oval Office address in where he talked about the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Let's listen to that.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...