CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
The Future of Afghan Government; Is Peace in Mideast Possible?
Aired November 24, 2001 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: ... terrorism really be wiped out forever? International perspective on one of the toughest challenges an American president has ever faced.
From Washington, the spokesman for Afghanistan's United Front, Haron Amin. And Charge d'Affaires of the Pakistani Embassy Zamir Akram.
Joining them: the Ambassador of India Lalit Mansingh, Turkish Ambassador Faruk Logoglu, and presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
In Amman, Jordan, the Jordanian Ambassador Dr. Marwan Muashar.
Back in D.C., Hasan Abdel Rahman, chief representative of the PLO in the United States. In New York, Ambassador Alon Pinkas, Israel's consul general. And also back in Washington: the Egyptian prime -- the Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy.
And they're all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
We'll start in Washington with Haron Amin. He's Afghanistan's United Front-Northern Alliance spokesman.
Can you get us up to date, Mr. Amin, on where things stand? Is the Taliban just about gone from the northern sections of Afghanistan?
HARON AMIN, SPOKESMAN, NORTHERN ALLIANCE/UNITED FRONT: The event, Larry, in Konduz is still in the making. I think that in the next couple of days, with the ultimatum delivered to the Taliban, I think that there's either going to be defection on the part of the Taliban. But certainly the problem, or the quarrel, or the imbroglio so far has been over the fate of these foreigners.
These Pakistanis -- others along with the Pakistanis -- Uzbeks, Chechens and others who have sought to fight along with the al Qaeda against the people of Afghanistan, and against humanity at large. That has been the hurdle that we are trying to overcome. Certainly we are not going to give them up.
In southern parts of Afghanistan, progress is being made. Now we want to make sure that the authorities that will take over from the Taliban certainly would look into the security -- into the situation of security. So it's still in the making, but at least progress is being made.
KING: Minister Akram from Pakistan, what's your read on the situation from your perspective?
ZAMIR AKRAM, PAKISTAN EMBASSY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES: I think at this time there are two aspects of it. One is the military aspect; and that's unfolding, as we see. We hope that better sense will prevail; that the Taliban will hand over power in Kandahar, Konduz, and that there will be a peaceful way of bringing this to an end.
Then the other side is the political aspect of it, which in a day or so we will see the United Nations representative Mr. Brahimi initiating a dialogue with a group of Afghans in Germany. And that is a place where we would like to see an agreement emerge amongst the Afghans on a broad-based, multiethnic government that can bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region.
KING: Ambassador Mansingh, what is India's position on the latest developments?
LALIT MANSINGH, INDIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, we are following the events very carefully. I think the fall of the Taliban is only now a matter of time. What we have to look for is what happens in Bonn when the various Afghan parties meet to decide on the future course of political action in Afghanistan.
KING: And Dr. Logoglu, does all go well from Turkey's standpoint?
DR. FARUK LOGOGLU, TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, I think things are proceeding in a relatively good, positive manner. But there are many things that we have to do all at the same time -- humanitarian assistance, the reconstruction effort; the military campaign is still going on. That must be concluded. And at the same time we have to devote attention to the political future of Afghanistan. And in that sense, the meeting in Germany on Monday carries a lot of importance.
KING: Michael Beschloss is the famed presidential historian. He'll be with us throughout the entire program. He has a new book out that's terrific: "Reaching for Glory." It's part two of the Lyndon B. Johnson tapes, and it makes for a terrific read. We thank Michael for joining us -- also, of course, in Washington.
What's -- and by the way, any questions that you have during the course of the show, just chime in with them Michael.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Is there any historic perspective on this?
BESCHLOSS: Well, you know one thing it reminds me of is Franklin Roosevelt in World War II because we and Europe wanted to defeat the Nazi Germans, but at the same time every minute Roosevelt was thinking about what kind of a Europe, what kind of a world we want to live in after that war.
So a lot of the military strategy had to do with what should a German government look like after our victory. And I'm sure that President Bush is giving the same kind of attention as we fight in Afghanistan.
KING: Mr. Amin, from the Northern Alliance's viewpoint, has this gone as you thought it would go?
AMIN: Our predictions from early on -- our prognosis because we had been fighting the Taliban, and before then the Soviets, for so long that we knew exactly that this would be -- this is how long the campaign would take. There was much criticism at the start about the international coalition, about the Muslim world not being too happy if the campaign went on for so long. And then at the same time whether the United Front had the capability of militarily making any moves on the ground. I think that all those critics are seeing themselves right now as not very good analysts, I would say.
But the reality is that everything is happening, at least an our calculation calculus, based on reasonable time terms. And I think that the military campaign soon ending is going way -- giving way to the political set up in the post-Taliban era. This Bonn gathering is definitely an impetus in this regard. Certainly, I think that the gathering of Afghans from various countries with the assistance of the international community under the edicts of the United Nations, and without interference by Afghanistan's neighbors certainly would give -- would yield the kind of government that will not only lead to the realization of the Afghan people, but at the same time would manifest Afghanistan in such a way that it would be very welcome by Afghanistan's neighbors, as well as the international community.
And that would be the kind of thing that the campaign is leading to. And we're remaining optimistic that it would happen soon, with God willing, and God being on our side.
KING: Minister Akram, what do you make of all these reports of these atrocities released by the United States? Eight boys killed because they laughed at soldiers; an entire family burned alive; 100 Afghans killed or hung from lamp posts?
AKRAM: Well, you know atrocities have been going on in Afghanistan for a long time. And this is very, very deplorable. And that's why we had earlier on thought that it would be good to have a multinational force with the backing of the U.N. in place to avoid exactly this kind of problem.
But it's still not too late. We should see some kind of a multilateral force there. I know that the Turks and the others are keen on this, and we would welcome something like this, so long as it has the backing of the U.N.
KING: And Ambassador Mansingh, is India going to take part, too, in the formation of a government -- sending people over as well?
MANSINGH: Well, we have contacts with the Northern Alliance. And we have been in touch with the various Pashtun groups. We have been in touch with King Zahir Shah. So we are very actively involved in the negotiations which are preceding the Bonn meeting.
KING: We'll be right back with our distinguished panel on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.
KING: Dr. Logoglu of Turkey, can you tell us of your concerns, if any, about the widening of this war?
LOGOGLU: Well, we hope we finish the job in Afghanistan properly. And the international community still faces a number of very important challenges there. The guiding principle for Afghanistan, as far as the international community is concerned, should be Afghanistan for the Afghans and by the Afghans.
As for the danger -- the possibility of widening a war, we hope that's not the case. We hope that all nations really put their house in order and take a very clear stand, a sustained stand against terrorism and terrorists. And if that happens, then we can perhaps avoid the prospect of a widening war.
KING: Michael Beschloss, the last time they did not go into Iraq after they drove Iraq out of Kuwait. Do you think if they had information that they could show the world that could prove something, they would go Iraq -- "they" being the United States?
BESCHLOSS: I think there's a very good chance that the United States might. And as you know, that's one of the big conflicts within the administration right now. And also when President Bush said that we want to rid the world of terrorism, that suggests that that's going to happen in a lot of other countries aside from Afghanistan.
This is going to be a war unlike any we've ever seen before -- we Americans -- because we could go for six or eight months without seeing any overt military action, but the war could go on on subterranean levels, whether that includes a war against Iraq or not.
KING: Does the Northern Alliance, Mr. Amin, have any opinion on it widening past Afghanistan?
AMIN: Larry, remember that for a very long time a neglected Afghanistan manifested itself as a very unhealthy member of the international community, at least in the Taliban-occupied parts of Afghanistan, with Afghanistan's neighbors not being checked in their level of interference in Afghanistan -- particularly Pakistan have gone unchecked by the international community, it yielded the kind of unhealthy environment with which the United States and the international community was attacked.
I would certainly think that now, with Pakistan being on board with the international community looking at its own backyard, making sure, ascertaining that Pakistan would not sort of give -- yield the kind of individuals that might perpetrate crimes in the future, I think this is very good news. I think that the international coalition needs to work with other countries in the region as well, to get the kind of assurance that none of the countries would somehow give cause to any -- to terrorism in any form or manifestation thereof.
So this is very significant. I would just want to give one warning, and that is, should Osama bin Laden have the opportunity to somehow make his way out of Afghanistan, I would say that the next area would be Pakistan. And I think that that's where the international community needs to look at in terms of making sure with the Pakistani authorities that that man would be caught and individuals like him would not get away.
KING: Let's ask Minister Akram. Do you fear that? Do you fear bin Laden coming to your country?
AKRAM: Well, we certainly have put enough checks in place to ensure that that does not happen. But I would like -- also like to respond here to the remarks made by Mr. Amin.
Let us not forget history. Let's remember that Mr. Bin Laden and the al Qaeda came into being and came into Afghanistan when the Northern Alliance was in power in Kabul. It was not at a time the Taliban came to power. That -- the Taliban, in fact, inherited him from the Northern Alliance.
And this issue of interference, again I should like to say that Pakistan has been trying through -- since the very beginning, since the Soviets were expelled from Afghanistan, to help the Afghans come up with a government which is broad-based and representative. In fact, the Islamabad agreement brought the Northern Alliance to power. Mr. Rabbani was the president; with the help of Pakistan's efforts, that was the case.
So interference, I think, needs to be clearly understood, as it is not what we have been hearing from Mr. Amin. As far as the Pakistani side is concerned, we are posted to terrorism. We have been cooperating, as you know, very effectively with the United States against terrorism, and the results are before you to see.
KING: Mr. Amin, you want to respond before we go on?
AMIN: Yes, indeed. Let me say that Osama bin Laden came into Afghanistan at a time when, in the eastern parts of Afghanistan, he landed by secret -- nobody knew about. But immediately he joined -- hooked up with Mullah Mohammed Omar, who was the leader of the Taliban.
And it is also very true that -- I think that the Pakistani position vis-a-vis Afghanistan has always dwindled between two courses: subjugation of Afghanistan by a proxy power; when that is not attained, then continuation of war in Afghanistan.
But that's in the past. Let us remain hopeful in the future. I think that it's very important for Pakistan to realize that a neighbor -- that a friendly Afghanistan is something that Pakistan deserves; that Pakistan, indeed, has legitimate rights in Afghanistan. But let us make clear that Pakistan does not have exclusive legitimate rights in Afghanistan which, because of that sort of nature, then prompts other neighbors to also demand exclusive legitimate rights.
I think now Pakistan has realized that it can no longer look for strategy ticks in Afghanistan. This is very, very important, historically speaking. And I think it paves the way for establishment of the kind of government that all of Afghanistan's neighbors would welcome. If it becomes a democracy and political pluralism would flourish, the economy would flourish in the region, and then we can go about having regional peace and stability.
KING: Ambassador Mansingh, India has seen its share of terrorism. How does it deal with it?
MANSINGH: Well, Larry, you know that we've been haunted by the specter of terrorism for the last 20 years or so. And we've lost some 60,000 Indian lives at the hands of the terrorists.
So we have concerns. And I would like to add to what Mr. Amin says; this war against terrorism should not end with the operation in Afghanistan, because terrorism still flourishes in our neighborhood. We are still seeing a lot of terrorism in our country. And I think the international community and this coalition should go for the terrorism which is coming from our neighborhood.
I'd like to add that there is a huge swamp, part of which is being cleaned now. But there is still Pakistan, which is part of that swamp, which is still supporting terrorism. And I think Pakistan has a big responsibility in stopping terrorism in our neighborhood.
KING: Mr. Akram, you want to respond?
AKRAM: I certainly do. Pakistan's support for the Kashmiri freedom movement should not be confused with terrorism. Terrorism is an act of violence against noncombatants for political ends. The Kashmiri people are engaged in a legitimate, just struggle which is backed by the United Nations Security Council resolutions for freedom from Indian occupation.
If there is terrorism, then terrorism has to be condemned; and we certainly do so, as do the people of Kashmir. But that terrorism takes place both by Indian security forces, as well as by certain elements of the Kashmiri people. Both of them need to be condemned, and we do so.
KING: All right, let me get a break and we'll come right back. And then there's another panel still to come on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Barbara Walters tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Dr. Logoglu from Turkey, do you have high anticipation from the U.N. meetings? LOGOGLU: From the United Nations, of course we have to have continued and sustained input. The special representative of the secretary general, Mr. Brahimi, has a lot of experience. I think in all the cases humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and the political structuring of the future of Afghanistan will, and should, have an important United Nations component.
And if I may go back for a second, the war on terrorism, of course, is a multilayered effort. And the military action is just one component. So the war on terrorism will have to continue beyond Afghanistan, through financial means, through other means, because in a sense there are really no time-outs, no final whistles on the war on terrorism. It's going to take a long time. It's going to take a lot of sustained action by the international community. And I think we should stay away from differentiating between different types of terrorism, because in our mind -- and we have a lot of experience with terrorism -- terrorism has no geography, no religion, no ethnicity and no cause. There is nothing that can justify terrorism.
KING: Michael Beschloss, from an overview standpoint are you surprised at how well President Bush is doing?
BESCHLOSS: Well, I'm very impressed with how well he's doing. And I think just -- what we've heard the last two minutes shows how tough this is going to be, because if you're fighting terrorism, of course you have to have some kind of a definition of it. And a lot of different countries are going to disagree.
And the thing, that this is not going to be a linear war. you know, Franklin Roosevelt had a horrible time fighting World War II. It was very tough. At certain moments it looked as if we and America might not win. But at the very least there was one very specific purpose; and the purpose was, in Europe, defeat the German nation and fight to unconditional surrender.
And in the Japan side you had, finally, a signing, a ceremony where the Japanese surrendered on the Battleship Missouri. This is going to be none of that. There's going to be no way for Americans to decide whether we're winning or not. We could go for months on end without knowing that. And also, there's not going to be an endpoint where a president can simply say: Terrorism has been banished from this earth.
So I think not only is it going to be tough for him, and I think he's done wonderfully so far, but we Americans are going to have to adjust our definition of what war is and how patient we should be.
KING: But Michael, Roosevelt had his DeGaulles and he had his Churchills, who he was very friendly with -- and he had Stalin. Does Bush have people of comparable note?
BESCHLOSS: Well, Tony Blair has been superb in standing at the side of our president. And you know, I think it was Churchill who said, Larry, the only thing worse than having allies is not having them. And I think throughout this war we're going to see all sorts of rifts with all sorts of countries that are otherwise our friends -- countries that can cooperate with us on certain things, not on others. And this is why President Bush is going to have to be such a juggler, and how so far he's been so adept.
KING: Mr. Amin, what government -- what kind of government do you see for the future of your country?
AMIN: Larry, we've had -- one thing I need to put in context is that Afghanistan came into existence -- modern Afghanistan, in 1747. We've had relative peace throughout the country for a long time -- until 1919 when we declared reinstitution of our independence back in 1919 against the British. They never colonized us, except for a very brief period. Our independence from the perspective of foreign affairs was taken away. So Afghanistan has not been colonized.
Since 1919 until 1978 there was relative peace in the country, none of this bloodshed that people talk about. And certainly it is a very dismaying implication here that Afghanistan is this, or Afghanistan is that. Given that the opportunity is there, the kind of government that we want is we want it to be along the constitution of 1964, when women had liberation. They were emancipated; they could be members of the parliament, members of the Cabinet; and the government had pro-democratic rules -- rule of law. Certainly a political pluralism, and things like that.
But this is a start. I think the first steps are being taken right now. These are the objectives towards which we're going to work for the future of Afghanistan. I think Afghanistan has been devastated -- 23 years of war. That's only seven years short of the 30 Years war between 1618 and 1648.
So definitely, a lot has happened. The infrastructure is destroyed. But I think, given that the Afghans -- every Afghan has the intention of working for the future. The Afghans (UNINTELLIGIBLE) want to return back to Afghanistan -- the brain drain that has occurred, that needs to be addressed in Afghanistan. The international community has the desire to help Afghanistan.
I think that Afghanistan in the end could be the litmus test for clash of civilizations in the sense of making it from a clash into a dialogue among civilizations. And the key to all of this is Afghanistan. And I think the opportunity is there.
Conditions are, No. 1, foreign interference has to stop. The Talibanization, and so on and so forth, has to end in Afghanistan. And the Afghans have to give -- have to be provided the opportunity to go about their own self-determination. This is the key.
KING: Minister am, are you optimistic?
AKRAM: Yes, I am optimistic. I think Afghanistan has a good future. The international community is together. The last time around when we had an opportunity, when the Soviets were defeated, the international community basically walked away from Afghanistan and left it to fester with all its problems.
I also want to add a bit on the long-term fight against terrorism ,and that is...
KING: If you would, quickly.
AKRAM: Yes. Ultimately we have to deal with the root causes. You can deal with -- cut off the branches, but as the president of Pakistan has said, you have to come to the -- and get and destroy the roots; and you have to deal with the root causes to resolve the problem of terrorism.
KING: We thank you all very much.
Michael Beschloss will remain. And when we return: the mind- boggling problem of the Middle East. And we'll get the view from Israel, the PLO, Jordan and Egypt. Don't go away.
KING: Welcome back to this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.
We turn now to the enigma that is the Middle East Michael Beschloss, the famed presidential historian, author of the wonderful "Reaching for Glory" remains with us.
In Amman, Jordan is Dr. Marwan Muashar, the Jordanian ambassador to the United States.
In Washington is Hasan Abdel Rahman; he is the chief PLO representative in the United States.
In New York is ambassador Alon Pinkas, the Israeli consul general, based in New York.
And in Washington is Nabil Fahmy. He is the Egyptian ambassador to the United States.
We'll start with Mr. Rahman in Washington. As the chief PLO representative, Mr. Rahman, do you see any light at the end of the tunnel here?
HASAN ABDEL RAHMAN, CHIEF PLO REPRESENTATIVE IN U.S.: We hope so. I believe that the speech that was given by Mr. Colin Powell, the secretary of state, this week, and the effort of the United States and the international community to work together with us and the Israelis to bring about the end of Israel's very, very long occupation of the Palestinian territories and allow a Palestinian independent state to emerge side by side with Israel is possible. It depends on, of course, the will of the Israeli government to cooperate also.
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, do you see a light at the tunnel (sic); and what did you think of the Powell speech?
ALON PINKAS, ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL IN U.S.: Larry, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. The thing is, the closer we get, the farther it seems to get away from us. And that has to do with the fact that the Palestinians have missed all the opportunities that have been on the table for many years. And I'm sorry to again and again and again repeat that, but this needs to be said.
We were closer to that light, we were closer to the end of that tunnel several times in the last five, seven years, especially last year at Camp David. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
As for the secretary of state's speech, Colin Powell's speech, I thought it was a very constructive speech, I though it was an inspiring speech, I though it was a balanced speech, and I thought that it brought back America into the thick of things, but I just hope, for the sake of the entire Middle East and for the stake of America's leadership that the Palestinians won't do to Colin Powell and George W. Bush what they did to Bill Clinton, and that is abuse the trust and confidence that he had in them.
KING: Dr. Muashar, in Amman, Jordan, do you see -- we've asked the same two questions of the PLO representative and the Israeli counsel general. Do you see any light at the end of the tunnel in this Middle East squabble?
DR. MARWAN MUASHAR, JORDANIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: I do. I think Colin Powell's speech was extremely positive in that it talked about points that are key to the solution of the conflict. It talked about the need to end the occupation. It talked about the need to end settlement activity, and it talked about the need to have the Palestinian state and a viable Palestinian state for that matter.
I think we should all stop this blame game and start the negotiations process, help Assistant Secretary Burns and General Zinni to end the violence and get the two parties back to the negotiation table. I truly feel that after September 11 we have a unique window of opportunity to once and for all give an end to this conflict.
KING: And what, Ambassador Fahmy, is the position of Egypt? Is it optimistic?
NABIL FAHMY, EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: We are looking at this very seriously, we have taken the statements made by President Bush and the speech given by Secretary Powell as a package. The president referred to the importance of a two-state solution, a Palestinian state and an Israeli state, living in peace and security, and the secretary went into further detail, reiterated the basic elements of how to get there, including ending occupation, ending violence, ending the settlement activities.
And he also once again, if you want, restarted the sustained U.S. presence in the region as the main sponsor and moderator, by sending Assistant Secretary Burns and General Zinni. So we are optimistic. We seen good reason to be optimistic, but frankly, even if we weren't, we are committed to peace and we would work with all the parties for that purpose. There's no other solution to the Middle East crisis.
KING: Michael, your historical perspective on all of this. It's its own history, isn't it?
BESCHLOSS: Sure is, and you know, Larry, we were talking just a few minutes ago about Franklin Roosevelt in World War II. Just before Roosevelt died, when he came back from Yalta after having seen Churchill and Stalin there, he stopped for a visit with the king of Saudi Arabia, because already he was thinking about the post-war era and what the Middle East should look like. And one of the things he asked the king unsuccessfully was to allow Jewish refugees to come into the Middle East.
At the end of the Gulf War 10 years ago, one of the conditions that Mikhail Gorbachev, the head of the Soviet Union, set for joining our coalition against Saddam Hussein was he said, "when this war is over, let's have a real effort to settle the Israeli-Palestinian problem," and the first big conference shared by the Americans and Soviets took place about six months after the war ended.
KING: Some simple questions for the chief PLO representative Mr. Rahman. Do you and your -- does the PLO recognize completely the right of Israel to exist as a state and live in peace?
RAHMAN: Yes, we do, and we have done that on more than one occasion. The question should be also to the Israelis whether they will recognize the right...
KING: That's what I'm about to ask him. All right. Now, Ambassador Pinkas...
RAHMAN: We are...
KING: Are you ready to say -- I'm sorry, finish your sentence.
RAHMAN: Yes, I'm saying that, yes, we'll recognize the right of Israel to exist within the 1967 boundaries, alongside a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, which is only 22 percent of historic Palestine.
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, is Israel prepared to say we will accept the Palestinian state?
PINKAS: We have said that on many occasions. As for the two- state solution, the partition was proposed by the U.N. in 1947, and unfortunately the Palestinians rejected it, and that's part of their plight and misery. And then again they rejected the partition idea and the partition plan laid forth at Camp David last year, last July, in the year 2000. So hopefully, they understand now that a two-state solution, in which there is a secure Israel, is a must solution from their point of you, but -- yeah, go ahead.
KING: And that Israel must stop building settlements?
PINKAS: We've stopped building settlements. This government has laid in its basic guidelines that govern its policies that it will not expand settlements and not build new settlements.
KING: All right, let me get a break, hold it right there, we will be right back with our panel on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a vision of a region where Israelis and Arabs can live together in peace, security and dignity. We have a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders. We have a vision of a region where all people have jobs that let them put bred on their tables, provide a roof over their heads, and offer a decent education to their children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Muashar in Amman, is Jordan neutral in this squabble?
MUASHAR: Well, Jordan of course supports the Palestinian cause to have their independent state, so, no, we are not neutral in this struggle, but we have good relation with everybody concerned, with the Palestinians, with the United States and with Israel, and we are using our good auspices to help bridge the gap and help bring about a solution.
I think the parameters that Secretary Powell talked about constitute a very good framework to help end this conflict, and I hope we don't keep going back to the past. I've heard Ambassador Pinkas' statement. This is not about the past. This is about the future, and I think we should all approach this with a new ray of hope that the United States' commitment and active involvement in this process will help the two parties bring about a just and lasting settlement.
KING: Ambassador Fahmy, do you think that maybe that Nasser -- Nasser -- do you think that maybe Yasser Arafat should have taken that deal at Camp David last year?
FAHMY: Well, in looking back at what's been written about Camp David, one wonders exactly which deal it was, because there were so many different stories about what was offered and what was not. But I'd like to build on what the ambassador of Jordan said: We have the fundamentals there, which were laid out again by Secretary Powell in his speech, which is basically the Madrid formula, and resolution from the Security Council with a two-state solution.
Let's build on that, create a solution, allowing Israel and the Palestinians to live at peace with each other as equals, and move forward rather than waste time on what was proposed in the past and who accepted what.
KING: Mr. Rahman, are you opposed to terrorism at all costs, and will the PLO do everything it can to stop terrorism when it starts from its side?
RAHMAN: We're opposed to killing of civilians, whether it is by individuals, organizations or states. Israel has killed over 900 Palestinian civilians in the last year. Today alone, there were seven Palestinians killed by Israel in Mafia-style executions used by the state of Israel. Yesterday, we have five Palestinian children, age 6 to 14, which were killed by Israel.
So, terrorism, we're opposed to it, but we are also opposed to two forms of state terrorism: Occupation of other people, denying them their rights to self-determination to live as a free people is terrorism, and killing innocent civilians by a state is an act of terrorism.
KING: So when Palestinians have killed Israelis, you have condemned that?
RAHMAN: Yes, we did, and we continue to condemn even there is no parity between individuals killing civilians and a state involved in acts of terror, like the state of Israel is against the Palestinians.
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, did Israel commit an act of terror yesterday or today?
PINKAS: No, it has not. But let me respond, Larry, to what Mr. Rahman said. Condemning terrorism, which you haven't done, you have not done necessarily...
RAHMAN: I just did now.
PINKAS: You don't do on the LARRY KING show. You do it on the ground in Gaza and in the West Bank, and you have failed to do so. And you should take example from your colleagues in Egypt and Jordan, in terms of leadership and statesmanship and courage. Look at Sadat, look at President Mubarak, look at King Hussein, and look at King Abdullah. Look carefully and study how they conduct their foreign policy. Not like you do, Mr. Rahman, and I'm sorry to say so. And I agree with my friend from Jordan that we need to look at the future rather than in the past, but we need to look just to this last year.
What is it that you're talking about, occupation? We have resolved to end occupation. You didn't show up to the ceremony. It was called Camp David. And all you have to say since then are all these excuses on how Israel is still occupying and Israel is employing terrorism.
Mr. Rahman, the individuals that were killed today in the West Bank are known terrorists that you have failed to apprehend in the last year. You know who they are, you know what they did, but you failed to apprehend them. And we have urged you to do so in the last three years, one year, six months, one month, but you failed to do so, and our prime responsibility is to defend our own citizens. And you know what? Indirectly, we are also defending you that way.
KING: Before Mr. Rahman responds, Michael Beschloss, does this seem -- I know we talk about lights and tunnels -- insolvable?
(AUDIO AND VIDEO GAP)
BESCHLOSS: ... different, which was to say not only will we deal with this as a genuine act of war, but we are going to try to lift this sword of Damocles from Americans and from everyone around the world hopefully forever, but the kind of conversations we are hearing during this program tonight, Larry, you just multiply them by about 100, because that's what we are all going to be living with in the next few years.
KING: Mr. Rahman, how do you respond to Ambassador Pinkas?
RAHMAN: Well, I am really disappointed, and I will tell Mr. Pinkas, no amount of distortion or propaganda will change the facts. The fact is, Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories for 35 years. Israel kills civilians, regardless whether they are -- I don't expect him to say that Israel is involved in acts of terror, but the whole world has condemned Israel for its violation of the human and political rights of the Palestinians.
The International Red Cross accuses Israel of committing war crimes. Demolishing of houses, Mr. Pinkas, is not an act of charity. Palestinian blood is as precious as Jewish blood, and as Israeli blood. And you need to start looking at Palestinians as equal to you; that's when peace is possible with you.
But when you just ignore and a total disregard for Palestinian lives and Palestinian suffering, and say, well, the Palestinians did not show up for Camp David -- we were in Camp David, Mr. Pinkas! We were there. But what was offered by Israel is another form of occupation. And that's why we did not accept it.
I make a proposal for you tonight. We accept Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine. Do you accept our right for 22 percent of our historical home land? This is the question. Don't say that a Palestinian state, because Mr. Sharon is speaking of a Palestinian state over 42 percent of the West Bank. I want you to say tonight here on this show that you accept the right of the Palestinian people to have a state over the West Bank and Gaza, and then I would start to believe that you are serious.
KING: Let's see, how you respond, ambassador, Ambassador Pinkas?
PINKAS: Larry, I will respond, but just one sentence. Mr. Rahman, this is about responsibility and accountability. Even if everything you've said is true, and I agree with some of the parts of your monologue, it's about time that you become responsible and that you take responsibility for your own actions and for your own...
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, I've got to take a break. Ambassador Pinkas, do you accept his proposal?
PINKAS: This is already contained in a 1979 Camp David accords. It is contained in the Oslo accords. It was proposed at Camp David...
KING: So you accept it?
PINKAS: I think this is something that should be negotiated around the table. It has been negotiated. I don't think this is a smart thing to do to negotiate on air. None of us is authorized to negotiate this way. RAHMAN: I am authorized.
PINKAS: No, no, no, you're not, you're not authorized.
RAHMAN: I am, I am.
PINKAS: All right, fine, you are authorized. I'm not authorized to propose with you. All right, fine.
KING: Hold on, we'll take your break, call your government, and when we come back, tell us what they said. We will be back with our remaining moments of this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND after this.
KING: Dr. Muashar, based on what we've heard here in the last few minutes, is it possible to remain optimistic?
MUASHAR: Yes, it is, Larry. I think that the two sides have reached very, very close to an agreement last year in Taba. The fact that they did not sign an agreement does not mean that the gap between them has really been bridged to a great extent, and I think once the two parties go back to the negotiations table, they will have to probably start from where they left off, and the solution that they will arrive at will probably not be far different from the solution that they found in Taba.
The problem is to get them from where they are now, where the they are separated by a large gap of distrust, back to the negotiations process. Only the United States can do that. Once it does, I think that a solution is certainly within reach. In the post- September 11 era, we cannot afford -- the international community cannot afford to leave a conflict like this open, that might come back and haunt the security of people around the world.
And I think the United States understands that. President Bush understands that, and I expect to see a very close involvement of the United States in the coming era to see this conflict end.
KING: Ambassador Fahmy, do you share that view?
FAHMY: Well, it's been 20 years since the Egyptian-Israeli agreement, and of course one is disappointed not to see a full, comprehensive peace already agreed upon in those 20 years, but if you look at the history of nations, 20 years isn't really that long, and there has been a lot of progress since then. You have the agreement with Jordan. You have the Oslo process, the Madrid process.
I think we have moved forward. I think there's a realization now it's required for both sides, whether it is state to the Palestinians or security for the Israelis, and the solution of all of the issues involved there. And I also think that Secretary Powell, in bringing together the immediate required steps to be taken moving us through the Mitchell plan, but also focusing the light on what has to be the conclusion, which is a two-state solution, I think it's a very intelligent approach, and one which we all should seize upon, whether we are Arabs or Israelis, and try to move forward and to create peace. Even though it will be difficult, we have to create peace.
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, is trust -- that's where we're at here -- is trust possible?
PINKAS: That's a good question, and that's possibly the $64,000 question. I think that the victim of last year was the culture of peace, and trust being its main component. I think we...
KING: You don't trust Mr. Rahman, right?
PINKAS: Oh, yes, I do.
KING: You do trust him?
PINKAS: Oh, yes I do, yes, I do, but following the last year, I have reached the conclusion that I need to see tangible steps before I go back to trust on the basis of just good faith interests.
KING: Mr. Rahman, do you trust Ambassador Pinkas?
RAHMAN: Well, there's a very, very serious gap between us and the Israelis, and we need the involvement of a third party. We hope that the United States can -- and other parties like Europe, Arab countries, Russia will help us overcome this gap that was created.
But we need really to avoid pointing fingers and the game of blaming, like Mr. Pinkas was engaged in. He is taking us to the -- I really came here tonight with the hope that we can talk about the future, but he pushed all of us back to the past, because he wanted to avoid dealing with the serious and real questions.
KING: We are not going to solve it here tonight, but Michael Beschloss, it was true, was it not, when the George Bush administration they took a hands-off policy, let them decide by themselves. That's changed now by circumstance and events, correct?
BESCHLOSS: Sure it has, and that's the choice that George Bush made by making this a worldwide war on terrorism, and it's going to be very difficult. All these questions we've heard tonight are all live in a way that they weren't two months ago, but that's what Americans do. You know, we fought World War I to make the world safe for democracy.
Franklin Roosevelt in World War II didn't just defend this continent, he said: "I want the world to be safe from fascism," and then the Cold War, we didn't just say the North American Continent should be protected from Soviet communists, we wanted the world of freedom, so that's the reason we are fighting this way tonight. It's going to be horribly difficult, monumental, but we can do a lot of good. It's very much in our tradition.
KING: Now, do we enter into a meeting with people like Mr. Rahman, and Ambassador Pinkas, and their counterparts on an even higher level as the strong party? Can we do this as an arbitrator?
BESCHLOSS: We are the world's only superpower, and we are demonstrating that right now in this war.
KING: So can we lock them behind the door, like your friend Lyndon Johnson would have probably done, and said, come out with an agreement?
BESCHLOSS: Probably he would have strangled both of them, I think, given his own instincts. But in this case, this is what superpowers have to do. We are the only one, and I think what this has been the last two months is a demonstration that we can't let a conflict like this fester. We have to use our good influence.
KING: Ambassador Pinkas, would you like the United States to pound the table?
PINKAS: No, I think at the end it's between us and the Palestinians, and I think that the U.S. did pound the table at Camp David. And Michael Beschloss knows that they pounded the table in 1970, and then in 1973, and again in the '80s, and again in the '90s, and obviously last year at Camp David.
I do think, however, Larry, that U.S. indeed is the indispensable nation, and I think that by virtue of attacking America you globalized terror, and the consequences are that America will involve itself deeper in places that affect its global interests. And in that respect, we will probably see a more -- a deep American involvement, maybe a different style than we have seen under the Clinton administration, but a deeper involvement.
At the end, it's between us and the Palestinians. I have to repeat what the Americans have been saying to us and to the Palestinians for a long time. America cannot want peace more than the two parties. We've been there. Our hand is still extended. It's up to the Palestinians to provide the leadership and demonstrate the resolve.
KING: Thank you, Ambassador Pinkas, and thanks too to the rest of the panel. We are not going to solve these problems tonight, but maybe we took one inch forward.
And we thank Michael Beschloss for being with us all the way, and all of our distinguished guests as well for joining us on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND.
And keeping with tonight's international theme, our song that will close it out tonight will be accompanied by images of people around the world. The song is the internationally famous "One," and the group, of course, is Bono and U2. Good night.
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