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State of Israel-Palestinian negotiations on peace; Kentucky devastated by opioids
Aired January 30, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Tonight, amid President Trump's State of the Union address, we drill down on a crisis facing the union.
Three months after the president declared the opioid epidemic a national health emergency, has anything changed? The attorney general of Kentucky
joins me. His state has been worst hit.
Also, ahead, the deal of the century. What is next for the state of the president's vow to bring peace to the Middle East, now that he's taken
Jerusalem off the negotiating table. I'm joined by the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and the Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
As Donald Trump sets his agenda before the American people, the world is wondering how will US foreign policy change this year.
So far, Trump's deal-making skills have yet to solve one of the most intractable problems of all - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And some
say that his actions so far, by taking Jerusalem off the table and cutting aid to the Palestinians, have made the likelihood of solving it even
smaller than ever.
Back with me to debate all of this are Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, and the
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is also the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program. And as I said, as President Trump lays out his vision, presumably for abroad and at home, this is a big issue.
So, if I might start by asking you, what you think of this? Let me first play what President Trump has set up as his position on Jerusalem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was never any deal that came close because Jerusalem - it could never get passed Jerusalem.
So, when people said, oh, I sent it back, I didn't send it back. I helped it because by taking it off the table, that was the toughest issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you first, Minister Bennett, I mean, that is music to your ears, I suppose.
NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI EDUCATION MINISTER: I think it's correct, in the sense that we've been trying for many decades to solve this big challenge,
but every time we tried the same way. And here comes a new approach, a novel approach, which I think gives finally a real chance for long-term
peace here between the Palestinians and Israelis.
It is a novel and more creative approach because never was there going to be peace predicated on dividing Jerusalem. So, I think this is good news
for everyone. And I think, in the long term, it actually progresses our path towards peace.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you Saeb Erekat. You heard Mr. Bennett say "never was there going to be peace" predicated on a settlement over
Jerusalem. But I thought that was one of the predicates of, for instance, the Oslo proposal. How do you move forward now?
SAEB EREKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: Well, good evening to both of you. I think Mr. Bennett never accepted the Oslo accords. I don't
think that Mr. Bennett have ever accepted the two-state solution. I don't think that Mr. Bennett have ever accepted to negotiate with us
As a matter of fact, had he read the Oslo accords, he would have seen that the issues are reserved for permanent status negotiation agreed by the
Israeli governments, including that of Mr. Netanyahu in 1996. Jerusalem, border, settlements, refugees, borders and water and security.
So, when President Trump, with all due respect, comes and says it's off the table and you can never reach an agreement, so that's dictating and it's
music to Mr. Bennett's ears because he never see me - he never recognized the right of the Palestinians to live in their own state, side-by-side with
the state of Israel.
The difference between us, Christiane, is that I recognize the state of Israel's right to exist on the 1967 lines.
I wish tonight to hear from Mr. Bennett that he is willing to recognize the state of Palestine to live in peace and security next to the state of
Israel on the 1967 lines.
I wish to hear from Mr. Bennett that he wants to be my equal partner. I wish to hear from Mr. Bennett that he is willing to join me in saving
lives of Israelis and Palestinians because taking - saying that Jerusalem is off the table, that means undermining the basic ingredients of Muslims
and Christian Palestinians.
[14:05:00] This is impossible. It's meaningless to have peace and - and then, President Trump promised us that he will never dictate, he will never
impose any solution, that he would leave it to the parties.
And then Vice President Pence claims that we stopped the negotiations. It was Mr. Bennett's government that stopped the negotiations (INAUDIBLE)
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you now. Minister Bennett, do you take Saeb Erekat's invitation to say that you recognize the state of Palestine along
those '67 lines? And also, how do you propose, if you propose at all, to have any kind of negotiating process under the current terms now if
Jerusalem is off the table?
BENNETT: First of all, we're willing to negotiate with the Palestinians directly at any point in time, and that's always been the case, including
in governments I've been.
Secondly, unfortunately, the Palestinians always say no. They said no in 1948. They said no in 1967. They said no in the year 2000 when Ehud
Barak was willing to divide Jerusalem and offer most of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. They said no yet again in 2007.
In the meantime, there is a state of Palestine that's been established in Gaza. We provided everything, 100 percent of Gaza, pulled back to the 67
lines, checked out all the Jews and the soldiers, pulled them out, handed it over to Mahmoud Abbas and what we got was a disaster.
We have Afghanistan in our backyard, shooting thousands of rockets on our cities. There is not going to be a second Palestine between Jordan River
and the sea, but we are willing to discuss many other creative options, but we're not going to commit national suicide.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you this then because not only have you now been offered by the president of the United States that Jerusalem is off the
table, but it was made public when Vice President Pence came to Israel that they would move the US embassy to Jerusalem sooner rather than later.
But "The New York Times" reports that President Trump told Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel had "won" on the matter, but would have to make
concessions to the Palestinians in any eventual talks.
So, what concessions is Israel willing to give for all this stuff that you've just been given by the US?
BRAZILE: We have already made profound concessions. We've handed Gaza over to the Palestinians and they made a mess of their Gaza, into a failed
and terror state. We're not going to do that again. We gave up 80 percent of historical land of Israel back in the 20s.
What we need to see is how bottom-up we create good lives for Palestinians and Israelis side-by-side. We're not going anywhere. They're not going
anywhere. We have to figure out how to do it, but it's very tough to do it when the Palestinians call and actually will fund their citizens to kill
They'll pay $3500 to anyone who kills many Jews. They'll only pay $400 to someone who injures a Jew. That's the official running rate in the
Palestinian Authority government. That's crazy.
So, before we talk about peace, I would urge the Palestinians stop killing Jews and stop as a government paying with American taxpayers' money
terrorists to kill Jews.
AMANPOUR: Saeb Erekat, your response to that.
EREKAT: I'm not here to score points. And I'm not here to take all these lies because Judaism to us was never a threat, it's not a threat and
will never be a threat. And Judaism is one of God's great religions, like Christianity and Islam, and that's what President Abbas is talking about.
He's the spreading the culture of peace. We don't condone violence. We want to achieve peace with Israel through peaceful means.
But today, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Netanyahu were in the heart of the occupied state of Palestine's land, opening new bypass roads. They call
it sterilized roads. Roads that cannot be used as Palestinians. Roads that cannot be used by Palestinians in 2018.
Now, if Mr. Bennett is saying that no state between the River of Jordan and the Mediterranean, it means that he doesn't want the two states. He
wants me to live under his occupation. He wants me to live in his option of one state (INAUDIBLE) system that's apartheid.
And I'm telling you this, no Palestinian will accept. And then, the other option, many Palestinians now are saying one state, equal rights.
Israelis will never accept.
So, what this means? It means that Mr. Bennett's ideology is going to lead to deepening the cycle of violence and counterbalance between
Palestinians and Israelis.
And when I say my only option is a two-state solution is a state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live side by side in peace
and security with the state of Israel. I'm here to save lives of Israelis and Palestinians.
[14:10:07] So, stop spreading lies. Like when Abu Masum (ph) said in his speech, (INAUDIBLE), an Arabic term that means come on. Mr. Bennett told
the Americans that means to demolish your home. Literally yes, but if he's a Middle Easterner he knows that this term is about come on.
And now, also the lies about - that we pay to kill Jews. That's not fair. That's not true at all. The security cooperation continues between
Palestinians and Israelis, as the Israeli commanders, as pure commanders because - just scoring points will not save lives of Israelis and
Christiane, I said many times. I want my - I have seven grandchildren. I have four sons and daughters. I want them to live like Mr. Bennett's
grandchildren and sons. I want to live and let live. And he's saying that he will not allow me to be independent in my own state and he thinks
that I will go forever, having - living under his apartheid regime.
There are roads in the West Bank that he is opening today. I cannot use that as a Palestinians. Only Israelis can use. Never in the darkest
hours of South Africa's apartheid were blacks prevented to use roads whites were using.
Wake up. It should be a wake-up call to Israelis. I'm here to say, yes. And you're there to stay. And the only option is to live and let live.
The only option is a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israelis on the 1967 lines.
And if you want to make peace with President Trump and the Americans, that's your business. But I want to make peace with you, with Israel.
You're my neighbor. That's what counts.
And the offer, international law -
AMANPOUR: Sorry, I don't mean to interrupt you. But I do need to ask because - to both of you whether you're biggest sort of mediator, patron,
honest broker, the United States can still be an honest broker.
I guess, Mr. Bennett, for you, if the United States is not considered an honest broker anymore, certainly by the opposition, the Palestinians, how
does that serve your cause? And if, for instance, President Trump says he wants to cut off aid to the Palestinians, like they've cut off aid to the
UN - UNRWA in Gaza, how is that good for Israel?
Israel has already always said that the Palestinians having a decent economic situation is in Israel's security interest.
BRAZILE: We want to live side-by-side and we want to certainly see prosperity with the Palestinians. However, the current money is going to
roughly 1 billion shekels - that's a quarter of a billion dollars, American money, which is directly funding the - paying terrorists to kill Jews.
That's not a lie. It's the running rate. I have here the document. I can always show it. I will - I say again, it's $3500 to any Palestinian
who murders many Jews and is sent to 30 years in jail. That's the official payment - monthly payment.
Secondly, the blatant lies about apartheid, Israel has a Supreme Court justice who is Arab. We have over a dozen members of parliament who are
Arab. How many Jews do you have in your parliament? How many Jews do have you in the entire PA? Is a Jew allowed to enter the Palestinian
Authority? He's not even allowed to enter.
So, this is not the approach we need. Look, I live in this country. I respect Saeb Erekat. I'm not going anywhere. He's not going anywhere.
We have to find and figure out how to live together. It's not going to work by someone who makes a career out of whining and killing Jews.
That's what the Palestinian government has become an expert, in whining, blaming, saying no, and killing Jews. That's not the way to go.
We found that one Palestinian state, it's failed. Now, we have a new approach which is autonomy, side-by-side. I think this can work. We
have to give it a try.
AMANPOUR: So, you say you think it can work. I do want to ask you because Saeb Erekat mentioned it early on. Both sides are working
together still on security matters.
For instance, there are reports that Palestinian security forces uncovered five IEDs on a road that's used by the Israeli army and the Palestinian
prime minister will be meeting with Israeli finance minister this weekend to discuss your joint economic interests.
So, is it time to have discrete direct negotiations? Certainly, the Palestinians are saying that America can't be the mediator anymore, if it's
taken such one-sided policies?
BRAZILE: Well, I'd say two things. First of all, at any point in time, we're certainly willing to cooperate on all levels with the Palestinians.
We live side-by-side. We have to cooperate on security, on agriculture, on business, economy, infrastructure. We're riding the same roads and
living in the same land.
[14:15:01] Secondly, regarding the mediator, the previous administration was not always considered very favorable towards Israel, yet we never said
drop the mediator. So, we're willing to negotiate in any form that the other side would want to talk - direct talks or with a mediator, that's
fine. We want to have negotiations without any preconditions.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I have about a minute left. Saeb Erekat, what do you say? Your ministers are still meeting with Israel ministers as I just
laid out. Is there a way to break any deadlock and try to get meaningful negotiations between the two sides?
EREKAT: Mr. Bennett spoke about Gaza many times. Gaza is in the situation because you did it unilateral. South Lebanon, you did it
unilateral. You did two bilateral agreement with Egypt and Jordan. They stood the test of time.
Your unilateralism, dictations will not work. That's what I am telling you. That's about Gaza. Had you done it with us in partnership, it
would have been different.
Secondly, you kept mentioning that we pay money to kill Jews and so on, that's not true at all. I challenge you. That's not true at all.
And then, President Putin of Russia invited President Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu to come and have talks in Moscow. President Abbas accepted.
Mr. Netanyahu - because I think of you and your parties threatened to withdraw from the government refused.
President Sisi of Egypt invited both. President Abbas accepted and Prime Minister Netanyahu refused.
Now, if you accept the terms of reference provided for and the agreement signed in Oslo between us and you that the terms of reference, our
resolutions 242, 338, ending the occupation that began in '67.
And the issues reserved for negotiations are Jerusalem to begin with. Border, settlements, refugees, water and security, and then no side should
take any actions that may preempt or prejudge issues except for permanent status. Let's talk. Let's do it.
It's you and I who will make the concessions required for peace. And the American president, believe me, made the very strategic mistake by doing
this dictation and unilateral step by announcing this most important thing. This should have been done through negotiations between us.
AMANPOUR: All right.
EREKAT: And that's the honest truth. And there will never be any other solution other than the two-state solution, 67 lines.
AMANPOUR: All right. The "let's talk" is the note of hope that I am going to take after this. We you're your region really good luck. Thank
you for joining us Naftali Bennett and Saeb Erekat.
Now, President Trump also gives his vision of the state of the union inside the union. And while we take a look at the state of America's health, the
opioid crisis is growing.
The ripple effect is tearing through American society and Trump's forgotten voters. In one of the hardest hit states, Kentucky, it is even fueling
property crime as burglars take not television sets, but raid the bathroom cabinets for drugs.
Meantime, an auto parts supplier in the state had to let 41 people go in a single shift because they failed a drug test.
Today, the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited Kentucky to talk about this crisis and I spoke to the state's attorney general, Andy Beshear,
about the fight that he's taking to the pharmaceutical companies, demanding that they take responsibility after a decade of pumping these drugs into
Attorney General Beshear, welcome to the program.
ANDY BESHEAR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KENTUCKY: Thank you for having me on. We understand that around the US, some 8 to 10 million are addicted to
opioids and that 2016 was a record year for deaths, in excess of 42,000.
Put that into context. And personally, for you and your state.
BESHEAR: Well, this opioid epidemic is the challenge of our time. It's the single greatest challenge and threat to the lives of my people in
We lose over four Kentuckians every single day to a fatal overdose. It's stealing parents from children and children from parents. We have more
children in foster care and kinship care, being taken care of by their relatives than ever in the history of our common law.
And it is everywhere and it's affecting everyone. Everyone in Kentucky has now lost someone that they care about. I lost a neighbor that lived
eight houses down from me and you see it on our streets every day.
It was about seven months ago at 3 o'clock in the afternoon that another individual - and I had to pull an overdosing man from a car. It's that
AMANPOUR: Attorney general, how does it get so bad? The US President Donald Trump called in October for this to be declared a national health
emergency. And again, just now has instructed his own health secretary to "fix this."
BESHEAR: Well, we're now, at least in Kentucky, ten years into this crisis. What we saw was a massive flood of opioid painkillers entering
Kentucky and being prescribed to people who should've never been taking them in the first place.
[14:20:11] It was these opioid manufacturers and distributors that had these powerful drugs that should only have been going to people with
terminal pain or dealing with cancer. But that market was too small for these companies. So, they started marketing it to folks that didn't have
terminal pain that maybe didn't even have chronic pain.
In some instances, we've seen powerful addicted opioids marketed to people who have something as small as a headache. And at the same time, they
were out there telling doctors that they weren't addictive.
So, these companies made billions and billions of dollars for their shareholders, while ravaging our communities here in Kentucky.
AMANPOUR: Can I just play something that will support what you're just saying? In fact, one of your fellow - in fact, he's a former attorney
general of Mississippi Mike Moore, spoke to us about this very issue and he's combating it, he says, like he took on big tobacco.
He says that the doctors who were prescribing have also been tricked. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE MOORE, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MISSISSIPPI: Everyone should've known that these were addictive drugs, but doctors were duped. They were
told that there was less than 1 percent chance of getting addicted as long as you're under a doctor's care. And so, they prescribed these for lots
and lots of people.
We also had distributors of the drug, like Cardinal and McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, who delivered millions and millions of pills to small
little communities that have 800 or 900 people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And I think Attorney General Beshear, in your state, you have this issue. Millions and millions of pills in areas which only have very
few people. For instance, in one of your counties, 40,000 people, more than 18 million doses of opioids delivered in just six years.
BESHEAR: And that was only from one of those national distributors. That's from McKesson alone, which has about a third of the market share in
So, just one company with one third of the market put more than 18 million pills into an Eastern Kentucky County called Floyd County.
And, Christiane, that is more than 400 pills during that period for every man, woman and child. No responsible company could see that happening and
think all is well. It means they made a conscious decision to put their profits over the lives of our people and we are seeing the results.
It's not just deaths. It's communities being torn apart. Children not having parents to raise them. Outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C that go
along with it. A shattered workforce where, as we're coming out of our recession, we don't have enough drug-free workers to fill important parts
of our economy.
This has been the challenge of our times. And our communities have been devastated.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you want to hear from the president or from whoever might be responsible for trying to stop this? What action can you take,
whether it's preventive action, whether it's treatment or legal action if there is any to be taken against these companies?
BESHEAR: Well, in Kentucky, we address this epidemic every day in the attorney general's office. First, on the law enforcement. And we not
only go after doctors who we believe are knowingly, wrongfully prescribing and flooding our communities with pills, pharmacies that would do the same,
but we also have launched a prescription disposal program called the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, which aims at cleaning out every single
medicine cabinet where, as you know, here in the United States, we keep our unused prescription pills.
That is a supply that continues to drive addiction and we're trying to deactivate each and every one of those.
AMANPOUR: So, Attorney General Beshear, 80 percent of those who are addicted to opioids get so through doctor's prescriptions. Have you
managed to convince your doctors to stop prescribing?
BESHEAR: Well, we work hard at that. In Kentucky, we were hit with what we call pill mills about a decade ago, and those were small clinics that
claim to be medical clinics, but, in the end, was where people would come and exchange cash for a prescription. And millions upon millions of
opioids flooded, especially Eastern Kentucky during that period.
We worked very hard to crack down and to regulate those types of clinics to where now the pain management clinics that are out there are closely
monitored and, for the most part, try to do a good job.
But there is still so much work to do because, as you mentioned, there are so many prescriptions that are out there, sitting in people's medicine
cabinets, and like you said, 80 percent of folks using heroin right now in the United States got addicted through pills.
And for 70 percent of the folks that are abusing those pills, it wasn't their own prescription. It was a family member or a friend.
[14:25:02] So, we have to understand that we have a huge supply of addictive medication sitting in our homes right now, and that's what our
opioid disposal program is aimed at, providing every family a deactivation pouch that, in less than a minute, they could deactivate up to 45 opioids
in their homes.
That lets them do something tangible to address what seems like a hopeless epidemic. To take one little step and to move us in a positive direction.
AMANPOUR: And, I guess, finally, in the sort of the bigger picture, you have said that you want to try to take the US Postal Service to task
because certainly delivery services like FedEx and UPS, they are more conscious perhaps of some of these deliveries that are being made. What
is the US Postal Service not doing right?
BESHEAR: Well, in the end, we know that significant amounts of really dangerous drugs, especially fentanyl, which is significantly more powerful
than heroin, or carfentanyl, which is even more powerful than fentanyl, are coming into the United States through the Postal Service.
Now, I believe they tried to pass a bill in Congress last year that would've required additional screening. And I think there was a concern
about dollars and funding. Listen, we cannot not fund catching these really dangerous drugs as they come into the United States.
I'll give you an example. That individual overdosing in downtown Lexington at 3 PM had been smoking carfentanyl, we believe, while driving
in the middle of the day. And I think about my seven and eight-year-old could've been in a car right across the street.
If there is a chance to stop these drugs that truly can kill you the first time you try them or you can kill somebody else based on what you're doing
when you're using them, we have to take advantage of that opportunity.
AMANPOUR: It's a really dramatic picture that you paint and we certainly wish you good luck. Attorney General Andy Beshear, thanks for joining us
from Kentucky tonight.
BESHEAR: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.