The following is a transcript from FOX NEWS Happening Now segment on December 29, 2016 with Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director – Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Host: Right now, new fallout from an escalating battle between the US and our key ally in the Mideast, after Secretary of State Kerry slammed Israel and the Netanyahu government. In a speech you heard right here on Happening Now yesterday, Kerry pushed for a two state solution and defended the US decision to abstain from a security council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Prime Minister Netanyahu firing right back, saying Israel doesn’t need a lecture on peace from foreign leaders. Joining us now is Mark Dubowitz. He is executive director for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Thank you so much for joining us.
Mark Dubowitz: Thank you.
Host: It seems like the Obama administration has a checklist of things they’re doing on the way out the door, and this was one of them. It felt like lighting fire to this situation. A lot of people viewed it that way. Do you think the goal of this is … Some have speculated the tense relationship between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu, even leaving a mess for Donald Trump. Is it about his sincere approach to the Middle East and the idea that the West has become too much of a focus?
Mark Dubowitz: I think John Kerry and Barack Obama do sincerely believe that they’re right in pushing Israel in this direction. I think, unfortunately, their view is not shared by most Americans who understand that Israel is a loyal ally of the United States under attack by radical Islamists and anti-American Arab rejectionists. Israel is fighting the same enemies we’re fighting, and that this last minute stab in the back is not something that is going to help give Israelis the confidence to take the steps for peace that everybody believes will one day be necessary.
Host: If the goal was to find peace, it seems like a lot of what was achieved by this speech, though, was antagonizing Benjamin Netanyahu and sending him further into the arms of Donald Trump, who comes in next, who immediately tweeted about it. They have this relationship. In a way, it seems like it may backfire on what the administration’s intention was. Your thoughts on that.
Mark Dubowitz: I think it’s absolutely going to backfire. I think what Donald Trump understands, what Barack Obama doesn’t understand, is that the only way that you’re going to get the Israelis to, once again, give up land, because every time they give up land, that land gets filled by the most radical Islamists forces with thousands of missiles aimed at their cities. The only way they’re going to take another risk and give up land for peace is if they believe the United States has their back. Barack Obama has not had Israel’s back for eight years. In fact, he’s done everything possible to undermine, not just the Israeli Prime Minister, but the Israeli State and the Israeli people. I think Donald Trump understands that. If there is no daylight between the United States and Israel, Israel’s leaders may be more prepared to take these enormous risks for peace that everybody is demanding.
Host: One of the assertions that was made yesterday by Secretary Kerry was this idea that in a one state solution, Israel can’t be both a Jewish state and a democracy. Do you accept that?
Mark Dubowitz: Look. I think everybody believes that there needs to be a two state solution. I think that the United States should not be supporting the creation of a second state that will be a terrorist state, that will be a corrupt state, that will be anti-American, and that will further add to the enormous instability and crisis in the Middle East. You can be a strong believer in a two state solution, but you’ve got to be a strong believer in a state that is liberal, and that is democratic, and that is transparent, and that it treats its own people right, and treats its neighbors right. I think that is the overwhelming consensus in the United States, both democrats and republicans. You saw the reaction from leaders in congress on both sides of the aisle, who reject the Barack Obama, John Kerry vision of what it takes to get peace.
Host: As both sides have made their case in the past 24 hours, some people have started to wonder: Maybe the two state solution isn’t the best solution, given the reasons on both sides for why it’s not working so far. What do you think about that? Do you believe a two state solution is the best solution?
Mark Dubowitz: Look. I do think a two state solution is the best solution. I think it’s a plausible solution, but not now. Not until the Palestinians end their incitement, end their terrorism, end firing missiles into Israeli cities, end the knifing and car attacks. They cannot get a state on the basis of terrorism and the murder of other people’s children. I just think that’s not something the United States should support and can support. I think that if the Palestinians finally, after decades and decades of rejecting Israeli peace offers finally come to the table and negotiate bilaterally in agreement with the Israelis that gives Israel security, then the Palestinians can get an independent state. But, not until then.
Host: Mark Dubowitz. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate your time.
Mark Dubowitz: Thanks for having me.