Jerusalem/Inpal Hotel (Larome)
Monday, 7 April 2008
11:30 ? 12:30
Ahmad Qurei? (Abu Ala?)
Dr. Saeb Erekat
Lieutenant Hazem Atallah
Livni: How was your meeting with Amos yesterday?
Hazem: We talked about three issues: (1) building the security forces; (2) regional and international cooperation in the field of security; (3) international forces or a third party. As for building the Palestinian security forces, we talked about how to build a police force capable of imposing the rule of law and public order, as well as building the national security forces to support the police force. We need also to build the intelligence apparatus to collect information.
As for international and regional cooperation, and due to the need for fighting terrorism, it would be difficult to achieve progress in this issue without cooperation on the regional and international levels, in addition to stopping funds from Arab countries to terrorist groups. We need help to build the Palestinian national security forces.
Livni: Stopping funds to terrorist groups has nothing to do with security apparatuses but the banking system.
Hazem: This is a common challenge. For example, someone from Qatar is funding one of the terrorist groups.
Abu Ala?: Why did you mention Qatar?
Hazem: Because Hamas is funded from Qatar. I used Qatar as an example only.
Livni: I cancelled a visit I had to make to Qatar because they fund Hamas. I will visit Qatar next week.
Abu Ala?: Have you visited Qatar before?
Livni: No, this was supposed to be my first visit.
Hazem brought up something vital for your future and it is not one of our demands. It has to do with monitoring the funding of terrorist groups through the judicial and banking systems. We may give those who are working on legal issues instructions about this issue.
Saeb: I think the state-to-state committee should take care of this matter. It is a common interest and we have our thoughts about this which will be part of the agreement.
Hazem: We talked about international forces or a third party and I gave Amos an example about the regiment of 900 officers which we managed after three years of efforts with General Dayton to send to Jordan for training. I told him that at this rate it will take us more than 12 years to train our forces.
Livni: And you say that I am a pessimist?
Hazem: Training our forces locally is the only thing that will help us. International forces would train them in Palestinian areas without the need to send them abroad.
Livni: What I understand from this is that you want international forces to help you train your forces?
Hazem: Training will be part of the tasks of the international forces. I want each individual in our forces to learn their tasks and what they have to do. We want one of you to work with the international forces as an advisor for two or three years.
Livni: This is important. You said that these international forces will help you. You said also for a specific period of time. This is a serious and accurate demand and we can think about it.
Hazem: Not merely for training.
Livni: As for us, the decision regarding the international forces depends on their role, and this will help us and make it easier for us to reach a decision. This does not mean, however, that we do not have other ideas; nor does it mean that we accept your proposal.
Saeb: In the same way as the political level has helped us clarify the mandate of the international forces, this will help them take a decision regarding the international forces.
Abu Ala?: I totally agree.
Livni: I read in the Israeli papers that there are ideas about sending Egyptian forces to the Gaza Strip?!
Abu Ala?: Talk about sending Arab forces.
Hazem: I have not heard of it.
Abu Ala?: If there is talk about Egyptian forces only, then this has political dimensions. But if there is talk about Arab forces, then this has security dimensions.
Livni: You talked about your belief that a third party will help build your forces in a short time to be able to fight against terrorism. Why do you not send more forces to train in Jordan?
Saeb: It will cost a lot of money, and this money is for our development. Jordan gets money from everybody for training security forces.
Livni: Is it only a matter of money?
Hazem: It is better to have them trained here.
Livni: When the matter is related to money and to help reach an agreement, everybody will be ready to help. There is so much money in the world dedicated to conflict resolution.
Hazem: Let me explain. When we talk about national security forces, we will face a problem if they are trained abroad, especially when we have to send large numbers. If the forces train here, they will help already existing forces if necessary.
Abu Ala?: I want to deal with issues related to the post-state establishment. Training at this time is good but it is a different track. There are different tracks to address the current situation. There is the trilateral America-Palestinian-Israeli committee and it is responsible for addressing the issue.
We want to talk about the final status elements; about the state that wants to build its forces. What do you want from it? What kind of police forces do you want? You are worried about terrorism; so are we. We want to put mechanism to fight terrorism. You do not trust our forces and therefore we suggested a third party, NATO forces, or Americans, or Italians, or others, to help us. What is the mandate to be given to them?
Saeb: I agree with Abu Ala?. We are talking about the next day after the agreement. What do you want from us as Palestinians? What model do you want to have in the agreement?
Livni: I agree with Abu Ala? that we want to see what we need the next day. We put issues on the table and we see your reaction. We said we cannot accept to have a state without an efficient government. We cannot accept terrorism to come to us from it. We do not want the state to have huge forces that would threaten the security of Israel. We want to stop this before it happens.
Abu Ala?: This is fair.
Livni: We want to find a way to answer two issues. We want the state to be demilitarized. I am sorry to reiterate this. We do not want the state to include any elements that may threaten us. We want strong police forces to fight terrorism.
Abu Ala?: You want a demilitarized state and strong police forces to demilitarize the state?
Livni: If we agree on these criteria we will ask the experts to find a balancing formula.
Saeb: Then what?
Livni: I want to say something that may be general but it will make things clear. There are more sensitive periods. Toady we are trying to reach an agreement, and there is the period of the next day after the establishment of a state. If there is terrorism then we will be obliged to intervene, like what had happened in the Gaza Strip when we had to send our forces back there. We want a state without an army unless we agree otherwise. It is for our common interest.
Abu Ala?: Do not ask to have a state without a people. The people need an army.
Livni: No agreements with other countries (alliances) even if you do not have an army.
Saeb: You mean no military alliances.
Hazem: We talked about this yesterday?how to have strong security forces.
Udi: When we talk about a demilitarized state, we are also talking about monitoring that.
Gilead: We also talked about this yesterday.
Abu Ala?: A demilitarized state under strict monitoring. You insist on demilitarization and not limited militarization. We will not agree on demilitarization.
Livni: There must be a formula. Strong police forces with the rule of law; not an army to fight Israel.
Hazem: I explained yesterday to Amos about the gendarmerie forces in Morocco, Aldgeria and Turkey.
Livni: Our strategic view is to strengthen you and weaken Hamas.
Abu Ala?: There are many contacts nowadays between you and Syria.
Livni: Everything in life is a matter of timing. This also applies to marriage, peace, war. If I had known my husband a year earlier or a year later things could have been different.
Gilead: Perhaps he would have been demilitarized.
Livni: There is work to be done before and after the establishment of a state.
The situation in Gaza: We have to change the situation and then clean the state from terrorism.
We want to know what is happening at the crossings. We must stop the entry of arms from a third country like what is happening now with Egypt. How can we make sure there would be no smuggling of arms through the crossings? We have to interfere.
There are different crossings. There are international crossings with a third country, and there are the other crossings, which are also international between Palestine and Israel.
This is the situation of economy not security.
We have special interest in the Jordan Valley.
You said you do not want an Israeli army in the Jordan Valley, and I understood that there was talk about the Jordan Valley in Camp David.
Saeb: There was an understanding about the Jordan Valley in Stockholm talks.
Livni: Do not mention Taba.
Abu Ala?: We want to build a tourist resort on the Dead Sea. It is now an occupied territory, Area C. Israel built a number of tourist resorts and industrial zones on the Dead Sea. And so did Jordan. Why do we always have to pay the price?
I do not want an answer now to this question. I am just wondering.
Livni: Do you have a specific project? You may suggest this topic to the Prime Minister during today?s meeting.
Gilead: But the Dead Sea will disappear.
Abu Ala?: I only suggested this as an issue. It will convey a positive message that the process is achieving progress and it will be more important that Saeb-Peres passage for peace and prosperity.
Saeb: I know what happened during Shlomo Ben Ami and Abu Ala? talks about the Jordan Valley. You asked for 15 ? 30 years but she refused, but Barak and Ben Ami agreed.
Israel has special interest in the Jordan Valley. Israeli companies are investing in an imperial and colonial manner. They take our water, rebottle and sell it to us. There are plants for Tnuva company, and farms and pools to grow alligators and sell their skin to make bags and shoes for women. There is also Zim wine factory. But not a single settlement house had been built as is the case in Ma?ale Adumim.
The ton of bananas used to be sold at $1100 but the price of it dropped to $200 because you prevented the entry of banana to the Gaza Strip, and it has become the monopoly of Israeli companies, which are all colonial companies.
Livni: We are working with the Jordanians.
Saeb: The Jordan Valley will not be different from any other part of the Palestinian territories. There will be no special territory. Why would you have special interest in the Jordan Valley?
Livni: You discuss this with Olmert. As for me the goal from the two-state solution is not economic even if this contradicts our economic interest or the interest of our private sector. I do not care about what economic interest Israeli companies have in the Jordan Valley. There are some security interests that you cannot deny. Philadelphia Crossing in Gaza is the best example. The situation in Gaza is the best or worst example when it comes to borders with another country. Jordan is doing a good job in the field of security -- no comparison with what Egypt is doing.
Abu Ala?: Jordan is unquestionably doing a great job.
Livni: But I cannot depend on that only. I am not talking about land but about the Israeli forces. How do we do this. We will look into the matter. We do not want land for economic purposes, but as buffer zone.
Saeb: Even if we say we are ready to understand your interests, you have to reduce the time of your stay.
Abu Ala?: Do not water down the matter.
Saeb: Any talk about Israeli presence is not a new start.
Livni: Do you want to stop the negotiations because of this. You also have bad starts. Why do we negotiate? Because we want to reduce the time of our stay.
Can the international community do anything about the refugee camps?
Abu Ala?: We will talk about this later.
Livni: There are the air space and regional water, which were discussed in Camp David. We were close to each other about these matters but we would like to have an answer. These issues have other aspects: the infrastructure, economy, customs, etc.
Abu Ala?: To fight smuggling of arms from the air and from the Dead Sea.
Livni: Yes, from the Dead Sea. The electromagnetic field. So far I have talked about stopping entry of arms. The other problem concerns future threat from the east, for the purpose of emergency deployment.
Abu Ala?: Is there not threat from the west?
Livni: There is the Mediterranean from the west.
Abu Ala?: And from the north? And the maneuvers that you are conducting?
Livni: There were the first and second Lebanese wars, I hope there will be no third war with Lebanon.
Saeb: The threat from the east?you mean after the Palestinians have control over Jordan.
Livni: There are also early alert stations, and you said you did not want Israeli soldiers. When we talk about borders we have to talk about some border points, which will not change the status of borders dramatically.
Abu Ala?: Amos and Hazem can start work and I hope they can start drafting, and Saeb and Tal will continue to work with them.
Saeb: Tal and I are ready to sit with any committee that is ready for drafting.
In ten days Udi and I will assess the work of the committees and we will have it ready to present it to you.