_On January 26 of this year, Aaron Smargon of WPRB News sat down with Daniel C. Kurtzer, former Ambassador to Israel from 2000 to 2005, to discuss the stalled hopes for peace under President Obama and what shape it might take in the future. With talks resumed this month, their discussion now looks prescient. Whether articulating the ambivalence of the American position towards an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities or the frighteningly divergent perceptions of self-interest within and between the two parties, Kurtzer’s remarks survey the difficult ground on which the Obama administration has at last begun to tread._
_WPRB News:_ Ambassador, thank you for joining us today. Now you strongly endorse Obama’s candidacy and play a significant role in shaping his foreign policy outlook. You’ve emphasized more engagement with Middle Eastern nations, especially enemies, and have endorsed Obama’s anti-settlement stance. How well do you think Obama has dealt with these issues?
_Daniel C. Kurtzer:_ Well, the good news about the administration is that it got off to a very fast start in the search for Middle East peace. The second day on the job the President appointed Senator Mitchell as a special envoy and made clear that the Middle East peace process was going to be a Presidential priority, even if he himself would not devote as much personal time as one might think. I think since that point the administration has been groping for strategy, and seemed to have lost some momentum during [last] summer when it decided to try to negotiate a settlements freeze with Israel. The idea of seeing a stoppage or a slowdown in settlements is a good one, but there has never been much success in actually getting Israel to agree through negotiations to stop settlements. The Israeli position is that the settlements issue will be resolved once the whole conflict gets resolved. So I think after a year the administration has far too little to show for all this effort, and it’s time for what’s now being called “pushing the reset button.” Senator Mitchell has in fact just come back from the Middle East. I think he’s been trying to market the idea of entering into negotiations on borders and territories as a way of breaking the logjam. On the other issues in the President’s agenda—for example, dialogue with Iran—here, too, the administration got off to a slower start than it preferred largely because of the elections in Iran in June and then the aftermath of the popular uprising. But since that time the administration has pursed a rather strong policy, putting forth some ideas for the Iranians to consider and watching the Iranian internal dynamics play themselves out.
_WPRB:_ Now you mention “pushing the reset button.” How easy is it to do that, given that the United States has taken a pretty loose stance when it comes to settlements? In addition, do you believe that settlements are the biggest road-block to peace?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, on the second question, I do not think settlements are the biggest road-block to peace. I think the persistence of absolutist positions on the part of both sides remains the biggest obstacle. Too many Israelis think that they can control all of the land and too many Palestinians don’t even accept Israel’s existence as a state. So you have some core fundamental issues at play here; but settlements become a major problem because they are unilateral actions on the part of the Israelis, which sends a very negative signal to the other side about the willingness of Israel to make the compromises necessary for peace. Now, your first question about how easy it is to push a reset button: I don’t want to minimize the challenges, but it’s as easy as the President’s determination. The President has been hit with a few surprises recently, including the election for senator in Massachusetts, and setbacks in some other special elections. I think that it has led to some rethinking in the White House about whether or not the original agenda has been played out the way the President would have preferred. So it may involve some personnel changes—it will certainly involve some policy changes—but I think frankly the most important thing is the idea of Presidential determination or backbone. Will the President now stand up for what he has declared to be a major priority?
_WPRB:_ Well, even now that Obama has reached out to Middle Easterners, a recent poll showed that only four percent of Israelis think that Obama is pro-Israel. How can he overcome these dismal poll numbers to really build trust on both sides? And I’m sure, with the Palestinians as well, that he doesn’t exactly have the highest ratings.
_Kurtzer:_ Well, look—even that poll, it’s an old poll. It was taken in August or September , and frankly I don’t believe it. I think the results are skewed in many respects. My view is that a president doesn’t need to be popular at least in order to be successful. What he has to have is a policy that’s sustainable for American interests. Israelis know that we are a very close ally; they know that we are dependable, that we will maintain our support for their security. They may not like our policies with respect to the peace process, and that’s fair, but I don’t think the President necessarily has to try to buy votes in Israel. What he has to do is to have a policy of which he can be proud, and which serves American interests. That’s the challenge now: to build up his poll numbers in the state of Israel.
_WPRB:_ Going back now to the Palestinian situation, what exactly is a Palestinian? Where did this name originate, pertaining to Arab Muslims that are living in Palestinian territories?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, the rise of Palestinians … can be traced back probably about 100 years. In the late 19th century there was the rise of what we call Arab nationalism: the idea of learning from the European experience, of nation-state building and the findings of common denominators among people who share the same language, cultural heritage, history, and aspirations. Palestinians’ specific nationalism grew largely in response to the response of Zionism, when Zionism, having its goal as the establishment of the Jewish state in the traditional homeland of the Jewish people, spurred the local Arab population to begin to think of itself in geographically centered terms, Palestine-centric terms. There were early manifestations of it before World War I, but in many respects World War I probably will be seen, as we study this issue in the future, as the turning point for Palestinian-centered nationalism. And what it means is that people who see themselves—again with a common language, history, and heritage, but in this case also with a common aspiration for a Palestinian state—in the land that they consider to be theirs.
_WPRB:_ How different are Palestinians from other ethnic groups and peoples in the region?
_Kurtzer:_ Well I’m not an ethnographer, so I can’t tell you the ethnic differences. There is a common language throughout the region, although there are specific local dialects. It’s sometimes very difficult for Arabs and North Africans to understand those from the Fertile Crescent and even further east, and vice versa. But there is a common Arabic language, there’s a common Arab history; the majority—80 to 90 percent—of Arabs are also Muslims, so there’s a common Muslim heritage. The large majority of them are Sunni, which means there’s even a specific identification with a branch of Islam. What differentiates the specific nationalisms has to do with territorial divisions. Many of those divisions are artificial. They were created as a result of colonialism and imperialism, but they now have stuck, so in 2010 Palestinians will say that their attachment is to the land of Palestine, that they consider themselves Palestinians and Arabs and part of the larger nation, but they have a very specific Palestinian interest in developing a nation-state of their own.
WPRB: Well, a lot of what you just said mentioned many of the similarities between Palestinians and their other Arab counterparts. Considering that there are so many similarities, why is it that Palestinians oftentimes face restrictions to employment, to education, to housing? And many of the countries that also refused to host Palestinian refugees, like Russia, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt—can we talk about that?
_Kurtzer:_ I forget who it was who said that England and the United States are one nation separated by a common language. In many respects the Arabs face the same issue. Which is a great deal of commonalities that one would think would lead them to care more about each other and do more for each other, but at the end of the day the local identifications and the local loyalties often predominate. There are many Arab states that have been negatively affected by the Palestinian issue. Jordan, for example, experienced a war in 1970 as the result of the influx of Palestinian fighters, who then created a little mini-state in Jordan until the Jordanian army kicked them out. They went to Lebanon and exacerbated internal Lebanese problems, creating a Lebanese civil war, as well as problems afterwards. You recall in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the Palestinians supported Iraq. The Kuwaitis then kicked all the Palestinians who had been there out of the country. So there’s a lot of internal issues that are as important as the commonalities. That’s why you will see very significant general support that Arabs give to the Palestinian cause. Very often that’s not translated into specific courses of action because of these rivalries.
_WPRB:_ Let’s talk about Gaza briefly. In 2005, when you retired from your position as Ambassador to Israel, you were fairly optimistic, or maybe cautiously optimistic, about the situation there and that it might lead to Israel’s pullout from the region of the Gaza strip, which then might lead to some bilateral reconciliation of some improvement. What happened?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, there’s a lot of disappointment about what happened. First of all, I think the initial onus for the failure to move forward really rests on Palestinian shoulders. They were given a gift by Israel. Demanding Israel withdraw settlements from occupied territories for 40 years, then doing nothing in response to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal—I think was a huge missed opportunity. I’m not suggesting that the Israeli policy was perfect either in this respect. The Israelis didn’t do enough consulting, enough coordination, a lot of it was determined unilaterally—after all it was unilateral disengagement. But nonetheless it was the fulfillment of a demand: that Israel begin withdrawing from occupied territories. So number one, I think Palestinians dropped the ball in terms of demonstrating that they could take territory from which Israel withdrew and turn it into something better. Number two: the Israelis, once having pulled out from Gaza, rightfully should have expected that violence emanating from Gaza would stop. Perhaps they could not expect that violence in the West Bank would stop, because that’s still occupied, but they were no longer in Gaza: no settlers, so soldiers, no settlements. And yet the rocket fire began almost immediately and then intensified. This was also a lesson about Palestinian failures, because Palestinian security services had a responsibility to demonstrate that they could control the territory in which they operated. So there were a lot of missed chances here, and I put the onus primarily on Palestinians for the subsequent failures.
_WPRB:_ Do you believe that Israel is justified in believing that land-for-peace deals never work, as this situation showed, as turning over Gaza may have also showed?
_Kurtzer:_ No, I don’t think that the lesson has to do with land for peace. The lesson has to do with unilateralism versus agreements. Israel has done two unilateral withdrawals, and both of them have failed to produce the security and stability that Israel had hoped for. Israel has also done two peace treaties with agreements of Arab states that have worked tremendously successfully. So the lesson here is that unilateral actions, even in support of peace, are less beneficial than agreements.
_WPRB:_ The Palestinian government is currently essentially divided between the Palestinian authority and Hamas, so how would the United States—or how would Israel—be able to broker a peace agreement if they don’t really know who is governing their counterparty?
_Kurtzer:_ Right. I think it’s one of the most vexing questions now in the peace process. But what was thought about, particularly during the Bush administration, as a result of the Annapolis conference, was the idea that you negotiate with the government in power—that’s the Palestinian authority—but you don’t implement an agreement until there’s some kind of national referendum that validates the results, so that you hopefully would have an agreement that is signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority and subjected to a national referendum. And then if the Palestinians, which we hope support that referendum—then Hamas would have to yield to step aside. I don’t want to sound naive; Hamas is not going to relinquish power easily. But there will be significant psychological and political pressure on Hamas the day after a referendum validates an agreement. Again, it’s not a solution, but it suggests that there’s a process by which political change could take place.
_WPRB:_ It’s conceivable that Palestinians who are currently being governed by Hamas, as opposed to the Palestinian Authority, would be favorable to such an agreement. But the Hamas charter’s existence is fundamentally based on wanting to eliminate the state of Israel. So how would such an agreement be possible if Hamas’ very existence is based on the elimination of—
_Kurtzer:_ I think there are actually two constituencies in Palestine who are going to oppose the agreement. One is Hamas, for the reasons you cited, and the other is the refugee community outside of Palestine, which may find itself facing an agreement that essentially says, “You can return to Palestine, but you can’t return to your specific homes that are now inside Israel.” And it’s going to be a real test of will at that point, if the refugees are willing to accept that. On the Hamas question, there are probably a majority of countries in the world that face very unhappy constituencies, some of which have taken up arms. The day after an agreement is reached and validated, Hamas will become an unhappy constituent body within Palestinian society. And that’s going to be up to Palestinian law enforcement and security personnel to try to contain that. To the extent that they do, Palestine becomes a viable state. To the extent that they don’t, it becomes a failed state. And that’s a whole different set of issues that we’re going to face at that point.
_WPRB:_ Is it reasonable to expect that they will be able to police them? Because after all, after the pullout in 2005, they weren’t.
_Kurtzer:_ The difference between 2005 and 2010 is that, for the last three years, there has been an intensive training of Palestinian security personnel underway, led by United States General Keith Dayton. Right now several thousand very well-trained non-politicized Palestinian security forces have been deployed in the West Bank, whose mission is to defend Palestinian state or national interests. It’s not to defend Fatah or Hamas or the Democratic Front, it’s very much a national mission. If that training can continue to a point where you have a large enough core body in Palestinian security services, then, maybe it would succeed to be able to control Hamas at that point. All of this is questionable, of course, depending on whether or not training is successful, that the people who come out of the training still see themselves in terms of national mission rather than militia mission, but this is the plan at least.
_WPRB:_ Is it fair to say that the most significant thing that is missing between Israelis and Palestinians is trust? And if so, what can be done on both sides to restore the trust necessary for long-lasting peace?
_Kurtzer:_ I think trust is the second most important issue. I think the first most important issue dividing them is the absence of some common way of defining the problem. You still have too many people on each side that define this problem in terms of maximalist demands, rather than trying to find a win-win common solution. In the search for developing a common solution, the absence of trust becomes a major factor. That’s why I call it the second most important issue. Trust is a tricky business. For almost 20 years the peace process tried to build trust through pursuing interim agreements, interim arrangements, which, if implemented, would convince the two sides that they could actually work together. The problem was that the interim agreements weren’t implemented, and therefore distrust grew, rather than trust. So we’re now in a phase of the process when we’re trying to grapple with the most fundamental issues: the refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, security, in the hope that if the two sides can see that there is an outcome in which they both can win some of their demands, maybe they can live together in some kind of peaceful situation. But it’s building trust in a situation in which there is no common ground, with respect to defining the conflict or defining the conflict-resolution process. The resolution process is very, very challenging.
_WPRB:_ Do you believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, I do, and the International Atomic Energy Agency does, and the UN Security Council does.
_WPRB:_ Given that, do you think that Iran would use a nuclear weapon against Israel?
_Kurtzer:_ The answer is “nobody knows,” and there are people who will give you evaluation one way or the other. I don’t know whether they would use it. It’s very difficult for us in a rational model of international relations to think that a country is going to wake up one morning and just decide to launch a strike against another country. On the other hand, if you’re the other country, why would you want to be in a position where that scenario could happen? So I don’t know the answer whether Iran would do it, but if I were sitting in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, I would be worried about that possibility.
_WPRB:_ Well, in 1981 Israel preemptively attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak, saying in a statement, “Immortal danger to the people of Israel progressively arose,” and that “Under no circumstances will we allow an enemy to develop weapons of mass destruction against our people.” Similarly, in 2007 they took out a reactor in Syria. Now, if Israel is willing to take these preemptive measures against both Iraq and Syria, why are they unwilling to do so or have been unable to do so in the case of Iran?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, I think it’s premature to say that they’re either unwilling or unable to do so. Israeli decision-makers have made clear that the military option remains on the table; sometimes the threats have been even more specific. On the other hand, they’ve also been careful not to escalate matters by issuing threats that they may not be ready right at the moment to see through to conclusion. It strikes me, as an outside analyst, that the Israelis will make a decision only when they’ve absolutely reached the corner that Iran needs to turn before becoming a nuclear power. There’s no reason to preemptively strike if one is unsure about Iran’s capabilities of actually achieving nuclear weapon status. The last few months, for example, there’s been increasing press reporting that Iranians are facing difficulties in moving beyond their current level of uranium enrichment. Don’t know if that’s true, but if Israeli intelligence believes that then the timeframe for decision-making is longer than it was previously.
_WPRB:_ While he was president, President Bush voiced his disapproval of Israel’s possibly bombing Iran. However, in July 2009, current Vice President Joe Biden said that Israel had “a sovereign right to act in its interest.” One month later, however, he said that Israel would be “ill-advised to attack Iran.” Therefore, there are two questions. The first is: Do you think the US has any role whatsoever in determining whether Israel goes forward with such strike? And the second question is: Would the United States support or turn a blind eye to an Israeli attack on Iran?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, your question shows clearly the language of diplomacy. In some ways, there’s no real contradiction among those varied statements, although they leave you with a lot of confusion as to where the US stands. Every country has a sovereign right to defend itself. The United States has a view on these things but they also provide something of a red light, or at least a yellow question mark. And I think that’s what the Obama administration will be grappling with as it approaches this issue. For the United States a military strike on Iran, either by Israel or by the United States, has very different sets of parameters and calculations than it does for Israel. For example, we may not perceive that there’s a direct threat to the US homeland from an Iranian nuclear program. But we do have to worry about the threat that it poses to allies who may believe that they’re under an umbrella of security that we’ve provided. Secondly, having said that, there’s concern that you may know what you’re doing with a strike, but you don’t know the consequences. And what’s the action/reaction spiral that gets launched as a result of such a strike? Does it lead to mass causalities through Iranian-inspired terrorism, or attacks on shipping in the gulf, or an energy crisis as a result of the cutoff of gas and oil supplies? So I think there’s going to be great caution on the part of the United States. What the administration has done, though, and the Israelis have recognized this even publicly, is to intensify a very quiet, secret dialogue with Israel to talk through these issues. I can tell you from my experience as ambassador that at the end of this dialogue there will not be a definitive, “We know exactly what you’re doing, and you know exactly what we’re doing” outcome. It doesn’t happen that way. But there will be greater understanding about what each side is thinking about, and then each side has the sovereign right to do what it feels is best.
_WPRB:_ There’s been a lot of discussion as to whether Iran would actually use a weapon. What do you think is the rationale for trying to stop the program if it is indeed true that they would ever use such a weapon?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, the rationale that the Israelis would use in that situation is that they don’t want the threat of an Iranian decision hanging over their heads. There’s a saying in Israel, that they go to sleep with the Holocaust and they wake up with the Arab-Israeli conflict. There’s this idea in the back of Israeli minds that, with the push of a button, the state could be destroyed. No Israeli leader wants that to become a reality. So Israeli thinking on this is quite different from anybody else’s. And even if you make a rational calculation that it would not be in Iranian interest to launch such a strike, that’s not the way the Israeli thinks about the issue. They have a very different attitude towards having an enemy with that capability—that it is in the hands of the enemy to decide to destroy the state, or to murder a million or more Israel citizens.
_WPRB:_ Given that a military strike is probably a last resort, what can the international community do in order to get Iran to stop pursuing this nuclear program? Obviously sanctions supported by the United States have been of limited success, and really it will come down to trying to get China and Russia to pressure Iran to stop as well. What is the likelihood of success of getting them to do that?
_Kurtzer:_ Look, it’s a complicated issue and for many of us the real frustration is that we didn’t start the diplomacy seriously until 2009. For example, right after 2001, right after 9/11, there were a number of possible openings for diplomacy with Iran that the Bush administration simply either ignored or very specifically denied. We don’t know how serious they were, we don’t know if they were head feints, but the fact is that they weren’t even explored. So throughout this period there was a very intensive effort to build sanctions, both unilateral and multilateral, but no effort at all to test the proposition that Iranians would negotiate something, whether it’s an end of their program, slow-down of their program, or some modification of their program. It’s only since October of 2009 that we’ve begun to explore the issue of diplomacy with the Iranians. And in fact at the first meeting between Iran and the group of five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, the six partners put forward a very innovative proposal, which was a research reactor that would allow Iran the capability to continue some level of enrichment but not to a level that would allow them to build a bomb, ultimately. It would have to be some trading of low-enriched uranium for very specifically highly-enriched uranium for use for a research reactor. We know that the Iranians were befuddled by that proposal. The delegation in Geneva that heard it actually thought that it was very good, and then the debate began back in Tehran and they now rejected it. All that tells you is that diplomacy still has some room to play itself out, but also that we’re really late in the game. But I don’t think diplomacy is dead at all. The conversation with our State Department negotiators—and I don’t want to classify their views, but they still think there’s room to talk about these issues with Iranians before you reach that point where you have to make a decision about the use of force.
_WPRB:_ And do you think that the diplomacy between the two sides legitimizes the Iranian government, the Garden Council, the government of Ahmadinejad, or is that not even a concern?
_Kurtzer:_ No, I think we can walk and chew gum on this issue, and what I mean by that is that there is an overriding set of national priorities here, which is to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, and we have a set of national priorities to support the proposition to the regime. In some respects, they appear contradictory on the surface but they don’t have to be. We’re beaming in radio and TV as others are, we make statements, there are some targeted sanctions that we can continue to use even while we negotiate. I think we’re clever enough to be able to do this. I don’t think it requires a “yes” or “no” choice, a stark choice between two different alternatives.
_WPRB:_ From your experience as ambassador to Israel, what do you think is the most viable or the most likely vision of a two-state solution?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, the only one that makes sense, the only vision of a two-state solution now is essentially to think about the 1967 lines and to use that as a starting point for borders. What I mean as a starting point is that those lines were drawn artificially in 1949, as a result of the end of fighting their armistice lines. And I think a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians can make sense out of those lines in terms of security, in terms of demographic reality and so forth. But there really is no other serious basis on which to try to find a geographic or territorial solution. And so the picture one has to paint starts with the ’67 lines and mutually agreed modifications. Number two, there are two issues which are going to be the most challenging to resolve—one is Jerusalem, the other is refugees. On the Jerusalem issue a former colleague, Canadian ambassador Michael Bell, and I published a piece in _Foreign Affairs_ that suggested that there are even some creative ways of dealing with the Jerusalem issue. They will not be totally satisfactory to both sides, but they will meet the minimal requirements of both sides, at least for the foreseeable future. Refugees then becomes kind of the most challenging issue because there really isn’t a creative way to deal with the ultimate refugee demand, which is to go back to the specific homes they left in Palestine. And that’s going to require some very hard conversations with the refugee populations. Arab states will have a role to play in terms of hosting refugees as full citizens in their states. Refugee-absorbing countries, like the United States, Canada, Australia, will have a role to play in terms of opening up their immigration policies a bit; Israel will probably have a role to play in terms of some family unification; and the state of Palestine will have a role to play in terms of opening its doors to refugees who want to come back to Palestine, even if not to the specific home that they left.
_WPRB:_ On the two-state solution, you think the 1967 borders would be the best? You wouldn’t accept, say, the 1947 UN partition, in which there were neutral zones and there was a contiguous—well, semi-contiguous—Palestine state?
_Kurtzer:_ No, I think the ’47 partition lines are part of history but they’re not relevant. Even the PLO in 1988 took the decision that essentially endorsed Resolution 242, which is based on the 1967 lines. So we studied the partition plan as part of the evolving conflict resolution process, but it’s not a relevant starting point for negotiations. The 242 remains the basis for discussions, and that focuses on the ’67 lines.
_WPRB:_ We’ve tried this two-state solution for such a long time—the current two-state solution—and there’s been many road-blocks with it. Do you still believe it’s the best, or the only solution? Or could we see some solution where you see Palestine maybe being absorbed by Jordan but still given some autonomy?
_Kurtzer:_ Look, there are a lot of individuals out there who have preferences other than the two state solution. And it’s not that Palestine would be part of Jordan, or Jordan part of Palestine, but there are some Israelis who say, “Why wouldn’t Israel also have a piece of that action as well?” I don’t think any of these alternatives, the three-state solution, the one-state solution, or the confederated solutions—I don’t think they’re realistic in the immediate term, nor do I think that they’re viable. For reasons that we discussed at the top of this broadcast, there is still something called state-centered nationalism and there are Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli national identities. And until the world comes up with something that replaces the nation-state system, these three peoples are going to want their own states with defined borders.
_WPRB:_ How important is it for the Palestinian state—whether it’s a part of Jordan, whether it’s its own autonomous entity—how important is it for it to be contiguous?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, for the West Bank portion of the state I think it’s absolutely critical that there be territorial contiguity. Without that, you don’t really have a viable West Bank portion of the state. The real problem with Palestine is the separation between the West Bank and Gaza. If you had envisaged a solution in which, essentially, you resolved the territorial issue, you can’t connect the West Bank and Gaza contiguously. In the Oslo Agreement, there was a provision for safe passage, but that wasn’t defined. Is the safe passage sovereign Israeli territory? Is it sovereign Palestinian territory? Who makes it safe? Is there an international guarantee, or international forces? That becomes a real problem. A couple years ago the Rand Corporation did a project called the Arc in which their idea of a safe passage was a kind of combined railroad, highway, utility grid that went from Gaza up through the West Bank under some kind of an international protected status. So again, there are creative ways to deal with this, but in terms of contiguity that is the most significant territorial question, how do you connect the West Bank and Gaza?
_WPRB:_ Do you see the issues between Israelis and Palestinian being resolved either in your lifetime, our lifetime, our kids’ lifetime?
_Kurtzer:_ Well, I hope to live long enough to be able to see it. Look, there’s no reason why this can’t be resolved in the next couple of years. There’s no magical solution; I’m not talking about an overnight breakthrough. But there also are no mysteries left about the way this thing can end. You know we were talking about a two-state solution. If a two-state solution is to happen it’s not going to be a surprise when people wake up and see what it looks like. Israelis kind of know what it looks like, and the Palestinians kind of know what it looks like. Some of the details have to be worked out, so there’s no reason why this can’t be resolved. It’s going to take political will, it’s going to take some reassessment of dreams and ambitions; I think it’s also going to take American determination in order to keep both side focused on the outcome. So I hope I live a long life but I don’t think I need to wait until the end of that long life to see what cold be accomplished in the next two, three, five years.
_WPRB:_ Well, thank you, Ambassador.
_Kurtzer:_ Thank you for having me.