Mitchell Reports | November 20, 2012
>> joining me is former middle east peace negotiator aaron david miller . now the vice president of new initiatives at the woodrow wilson center . let's talk about this. benjamin netanyahu has support any time that israel is under attack or is involved in a military engagement. there is going to be political support for what it does. how do you assess what netanyahu can now do? how much leverage does he have to negotiate something that can hold up?
>> well, i think the problem here andrea, there's no permanent state between israel and hamas . that's the problem with operation 809. it bought three plus years of relative tranquillity but allowed hamas to import more sophisticated high trajectory weapons that are not terribly accurate but they have range. the range is going to be combined with accuracy and the israelis will be presented with a much bigger problem than they are now. but the problem is, how do you negotiate an end state to this? you can't. what you're looking for is a stand down by both parties and perhaps the egyptians and the turks can find a way since the israelis will not, to enhance this arrangement with hamas with additional incentives. i think the bottom line here, though, given the fact that the israelis have made it unmistakebly clear they're not interested in decapitating the hamas leadership or destroying hamas as an organization, what this represents to me in a very worrisome way, is a further consolidation of hamas 's power in gaza, a great rise in its international respectability. you've seen the foreign minister of turkey, the foreign minister of egypt , bringing cash and political benefits all not visits mahmoud abbas on the west bank and ramallah, but basically visiting hamas in gaza. this problem is going to be with us, i suspect, for a while. so at -- it seems to me, on balance, you will be able maybe to create a set of arrangements but they will not hold over time .
>> and it really strengthens not only hamas as you're pointing out, but also morsi, if this works. the new muslim brotherhood leadership of egypt has new diplomatic leverage, clearly his interest is also in the economic revival of his country. he's relying on the united states , on the imf and international organizations in which the u.s. has you know clear veto power . if he does not deliver in this case, he won't get the money that will help his government survive and his country?
>> that's going to be a problem. and your point reflects the sort of diverging agendas between the united states and egypt . i'm not arguing that we ought to bring back mubarak. the reality was that mubarak was in many respects at least when it came to the arab/israeli peace process on the same page with previous american administrations. you have a government in cairo which in my judgment doesn't want to see a conflict because it forces a muslim brotherhood president to deal with the issue of jerusalem and the compromises that palestinians will have to make on jerusalem in order to -- for there to be a deal, israel may compromises too, i'm not sure are going to be acceptable to the muslim brotherhood or a president who comes interest their party. what we're looking at optimally would be a long-term cease-fire agreement which would serve as a sort of permanent truce. i'm not sure under the circumstances, unless there's some fundamental conversion on the part of hamas , to accept the conditions of the quartet and i think they see history running their way, you're not going to get that. what you're looking for, i think of course is a more permanent and more durable band-aid. i know it's sad and it's not pretty, but i'm not sure what the alternative is right now. now what the alternative is.
>> what would hillary clinton do? hillary clinton is about to arrive. does that mean there's a deal in hand?
>> it's an interesting question. is she arriving to initiate shuttle diplomacy , as warren christopher did in april of '96 when he brokered an agreement literally between israel and hezbollah, using syria, not egypt , but this time it would be egypt as a repository guarantees. i'm not sure she's there for shuttle diplomacy and i'm not sure she's confident enough that there's going to be an agreement. i think it's almost unimaginable she wouldn't go. everyone else is there. she does have the capacity, i think, to press the israelis to give morsi, if diplomacy is running in the right direction, the political time and space to actually press hamas to stand down and maybe she needs to hear from morsi exactly what the status of these negotiations are and what hamas ' requirements are. what she cannot do is put herself in the middle of an incorrect negotiation between israel and hamas , both for political reasons and for any other agendas items that the obama administration may have in mind further down the road.
>> aaron david miller , thank you very much. you've been there --
>> thank you.
>> you've had to deal with all of these questions.