Today's date:
Summer 2002

For Mideast Peace, Start With Declaring a Palestinian State and Go From There

Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister and leader of the Green Party, spoke with NPQ editor Nathan Gardels on April 30.

I am strongly in favor of an early declaration of Palestinian statehood, based on provisional grounds, that is, a recognition of Palestinian statehood before all the final details of boundaries, location of the capital, water rights, return of refugees, etc., are settled.

This will remove one of the biggest sources of Palestinian anger and frustration-that a peace process will not lead to a state. And it is crucial to the whole process to begin to create viable democratic institutions-full accountability and transparency, division of power with a legislature, executive and independent judiciary, a viable police force.

In this, the Palestinians will need the help of the international community. Democracy building is crucial for reconstructing trust in the process.

on terrorism | I have had many discussions with Arafat and the Palestinian leaders. The European position is quite clear: Terror is unacceptable. Spain, the current president of the European Union, will never accept any position that will give terrorist organizations the slightest legitimacy. With the Basque separatist attacks over the years, Spain really knows what terror means.

We Germans have experienced what terror means. German tourists were killed just recently when terrorists blew up the beautiful old synagogue on the island of Jerba in Tunisia. The British have experienced what terror means. And so have the French.

There is no patience for terror from us Europeans. It is unacceptable. And we have been quite clear to the Palestinians. We have told them time and again that this armed intifada goes against their interests directly. There is no political reason to go into a pizzeria at noon and kill innocent people, whole families, or to blow up a cafe where innocent people are just trying to enjoy their evening.

on the "axis of evil" speech |
What we have to focus on is this rise of a new totalitarianism and the Al Qaeda-type Islamic terrorists. The threat is not over. We have to go forward and hold together the coalition against this threat. It is not only a challenge to the US but also to Europe.

Anything that moves us along a positive track is welcome. If there are positive reactions now in North Korea, whether in response to US pressure or Kim Dae Jung's "sunshine policy," then that is welcome.

Any change in Iran is also welcome. We have a very realistic view of Iran: It is a very mixed picture there.

Clearly, there is a need for an outspoken strategic debate. In America, everyone is looking at the so-called European mess-why are the Europeans so weak and indecisive? In Europe, many people think America behaves only in its own interests and doesn't take Europe or anyone else into account.

There is a lot of misunderstanding. But the facts prove just the opposite in the end. We need American leadership. But leadership means unifying an alliance.

Now, despite all our disagreements and discussions about the Middle East, Europe and the US are sticking together. We have different perspectives in the war against terror, but in the end we are with the US. We are in Afghanistan along with the US.

We had a debate about the ABM Treaty and had our concerns. But now we know, in the end, there will be a new agreement between the US and Russia, the signatories of the ABM, to radically reduce nuclear warheads.

By definition, alliances between democracies will never be quiet. In the end, the result is always compromise and a unified political position. That is what counts.

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