Arafat at Camp David, From New Historian Jerome Slater

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More on Arafat’s supposed intransigence. In summer 2001 Jerome Slater published this article in the Political Science Quarterly demonstrating that Arafat had repeatedly sought to make a peace with Israel and that the best he’d gotten was an offer at Camp David that would have created a fractured Palestinian state with a huge Israeli presence inside it, sucking the water from the aquifers. And the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem would be engulfed by Israel:

As Arafat told Clinton, in responding to his proposed compromise in which Israel would allow the Palestinians a "sovereign presidential compound" next to Al-Aqsa mosque, ‘So there will be a small island surrounded by Israeli soldiers who control the entrances.’"

In that article, Slater implored the American Jewish community to start seeing Palestinians as the oppressed, weaker party in the situation, and therefore to seek to shift American foreign policy, before further disaster resulted. He spoke of terrorist attacks on the U.S. because of our Israel/Palestine policy–just months before September 11.

I’m talking to Slater now about getting his analysis of American journalism on this subject into this blog on a regular basis. Slater’s appeal to me is that he was an early and excited reader of the New Historians in Israel but not a passive reader. He’s been a New Historian in the U.S. too. What is the New History? Slater:

"The revised history holds that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is rooted not in mindless Arab anti-Semitism but in Zionism’s insistence that a Jewish state must be created in Palestine, despite the fact that for over 1,300 years it had been overwhelmingly inhabited by Arabs, who in the 20th century sought political independence in and sovereignty over their homeland."

3 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    March 23, 2008, 1:53 pm

    Israelis assumption at the time was that the land was Israel's to dispense, that it was an act of generosity (rather than right or history) to acknowledge any sovereignty to Palestine.

    That has changed in reality. The vast majority of Israelis and Americans hold the view now that Palestine exists with the same degree of authority as Israel. (I know that statement will bristle.)

    I represents a change, a landing. Does it really matter whether jet turbines or propellers hold the plane up? To get to the next step.

  2. saifedean
    March 23, 2008, 4:10 pm

    As Lincoln said: You can fool all the people some of the time, some of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.

    The pro-Israel crazies of this country have tested his statement to the limit with their lies, but it's safe to say that American democracy is beginning to prove that it is robust enough to shrug this nonsense away. In 10 years' time, America will view garbage like Dennis Ross, Jeffrey Goldberg and Marty Peretz with the same respect, deferrence and admiration with which it views PW Botha, David Duke and Kevin Trudeau.

  3. Joshua
    March 24, 2008, 9:32 pm

    I know this is pessimistic but we have had plenty of scholarly evidence that Arafat was not to blame for the failure of Camp David and yet this lie is still an accepted opinion, even repeated by elite members of the US.

    More dissidents are welcome but Hillary still sprouts about "hateful Palestinian textbooks".

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