In Slurring Arafat on NPR, Dan Schorr Seemed to Express Zionist Prejudice

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 33 Comments

On March 8, Daniel Schorr commented on NPR’s "Weekend Edition Saturday" that Democrats always find a way not to get along. He then said (I was driving, not taking notes): As people used to say about Yassir Arafat, he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

This is an old refrain about Arafat, and it is a slur. It reflects a propaganda campaign by pro-Israel lobbyists to put all the responsibility for the cycle of violence in Palestine on the Palestinians. When Israelis have also deliberately missed opportunities over the years.

Yesterday at the Israel Policy Forum lunch, former Israel Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami spoke admiringly of Arafat. "Arafat was not an easy partner. But he was a major legitimizer of the two-state solution, and he took his legitimacy to the grave." And today Palestinian leadership is divided: between Fatah, which is working for the two-state solution, and Hamas, which has not embraced it. Did Israel miss an opportunity while Arafat was alive?

Certain Henry Siegman, the director of the US/Middle East Project, would say so. The most memorable piece of journalism I’ve read in the last year was Henry Siegman’s ruthless expose of the "peace process" in the London Review of Books:

The problem is not, as Israelis often claim, that Palestinians do not
know how to compromise. (Another former prime minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, famously complained that ‘Palestinians take and take while
Israel gives and gives.’) That is an indecent charge, since the
Palestinians made much the most far-reaching compromise of all when the
PLO formally accepted the legitimacy of Israel within the 1949
armistice border. [My emphasis; this was Arafat’s work, in 1993–and the colonies only have multiplied since] 
With that concession, Palestinians ceded their claim
to more than half the territory that the UN’s partition resolution had
assigned to its Arab inhabitants. They have never received any credit
for this wrenching concession, made years before Israel agreed that
Palestinians had a right to statehood in any part of Palestine
. [me again] The
notion that further border adjustments should be made at the expense of
the 22 per cent of the territory that remains to the Palestinians is
deeply offensive to them, and understandably so.

Ben-Ami and Siegman’s comments reveal Schorr’s statement to be ill-informed–and, I believe, ideological. In his autobiography, Staying Tuned, Schorr describes his childhood as a Jewish outsider and says that his mother was an ardent Zionist. His youthful social life unfolded in a Zionist milieu. I don’t know whether Schorr is a Zionist today, but consciously or not, he was uttering Zionist propaganda on National Public Radio. Journalists have an obligation to examine their religious prejudices.

33 Responses

  1. the Sword of Gideon
    March 21, 2008, 10:35 pm

    I understand that Arafat was given to traveling with quite the coterie of young boys and died of aids. Something that probably wouldn't have gone over so well with his people. Enlightened progressives that they are

  2. MM
    March 21, 2008, 10:58 pm

    Phil's info on Hamas is out-of-date.

    Here's a CNN article–FROM APRIL 2006–demonstrating Hamas' willingness for a "two state solution", which has been reiterated many times since:

    link to

    The truth is obvious: Israel sabotages the peace process in order to keep annexing bits and pieces of Palestine. There is no zero-growth zionism.

  3. Castellio
    March 21, 2008, 11:22 pm

    Great Post.

    Some people take hope from Obama.

    I take hope from this blog!

  4. cogit8
    March 22, 2008, 12:20 am

    Phil, I completely agree with you. Having listened to Daniel Schorr for decades, I admire the man's longevity and have grown so used to his zionist tendencies that he is like a bellweather of staid Jewish thought on the Palestine issue. Of course, when it comes to human rights for the 'less-advantaged' in this country, his vane swings to traditional liberal.

    During the run-up to the Iraq war I listened very closely to NPR/PBS's Jewish crew, and they were all on board and actively promoting the war, from Turkey cranberry lady to Saturday Morning chatty host.

    It was good to see David Brooks offer a type of mea culpa in this evenings PBS Newshour, wherein he admitted (after chuckling and mentally shrugging) that it's not good to upset complex societies that were thought to be simple. I believe he used the word "chagrinned".

  5. Richard Silverstein
    March 22, 2008, 12:55 am

    "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" was a phrase invented by Abba Eban & predates Yasser Arafat. Schorr may be old but he'd forgetting things.

  6. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 2:57 am

    The Lethal Dinner

    Who Murdered Arafat?


    Last week the Haaretz headline screamed: "Doctors: Arafat died of AIDS or poisoning". AIDS appeared in first place.

    For dozens of years, the Israeli media has conducted, with government inspiration, a concentrated campaign against the Palestinian leader (with the sole exception of Haolam Hazeh, the news magazine I edited). Millions of words of hatred and demonization were poured on him, more than on any other person of his generation. If somebody thought that this would end after his death, he was mistaken. This article, signed by Avi Isasharof and Amos Harel, is a direct continuation of this smear campaign.

    The key word is, of course, "Aids". Throughout the long article there is no trace of proof for this allegation. The reporters quote "sources in the Israeli security establishment". They also quote Israeli doctors "who heard from French doctors" – an original method for medical diagnosis. A respected Israeli professor even found conclusive proof: it was not published that Arafat had undergone an Aids test. True, a Tunisian medical team did test him in Ramallah and the result was negative, but who would believe Arabs?

    Haaretz knows, of course, how to protect itself. Somewhere in the article, far away from the sensational headline, there appear the nine words: "The possibility that Arafat had Aids is not high". So Haaretz is alright. In army parlance, its ass is covered. By comparison, the New York Times, which published a similar story on the same day, treated the Aids allegation with contempt.

    There is a very simple proof for the spuriousness of the allegation: if it had even the most tenuous basis in fact, the huge propaganda apparatus of the Israeli government and the Jewish establishment throughout the world would have trumpeted it from the rooftops, instead of waiting for 10 months. But, as matter of fact, there is no evidence whatsoever. More than that, the writers themselves are compelled to admit that Arafat's symptoms are completely incompatible with the picture of Aids.

    So what did he die of?

    Since taking part in his tumultuous funeral in Ramallah, I have abstained from giving my opinion on the cause of his death. I am not a doctor, and my dozens of years as editor of an investigative news magazine have taught me not to voice allegations which I am unable to prove in court.

    But, since now all dikes have been breached, I am prepared to say what is on my mind: from the first moment, I was sure that Arafat had been poisoned.

    Most of the doctors interviewed by Haaretz testified that the symptoms point towards poisoning,…

    For the rest see:

    link to

  7. Rowan Berkeley
    March 22, 2008, 8:35 am

    the actual mechanism here is nothing to do with whether or not 'the palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity'.

    the actual mechanism is that jewish pundits suffer constant media insecurity which can only be assuaged by repeating propaganda clichés that ONE EXTRA TIME TOO MANY.

  8. Richard Witty
    March 22, 2008, 9:08 am

    From my listening, I had the impression that the majority of commentators on NPR during the run-up to the war opposed it, thought it was ludicrous.

  9. liberal white boy
    March 22, 2008, 10:13 am

    What should we fear more the Islamofascists or Zionist treachery and treason? Folks like Daniel Schorr are dangerous.
    link to

  10. the Sword of Gideon
    March 22, 2008, 10:22 am

    Why did Arafats supposed wife stay in Paris the whole time of their marriage. Taking aid money and channeling it into Swiss bank accounts and Parisian dress shops. And why no autopsy. He had aids
    but they couldn't say that because Arab culture is not exactly conducive to liberalism.

  11. Joachim Martillo
    March 22, 2008, 12:12 pm

    Which organization is scarier?

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or NPR and its Zionist gatekeeper/facilitators?

    link to

  12. the Sword of Gideon
    March 22, 2008, 1:02 pm

    It's kind of interesting that in my circle of friends NPR is known has National Palestine Radio. Interesting how people see things.

  13. Shai
    March 22, 2008, 1:32 pm

    Weiss, your comparison is a historical mixed metaphor.

    Over the years, Israel "missed opportunities" for peace after assessing (rightly in my opinion) that Arab interest in their overtures were tactical rather than strategic and would thus soon enough put Israel on the defensive if followed through. One I'm aware of that I believe was a huge mistake was not really an offer for peace, but rather an agreement with Jordan to take control of the West Bank – PM Shamir rejected that to my regret – but with the Palestinians, since Oslo have they missed any?


    That's right, through bus bombings and missile shootings and terrorism attacks, we never gave the terrorists a "veto over peace", and we continued to sit at the table even as Arafat refused to sign any agreement that considered the conflict over.

    Well, thanks to years of the same, the Israeli peace camp lost all credibility and the Israeli public is moving right. Peace cannot be delivered if the Palestinians don't want to deliver it. That's the same thing that happened every time Israel supposedly rejected an overture. The overtures always come whenever the Arabs assess the Israelis will refuse them, and the most famous example of that were the 3 no's of Khartoum. Before then, Israelis were (contrary to another post elsewhere by a commenter) seeking to return the entirety of the lands that were won in the war with the exception of Jerusalem, and the answer from the Arab League was no to recognition, no to talks, no to peace with the Israelis.

    So, slice it or dice it as you wish, the blame is properly on Arafat and those who so try to break through an open door of peace with the Israelis that, since they never actually enter the door, Israelis wonder whether they are just interested in breaking things.

  14. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 6:39 pm

    "The three noes of Khartoum" 1

    Shai wrote:"The overtures always come whenever the Arabs assess the Israelis will refuse them, and the most famous example of that were the 3 no's of Khartoum. Before then, Israelis were (contrary to another post elsewhere by a commenter) seeking to return the entirety of the lands that were won in the war with the exception of Jerusalem, and the answer from the Arab League was no to recognition, no to talks, no to peace with the Israelis."

    This one is one of the most beloved of Israeli myths. Shai would here even refrain from calling it 'his narrative' but would claim that this now is the TRUTH to which all parties have to adhere.

    Well now let us see. As he means with that unnamed 'commenter' in the paragraph quoted above me, I believe it to be apposite to present an edited version of what I have written on this matter before.

    Shai claims that "Israelis were (contrary to another post elsewhere by a commenter) seeking to return the entirety of the lands that were won in the war with the exception of Jerusalem, and the answer from the Arab League was no to recognition, no to talks, no to peace with the Israelis" . In short: the three noes of Khartoum.

    Thus we have here a picture of Israel holding out publicly the olive branch to obstinate Arab nations and being rudely rebuffed by them.

    I have argued before, and will argue again, that this juxtaposition provides a caricature of the situation – a caricature that hasn’t survived the opening up of the relevant archives, except for those who have a vested interest in the myth around it.

    The Israeli cabinet did indeed shortly after the war, on the 19th of June 1967, make a decision (with a majority of one vote)of that nature but if it was meant as an 'offer' to the Arabs they went about in a very curious way. The decision of that day was taken in the deepest secrecy (even Rabin, not a member of cabinet at the time, did not know about it), was never conveyed to the Arab states and was soon a historical artefact anyway because the Israeli cabinet changed its mind several times and had made its own decision undone well before Khartoum.

    Barely a month after that decision was made, and thus well before the Khartoum meeting with "the three noes", politicians approved plans for building settlements on the Golan Heights. Before that Jerusalem had been ‘unified’ in the teeth of strong opposition from the Americans (the Israelis argued, with a fine feeling for semantic subtleties, that ‘unification’ was not the same as ‘annexation’). Mid August far reaching plans for the settlement of the West Bank had been adopted.

    Thus the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim argues that the decision of the 19th of June had become a ‘dead letter’ well before Khartoum. Those who maintain that the Israeli cabinet only reversed its policy after Khartoum have but a scintilla of formal truth on their side in the fact that the precarious decision (taken with a majority of one vote) of 19th June was finally formally buried in October.

    I went through the documents in the online archive of the U.S. Department of State, now open to public inspection. I specifically looked at the material from the period between the date of that decision of the 19th of June,that was never turned into an offer to the Arab states, and the beginning of the Khartoum Conference (thus from around the twentieth June 1967 until the end of August of that year). I have skipped the lengthy archivalia on the consultations with the Russians and have only retained the in my view most telling fragments of the rest. The documents follow here below.

    They completely confirm the picture Shlaim gave of the situation which is not astonishing because he went through the same documents (plus other archives of course – specifically the Israeli archives that are, as far as I know, not online).

    Shlaim is completely right in asserting that there never was an offer to Syria and Egypt for Israel to withdraw to the international boundary. The relevant document is the first one in the series that follows. As one can see Eban was, in relation to the June 19 decision by the Israeli Cabinet, not talking to the Americans about an 'offer' at all – he spoke of ‘tentative conclusions’ and the then U.S.Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, referred to Eban’s statements as ‘preliminary thoughts’. It is also completely clear that the Americans were not asked to convey these ‘preliminary thoughts’ to Syria and Egypt. If that had been the case there would have been a memorandum of some sort about it, plus information on the reaction of these two Arab countries. There is nothing at all.

    This explains also the following statement by Rusk in his memoirs entitled “As I Saw It”.(This is the statement I quoted a few days ago and that Shai was referring to).

    Rusk wrote:

    "For twenty years, since the creation of Israel, the United States had tried to persuade the Arabs that they needn’t fear Israeli territorial expansion. Throughout the sixties the Arabs talked continuously about their fear of Israeli expansion. With the full knowledge of successive governments in Israel, we did our utmost to persuade the Arabs that their anxieties were illusory.
    "And then following the Six Day War, Israel decided to keep the Golan heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai, despite the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on the first day of the war went on Israeli radio and said that Israel had no territorial ambitions. Later in the summer I reminded Abba Eban of this, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, 'We’ve changed our minds'. With that remark, a contentious and even bitter point with the Americans, he turned the United States into a twenty-year liar."

    I think Eban would have reacted differently if he could have reminded Rusk of a peace offer along the lines of the June 19 decision.

    One explanation I have for Eban’s later assertion that such an offer was made is the one he himself offered to Lord Caradon, when this diplomat told him what the international understanding was about Resolution 242. Eban surmised that Caradon’s recollection ‘had dimmed with the passage of time’. This reflection was quite untrue as far as Caradon was concerned but might have accurately revealed the state of Eban's own mind.

    It should also be kept in mind that the Israeli cabinet veered at that time in quite a few different directions (though they all seemed to lead to a hardening of its stance) and Eban’s recollection might not only have dimmed but also have gotten a bit mixed up. The possibility that he himself got caught up in the myth about ‘the olive branch and Khartoum” can also not be excluded.

    Whatever the case may be, there was no ‘offer’.

    Israeli changeability in that period was partly due to the influence of General Dayan who, according to that other Israeli historian of the war, Oren, had, together with Rabin (who, however, was not a member of cabinet) been turned into a public icon by the war.

    Oren wrote:

    “ I’m waiting for the phone to ring”, Dayan was widely quoted as saying, implying that Israel would be willing to return territories if the Arabs came forward for talks. But in the Cabinet debate on the June 19 resolution, Dayan argued that there was no use discussing the terms for peace since the Arabs would never accept Israel. He protested the decision, saying, “We cannot withdraw from Sinai and the Golan on the basis of a single vote … “ Six weeks after the end of the Six-Day war, according to the British Embassy’s count, Dayan voiced no less than six different opinions on peace.” (2002, p.315/316).”

    And Shlaim wrote in his review of Oren’s book:

    “Defence minister Moshe Dayan was a law unto himself. … The resounding military victory over which Dayan presided greatly enhanced his political power at home, and he used this power to impose his muddled and myopic ideas on the wavering cabinet. In the country of the blind, the on-eyed man was king.”

    To be continued

  15. Castellio
    March 22, 2008, 6:45 pm

    Shal is in an altered state. He writes: "The overtures always come whenever the Arabs assess the Israelis will refuse them."

    There is a standing offer for a comprehensive peace first offered in 2002. Israel still refuses. Almost six years gone.

    Israel refuses because it is easier to imprison and eventually relocate Palestinians than it is to deal with the deep fissures in Israel itself, between the moderates and the racists..

  16. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 6:50 pm

    "The three noes of Khartoum" 2

    I spoke earlier of the gradual hardening of the Israeli stance pre-Khartoum. Though the Americans didn’t know the specifics of the Israeli cabinet decisions taken at that time they were very well aware of the general drift of these.

    So spoke Saunders in his conversation of August 15 with the Israeli ambassador to the USA (see document 418) about his concern ‘that Israel seemed to be digging into its present position more solidly every day … I saw a problem for both of us in the rapidly sharpening image of Israel as the intransigent victor holding onto its spoils”. And from the last document presented here (no. 431) which contains a conversation, held between the Israeli minister and Walt Rostow a few days (29th August) before the Khartoum declaration was issued, it is clear that Israel did not agree with the call in the joint U.S.- Soviet resolution to return to the pre-war boundaries. Israel was not prepared to do so, not “even in exchange for a peace treaty”. It now wanted ‘secure’ boundaries. That could mean almost anything. And in the post Khartoum years the talk of prominent Israeli politicians and military men on that issue was well suited to fuel the Arabs’ worst suspicions and fears.

    References to possible boundaries for Israel became more and more inflated and had by 1973, on the eve of the Yom Kippur War, apparently reached a megalomaniac crescendo. So said Abba Eban in a 1976 interview with Shlaim (belatedly published in Israel Studies 2003 Vol.8 No.1):

    “The rhetoric of 1973 is almost inconceivable, with Ariel Sharon saying that we could capture everything from Tunis and Iran between Turkey and the Sudan; Dayan saying that, for the next ten years, the issue was not peace, but to draw a new map, because, in the next ten years, there would be neither peace nor war; Itzhak Rabin's statement in 1973 that Golda had better boundaries than King David and King Solomon had had … So that it is really how opinion passed from sobriety to self-confidence, and from self-confidence to fantasy, reaching a somewhat absurd level in 1973 … ”

    What is also apparent from these documents is Hussein’s almost frantic attempts to come, pre-Khartoum, to a negotiated settlement with Israel – even with the tacit understanding of Nasser (who was however not trusted by the Americans). Rusk was very happy with Hussein’s overtures and recommended them emphatically to the Israelis who reacted coolly. Their fist reaction was that there was nothing new in Hussein’s approach.

    Uri Avneri has, in commenting on Israel’s reception of the Arab peace plan that has become identified with the name of Prince Abdallah (as if this broadly supported Arab proposal only came from him), delineated the various stages of the usual Israeli reaction to peace overtures: “PHASE A is designed to belittle the offer. "There is nothing new there," the Political Sources would assert. "It is offered solely for tactical purposes. It is a political gimmick". If the offer comes from an Arab: "He says it to the international community, but not to his own people". In short, "It's not serious." “

    Thus the reaction to Hussein’s pre-Khartoum overtures ran to type. Moreover, the basis for any understanding was taken away with the hasty annexation (eh, ‘unification’) of East Jerusalem and Israel’s far reaching plans for settlements on the West Bank.

    The first document offered here concerns Eban’s first post 19th of June conversation with the American Secretary of State, containing the Israeli cabinet’s ‘tentative conclusions ‘ as he called them, that were, by the magic of political spin, post facto transformed into an ‘offer’.

    (Wherever I have left out fragments in the following documents I have inserted the usual three dots)

    314. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/
    New York, June 22, 1967, 0455Z.
    /1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to Tel Aviv. Received at 3:27 a.m. Passed to the White House at 3:44 a.m. Secretary Rusk was in New York June 19-June 23 to attend the Special Session of the UN General Assembly.

    Secretary and Ambassador Goldberg received Israeli FonMin Eban along with Rafael and Harman 7:15 p.m. June 21. Hour's conversation revolved around two main topics: (A) Situation in Near East and Israeli view re settlement and (B) present parliamentary situation in UNGA. This telegram covers topic (A)./2/

    Eban stated Israeli inter-ministerial committee had come to some tentative conclusions which he would like to discuss with Secretary but not others.

    Egypt-Israel. Israelis wanted peace treaty on basis present international frontiers. This would involve Israeli maritime passage through Straits Tiran and Suez Canal and air passage over straits. In context non-belligerency this would mean Israel would be treated like everyone else. In same context Israel envisaged demilitarization of Sinai, which was natural barrier between two countries. From Egypt, Israel wanted only security, no territory. Israelis felt Egypt might be attracted to this concept.
    Important thing that there must be treaty which committed Egyptians. Israeli unwilling accept another understanding on basis of assumptions. This had been major fault of 1957 arrangements which had committed much of world but not Egypt.

    Israel-Syria. Israelis would like peace treaty on the basis of the international frontiers with some understanding that Syrian hills overlooking Israeli territory would be demilitarized. Israelis would also like assurances that Syria would not use returned territory for purpose of diversion of Jordan waters away from Israel. Eban noted that Syrians unable divert these waters now because Israeli held essential territory. Eban concluded that Israel was offering both Egypt and Syria complete withdrawal to international frontiers. These terms not ungenerous.

    Gaza. Eban noted that Egypt had never claimed Gaza, had not accepted responsibility for occupying it, or for the refugees. The natural thing was for Gaza to be in Israel. Israelis would make every effort on behalf of Gaza population which totaled over 350,000 people. This plus Israel's present Arab population would bring total Arabs in Israel to about 700,000. Israelis wondered whether some could not be settled elsewhere, e.g. northern part of Sinai, "Central Palestine" or West Bank of Jordan. Israelis would like to maintain status of UNRWA as source of assistance to these people.

    West Bank of Jordan.

    Eban said Israeli thinking "less crystalized" re West Bank. They were still working on basis two tendencies, two conceptions in GOI. One tendency assumed that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan would continue and that an agreed settlement on the basis of the demarcation line should be worked out. Another idea was that there should be some kind of association between the West Bank and Israel on the basis of autonomy and economic union.

    The difficulty with this latter approach, said Eban, was that it would push Hussein back across the Jordan River. Moreover, there were no international constitutional precedents for such an arrangement.

    The Secretary interposed by wondering whether there were not precedents on the basis of letting the people concerned decide. Eban replied that GOI was trying to take soundings on the intelligence level. There were some "serious" Arab leaders on West Bank who felt that their relationship with East Jordan had been artificial and had provided them no security. Others had Hashemite loyalties.

    Secretary commented that it was helpful to have these preliminary thoughts.

    Jerusalem. Secretary hoped that Israel would be very careful with regard to Jerusalem as it involved actual or latent passions of an enormous number of people. The matter was very delicate and could be a source of strong anti-Israel feeling in the United States. Eban replied that Israel was trying to put the Christian holy places under Christian control and the Moslem holy places under Moslem control. Eban admitted that Israel had a job to do in projecting publicly its intentions regarding access to holy places.

    To be continued

  17. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 6:57 pm

    "The three noes of Khartoum" 3

    329. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach to President Johnson/1/
    Washington, June 27, 1967.

    The Israelis tell us they have not yet finally made up their minds on the position they will take with regard to the West Bank generally, and Jerusalem in particular. So far, we have advised them not to take unilateral actions, nor to present the world with a fait accompli.

    Nicholas deB Katzenbach

    . 331. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
    Washington, June 28, 1967, 1:30-3:10 p.m.

    Prospects for solution of the Middle East Crisis
    President Johnson Secretary McNamara
    King Hussein Mr. Walt Rostow
    Mr. Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Mr. George Christian
    Mr. McGeorge Bundy Ambassador Macomber
    Foreign Minister Tuqan Ambassador Shubeilat
    General Khammash
    Ambassador Burns

    The King noted that the Arabs were at a major turning point. They could opt for what amounted to a settlement with Israel, to be followed by concentration on economic development; or the Arabs could opt to make no settlement and to re-arm for another round. Hussein favored the first course.

    338. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State/1/
    Tel Aviv, July 2, 1967, 1130Z.

    /2/Telegram 218573 to Tel Aviv, June 29, instructed Barbour to register U.S. opposition to any unilateral action by Israel to assert de jure control over occupied territories. (Ibid.)
    /3/Document 333.
    /4/Telegram 3 from Tel Aviv, July 1, reported that before receiving telegrams 218573 and 219964, Barbour had discussed the subject of Jerusalem with the Israeli Minister of Justice and several other officials and had strongly deplored the "precipitate issuance unification ordinance re Jerusalem." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)

    3. However, as to Jerusalem, GOI adamant.

    Barbour (Barbour was the American Ambassador in Israel – A.B.)

    360. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations/1/
    Washington, July 13, 1967, 11:06 p.m.

    6581. Please deliver at once following message from Secretary of State to Foreign Minister Eban reported at Plaza Hotel.

    Dear Mr. Minister:

    We have today received a most urgent and private message from King Hussein./2/ This message informs us that the King has determined that he is prepared to conclude some sort of arrangement with the Government of Israel. In the meeting in Cairo he apparently informed Nasser of the possibility that he may undertake such an action. The exact steps and the circumstances under which negotiation might be possible are yet to be determined and the timing is, of course, a matter of major importance.

    /2/Telegram 4941 from Amman, July 13, reported a conversation between King Hussein and Ambassador Burns in which the King stated he was prepared to make a unilateral settlement with Israel, and that he had discussed this with Nasser, who had said he would raise no objections if Hussein raised this with the Americans. The King said he would like to know what the Israelis would be likely to do vis-à-vis Jordan if he were prepared for a settlement. He said Jordan would have to get back substantially all it lost in the war, including the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem. He also said it was essential that Jordan obtain some arms immediately. (National Archives and Records Administration, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27-14 ARAB-ISR/SANDSTORM)

    In our opinion this is a major act of courage on the part of King Hussein and offers the first important breakthrough toward peace in the current period following active hostilities. It is an opportunity in our judgment that must not be lost, offering as it does a chance to embark on a course in the Arab world which could lead to an acceptance of Israel by its neighbors and to steps which could well change the whole course of history in the Middle East.

    We wish that time were available for us to consider abstractly and unrelated to immediate problems all of the issues that are involved in this offer. But we believe we have tomorrow in the vote in the United Nations on the Pakistan resolution an opportunity to pave the way for positive steps in the days ahead–an opportunity that must not be lost. With the knowledge of King Hussein's willingness to risk a very great deal, certainly including his own security, it is imperative, we think, that your government take a step in connection with the consideration of the future of Jerusalem that would be in harmony with the courage shown by the King and which will facilitate negotiations in the days ahead of us. We urge that you attempt to make the broadest kind of gesture possible with respect to the future of Jerusalem. We urge especially that you make a generous offer with respect to the future of Jerusalem that would in effect explicitly interpret as interim the administrative arrangements recently placed in effect with respect to that city. We would also hope that your country could offer more explicitly to enter into international arrangements for a city which would assure that all religions and all faiths have access to the holy places. The offer might include a willingness to discuss with Jordan directly or otherwise the future of the old city based on the concept of universality, possibly pointing to Jordan as the spokesman for the Arab world in view of its location in relation both to Israel and to Jerusalem itself.

    Let me add that as you know our own position on Jerusalem has for some years supported its international character, a position to which we still adhere.

    The matter is urgent. The events of tomorrow in the General Assembly may have an important bearing on the greatest opportunity we have yet seen to achieve what you and your country have wanted and have suffered through two wars to achieve. I urge your most careful and urgent consideration of this matter. The more moderate and generous the position of Israel tomorrow, the greater the chance that there can be a good result from Hussein's new readiness.

    For Tel Aviv:
    To save time and emphasize importance we attached to this message Ambassador should deliver it at once to highest available official with urgent informal suggestion it go at once to Eskhol if Eban has not yet had time to report it.


  18. Shai
    March 22, 2008, 7:05 pm

    Arie, what are you trying to prove, that the Arabs were begging to "recognize" Israel in the pre-1967 boundaries? Whatever case you're trying to build, it never ends up that way. They were looking for a situation that was not peace, but not war. The Israelis refused that deal, for better or worse, thinking that a return of the territories was substantial enough to warrant a true peace agreement.

    It's of no consequence that the Arab League offered a deal they could have offered in 1967 in 2002, unless they are ALSO willing to accept as I had proposed a dunam for dunam exchange of land that permits Arab and Jewish conurbations along the Green Line to be gerrymandered into their respective governing entities, AND if they accepted that the refugees be absorbed ONLY into the Palestinian state to be formed.

    Israelis rightfully are suspicious of a deal that, irrespective of how Arabs and their supporters feel, will result in political upheavals that will destroy Israel.

    Again, I propose, Arie – as if you and I are to decide – the following:

    1) All refugees are absorbed in the newly incorporated state of Palestine.
    2) The boundary will be adjusted so that Jewish conurbations are part of Israel as much as possible, and so that Arab conurbations are part of Palestine as much as possible.
    3) That regarding the Temple Mount, that there be vertical sovereignty, with the Jews having what's below the ground, and Muslims/Arabs what's above the ground.
    4) That together with providing cash awards to those displaced amongst both Jews and Arabs as a result of our conflict, and the above, the conflict will be considered "over" by both sides, and both sides will educate their youth to honor the obligation of peace between these two states.

    What's the problem with this, Arie?

  19. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 7:05 pm

    "The three noes of Khartoum" 4

    Hussein’s overtures apparently received no publicity in Israel. In a dispatch dating from December 1967 one of the most respected Israeli journalists, Amos Elon, wrote: “As far as such things can be ascertained … no political feelers were put out by the Jordanians, except on one occasion through an unidentified third party; judging from what Prime Minister Eshkol later told an interviewer about this feeler it did not appear to have been serious.” Thus was Avneri’s script followed to the letter.

    Further with the archival pieces.

    366. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State/1/

    Tel Aviv, July 14, 1967, 2135Z.
    167. State 6581./2/

    2. Eshkol welcomed overture from Hussein. However, he professed inability to understand our apparent surprise at Hussein's step. Recalling various recent statements by King which he interpreted to effect King would attempt achieve Arab summit and failing that would feel free to proceed on his own, Prime Minister said move should not have been unexpected. What disturbed Eshkol was tenor of Secretary's message that Israel should respond with concessions on Jerusalem and specifically indicate a willingness to regard renunciation of city under Israeli control as subject modification. He averred most positively that he had stretched his cabinet like a rubber band on a number of problems which had been considered in last few weeks but that rubber band would break immediately if he authorized Eban to make any statements that measures to reunify city only "interim" and subject further debate. As to GA debate and resolution on Jerusalem he urged that we not support resolution calling for retrogression. His argument was that such U.S. support would be disservice to Hussein who would then be expected to achieve more in negotiation than any Israeli Government could ultimately give.


    367. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
    Washington, July 15, 1967, 11 a.m.-12:03 p.m.


    Near East Settlement

    Mr. Abba Eban, Foreign Minister of Israel
    Ambassador Avraham Harman, Ambassador of Israel
    Mr. Emanuel Shimoni, Private Secretary to the Foreign Minister
    The Secretary and Under Secretary
    M–Mr. Rostow
    NEA–Rodger P. Davies, Deputy Assistant Secretary

    The Secretary said that the Palestinian solution would seem to involve a second-class status for the Arabs and could lead to Palestinian demands to become the 14th Arab state.

    The Secretary saw real trouble ahead on Jerusalem. There are strong feelings in many places on this issue. The USG had never agreed with either the Israeli or Jordanian positions on Jerusalem, and there had been sharp, adverse reaction to recent Israeli steps in Jerusalem. The question of Jerusalem must be kept open for further discussion and negotiations. The U.S. sought solid international arrangements, and this would not be satisfied by scattered rights over a few holy places.


    370. Memorandum of Meeting/1/

    Washington, July 16, 1967, noon.

    . The meeting is also recorded in a July 16 memorandum from Wriggins to Walt Rostow and Bundy, which describes it as a meeting of the "inner circle of the Control Group"–Katzenbach, Eugene Rostow, Battle, Kohler, and Wriggins, plus Walsh and Burns. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VIII)

    1. Hussein has informed us of his desire to reach a settlement with Israel. He has staked out a negotiating position of a return to the political lines of June 4, including Jordanian control of the Old City of Jerusalem. He is prepared to accept some border rectification, accompanied by over-flight rights and port facilities in Israel. He wishes us to determine whether this would be in the Israeli ball park. The Israelis, in turn, have informed us that they are ready to talk to the Jordanians although they are uncertain about the seriousness of Hussein.
    2. The key to a negotiated settlement is Jerusalem. We need a better assessment of Israel's flexibility on this subject before giving a definitive reply to Hussein.

    385. Memorandum From the President's Special Consultant (Bundy) to President Johnson/1/
    Washington, July 21, 1967.


    The Middle East as we Approach the Weekend

    The Israelis are now telling us that they are not ready for serious talks (though they can handle opening feelers), and it looks as if it would take a little time to get this thing going in any event.
    2. Arthur Goldberg (American UN ambassador A.B.) tells me that the most recent effort to get an agreed resolution on substance has run up against an Arab stone wall. It was a good game to play out, and I think he handled it extremely well in the face of Israeli worries which were both foolish and foolishly expressed.

    Finally, I should report that there are a number of other signs of hardening Israeli positions up and down the line. Their intemperate reaction to Goldberg's skillful round with Gromyko, their edginess about the Jordanian negotiations, their increasing interest in solutions that would not return the West Bank to Jordan, and the evidence of political jockeying among their leaders (each tougher than the other) make me think that the time is coming for American words and actions which will have at least a constructive effect in knocking you off the top of the Israeli polls. The trick will be to achieve that result without any parallel impact at home."

    To be continued

    re: Danby MP vs Melbourne University Press

  20. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 7:14 pm

    "the three noes of Khartoum" 5

    The following number, 398, was archived to put on record a conversation between Walter Rostow, then Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (a post now called National Security Adviser) to President Johnson, and Evron, then the Israeli Ambassador to the USA. However, I have only included an editorial note (in the original printed in blue) going with that memo about a conversation between Lucius Battle, then US Asst. Secretary of State for Near East and South East Asian Affairs and Evron since that has to do with our topic. The actual conversation between Rostow and Evron had mainly to do with technical matters (armament I seem to remember).

    398. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
    Washington, July 30, 1967.

    Mr. Ephraim Evron, Minister, Embassy of Israel, called me yesterday [July 30] and asked if he could drop by at my home on his way back from the airport where he was leaving his wife at 10:00 p.m. I agreed.

    /3/Evron told Battle in a luncheon conversation on July 31 that the Israelis were convinced that "time is on their side and that the longer the Suez Canal is closed and the greater the economic problem in the UAR, the better chance that Nasser will be the first Arab country to come to peace terms with them." (Memorandum of conversation, July 31; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 27 ARAB-ISR)


    Next item is self-elucidatory.

    399. Memorandum From the President's Special Consultant (Bundy) to President Johnson/1/
    Washington, July 31, 1967.

    The Middle East at the End of July
    The Israeli position appears to be hardening as the Arabs still resist all direct negotiations. The Israelis have great confidence in their short-run political and military superiority. I think the evidence grows that they plan to keep not only all of Jerusalem but the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, too.

    The following telegram is from the US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, to Barbour, the US Ambassador to Israel, and refers to a report Rusk had received from Rostow (see above) concerning a conversation between Burns, US Ambassador to Jordan, and the Jordanian King, Hussein.

    405. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel/1/
    Washington, August 4, 1967, 0001Z.

    15897. 1. During Evron call August 2, Under Secretary Rostow reported that Ambassador Burns, on basis his recent talks with King Hussein, thought Hussein still wanted settlement and was attempting strengthen his position as preparatory step.
    Rostow said our own soundings indicated there was strong feeling about Jerusalem in Moslem world. If formula on Jerusalem could be found which would permit Jordanian-Israeli deal, this could be of crucial importance. It should not be beyond the wit of man to find such formula. Rostow recalled Eban's statement to Secretary that Israeli stand on Jerusalem represented "negotiating position" and that key consideration for Israel was preservation "unified administration." This was not excluded by Hussein./2/ (Evron interjected to say "you mean unified Israeli administration.") Rostow said we would continue to explore Jerusalem question and Israel must not exclude consideration of alternative arrangements.


    The following memorandum refers to a conversation between H.H.Saunders, an Asst.Secretary at the State Dept., and Evron, the Israeli Ambassador to the USA.

    418. Memorandum for the Record/1/
    Washington, August 15, 1967.

    Discussion with Israeli Minister

    I expressed concern that Israel seemed to be digging into its present position more solidly every day. Each new headline painted a darker image. Without even arguing the merits of letting the dust settle, I saw a problem for both of us in the rapidly sharpening image of Israel as the intransigent victor holding onto its spoils. Evron said it was inevitable that Israel (and we) would have a hard time in the coming UNGA. I suggested that there are two ways of dealing with the inevitable. One is to sit on your hands and accept all its consequences; the other is to see whether you can't do something to face it with some dignity instead of just sticking your head in the sand and letting the brickbats fly.


    The next item is a telegram from the US Ambassador in Israel, Barbour, to the Department of State. The first paragraph is an added editorial note.

    425. Telegram From the Embassy in Israel to the Department of State/1/
    Tel Aviv, August 21, 1967, 0900Z.

    524. Ref: State 23385./2/
    /2/Telegram 23385 to Tel Aviv, August 18, states that the Department had noted with increasing concern recent statements by Israeli public figures about long-term Israeli policy on the West Bank and other occupied areas and was concerned that they might indicate increasing Israeli determination to occupy permanently the territories currently under military occupation. (Ibid.)
    1. We share Dept's concern at recent spate statements by Israeli political leaders indicating hardening of positions in [garble] permanently expanded Israel. (See also our A-109 and A-113.)/3/ If Arabs continue unready to talk peace and Israeli political scene continues as hotly competitive as it has been–at this juncture both contingencies seem likely–then Israeli opinion, stimulated by politicians staking out ever more advanced frontiers in the occupied territories, must perforce be increasingly conditioned to accept [as] permanent many aspects of the present territorial situation.


    The last item concerns a conversation between Walter Rostow (see above) and the Israeli Ambassador.

    431. Memorandum of Conversation/1/
    Washington, August 29, 1967.

    Minister Evron came in, at his request, to make two points on direct instruction from Foreign Minister Eban.

    2. The UN Resolution
    The heart of the Israeli objection to the joint U.S.-Soviet resolution is its implication that Israel must return to the territories occupied on June 4. Even in exchange for a peace treaty Israel is not prepared for a simple return to the June 4 boundaries. What Israel will seek by agreement with the Arabs are "secure" boundaries, in addition to maintaining the unity of the city of Jerusalem. When I noted that we had not accepted the June 4 date in the UN resolution, Evron said the resolution still contained the language: "withdrawal from all occupied territories." He said that the Israeli Government was quite content with the carefully designed language used by the President with respect to boundaries, most recently in his communication with Tito; but it was essential that the U.S. position in the UN not clash with the President's formula of "secure and agreed borders."

  21. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 7:23 pm

    "The three noes of Khartoum" 6 Postscript

    The notion that Israel held on to a land-for-peace formula until 'the three noes of Khartoum', with its implied suggestion that in return for peace agreements it was willing to return to the pre 4th of June borders – that, at any case, already gave Israel 26% more of the 1947 territory than it had been allocated by the UN – is a myth. It is one of the many myths about this conflict that have been built up over the years and that are hard to dislodge because of the pervasiveness of pro-Israel apologetics.

    If on the 19th of June 1967 the Israeli cabinet showed willingness to return to the pre-war borders, at any case as far as Egypt and Syria were concerned, it is clear that by the end of August and BEFORE KHARTOUM this willingness had disappeared. The talk was then of ‘secure borders’ not the ‘international boundaries’.

    It is also clear that the Israeli cabinet reacted negatively to the overtures of Hussein that were received on the basis of the strategy sketched by Avneri viz ‘there is nothing new here’ and ‘this is not serious’. But what really blocked those attempts at peace was Israeli unwillingness to make the annexation of East Jerusalem undone and to give up settlement plans for the West Bank. It was Israel that was not serious about peace with Hussein.

    And in the Israeli cabinet even the doves grew gradually more hawkish.

    Elon mentions in his dispatch of December 1967 I have referred to earlier (it is included in his book “‘A Blood-Dimmed Tide”) that “even as moderate a man as Foreign Minister Abba Eban said that any peace conference would serve first to negotiate a ‘new map’ of the area. Israel must not withdraw to what he called its former ‘Auschwitz borders’ “ (whatever that may mean).

    The intellectual elite, that usually sees critique of the powers that be as one of its main tasks, now shared this hawkish mood, even to the extent that professional hawks became worried. Elon refers to a statement by one senior army officer who said; “They frighten me, these intellectuals and poets …It is strange: if I were intoxicated with victory, that would be bad but natural. But they…?”

    Voices of moderation were few and far between but they were there. Elon quotes Professor JL Talmon of the Hebrew University who wrote “The example of other nations fills me with the fear of lurking dangers to the moral texture, mental balance and spiritual values of a master race.” The statement is a bit obscure ('and spiritual values' should presumably be 'from the spiritual values') but nevertheless prophetic…

    And what about Khartoum? Was it really a manifestation of complete Arab obstinacy and determination to see Israel wiped off the map? To take one’s cue here from the public broadcasts of the time is to confuse demagogics with diplomacy.

    The two Israeli historians who have dealt in the greatest detail with this period, Avi Shlaim and Michael Oren, are too professional to fall into this trap. Michael Oren wrote:

    “Western observers would later debate whether Khartoum was a victory for Arab moderation or radicalism. True, it vetoed any interaction with Israel, but it appeared to open doors to third party arbitration and the demilitarization of the occupied territories.”

    Oren also said: “For the Israeli’s the ‘three no’s’ of Khartoum effectively closed the door on the June 19 resolution”. A shade of the old myth here. Perhaps there is for Oren a difference between merely closing a door and ‘effectively’ closing it.

    Shlaim, who is generally more critical of Israel than Oren, wrote about Khartoum:

    “The conference ended with the adoption of the famous three noes of Khartoum: no recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel. On the face of it these declarations showed no sign of readiness for compromise, and this is how Israel interpreted them. In fact, the conference was a victory for the Arab moderates who argued for trying to obtain the withdrawal of Israel’s forces by political rather than military means. Arab spokesmen interpreted the Khartoum declarations to mean no formal peace treaty, but not a rejection of a state of peace; no direct negotiations, but not a refusal to talk through third parties, and no de jure recognition of Israel, but acceptance of its existence as a state.

    "President Nasser and King Hussein set the tone at the summit and made it clear subsequently that they were prepared to go much further than ever before toward settlement with Israel.”

    This is borne out by Elon who wrote five years ago:

    “Peace, at least with Egypt and Jordan, we now know, was a practical possibility from as early as 1970-71 … In 1971, UN mediator Gunnar Jarring addressed partly identical notes to the governments of Israel and Egypt. He asked Egypt whether it was ready to conclude a peace treaty if Israel withdrew from occupied Egyptian territory. And he asked Israel whether it was ready to withdraw if Egypt made peace with it. Egypt’s answer was yes. Israel’s answer was no.”

  22. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 7:32 pm

    Shai, what I "am trying to prove" is obvious to anyone who can read – and that might exclude you – namely that the Israeli propaganda myth, that you parroted so loyally, that Israel sought to return the conquered territories and was then rudely rebuffed at Khartoum is based on a LIE.

    "Before then, Israelis were (contrary to another post elsewhere by a commenter) seeking to return the entirety of the lands that were won in the war with the exception of Jerusalem, and the answer from the Arab League was no to recognition, no to talks, no to peace with the Israelis."

  23. Shai
    March 22, 2008, 7:51 pm

    Arie, read what you yourself posted.

    At best, only Jordan was proposing any sort of deal in the early days after the 6 day war.

    Later, in 1971, Egypt implied they might also be interested in a deal.

    Do you perhaps recall how many Arab nations went to war with Israel in the 6 day war? How serious do you think a peace deal with Jordan alone could have been taken, given that the Jordanians would have been punished severely for it and Israel would once again be targeted by a new regime on its eastern border? Why do you think that together with the peace offer the Jordanians demanded to be resupplied with arms? BECAUSE THEY WERE BEING THREATENED WITH BEING OVERTHROWN!!!!

    What about the rest of the Arab League, Arie? Why did it take until 2002 for the Arab League to make a public offer, rather than the behind-the-scenes offers that were too little, too late?

    Your reproduction and tendentious presentation of facts suggests that Thou protesteth too much, if you know what I mean (though, I gather you might be excluded from knowing what I mean).

    Now, if you're done with your propaganda stunt, might I suggest you try your hand at finding a solution to this problem, Mr. Brand, rather than wasting time describing the problem?

  24. Arie Brand
    March 22, 2008, 8:47 pm

    We were not talking about Arab offers – you claimed that there was a pre-Khartoum Israeli offer to withdraw from the conquered territories. There wasn't. That is all there is to it.

    I notice that you have now added a third strategy to your apologetics in addition to the two I have described before (post modernist babble about 'narratives', shying away from moral judgments – under the guise of just preferring factual talk – as long as the other party is concerned).

    Now your line is: all this talk about the past is just a waste of time (as long as it doesn't serve your purposes of course), let us concentrate on solutions.

    This one might be called the 'Witty strategy'. In fact Witty is much like you, minus the arrogance of course.

  25. Castellio
    March 22, 2008, 9:29 pm

    Thanks for the info, Arie. I hadn't seen that before.

    But Shal, if you want to talk solutions all of a sudden, why not take the 2002 offer? Why not take it now?

    Prefer the coming war?

  26. Shai
    March 23, 2008, 2:38 am

    Arie, there was a pre-Khartoum offer to withdraw, except for Jerusalem. It was proposed by Ben Gurion. However, as the weeks advanced and it became clear to Israelis (in their mind) that the Arabs were less of a threat WITH the additional lands than with a no peace yet no war agreement that only one of the 7 states (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt) MIGHT want a peace agreement, and that was Jordan who had been negotiating behind the scenes for 3 years already with no results and who joined in on the attack, none of the Arab peace overtures were considered credible.

    As far as your insistence on my approaches being apologetics, well all I can say is that you're entitled to your wrong opinion. Obviously from where you sit (Scandanavia?) solutions appear less important to you than being "right", as wrong as that right is, and your "strategy" is to sling mud about other people's apologetics, strategies, arrogance (I love that one, supporters of Palestinians always pull that one out of their quiver), pretext (they like that one, too), rights, blah blah blah yadda yadda).

    Focus on the real world, Arie. It's not as bad as you think.

  27. Shai
    March 23, 2008, 2:45 am

    Castellio, the 2002 offer of the Arab League was accepted as a negotiation starting point by the Israelis. It was considered a line in the sand by the Arabs, and they won't budge.

    Problem is, Israel cannot accept the return of Palestinian Arabs to any other territory than the new state of Palestine if it's to remain a Jewish Democratic state. Further, the 2002 offer does not allow for any land exchanges that results in placing more Jews in Israel and less in Palestine, and more Arabs in Palestine and less in Israel. The impression we have of this is that the 2002 offer is a way to destroy Israel through diplomacy by overwhelming us with numbers that eliminate the Jewish state democratically, when they can't do it through weaponry.

    So, yes – I guess if you give us a choice, we prefer a coming war to self-destruction. At least we have a chance of coming out on top.

    But far better it would be if the Arab League would be flexible on these two issues (thusfar, they refuse to be and that gives cause to question their real motives), as they would find a willing partner on the Israeli side to accept bridging proposals.

  28. Shai
    March 23, 2008, 2:46 am

    Castellio, the 2002 offer of the Arab League was accepted as a negotiation starting point by the Israelis. It was considered a line in the sand by the Arabs, and they won't budge.

    Problem is, Israel cannot accept the return of Palestinian Arabs to any other territory than the new state of Palestine if it's to remain a Jewish Democratic state. Further, the 2002 offer does not allow for any land exchanges that results in placing more Jews in Israel and less in Palestine, and more Arabs in Palestine and less in Israel. The impression we have of this is that the 2002 offer is a way to destroy Israel through diplomacy by overwhelming us with numbers that eliminate the Jewish state democratically, when they can't do it through weaponry.

    So, yes – I guess if you give us a choice, we prefer a coming war to self-destruction. At least we have a chance of coming out on top.

    But far better it would be if the Arab League would be flexible on these two issues (thusfar, they refuse to be and that gives cause to question their real motives), as they would find a willing partner on the Israeli side to accept bridging proposals.

  29. Arie Brand
    March 23, 2008, 3:27 am

    Shai said:"Arie, there was a pre-Khartoum offer to withdraw, except for Jerusalem. It was proposed by Ben Gurion."

    You are entirely wrong. Ben Gurion was not in the Israeli government then and not even in the Mapai party with which he had parted ways in 1965 over the handling of the Lavon affair (remember that false flag 1954 bombing operation on British and American targets in Egypt your folks engaged in to strengthen the hands of the British and American opponents of British withdrawal from Egypt).

    The party Ben Gurion set up after nhis break with Mapai (and Eshkol), the RAFI party, had only a handful of members in parliament.

    Thus Ben Gurion was not in a position to make any offer.

    It is true that he was against the occupation of most of the conquered territory because he probably could see what was coming, as Dayan did not.But his advice was not heeded.

    You seem to know remarkably little about the history of your own country. The reason for this is, I think, that you have been fed on myths and lies,that you now attempt to retail here.

  30. John
    March 23, 2008, 6:31 am

    Arie – Impressive posts. I think Shai is referring to a speech by Ben-Gurion that scared the Israeli politicos a bit and inspired the June 19 cabinet "offer" (BTW, sources I've seen disagree about the vote, some say unanimous, some say 11-10). I think Eban just plain lied about it in his books as he says there was a negative Arab response.

    Shai – and many others – have to decide whether he they are interested in documented history or in ancient fairy tales. The "pro-Israelis" are the one who need to focus on the real world, instead of their paranoid fantasy world.

    Israel didn't "accept as a negotiation starting point" the 2002 Arab League offer, it ignored it. (Israel's politicians are stupid, but not so stupid, nor so unconstrained any more by opinion, to reject such offers like in the old days). If Israel were sane and intelligent enough to accept it, the conflict would be basically over. The rest of what Shai says about it is pretty nonsensical. The story about refugees is just post facto BS concocted to avoid talking to the eeeevil Arabs. The 2002 initiative, like SC 242 just repeats the language of GA 194 section 11, which Israel (and the Arab states, a few months later) accepted in 1949. The Arabs are not demanding some absurdly fixed borders nor to flood Israel with refugees.

    In any case, the 2002 offer is hardly new at all. Shai's question "What about the rest of the Arab League, Arie? Why did it take until 2002 for the Arab League to make a public offer, rather than the behind-the-scenes offers that were too little, too late?" as is usual with "pro-Israel" "arguments" is based on ignorance of history.

    The real turning point for such offers was with the public Saudi/ Arab League Fahd and Fez plans of 1981 and 1982 – the 2002 plan is just them improved slightly to be as nice as conceivable. The best book on such is Avraham Sela's Decline of the Arab-israeli Conflict.

    The "no peace" in Khartoum is interesting. What it said was "no sulha" not "no salaam". Sulha is stronger – peaceful reconciliation – the British FM at the time interpreted Khartoum sarcastically to mean proposing "peace without kissing". People bring up Khartoum all the time, but never mention the inconvenient fact that Jordan and Egypt publicly accepted SC 242 immediately, while Israel only grudgingly and at first privately accepted it later. Informed people, academics and diplomats, genuinely wondered when and if Israel would get around to accepting it until 1970 or so.

    There's next to no question that Israel could have had peace with its neighbors in 1971- 72. There were even offers of refugee resettlement. It just didn't want it, and idiotically wanted land – particularly Sharm al-Sheikh! – yeah, history has shown how much Israel needed Sharm al-Sheikh for its security. Against Eban's advice, it even rejected the public Arab peace offers in a rather insulting, annexationist way. Cf the conversations quoted in Kimmerling's Politicide, quoting Hanoch Bartov's new edition of "Dado" – When Israel Galili noted that if they rejected Sadat's "generous offer" (Galili's words!), war was inevitable, Dayan, a few months before the 73 war, replied "so what?" saying they'd just conquer more territory. It's hard to overestimate the foolish megalomania then, as it is hard to overestimate the sheer pointless stupidity of Israel's incessant refusal of reasonable peace offers now. I fear it may be because they have come to the terribly dangerous point of starting to believe their own lies.

  31. Shai
    March 23, 2008, 7:04 am

    Well, this is really very simple, isn't it? Whatever I say is not "historical", it's "nonsensical". Whatever you say is "historical", and "not nonsensical". I'd posit rather than my view of history is accurate, and yours is tendentious and even ridiculous, based on cherry picked facts and quotes taken out of context, sometimes quotes never said at all.

    I am neither ignorant of my country's history nor of history in general. Yes, there are historians who interpret the events differently, some who choose to analyze wider contexts vs. narrower contexts, some who believe history makes leaders and others who believe leaders make history, some who argue about causality and some who reverse causality, and some who invent causality of whole cloth because they see history as a tool of a "greater good", but I can tell you both this, Arie and John, neither of you live here in Israel I presume, you don't read the local newspapers, you don't breath the local politics, you haven't buried your neighbors from terrorist bombings, your Palestinian friends if you have them are probably Diaspora fanatics not less than Jews who don't live here, and your views are based on their skewed presentation of the facts, and you depend on your skewed views based on books written by people who themselves have skewed views, who buy into the view that the Jooz are taking over the world and controlling everybody's minds. How else would we expect your position to form, but to assume anything that disagrees with your view is bullshit?

    Which is why I insist that there's just no point talking about history. It's too emotionally laden to permit any solution to this conflict if we do.

    I say this, again – I'm putting my own view of history aside, for the sake of trying to come to some sort of solution to the conflict. Your choice, on behalf of Palestinians I assume, can be not to do so. But unless we quit the banging each other on the head with each other's version/history/narrative, there will be no solution to this conflict. For the sake of the so called principles you defend and that Arafat defended when he refused to counter-offer and end the conflict when he could, starting instead the "arafada", I suggest making "life" your primary value. Others defend Begin's and Shamir's incorporation of lands over the Green Line, and to them I say the same thing. Who needs all the commotion? It's just words. Makes no damn difference if you ask me, who's right. I could give a shit. All I want is a solution that results in two states living side by side in peace, respecting the other's right to be free from menace from their own or from their allies. And this comes from someone who frankly feels that Jews should be free to live in the entire area, as a sovereign Jewish nation. I would rather come to an agreement than continue to fight. But if the other side doesn't want to, I'll fight. And I'll win. Choose your sides as you wish, but my side will be left standing. So what do you gain from all this posturing?

  32. Arie Brand
    March 23, 2008, 7:41 am

    Shai, this is pathetic. There is no other word for it.

    I don't know who or what gains from your 'posturing' but it is certainly not the cause you believe to serve.

  33. Shai
    March 23, 2008, 8:00 am

    Arie, your historical narcissism is what's pathetic, serving only to advance the obvious, which is that your view of history hands from Ivory Towers rather than foundations in fact.

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