The United States has famously acted as Israel’s lawyer during the peace process, and here is further evidence. In the Camp David negotiations, the U.S. agreed to run all proposals by Israel before making any offer to Palestinians, lest the Israelis find the proposals “unsatisfactory.” And even as he negotiated with the Syrians, Bill Clinton cautioned Israel against giving up the Golan Heights because the Syrians would want to poison the Sea of Galilee. What a dishonest broker!
Jeff Stein reports in Newsweek on a new book out by an Israeli journalist that is getting attention because the book offers further documentation of Israel’s aggressive surveillance of the U.S.: Israel eavesdropped on President Clinton’s calls to then Syrian president Hafez al-Assad so as to know what the two were saying about Israeli P.M. Ehud Barak’s offer to withdraw from the Golan Heights in 1999.
Cursed Victory: A History of Israel and the Occupied Territories, scheduled for publication in the U.K. next week, also has this gem:
[Author Aharon] Bregman also obtained a copy of a letter from Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to Barak’s predecessor as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, marked “SECRET,” promising that the U.S. would check with Israel first before offering peace proposals to the Arabs. “Recognizing the desirability of avoiding putting forward proposals that Israel would consider unsatisfactory,” Albright wrote Netanyahu on Nov. 24, 1998, “the U.S. will conduct a thorough consultation process with Israel in advance with respect to any ideas the U.S. may wish to offer to the parties for their consideration. This would be particularly true,” Albright wrote, “with respect to security issues or territorial issues related to security…”
Albright, who was traveling in Brazil this week, declined to comment, according to an aide.
No wonder Netanyahu said that the US is something that can be “easily moved.”
In the end the Golan Heights talks foundered. According to the secret telephone transcripts the Israeli author published, Clinton blames Assad’s foreign minister, and makes excuses for the Israelis not wanting to give up occupied territory. Talk about being Israel’s lawyer and demonizing Arabs:
“[Syrian Foreign minister Farouk al-] Shara has screwed us… “ Clinton told Barak on Dec. 15, 1999, according to a transcript acquired by Bregman. “I think that the most important thing for you is the Sea of Galilee. If I were in your place I would be concerned that someone” — Syria — “could try to poison the water of the Sea of Galilee….”
But Madeleine Albright blamed the Israelis:
Albright lashed out at the prime minister, blaming Israel for the deadlock in the negotiations and for “playing with” Clinton’s credibility. “Very frankly…in all our history we haven’t had so many telephone conversations, the vast majority of which were on your initiative, and in these conversations you said it was very important to advance on the Syrian track…and we took it very seriously,” she told Barak, according to a Jan. 10, 2000 transcript obtained by Bregman. ”But you surprised us… because you have made the decision not to progress fast… Nothing has happened from your side… You have not got a better friend than the U.S. and you have no better friend than Clinton and you have played with his credibility… They [the Syrians] have been flexible… and we are concerned.”
Albright refused to demonize the Syrians, and called the Israelis on racism:
On Sept. 29, 1999, agents listened in as Syrian foreign minister [Farouk] al-Shara called Assad from New York to report on his meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. “She shows a lot of understanding … “ al-Shara said, according to a transcript obtained by Bregman. “[The Americans] are learning … I have explained to her that this [issue of land] is very sensitive … every meter is important [for Syria]… She understood this but said that the other ones” — the Israelis– “insist. She said, `But this is what they want,’ so I told her, ‘convince them [otherwise].’” Shara also reported to Assad that he told Albright he was upset by Israel’s “racist” language in the talks. “[The Israelis] say that they will not allow [the Syrians] to dip their toes in the water [of the Sea of Galilee]. I said that these are racist words … She showed sympathy… She said to me, `You’re right’ … So she understands, Sir.’”
So let’s get this straight: Clinton is telling the Israelis that the Syrians want to poison the Sea of Galilee even as his secretary of state is saying that it’s racist to keep Syrians from bathing in the sea of Galilee. Aren’t the Americans talking out of both sides of their mouths?