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Clinton cautioned Israelis on giving up Golan because Syrians might try to poison Sea of Galilee

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Madeleine Albright, from Samantha Power's twitter feed

Madeleine Albright, from Samantha Power’s twitter feed

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?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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  1. DICKERSON3870 on June 1, 2014, 4:19 am

    RE: “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!” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Oh, Phil! Really now, you should know better. Notwithstanding its being the weekend, you really shouldn’t get me started on Bill Clinton, because you just never really know what that might lead to; especially on evenings like this when I’m in no condition to even know what condition my condition is in [YouTube VIDEO 03:21]
    Well anyway, here I go.
    THE CLINTON CHRONICLES, Rant No. 18
    About ten years or so ago, Warren Buffett began talking about the fact that he paid federal taxes at a lower rate than the rate at which his secretary was taxed by the U.S. This was because his secretary paid taxes on “ordinary income”, whereas he paid taxes mostly on “capital gains”, which were taxed at a lower rate than was ‘ordinary income’.
    Upon checking, I was surprised to discover that, as of that time, ‘capital gains’ were apparently taxed by the federal government at a mere 15%. I was thinking about how much lower this rate was than I had expected, when suddenly I had a flashback to the 1980s, and President Reagan was on TV defending his proposal to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 50% to 28% by reminding everyone it was just one part of his “tax-simplification” proposal (which was eventually enacted as the Tax Reform Act of 1986) that was designed to be tax-revenue neutral; and since the proposal would do away with the different tax rates for ‘ordinary income’ and for ‘capital gains’, the higher tax rate for capital gains would help make up for the lower top tax rate for individuals. Furthermore, thanks to the tax-simplification resulting from the elimination of a lower tax rate for ‘capital gains’, there would be no need for the hoards of accountants and tax attorneys who in the past did nothing but try to turn ‘ordinary income’ to ‘capital gains’ so it would be taxed at the lower rate.
    As my flashback ended, I instantly became even more furious than Mike Malloy seems to get during his most intense rants about Dick Cheney; because it was obvious to me that “those sorry GOP bastards” used all that hooey about “tax-simplification” and the higher tax on ‘capital gains’ to justify a whopping reduction (50% to 28%) in the tax on ‘ordinary income’ (for the most part only benefiting the very wealthy), and then when enough time had passed so that it would have been virtually impossible to undo the massive tax cut for ‘ordinary income’ (largely benefiting the wealthy), those sorry GOP bastards brought back (‘tax simplification’ be damned) the lower tax rate for ‘capital gains’.
    I was really fuming at this point, and I was determined to find out how those sorry GOP bastards managed to resurrect the lower tax rate for ‘capital gains’ (and the concomitant hoards of accountants and tax attorneys).
    It took a while but I finally found it; but surprise, surprise, it wasn’t just “those sorry GOP bastards” who were involved. In fact, it was the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that, subject to certain phase-in rules, reduced the top marginal long term capital gains rate from 28% (i.e. the same as the tax rate for ordinary income) to 20%, and it was signed into law by none other than William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton himself (with, I assume, the enthusiastic support of Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers)! So much for President Reagan’s “tax-simplification”. Viva la accountants and tax attorneys!
    And, although I am certainly no more of an economist than I am a tax attorney, I’m willing to assume that this reduction in the tax rate for capital gains was pretty effective at ginning up the economy during much of Clinton’s second term. Not only that, but I think it’s fair to assume that it played a significant role in the creation of the “dot-com bubble”, that then made possible the “dot-com crash”. The crash and accompanying recession did not do much to help Al Gore’s campaign for the presidency, but it did provide George W. Bush with an excuse to send send out checks for a few hundred dollars each to most people, while he and Cheney treated their wealthy friends/supporters/donors to far more generous tax cuts, including yet another reduction in the top marginal long term capital gains rate, this time from 20% to 15%.

  2. wondering jew on June 1, 2014, 8:41 am

    Shmuel- Replying has been closed on the Brussels thread, so I resume it here.

    You are still maintaining that this was a professional spy hit on the Israelis, with the suspect carrying his Kalashnikov with him on the bus? You’ve had too many beers and are talking out of your a**. How much you wanna bet that this guy had nothing to do with spies and was only there murdering, because he wanted to get vengeance against Zionism? How many beers?

    • Shmuel on June 1, 2014, 9:17 am

      You’ve had too many beers and are talking out of your a**. How much you wanna bet

      You’re really taking this bar metaphor seriously, aren’t you? Right down to the “etiquette”.

      You are still maintaining that this was a professional spy hit on the Israelis

      I’m not maintaining anything. I’m waiting for the results of the investigation. I do think it is premature to jump to conclusions either way.

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2014, 3:00 am

        Shmuel- I will now proceed to cease using the bar metaphor.

        Do you still feel that it is premature to jump to conclusions either way?

        http://www.haaretz.com/st/inter/Global/dailyedition-en/today/

        I will not hold my breath to wait for Phil to apologize for his speculations. He owns this blog and is allowed to speculate whichever way he wants to and never to fess up that he said something that was proven wrong by the facts. Bar or no bar, this is not the work of a professional journalist, but of some street corner fool mouthing off whenever he feels like it, without any consequences.

      • tree on June 2, 2014, 3:41 am

        He owns this blog and is allowed to speculate whichever way he wants to and never to fess up that he said something that was proven wrong by the facts. Bar or no bar, this is not the work of a professional journalist, but of some street corner fool mouthing off whenever he feels like it, without any consequences.

        Fulfilling your self-appointed role as grumpy old man and full-time critic of Phil Weiss yet again I see. Since both the Guardian and Haaretz speculated on the spy assassination theory PRIOR to Phil’s piece I would suppose that any honest man who criticized Phil would likewise claim that the Guardian and Haaretz are not “professional journalists” for the same speculation, but then you aren’t really concerned about honesty are you? Your primary purpose here is to criticize Phil as often as possible whether honestly or not. Both anti-semitism and an anti-spy operation were mere speculation until a suspect was identified. Your speculation was no more righteous or informed than Phil’s or various Israeli and British journalists, it just happened in the end to be more correct this time. Phil owes no one an apology, least of all you.

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 3:59 am

        “Fulfilling your self-appointed role as grumpy old man and full-time critic of Phil …”

        Somebody had to take over Witty’s responsibility of making a good Jew out of him.

      • Shmuel on June 2, 2014, 4:08 am

        Yonah,

        Your link didn’t work, but from the information I’ve read elsewhere today, it seems likely that the attack was indeed a hate crime.

        this is not the work of a professional journalist, but of some street corner fool mouthing off whenever he feels like it, without any consequences

        Are you back in bar mode now? Phil’s angle was Bibi’s “dancing on the blood” (as the Hebrew expression goes), and he cited legitimate questions raised by a Belgian investigator, Haaretz, the Guardian and Richard Silverstein. So where’s the problem and why the invective?

      • talknic on June 2, 2014, 8:08 am

        @ yonah fredman “.. this is not the work of a professional journalist, but of some street corner fool mouthing off whenever he feels like it, without any consequences.”

        Odd … the possible consequences of folk being more and more accurately informed through this blog and/or encouraged to question Israel’s knee jerk reactions to events, seems to attract whataboutery, irrelevant & strawman arguments from people attempting to justify Israel’s illegal activities.

        ” …. He owns this blog and is allowed to speculate whichever way he wants to and never to fess up that he said something that was proven wrong by the facts. “

        Uh huh. Any one die because of it?

        Question: what about the Israeli Government propaganda machine’s speculations & complete lies and never fessing up that what they say now has been proven to be complete bullsh*t by their own words in the past? E.g., “Israel didn’t declare its borders!” and because of which non Jews and Jews are still dying.

        However this seems of little concern because dangerous life threatening bad bad Phil has goofed off……

        Someone needs to get a life!

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 3:46 am

        Shmuel, you offer to buy a guy a beer and instead of being grateful, he ends up calling you a drunk and telling you you are talking out of the wrong orifice; you could be more judicious in your choice of drinking partners.

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2014, 4:24 am

        If my terms were injudicious, here is my mea culpa. But let phil say he was wrong. Bibi’s usage of the affair for political gain was excoriated by derfner and affirmed by me, but phil’s language in his headline, at least, was way off base.

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 4:42 am

        Yonah, my “peanut gallery” comment was only in reference to the gracious offer of a beer; I haven’t been really following the story. I just read that the Belgian or French authorities have confirmed that a voice recording on the camera of the French Islamist suspect picked in Marseille has his voice admitting to have been the shooter.

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2014, 4:55 am

        On the original thread after Phil made his speculation, I offered my speculation and was attacked for my speculation (or for my convoluted language) by Elliot, Woody Tanaka, Ellen and Shmuel. I answered back and the only one who responded was Shmuel.

        Everyone is allowed to speculate (excluding Netanyahu) but also apparently excluding me or those who use convoluted language.

        Because Shmuel is a Litvack (Vulcan) I thought he was imperturbable like Spock. If he was in fact hurt by my carrying the barroom metaphor too far, I apologize.

        But my takeaway from this is that everyone is allowed to speculate here in the comments section and in the text of MW, but my speculations are not allowed.

      • Shmuel on June 2, 2014, 5:00 am

        Because Shmuel is a Litvack (Vulcan) I thought he was imperturbable like Spock. If he was in fact hurt by my carrying the barroom metaphor too far, I apologize.

        No skin off my pointy ears ;-)

      • tree on June 2, 2014, 5:11 am

        But my takeaway from this is that everyone is allowed to speculate here in the comments section and in the text of MW, but my speculations are not allowed.

        This seems to be your “takeaway” in nearly every instance and its not a realistic assessment. Maybe you should reassess what you “take” from the comments here. People are allowed to speculate, others are allowed to disagree with the speculation, or criticize or disagree with aspects of other people’s comments. None of this indicates that anyone is “not allowed” to speculate or comment. You seem to regularly confuse disagreement with “policing” or censorship. Just because you say something doesn’t mean that other people have to agree with it, and if they disagree with what you say that doesn’t mean they are trying to prevent you from saying what you want. You might want to ponder those concepts a bit more than you do. It might help to lessen your feelings of being put upon.

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2014, 7:12 am

        tree- I may not call you censorious or a policewoman. But you are a preaching patronizing arrogant self righteous didactic schoolteacher. Are those terms also forbidden to me?

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 8:05 am

        “Are those terms also forbidden to me?”

        Yes, yonah, as I explained a couple of days back when I was sticking up for the black-hatted girl that was being disparaged by the white-hatted guy (and got dipped in hot olive oil for it), and since you’re one of the black hat guys, they are forbidden to you.

        psssst, would you recant your Zionism if I stick up for you?

      • Shmuel on June 2, 2014, 4:58 am

        you offer to buy a guy a beer and instead of being grateful, he ends up calling you a drunk and telling you you are talking out of the wrong orifice

        As they say in Latin, O di tseiten, o di ziten!

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 5:15 am

        “O di tseiten, o di ziten!”

        Google was of no help; what was that?

      • Shmuel on June 2, 2014, 5:31 am

        Google was of no help; what was that?

        http://lencyclopedix.free.fr/image/pirates/otempora.jpg

      • Walid on June 2, 2014, 6:20 am

        Thanks, now I see. I was guessing it was something close to the proverb, “donne à manger à un cochon, il viendra chier sur ton perron”.

      • eljay on June 2, 2014, 7:24 am

        >> tree- I may not call you censorious or a policewoman. But you are a preaching patronizing arrogant self righteous didactic schoolteacher.

        Don’t forget anti-Semitic. You seem to see that in everyone and everything.

      • RoHa on June 2, 2014, 8:17 am

        O tempora, o mores?

      • German Lefty on June 2, 2014, 10:51 am

        As they say in Latin, O di tseiten, o di ziten!

        Latin? Yeah, right! Du alter Scherzkeks! It must be Yiddish, because if you spell it a little differently, you get German: “Oh, die Zeiten. Oh, die Sitten.”

  3. traintosiberia on June 1, 2014, 8:58 am

    American should not allow Clinton ( Woman version) to win the primary.

  4. just on June 1, 2014, 9:26 am

    From the dept of the surreal:

    “There is no one who should be more concerned with the air force’s readiness than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom the development and planning of a military option against Iran was at the top of his agenda for the last five years.

    And what was Netanyahu up to as the air force was informing its pilots that training was canceled? Thanks to political affairs reporters, we now know that Netanyahu was mainly preoccupied with a last-minute effort to promote the candidacy of an 85-year-old Jew, who is not even an Israeli citizen, as the country’s next president. ”

    (and)

    “Ya’alon’s campaign to receive an immediate budget boost began in a threat-filled appearance before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. For over three weeks, Netanyahu did not convene even a single meeting of the cabinet – the body that is supposed to discuss the issue. This crisis is also a result of a leadership vacuum, in which the prime minister is both absent and present in the process of decision making, allowing cabinet ministers to attack each other.

    Someone who cannot display such equanimity is the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. Months away from the end of his term, he appears concerned that all his work is going down the drain. Credit for the quiet enjoyed by Israel’s citizens, despite the turmoil in the Arab world, is due to Gantz as much as it is to Netanyahu. The IDF consistently operates far beyond our borders, without committing errors that could lead to escalation. ”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.596426

    ” The IDF consistently operates far beyond our borders, without committing errors that could lead to escalation. ”

    What “borders”? But the admission of the author is otherwise quite stunningly honest, eh?

  5. annie on June 1, 2014, 2:52 pm

    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.

    we reported khalidi mentioning on chris hayes:

    Khalidi: Technically there is a letter that an American president sent to an Israeli prime minister, saying the United States is obligated to do that. It’s a Memorandum of Understanding sent in ’75 by Kissinger on behalf of the president and I believe the United States has been faithful on that memorandum. It does not put forward anything on Palestinian issues without running it by the Israelis first.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/gandhis-diplomats-erakat.html

    • just on June 1, 2014, 3:22 pm

      I remember that. Finally said on teevee by the great Khalidi. It has been the US’ unspoken policy and practice since forever, it seems. We are not sovereign in our actions– we have to ‘check in’ with the Apartheid statelet always.

  6. German Lefty on June 1, 2014, 5:55 pm

    OT: The German TV channel “tagesschau24” has one of its “theme nights” tonight. The topic is “50 years ago – founding of the PLO”. There are a 30-minute documentary about Arafat, a 20-minute German documentary from 2002 titled “Palestine – two peoples, one home”, a 30-minute interview with Middle East specialist Michael Lüders, a 30-minute German documentary from 2009 titled “children of the stones – children of the wall”, and a 25-minute documentary about Tel Aviv.

    So far, I watched the documentary “Palestine – two peoples, one home” and the interview with Middle East specialist Michael Lüders. Both programmes are surprisingly pro-Palestinian. I could hardly believe my ears.

    In the documentary, three elderly, German-speaking Israeli peace activists were interviewed. One of them was Uri Avnery. They said that when they came to Palestine, they were told that it was a land without a people. Then they realised that this was a lie. The documentary also made clear that the Palestinians did not leave voluntarily. The narrator used the word “Nakba” and said that “760,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled”. Then the documentary moved on to 1967. It was stated that the settlements turn the Palestinian territory into “non-contiguous enclaves”. The narrator also said that many settlers are immigrants who are not aware of the geopolitical situation and who are lured in by the cheap housing. Of course, this implies that the Israeli government is behind the settlements and sends Jewish settlers to the West Bank. Here, the narrator contradicted Uri Avnery. Avnery claimed in the interview that the settlers intentionally move to the West Bank of their own volition and out of political conviction. The implication is that the Israeli government is not behind the settlements and can’t do anything about them. Furthermore, the documentary also dealt with the First Intifada. No mention of “terrorism”. Only the word “resistance” was used. The importance of Palestinian women in the resistance movement was emphasised. The Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods was mentioned, too.

    During the interview with Michael Lüders, I made some notes of what he said:
    – The Palestinian perspective starts gaining more prominence in the west.
    – Israel’s policy of “preaching peace while building more settlements” is “paradoxical” and “schizophrenic”.
    – The Second Intifada happened because Palestinians realised that non-violence does not get them anywhere and won’t bring about peace. However, the problem with the intifada was that the Palestinians could not counter the Israelis militarily. That’s why Israel could crush the revolt.
    – Hamas is “demonised as terrorist group” by Israel and western countries. However, Israel is still pragmatic and has negotiated with Hamas in the past. This is another contradiction on Israel’s part: demonising while negotiating.
    – Nowadays, Hamas is a “moderate and pragmatic” group.
    – The PLO recognised Israel as a state but didn’t get anything from Israel in return.
    – The USA has a “change of heart” (Gesinnungswandel) in terms of Israel/Palestine. Now, the USA starts accepting Hamas and is willing to blame Israel for the failed peace talks.
    – Israel has “little to no willingness to compromise”.
    – The power imbalance is in favour of Israel while the demography is in favour of the Palestinians.
    – Israel “plays for time”.
    – The West “doesn’t exert any pressure on Israel”. All the West does is “wagging a finger”.
    – The PA makes gestures of good will and big concessions (großes Entgegenkommen).
    – The Palestinians did not yet come to terms with the “trauma of the Nakba” that happened “in 1948 and again in 1967”.
    – The Palestinians would get a state on “not even 25% of their historical land”.
    – Israel’s policy is “divide and rule”.
    – International consensus is a two-state solution, but Israel is not willing to accept it.
    – Palestinians start demanding a one-state solution with “one person, one vote”. However, Israel doesn’t want this because “there are more Palestinians than Jews” and therefore “the Palestinians would win all the elections”.
    – In the Middle East, Israel is in a “privileged situation”.

    By the way, Michael Lüders wrote a book about Iran. Content: Iran doesn’t threaten anyone. Actually, Iran is threatened. Israel, the USA with its Jewish lobby, and other western countries are war-mongers.
    http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/ueberall-kriegshetzer/6991740.html

    In case anyone likes to contact Michael Lüders, you can find the contact information here: http://www.michael-lueders.de/kontakt_impressum.html

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