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Clinton propagates false understanding of Camp David

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At Thursday night’s Democratic debate, presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders shared their wildly different views concerning American relations with Israel and Palestine. Two questions highlighted the hawkish candidate and the one who is even-handed. The first question to Sanders asked: “What do you say to those who believe that Israel has a right to defend itself as it sees fit?”, and the second to Clinton: “Do you agree with Senator Sanders that Israel overreacts to Palestinians attacks, and that in order for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel must, quote, end its disproportionate responses?”

Clinton’s response simply fell short of being true. At one point, during a performance of Israeli rightwing talking points, she said: “If Yasser Arafat had agreed with my husband at Camp David in the late 1990s to the offer then Prime Minister Barak put on the table, we would have had a Palestinian state for 15 years.”

To understand just how plainly false is the idea these words suggest, that Arafat and Palestinians turned down an “unprecedented” and “generous” Israeli offer, it is important to revisit coverage and first hand accounts of the failed Summit. Most importantly, that Clinton would propagate such an understanding gives a hint of where her presidency is likely to stand on the issue, if she wins.

According to an account coauthored by Robert Malley, now a senior adviser in the National Security Council, then a Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001 and a member of the American peace team at Camp David: “[T]he ideas put forward at Camp David were never stated in writing, but orally conveyed.”

This is to say, no formal presentation of an offer by the Israeli side was presented to Palestine, be it generous, unprecedented, or otherwise. There were just no formal presentations — and it’s the drawing boards and the paperwork that make or break peace summits, not fluffy talk and hot air.

In any case, what were those ideas? And what was missing from them?

  1. Large parts of East Jerusalem would remain under Israel sovereignty.
  2. The discussion of land-swaps, based on a 9-1 ratio favorable to the Israeli side, fell short of committing to Palestinian contiguity and development needs, let alone of accounting for the extreme difficulty Arafat would have had in selling this unbalanced arrangement to his people.
  3. Palestine was not guaranteed freedom of movement, nor control of its own airspace and territorial waters
  4. The negotiations were effectively silent on Palestinian refugees.

As Omar Dajani, Amjad Atallah and Nisreen Haj-Ahmad — legal advisors to the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit — put it during a 6 April 2001 briefing for the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington D.C. amidst the initial months of the Second Intifada:

“Palestinians want viability, independence, and choice, all of which were missing from Barak’s proposals.”

An edited partial transcript of the briefing, available on Electronic Intifada, along with other commentary on the failure of Camp David notes:

According to Dajani, viability involves “development potential and [territorial] contiguity.” This would result in more “predictability,” allowing Palestinians to make arrangements for travel and the transfer of goods without worrying about checkpoints and closures. This element of predictability has been absent under occupation, resulting in a “tremendous psychological” and “economic cost.” Barak’s offer disregarded these concerns. It would have led to Palestinian islands in East Jerusalem within a “sea” of Israeli settlements and Israeli annexation of land all the way to Jordan. The Palestinians’ shortage of water resources and agricultural land was neglected by Barak’s proposals. Annexation of “large swaths of the territory” over the Western Aquifer would increase Israel’s proportion of water under international law, thus reducing the Palestinians’. This aquifer primarily lies under West Bank land and is the “best” and “most abundant” Palestinian water source. As for their agricultural needs, the only area left for development is the Jordan Valley, which Israel sought to keep under long-term lease. 

On the topic of independence, the Palestinians asked Israel to “cede overriding authority” over air, water, and other key issues, to them. Israel was willing to recognize Palestinian “sovereignty” in these areas, but wanted to maintain overriding control.

On Dajani’s third point, he said the “dominant feature” of refugee life has been “an absence of choice.” Some refugees may choose to stay in Jordan, some may choose third country resettlement, some may move to the Palestinian state, and some may wish to return to their homes in what is now Israel, but he argued they must have a choice.

Amjad Atallah then discussed how the current crisis arose. The first Intifada ended not because the Declaration of Principles (DOP) was signed, but because of the promise that within five years, final status issues would be settled, there would be Palestinian statehood, and the situation would gradually improve along the way. Yet the “opposite” has occurred. For example, Palestinians were led to believe that settlement building would cease or at least lessen, but the settlement population doubled since Oslo.

The “Israeli presence and the occupation” intensified. Settlements and settlement roads “bisected” the West Bank into dozens of sections. There is “less freedom of movement” now than before the signing of the Declaration of Principles. Add to this Israel’s decision to “wean” itself from Palestinian labor, and “you have an economy that [was] collapsing” even before the Intifada. The current closures are “the nails in the coffin of the economy.”

In addition, Israel has ignored interim agreements-the release of Palestinian prisoners and the third stage of redeployment have not occurred. By two and a half years ago, Israel should have withdrawn from 90 percent of the West Bank. Instead, the PA controls just 18 percent of it.

Some have asked Atallah: But why now? Atallah’s answer is this: The deal at Camp David was put forward as a “take it or leave it” offer. As a result, the Palestinians on the street believed that this deal was the final offer–it was the best they would get. They believed the peace process was over. Then came Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Haram al-Sharif with “over 1,000 [members of the] Israeli occupation forces” and Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters the next day. The Intifada erupted in response.”

Robert Wright, an award winning journalist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, concluded in a piece published in April of 2002 that:

“these negotiations don’t justify what they’re now being used to justify: the claim that the Palestinians will never accept a two-state solution, so Ariel Sharon’s search-and-destroy policy is the only option Israel has left.”

Today, as we have watched numerous parts of Israel’s ideas at the Summit take shape in reality and all along without regard for Palestine, watched previous agreements yet to be fulfilled, let alone subject to international law, we can reach a similar conclusion concerning Clinton’s propaganda: neither Arafat nor Barak were perfect. But, for Clinton to suggest that a failure dating back to 15 years ago justifies Israel’s criminal behavior, its occupation, and much more recent disproportionate disasters is not only false, but also politically and ethically untenable as tectonic shifts on these issues continue to take hold across the country.

Several other statements by Clinton invite scrutiny:

“…but even the most independent analyst will say the way that Hamas places its weapons, the way that it often has its fighters in civilian garb…”

“…remember, Israel left Gaza. They took out all the Israelis. They turned the keys over to the Palestinian people. And what happened? Hamas took over Gaza. So instead of having a thriving economy with the kind of opportunities that the children of the Palestinians deserve, we have a terrorist haven that is getting more and more rockets shipped in from Iran and elsewhere…”

“… and I was absolutely focused on what was fair and right for the Palestinians. I was absolutely focused on what we needed to do to make sure that the Palestinian people had the right to self-government…”

About Dorgham Abusalim

Dorgham Abusalim recently graduated with a Master in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland. You can follow him on Twitter @dabusalim.

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30 Responses

  1. diasp0ra
    diasp0ra
    April 16, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Shlomo ben Ami, who personally participated in these talks said that: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.”

    In their haste to defend Israel, US administrations go beyond what Israelis themselves say. These talking points don’t hold up under any serious scrutiny, like many Zionist talking points/myths.

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      April 16, 2016, 3:44 pm

      The sad fact remains that if the Israelis weren’t “perpetual victims” in the eyes of some, and Jewish, then most everyone would be pointing out the fact that they were only ever legally entitled to a fraction of the land that made up Mandate Palestine.

      A good response to pro-israels whining about a more intense focus on this conflict in particular– if they weren’t propagators of extreme identity politics (up to and including demanding to be seen as the “real victims” when they’re the ones blowing up children in Gaza) as far as the issue goes, then people would pay it no more attention then any other nasty little ethno-nationalist conflict.

  2. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 16, 2016, 2:27 pm

    Excellent article which outlines just how much of a baseline liar Clinton is and the lengths she will go to in parroting JSILi propaganda and”re-arrangement” of history to keep the Zionist money flowing.

    Unfortunately due to her position as a Presidential “candidate”she is currently just the most in your face Zionist arselikhan liar – American politics is awash with them:
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.714704

    None of the them have got an ethical bone in their body.

  3. Boomer
    Boomer
    April 16, 2016, 3:05 pm

    A politician named Clinton lies? What a surprise.

    • David Doppler
      David Doppler
      April 17, 2016, 11:46 am

      Meanwhile, back on the stump, here’s another Clinton hard at work defending Wall Street against unfair attacks: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/bill-clinton-sanders-backers-would-shoot-every-third-person-on-wall-street-222043

      I guess that means they “stay bought,” a Clinton Family Value.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 12:18 pm

        Wow.

        How in the…?

        He’s a Dem?

        THAT’S his reaction to Sanders’ points and the modern US middle class economic fragility?

        Oh never mind.

        PS. I just “Audibled” a brilliant book called “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America” by George Packer, so I may be overly sensitive about the “training…jobs of the [always in the] future” opiate. Value continuously extracted, no jobs, training doesn’t matter for so many (even if they could afford it).

        http://www.amazon.com/The-Unwinding-Inner-History-America/dp/0374534608

        Thanks (I think) DD.

      • David Doppler
        David Doppler
        April 17, 2016, 2:00 pm

        Thanks, ritzl.

        Are you saying this Unwinding addresses the some of the training scams from for profit education? I don’t get that from reading the Amazon reviews. DD

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 3:00 pm

        @DD. No. Sorry for being unclear.

        Clinton repeats his tired bs of “training leads to jobs” (aka a bridge to somewhere TBD). That is smokescreen/code for value extraction from the middle class.

        “The Unwinding” is a few hundred pages showing that (and why) there are vanishingly few jobs to train FOR and why it is code for value extraction.

        Packer doesn’t directly tackle the for-profit education scam. He’s more oblique in that he uses many individual middle-class and working-poor experiences to spotlight the incurred debt (for education) vs. lack of jobs as an eddy in the larger self-reinforcing economic gyre of monetizing everything, extracting all possible value (upwards, always upwards), returning nothing (no domestic job-creating investment), and sending out Clinton-types to tell people that they just need to try harder (i.e. borrow more money/monetize themselves) to succeed in that environment. And the process repeats hundreds of millions of times.

        It’s just really incredible and sickening that Clinton wasn’t simply laughed off the stage. It’s a little heartening that voters are starting to clue into the fact that it is ALL baloney.

        Which brings it back to Israel and why Sanders was able to say what he said – if it’s ALL bs then people are more predisposed to start over and accept new input, ANY new input, that makes sense. (That was also a theme woven throughout “The Unwinding.”; NPI)

        Sorry for the usual length. I just find this interconnectedness fascinating and hopeful. Equally fascinating is when a book describes a dynamic that predicts Clinton behavior like it is future history.

        Cheers.

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    April 16, 2016, 3:25 pm

    My alert button went up when she repeated that falsehood. How about the first time her role in pushing for the disastrous military intervention in Libya and arming rebels in Syria really came on. Then she inferred that Obama had ixnayed the arming of rebels which was another falsehood. She surely committed to more intervention in Syria in that debate. Not much talk about this.

    Was just thinking about how war hawk Clinton is attending a 350,000 dollar a plate fund raiser being put on by war hawk supporter George Clooney. Hell one plate at this dinner cost more than Jane and Bernie Sanders make in one year. Telling and shameful.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      Atlantaiconoclast
      April 17, 2016, 2:42 pm

      exactly, she and others ignore the fact that the CIA has always supported the rebels and continues to do so

  5. michelle
    michelle
    April 16, 2016, 3:25 pm

    .
    she doesn’t offer truth
    she doesn’t offer peace
    she needs prayers not votes
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  6. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    April 16, 2016, 3:27 pm

    In a sense, Clinton’s statement is true. An agreement along the lines which seem to have been proposed would have led to the existence of something that might have been seen, if you shut your eyes and crossed your fingers, as a ‘Palestinian state’ but it would not have been independent in any meaningful way but would have been an extremely subservient protectorate, if that term too does not invite too much ridicule.
    What was ‘offered’ – and it wasn’t really an offer but a veiled adumbration of what might have become an offer – was another version of the Allon Plan or Begin’s demand on Sadat, which concerned ‘autonomy’ plus military control. The ‘Swiss cheese’ feature of these plans were of course a device for allowing the Palestinian areas to be whittled down as opportunity arose – provocations could be arranged when needed – over the long expanse of time.
    We’ll never have any clear idea of the details of something not put in writing. Some will say that the Palestinian side should have produced a fully articulated counter-proposal. However, those who say that the Palestinians should have responded differently should call on the Israelis to make some clear proposal in black and white for all to see that could become the basis for negotiations or at least for a clear appreciation of the difference to be bridged. If something went wrong it should be put right now – and that’s far more important than recriminations.
    Of course the real Israeli intention is to maintain the sham negotiations, with nothing at all proposed, while gradually pushing the Palestinians out until the point is reached where they are a decorative remnant proving beyond doubt that Zionism isn’t racism. Clinton is covering for this intention and its slow implementation.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 17, 2016, 1:09 am

      @mh

      that was the most eloquent, apologetic and convoluted post i have ever read where an anti-zionist commentator admitted that there was an agreement in place that would have provided the palestinians with the very fundamental building blocks of a palestiinian nation at camp david and that arafat said, ‘no’.

      despite the extreme and pathetic efforts ever since, both monetarily and in ink, to dispel this basic fact as either a lie, mass distortion or even a conspiracy does not make the facts disappear.
      there was never any question that camp david would not be followed immediately with a full implementation of a 2ss. there was always an incremental time frame built in where mutual cooperation and ending incitement would build enough good will to proceed to the next level of compromises and negotiations. some thought a 5yr time frame reasonable while others thought it would take more. but it still never ceases to amaze me that the minute those talks collapsed the palestinians poured millions into a new strategy of pr. and palestinian hasbara. they hired big time nyc firms and lobbyists that had either worked for or had inside information on how the pro-israeli lobbies functioned. people here can either deny it as a lie, conspiracy, fantasy or they can embrace it. whichever they believe the fact remains it was a turning point in how the palestinian lobby presented their case to the so-called ‘western’ press. and there is no point in denying how successful it has been.

      arafat clearly feared his ‘legacy’ as a ‘fighter’ and and all around bad-boy would be severely tarnished if he committed to an actual agreement- instead of some version of palestinian wish fulfillment based on what arafat and his cronies had been promising the people for decades-full statehood with for and freedom from the river to the sea. meanwhile-he, his wife and the other big wigs where too busy stealing billions from their ‘people’ and continue to do so to this day.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 17, 2016, 11:26 am

        You go, “Dabakr”! We will work as a team!
        You drivel out unreadable comments full of projection vomiting, and I’ll make sure nobody says anything (not a single thing) worse about Jews than what you say about Palestinians!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 17, 2016, 12:51 pm

        Well, I didn’t use the phrase ‘building blocks of a nation’ and would not be sure what it means. The offer, if anything was really offered, was in my view for permanent and increasing subservience.
        However, the important thing is what is on offer now. I would urge all liberal Zionists to urge the Israeli government to put on the table either the same offer or a revised one, explaining what has been changed. Let there just be something proposed.
        If I am wrong to think that there was no offer of statehood or independence in the past let me be proved wrong by the reaffirmation of that offer, in writing for all to read, and let the mistake by me and others be exposed in the ensuing debate. Nothing would be more clarifying than a definite proposal for a final settlement from the Israelis. We might then be able to estimate a gap between the sides and to know how genuine the often proclaimed death of the 2ss is.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        Atlantaiconoclast
        April 17, 2016, 2:44 pm

        Give me a break. Israel ONLY responds to force. The Palestinians and Arab have never won anything from Israel by asking for it.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        April 17, 2016, 8:35 pm

        DaBakr: “that was the most eloquent, apologetic and convoluted post i have ever read where an anti-zionist commentator admitted that there was an agreement in place that would have provided the palestinians with the very fundamental building blocks of a palestiinian nation at camp david and that arafat said, ‘no’.”

        that was just the usual DaBakr BS who knows very well that he coudn’t write about a souvereign, independent Palestinian state, Btw a Palestinian state has been allready recognized within the UN General Assembly. The only problem is that war criminals keep it occupied for nearly half a century, because their main lesseon from from the Nuremberg Trials is how to illegaly illegaly settle in occupied territories and illegaly annex them.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 17, 2016, 9:24 pm

        || aBa @ April 17, 2016, 1:09 am ||

        So many words to say that even though it was entirely within Israel’s power to…
        – end its occupation and colonization of Palestine;
        – withdraw to within its / Partition borders;
        – honour its obligations under international law (including RoR);
        – accept responsibility and accountability for its (war) crimes,
        …it chose not to.

        The rapist wishes he had a “partner in peace”, but as long as she refuses to negotiate with him he is powerless to do anything but keep her chained in his basement and continue to rape her.

        Aggressor-victimhood is such a tough gig… :-(

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        April 18, 2016, 10:43 am

        DaBakr

        Utter nonsense!! Get educated!! Factual accounts of what took place at Camp David 2000 are easily available.

        I suggest you start here:

        “What Went Wrong: The Collapse of the Israeli Palestinian Peace Process,” by Jerome Slater, Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2001; http://www.jeromeslater.com/; http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/experts/1236/jerome_slater.html)

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 18, 2016, 5:38 pm

        My recollection is that the ‘offer’, in so far as it was a reality, was presented as something for fairly immediate implementation on the model of the Oslo arrangements. Maybe that was wrong, but if it was wrong then I am being too generous to Clinton now: agreement on the Clinton terms then would have led only to at least five years, so we hear, of further negotiations, perhaps twenty – with plenty of opportunity for stoppages and breakdowns. So there might still not be a Palestinian stare even today.
        Surely it is clear that an offer of such an interminable process is not an offer of any actual final status. Surely it is clear that if there is ever going to be a 2ss both sides will have to take the plunge and take a substantial risk. If that sort of risk is unacceptable there will be no 2ss. Not that 2ss is likely in any event.
        Still, it would clarify matters immensely if we could have a proposal of some sort containing whatever staging now seems necessary.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        April 18, 2016, 9:23 pm

        There are a lot of details here:

        What Went Wrong? The Collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process” — Jerome Slater

        http://www.psqonline.org/viewContent.cfm?sk=24F4EBC4D6D609F9C016C3D94EB96BD307C8EDAAAD1396C0A69AB8DEB9D2FFCF

        Excerpt:

        […]Barak’s proposals fell far short of a genuinely fair compromise that would result in a viable Palestinian state. Within a few weeks of Camp David, a number of Israeli political analysts had reached this conclusion.

        Particularly revealing as the forthright assessment of Ze’evSchiff, the dean of Israel’s military/security journalists and a centrist in the Israeli political spectrum. According to Schiff, because of Barak’s ongoing violations of the spirit of the Oslo agreements—“above all . . . the relentless expansion of the existing settlements and the establishment of new settlements, with a concomitant expropriation of Palestinian land . . . in and around Jerusalem, and elsewhere as well”—the Palestinians had been “shut in from all sides.”

        Thus, Schiff concluded,“the prospect of being able to establish a viable state was fading right before their eyes. They were confronted with an intolerable set of options: to agree to the spreading occupation . . . or to set up wretched Bantustans, or to launch an uprising.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        April 19, 2016, 12:33 am

        @eh

        yeah. that’s the bs you keep shoveling to put the blame entirely on one side. nobody will ever know what could have been because the moment is gone. all zionist haters know is the same mantra,’it’s all a zionist plot and all zionist fault. any muslim or christian israelis who support the state of israel are discounted as either token or ‘uncle tarak’s’ . doesnt matter wheter they are generals, judges, mk’s , or beauty queens. the negative nabobs @ mw will always think of a way to discredit. it’s a form of group think whereas it is not hard to find a group of israelis and zionists who have widely different views of israeli policy.

      • eljay
        eljay
        April 19, 2016, 10:03 am

        || Dak: … nobody will ever know what could have been because the moment is gone. … ||

        No it’s not. Nothing prevents Israel from doing any or all of the just and moral things that are within its power to do unilaterally.

        The rapist doesn’t need anyone’s permission to set his victims free and take responsibility for his crimes.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 19, 2016, 12:53 pm

        That time went by but it’s never entirely the wrong time to make or renew a fair offer. If it really was a fair offer it should be renewed. It was nice of you to call me eloquent. (Maybe you really meant ‘verbose’?) As for convoluted style, I don’t think I use double negatives any more than you do.

  7. K Renner
    K Renner
    April 16, 2016, 3:41 pm

    She’s gross. And the fact remains that what she’s babbling on about shows up how gross the people she’s trying to court are.

    The Palestinians: one of the only groups of people in the world who’re demonized for doing what anyone else in their position would do.

    The Palestinians: one of the only groups of people in the world who’re told to be “grateful” whenever the people who stole from them and ethnically cleansed them offer up minute scraps and demand to be labeled as “generous”.

    It is the Jews who ought to be grateful that the Palestinians allowed them 6% of Mandate Palestine. That 6% was bought from Palestinian Arab land-owners as it is.

  8. US Citizen
    US Citizen
    April 16, 2016, 5:16 pm

    Please, someone, anyone educate Hillary, if that is possible :
    Israeli leaders have rejected every Palestinian proposal for ceasefire or peace,blindly pursuing the Zionist policy of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their homeland in collusion, and bias with the US for 60 years. The Camp David offer? It is no surprise this history was also rewritten to shed Palestinians in a negative light.

    It should first be noted that Palestinians have conceded their claim to 78% of historical Palestine, and agreed to form a new state on the remaining 22%, which is comprised of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    • Israel proposed that 69 settlements, populated by 85% of West Bank settlers would be annexed by Israel. These settlements would reduce the Palestinian state by 10%, not to mention severely disrupt travel and daily life in the West Bank.
    • Israel proposed “temporary control” of yet another 10% of land that housed the most extreme of settlers. Essentially this means that a foreign power would control the land of another sovereign nation.
    • The remaining areas would be broken up by Israeli bypass roads and checkpoints, forcing Palestinians to live on bantustans or reservations (like South Africans or Native Americans), in a non-contiguous state.
    • Palestinians were also expected to relinquish land considered most essential for trade and tourism.
    • Israel would maintain very vital controls over Palestinian water, Palestinian borders, and Palestinian airspace.

    Anyone in their right minds would not have accepted such a ridiculous proposal that would continue to force millions of people to live as slaves.

  9. Kay24
    Kay24
    April 16, 2016, 5:18 pm

    This is a very interesting article, and it is good to know what that so called Camp David deal was all about. Hillary certainly is carrying water for the zionists.

    No wonder Hillary Clinton adores Netanyahu and wants to invite him to the WH as soon as she becomes President – they are like two peas in a pod – damn liars.

    Here is a transcript of the exchange between Hillary and Bernie Sanders. It makes very interesting reading.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/4/15/11437602/clinton-sanders-israel-palestine-debate

  10. jrfinkel
    jrfinkel
    April 17, 2016, 10:27 am

    Agha and Malley wrote that, while an agreement at Camp David was never going to happen, those talks laid the groundwork for further talks. Those took place several months later at Taba, and it was Barak who canceled them when it appeared that Arafat was prepared to sign.

    There were those, such as Tanya Rheinhart, who understood that Barak only went to those talks because he was facing Sharon in an election, and that he had no real intention of signing a peace treaty with Arafat. But my point is that no one ever mentions Taba and how it was Barak who withdrew his negotiators in order to prevent a peace treaty. He them constructed the myth of The Generous Offer.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      April 18, 2016, 10:52 am

      jrfinkel

      Regarding the Taba II Negotiations:

      Unfortunately, as Aaron David Miller, a key member of the U.S. negotiating team, revealed to author Clayton Swisher (The Truth about Camp David: The Untold Story about the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process, Nation Books, 2004), even at this late stage President Clinton remained poorly prepared and as a result his bridging proposal was ill-defined: “Things got no better as the final months of Clinton’s administration went on. Miller confesses to Swisher that the so-called ‘parameters’ that Clinton finally presented in late December 2000 – the first time the Clinton team had ventured to adopt a policy position – were still being revised the very day they were presented, meaning that, as Miller notes, ‘we were not ready.’ This was less than a month before the end of eight years in office. Clinton and company lacked a clear strategy and ‘dithered’ over what exactly the parameters were to define.” (Kathleen Christison, “Camp David Redux, Counterpunch, 15 August 2005)

      While his remarks received scant attention in the media, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s foreign minister, set the record straight regarding the suspension of Taba II:

      “Despite reports to the contrary in Israel, however, Mr. Arafat never turned down ’97 percent of the West Bank’ at Taba, as many Israelis hold. The negotiations were suspended by Israel because elections were imminent [February 2001] and ‘the pressure of Israeli public opinion against the talks could not be resisted ‘….” ((“Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed,” Deborah Sontag, New York Times, 26 July 2001)

  11. Atlantaiconoclast
    Atlantaiconoclast
    April 17, 2016, 2:39 pm

    The bigger problem revealed by the question posed by AIPAC Wolf Blitzer is the continuous Zionist friendly framing by the establishment media of the conflict. Wolf actually phrased his question to pretend that the Palestinians started the wave of violence that led to the Israeli disproportionate force. Netanyahu and the IDF had killed scores of Palestinians, including civilians, in the weeks leading up to Hamas’ response. But somehow, it is always about Israel having the right to defend itself.

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