Saturday, September 29, 2007

Barak's Offer at Camp David, Summer 2000

After it was all over, and the Palestinians had responded to Barak's offers at Camp David in summer 2000 by launching the 2nd Intifada with all its violence, the Palestinian's Western apologists invented an elaborate narrative to ensure that the blame be placed squarely at Israel's doorstep. Barak hadn't really made an offer, and if he did it was far stingier than he or Bill Clinton said; any Israeli offer, if made, was intended to perpetuate Israeli domination of the Palestinians; the whole thing was a chimera, never intended to be more than theater. etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Today or yesterday the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, gave an interview to the Washington Post. Near the end, he relates to a question about the negotiations in 2000. The Post asked about Clinton's offer of 98% of the West Bank (this refers to Clinton's attempt to dictate final terms to both sides on December 24th 2000, which were accepted by the Israelis and rejected by the Palestinians). Abbas deflects the question by relating to Barak's offer of July 2000: it wasn't 98%, he says, only 92%.

Perhaps. I wasn't there, and the record is indeed not fully clear. However, if Abbas says Barak offered 92% of the West Bank (and, by the way, 100% of Gaza), then this is the minimum that was offered; the historical truth must lie somewhere between 92%, as stated by Abbas, and 96%, as stated by some Israelis at the time or shortly thereafter.

All territories being offered would have been free of settlers.

So according to the Palestinian president, the 2nd Intifada was launched in response to an unprecedented offer by Israel's prime minister. It would have been legitimate to continue negotiating so as to achieve more - but that was not what happened.


Lydia McGrew said...

Ah, but remember the lie perpetrated by the spin-masters: That whatever percentage it was would have beeen "divided up into Bantustans" and "under de facto Israeli control."

This is one of the most blatant pieces of misinformation found in Walt and Mearsheimer's "working paper" and presumably in their book as well.

Some people who like them (notably our own paleoconservatives) try to say that their *whole point* is that alliance with Israel and support for Israel is "not in America's best interests." But that _isn't_ all they are saying. They are also rehashing an incredibly biased and implausible version of Israeli history and virtually justifying Palestinian terrorism along the familiar lines of "what could the Palestinians do if no one would accede to their reasonable demands?" Their statement about Camp David is only one of the most ridiculous aspects of this, as is their repeated statement that the very existence of Israel is founded on "stealing the Arabs' land."

This goes far beyond a so-called "realist" assessment of American foreign policy.

Lydia McGrew said...

I was just told that it is just as "biased" to say that the Palestinians were offered a great deal at Camp David as to say that they were offered only isolated bantustans, as Walt and Mearsheimer claim.

So I guess objective history is dead. Pack it in, Yaacov. Or, what comes to the same thing, pick your bias and run with it.

Or so we're told.

Yaacov said...

Would it be biased to say the Nazis were the bad side in that war? After all, either you're willing to entertain the thought of making some sort of moral evaluation, at least sometimes, or you're not- but then, never.

GomerThomas said...

Mr. Lozowick,

I was very surprised to see your statement "It would have been legitimate to continue negotiating so as to achieve more - but that was not what happened." -- with an implication that this was the fault of the Palestinians.

In fact, the Palestinians and Israelis did continue negotiating at Taba, Egypt, Jan 21-27, 2007. As indicated by the closing statement issued after this session, both sides thought that they were close to an agreement, and that they could reach agreement in six weeks or so of further negotiations. However, Barak broke off negotiations until after the Israeli election, and then Sharon refused to reopen negotiations after he was elected.

Yaacov said...

Mr. Gomer -

Feel free to read my book "Right to Exist", where I dealt with this in detail and with lots of facts.

However, to your question: yes, I am stating quite unequivocally that the responsibility for the failure of the so-called peace process and the descent into violence thereafter was the Palestinians. I have seen all the evidence that purportedly says otherwise, and it is not convincing in any way.

The events of September 2000-February 2001 were among the greatest mistakes the Palestinians ever made, and they've made many mistakes.