November 14, 2005

Where Rabin lies, Clinton lies

Accrding to a Guardian editorial, former American president, Bill Clinton, has used the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Yitshak Rabin's death to dig up the old chestnut of Ehud Barak's generous offer. Then, to its credit, the editorial goes half-way to criticising this position:
Clinton's version of this story is not new or incontrovertible, as other participants have argued that Israel's offer at Camp David in 2000 was neither as generous or as final has been painted. But then there is Arafat's response to Sharon's subsequent provocation: a second intifada that destroyed Oslo in a bloody welter of Palestinian suicide bombings and "targeted killings" by Israel. Yet this blame game works both ways: why does the US refuse to pressure Israel, even for its own good? Does Israel really expect to be able to maintain its biggest settlements in the West Bank, isolate Jerusalem and reduce a future Palestinian state to unviable and disconnected Bantustans?
Not only that, it is refuted by Barak himself.
On the eve of his departure for the summit, Barak announced five "Red Lines", which he would not cross under any circumstances. Among them: Israeli sovereignty over the entire city of Jerusalem, No return to the 1967 border, Keeping 80% of the settlers were they are, No return of a single� refugee to Israel. Afterwards he softened some of these stands, but not enough to come anywhere near an agreement.
Anyway the Guardian then goes and spoils it by invoking Dennis Ross, a former CEO of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Bill Clinton's, hardly impartial, special envoy to the "peace" process, thus:
And Dennis Ross, a veteran American negotiator, is right to say that Washington needs to do more. Condoleezza Rice has not yet managed to correct the impression that George Bush will always acquiesce in whatever new facts Sharon has created on the ground.
Now Bill Clinton could have used this occasion simply to praise his chaver, Rabin, in general terms, but he chose to lie for Barak instead. It doesn't bode well for any change in direction of American Middle East policy any time soon.

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