Arafat Accepts 2000 Peace Proposal But This is 2002
Vol: 9 Issue: 21 Friday, June 21, 2002
Now that Yasser Arafat has been informed of Israel s redesigned land for peace deal, he s changed his mind about the deal offered him by Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000.
Arafat said today that he d like to take that deal after all. Asked if he accepted the plan Clinton charted in December 2000 after peace talks between Arafat and then-Israeli leader Ehud Barak at Camp David, Maryland, collapsed in July, Arafat told Akiva Eldar of the Ha’aretz newspaper: “Yes, I do.”
But Clinton left office in January 2001. Barak was kicked out by the voters shortly thereafter. The US and Israel both regard the 2000 offer as having expired.
As Arafat was telling Ha aretz that he was willing to accept the 2000 peace offer, Israel buried 39 victims of three back to back terror attacks against civilian women and children.
Funerals like those of Rachel Shabo, 40, and her three children, Neria, 16, Zvi, 12 and Avishai, 5, are becoming daily occurrences. So are the claims of responsibility being issued by members of Arafat’s own forces.
More Than Statistics
Distance and culture tend to blunt the impact, to a degree, of the destruction of the Shabo family. We don t know them, or anything about them. They become statistics. But they are not.
Allow me a personal illustration.
My father settled in our area when he returned from combat after World War II. When we gather next month for our family reunion, the family he founded fifty years ago some 74 of us will come together for a picnic in a public park.
There are too many of us to fit in anybody s back yard. It takes a public park to hold the offspring of a single human being after only two generations.
In Israel, too many families have been cut off. Too many family reunions are taking place in graveyards. As one Israeli headline lamented, The House of Israel is Crying.
Operation Determined Path
Fed up with constant attacks coming from territory Israel turned over to the Palestinians as part of the Oslo land-for-peace process, Ariel Sharon turned the concept on his head.
To this point, the process has worked like this. In exchange for peace, Yasser Arafat demanded more land. Once Israel gave him the land, he used that land to stage attacks against what remained of Israel.
Then he d demand more land in exchange for halting the attacks, get the land, launch more attacks, and so on.
That is what the Arabs call land for peace . The mainstream press calls it a cycle of violence that the press says is partly Israel s fault. The mafia calls it a protection racket. To paraphrase the Bard, a rose by any other name still smells.
The Repo Man
The Oslo process has been spun like a top. Over the last decade, each parcel of land surrendered for peace has been used to widen Arafat s war.
The only role Israel could play in stopping the cycle of violence would be to surrender what land remains.
That fact is so painfully obvious that having to point it out is mute testimony to the power of the propaganda machine.
After meeting with his cabinet, Ariel Sharon outlined the new land for peace equation. Every time the Palestinians commit an act of war against Israel, Israel will take back some of the land it had previously exchanged for a peace that never materialized.
It is a simple act of sequestration. Israel paid for something it never received. It wants the purchase price refunded.
The Bush administration is about to outline its vision for peace in the Middle East.
But it is based on the old land-for-peace formula, including an eventual return to pre-1967 borders, a loss of sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem and Jewish holy places.
In order to work, Israel will have to trust its security to the very people sworn to its destruction. That is unlikely to happen. Especially now.
An Israeli website, Gamla, has a banner it offers free to webmasters.
The banner proclaims, When somebody says he is going to kill you . . . Believe Him.