A Flash Presentation of
Barak's "Generous Offers".
This will help you know the facts and thereby break the Myth.
download (right click on the link and choose save target as...).
Last week, in Europe, I happened
to pass a frozen lake. I was told that a few days before it was possible
to skate on it. But the temperature had risen and the ice cover had
started to melt. It still covers the whole lake, but in many places it
can be broken with a stick. I was warned not to try to stand on it,
because it might break, I would fall into the lake and disappear. But in
a few days or weeks, I was promised, the ice would disappear and the
beautiful lake would come to life again.
The situation in our country
resembles this situation. The ice still covers the whole state, but it
has started to melt. The ice is the Big Lie told by Ehud Barak and his
companions. This lie is starting to break. Soon nothing will be left of
When the bunch of bankrupt
politicians returned from Camp David, they fabricated the legend, which
has since become a holy truth, as if given by God at Mount Sinai. Like
the Ten Commandments of Moses, there are Eight Facts of Barak: I have
turned every stone on the way to peace; I have submitted offers
unprecedented in their generosity; I went further than any Prime
Minister before me; I have given the Palestinians everything they
wanted; Arafat has rejected all the offers; Arafat does not want peace;
The Palestinians want to throw us into the sea; We have no partner for
If Binyamin Netanyahu had said this, it would not
have had any impact. Everybody knows that Netanyahu is a crook. If
Sharon had said it, he would not have been believed, because everybody
knows that Sharon is a Man of Blood, unable to distinguish between truth
and untruth. But when it came from the leaders of the Labor Party, those
eminent spokesmen for peace, it caused the collapse of the established
Since then, many testimonies about
Camp David have been published, including some by pro-Israeli American
eye-witnesses. All of them show that Barak’s proposals fell far short of
the essential minimum for peace: end of the occupation, establishment of
a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, giving up all the occupied
territories (all in all 22% of Palestine under the British Mandate),
returning to the Green Line (with the possibility of mutually agreed
swaps of territories), turning East Jerusalem into the capital of
Palestine, return of the settlers and soldiers to Israel, ending the
tragedy of the refugees without damage to Israel.
When the Big Lie exploded, an
alternative lie was put out: Some months after the Camp David talks were
renewed in Taba, Barak’s men made offers unprecedented in their
generosity, gave the Palestinians everything, but Arafat Refused To
Sign, which shows that he does not want peace, etc.
Now Moratinus, the the European
Union emissary for peace in the Middle East, has come along and buried
this lie, too. The Spanish diplomat, who was in Taba but did not take
part in the talks, has published a long and detailed report about what
really happened there.
The clear conclusion is that at Taba
the sides indeed came dramatically closer to each other. Gaps remained
between their positions in almost all areas, but they were quantitative,
rather than qualitative gaps. Clearly, if the talks had gone on for
another few days or weeks, a historic agreement would have been
So what happened? Is it true that
“Arafat Refused To Sign”?
Not at all. Arafat did not
refuse to sign. He wanted to continue the negotiations until there was
an agreement to sign.
It was not Arafat who broke off
the talks at this critical moment, when the light at the end of the
tunnel was clearly visible to the negotiators, but Barak. He ordered his
men to beak off and return home.
The Taba talks began after the
outbreak of the second intifada. After Sharon’s invasion of the
Temple Mount with Barak’s permission, and after seven Arab protesters
were shot by Ben-Ami’s police, bloody incidents occurred daily. The Taba
talks were held “under fire” – a process that is quite normal in
history. After all, negotiations are held in order to put an end to the
On that day, two Israelis were murdered
in a Palestinian town. The Palestinians said that this was revenge for
the murder of a local leader. But it was enough for Barak to break off
What was the real reason? The
answer must be found in the mind of Barak. After all, it happened to
Barak time and again: whenever he got close to an agreement, he withdrew
at the last moment.
It started at the very beginning
of his term of office. As will be recalled, he wanted to come to an
agreement with the Syrians first, in order to isolate the Palestinians.
Complete agreement was almost reached, when suddenly everything broke
down. Assad wanted Syrian territory to extend to the shores of the Sea
of Galilee, while Barak wanted the border to be a hundred meters away
from the shore. Because of the hundred meters, Barak rejected the
historic agreement that was at hand. (Comics say these days that Barak
should have fixed the border at the shore line as it was then, as the
sea has retreated many hundreds of meters since then.)
The same happened at
Camp David. Agreement was possible. All the participants believed
at the time that it was already close. Then something happened to Barak.
As the Israeli participants testify (and as Arafat told me a few days
ago), Barak simply freaked out. He cut himself off, did not shave and
refused to meet even with his closest assistants.
Something similar happened at
Taba. When the agreement was at hand, Barak ordered the talks to
be broken off. The actual pretext does not matter.
When something like that occurs
again and again, it raises questions. It may be called “politicus
interruptus’. A moment before the consummation, Barak draws back. I am
not a psychiatrist and am not qualified to deal with mental problems.
But I believe that every time, when Barak saw the actual price of peace
in front of him, he shrunk back at the last moment. There was a
dissonance between the price of peace (withdrawal from the occupied
territories, evacuation of settlements, conceding East Jerusalem and the
Temple Mount, return of a symbolic number of refugees) and the ideas he
was brought up on. He could not shoulder the responsibility and broke
down. At the same time, he expanded the settlements at a frantic pace.
Adding sin to crime (as the Hebrew
expression goes), he covered his personal collapse with the Big Lie,
which caused a national collapse.
Now the lie is starting to break
up. The open discussion of war crimes, the declaration of hundreds of
soldiers that they refuse to serve in the Palestinian territories, the
call of the reserve generals for an end to the occupation, the new
voices in the media, the call of courageous artists, the big
demonstration of 27 militant peace organizations (including Gush
Shalom), the following big Peace Now demonstration – all these show that
the ice is starting to melt.
This is only the beginning. Now is
the time for all those who were waiting to join the effort. As Churchill
said after the victory in Egypt: “This is not the end. It is not even
the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
To discus this article:
Vortrag von Uri Avnery:
Perspektiven des Nahost-Friedensprozesses
Der Publizist und Gründer der
Friedensbewegung Gush Shalom,
Träger des Alternativen Nobelpreises 2001, spricht in Potsdam...
Soundfile 25min RealAudio:
Erlebte Geschichte WDR V [Uri
haGalil onLine 25-02-2002