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    FAIR is fair..., 2007-03-20 12:07:54 | Main | Iraqis: 'don't leave! we are not yet finished bringing it on'..., 2007-03-20 16:04:19

    disagreeing to agree:

    Jon has another bit on the Clinton parameters and the Taba talks back in 2001, elicited this time by George Soros claiming that said parameters were rejected by Arafat. This is clearly a lie - one need not depend on Clinton's statement at the time to the contrary. If they had been rejected by either side: the subsequent Taba summit wouldn't have taken place; no joint statement on the outcome of the talks would have been released; and Barak wouldn't have had to suspend diplomatic contacts with the PLO on January 28th because they would have already been suspended a month earlier.

    One component of the rejectionist-Arafat narrative leans on the story that Barak backed Israel out of the talks only upon an angry, rejectionist speech by Araft at Davos, on 1/28/2001. For instance, CNN reported that very day at 1:53 PM:

    Appearing in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global leaders, Peres and Arafat referred to each other as "partners in peace."

    And, in another instance of heated, rejectionist rhetoric:

    Arafat blamed "extremists in both camps" for blocking Israel and the Palestinian Authority from reaching a final peace agreement. "It is these extremists who murdered Yitzhak Rabin. These same extremists are now resorting to violence against us, against all of us.

    "We have extremists, too, in our own camp, in our own ranks," Arafat said. "Of course, there are extremists everywhere, all over the world ... Despite this we are defending ourselves against these extremists."

    Five minutes later, at 1:58PM, CNN decided that the real story was Arafat's comments on the intifada, the only part of the speech recalled, for example, by Benny Morris (RV, p.671) and other commentators who prefer an "absence of a partner for peace" to justify extremist positions.

    But both sides clung to 'rejectionist' positions at the conclusion of the Taba summit, Israel's formal reservations are every bit as reserved as the Palestinians', all of them explained in tit-for-tat detail in the 'tentative agreement' that resulted. "Never closer to an agreement", as the joint Israeli-Palestinian statement described the outcome, is still "not an agreement".

    update: There is, scattered across the internets, repeated references to a letter from Barack, or a document from the Israelis, listing the specific Israeli reservations to the Clinton parameters. It may be a six page document, a 10 page letter, a 20-page outline, or a 22 page enumerated list. However many pages of reservations there were, I can't find any of them in print, so it's impossible to assess Dennis Ross' strange semantic distinction that Barak's reservations were "inside" the Clinton parameters while Arafat's were "outside". What a hoot.

    update update: and all this, you see, remains relevant, because people still get confused about what happened: Arafat rejected Camp David, but Shlomo Ben-Ami is clearly talking about the Clinton Parameters/Taba, which Barak and the successor Likud regime - for whatever reason you care to throw in there, the elections seem relevant - rejected.


:: posted by buermann @ 2007-03-20 15:00:06 CST | link





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