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« Free at Last...or Not | Main | South Africa Supports Resolution Curbing Freedom of Expression »

April 29, 2007



South Africa must just stay the hell out of the Middle East. They are in the Iranian-Syrian-Libyan-PLO-Hamas-Hezbullah orbit.


I think you underestimate the role played by the SA government behind the scenes. There has been significant contact between our government and both Hamas and the PLO people like Abbas and their aim is to get them to work together and to ensure they take a more moderate view. This might be viewed as one-sided because a more moderate Palestianian authority is bad news for the Israeli government. Such a move would put pressure on them to negotiate for a two-state solution - somthing they are very much against. So, while South Africa is about as even-handed as the USA when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for once, the government is on the side of peacemaking.


Pierre seems to have missed the last 14 years of news in the Middle East.


Pierre clearly was in a coma, when in a response to a generous offer by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to hand over almost all of the Disputed Territories (including most of East Jerusalem) to the Palestinian Authority , Arafat stormed out of the talk and launched a terror war against the Israeli people.


Pierre, I certainly don’t underestimate the significant amount of support (both public and behind the scenes) that our government has given to the Palestinian Authority.

Where we disagree is on how this contributes to peace. I and almost every other democratic government on earth believes that the recognition of Israel’s right to exist, a renunciation of violence and a commitment to adhere to previous agreements is necessary for meaningful peace talks to begin. Allowing the Palestinians to shirk these responsibilities does nothing to contribute to peace.


Pierre, Israel very much supports a two state solution.

The Palestinians are after a one state solution.


Robert Malley, who was Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs and a member of the US peace team that participated in the Camp David summit, argued in the New York Review of Books that the "historic offer" made by Barak was deeply flawed and impossible for Arafat to accept. He says that the myth of the historic offer should be debunked: "As orthodoxies go, this is a dangerous one. For it has larger ripple effects. Broader conclusions take hold. That there is no peace partner is one. That there is no possible end to the conflict with Arafat is another." The comments here seems to reflect this dangerous orthodoxy. See the original article at:


The New York Review of books is a far left and violently anti-Zionist source.
Try reading some sources from the other side.


Benny Morris and Ehud Barrak both replied in the New York Review of books and smashed Robert Malley's argument.

Dennis Ross is by far the most authorative voice on the matter since he personally administered every negotiation. Furthermore, the offer presented (as part of the Clinton Parameters -- not Camp David) is in print at the back of Dennis Ross' book.

Ross' book "The Missing Peace" absolutely debunked what Robert Malley's thesis. And Ross has notes from the minute takers of the meetings to back everything up. You should read his book before forming an opinion of such conviction.

Pierre, have you read the further exchanges in the NY Review by Morris and Dennis Ross? They are linked at the bottom of the article you linked to.

Anyway, it's all incidental discussing who made mistakes at Camp David.

The Clinton proposal, presented by Clinton and documented by Ross, in December 2000 went far further then the Barak offer at Camp David. The Knesset approved this offer in December 2000. Arafat rejected it out of hand in January 2001.

"But their account of "the tragedy of errors" of Camp David—though correct in many aspects—is glaring in its omission of Chairman Arafat's mistakes. One is left with the impression that only Barak did not fulfill commitments. But that is both wrong and unfair, particularly given Arafat's poor record on compliance. Moreover, while striving to prove that the reality was far more complicated than Israel offering and Palestinians rejecting, they equate tactical mistakes with strategic errors. Did Prime Minister Barak make mistakes in his tactics, his negotiating priorities, and his treatment of Arafat? Absolutely. Did the American side make mistakes in its packaging and presentation of ideas? Absolutely. Are Prime Minister Barak and President Clinton responsible for the failure to conclude a deal? Absolutely not.
"Consider Arafat's performance at Camp David. It is not just that he had, in the words of President Clinton, "been here fourteen days and said no to everything." It is that all he did at Camp David was to repeat old mythologies and invent new ones, like, for example, that the Temple was not in Jerusalem but in Nablus. Denying the core of the other side's faith is not the act of someone preparing himself to end a conflict."
It is not, as Abba Eban said, that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It is that in always feeling victimized they fall back on blaming everyone else for their predicament. It is never their fault. History may not have been kind or fair to the Palestinians. They have suffered and been betrayed by others. They are, surely, the weakest player with the fewest cards to play. But by always blaming others, they never have to focus on their own mistakes. And that perpetuates the avoidance of responsibility, not its assumption.

Why should Israel ever make any concessions when they are not rewarded for the concessions but instead punished.

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