Following the failure of the Taba talks in January, 2001, most U.S.
government officials have been complicit in propagating the myth that Arafat was
100% to blame for the failure of the Camp David talks. The general media
distortion has been that Arafat was offered an unbelievably sound offer, that
former Prime Minster Barak went farther than any Israeli leader to date, and
that the complete collapse of the negotiations was no fault of Israeli nor
The truth, on the other hand, is something quite different. Camp David
was a disaster on account of games played by all sides. But you'd never
know that if you were an average American media consumer. Even the Israeli
press was more fair in revealing the details of the failed negotiation.
That's par for the course. Israeli media covers the failings of Israeli
policy in terms that would shock most Americans given the drivel that is called
news in the United States.
It is well documented that offers presented and hinted at during Camp David
were anything but an amazing deal. Today's astounding statement from
Secretary of State Colin Powell is tacit acknowledgement of this fact.
Time will tell how serious the Bush administration is when it comes to making
peace. But this statement from Powell is certainly unusual.
To learn more about the history of the talks, see the following articles:
- Camp David: The
Tragedy of Errors
- Interview with
These articles have insight from Robert Malley, who was on the Clinton team
at Camp David. Malley's perspective is interesting when contrasted with
Clinton's head of negotiations, Dennis Ross. Ross went on to a position
with the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy. He's been the most authoritative U.S.
voice propagating the lie that the Camp David accords process fell apart only
because of Arafat. Again, all parties share blame for the failure, but
Dennis Ross has his think tank gigs to watch out for. It's interesting to
note how Dennis Ross talks about Robert Malley. Here's
a good example, and more background from the Washington Institute point of
Students of media: Consider reviewing how Powell's statement is
reported in Israeli versus American media. I would not be surprised if
Israeli reportage is more direct, as what appears below. You will not find
the statement in the first paragraph, that's for sure. It might be
obscured still further by various other "tricks of the trade."
Jan. 27, 2003
Powell: Israel Must Offer Palestinians More Than a 'Phony State'
By Aluf Benn, Ha'aretz Correspondent, and Agencies
here for url
In remarks foreshadowing U.S. pressure on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to make
concessions for peace, Secretary of State Colin Powell said in Switzerland on
Sunday that Israel must offer Palestinians more than a "phony state diced
into a thousand different pieces."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ron Pros-Or responded cautiously, saying only that
Powell's statement was "very important" and Israel "would take
it into consideration."
Speaking in Davos, Powell urged Israel to do more to "deal with the
humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people," adding "you have
to understand that a Palestinian state must be a real state."
PM aides finalizing peace plan in response to Bush 'road map'
A special team from the prime minister's bureau, headed by Dov Weisglass, is
finalizing the Israeli version of the "road map" in consultation
with the Defense and Foreign Ministries. The Israeli peace plan, which Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon hopes to bring before the next government, will be
Jerusalem's interpretation of the the speech made by U.S. President George
Bush on June 24, 2002 and will constitute Israel's official response to the
road map put forth by the Quartet - the U.S., the United Nations, the European
Union and Russia.
According to the Israeli plan, Jerusalem will not comment on aspects of the
draft presented by the Quartet but will present its own detailed proposal. It
will also initiate a rushed implementation of its plan in order to expedite
reforms in the Palestinian Authority and strengthen ties with moderate
One of the prime motivations behind Sharon's proposal is to create the right
conditions for a political agreement within Israel, which will enable the
post-elections Labor Party to join the Likud in a national unity government.
Sharon is also trying to counter any effort to impose on Israel an
international plan that includes aspects he finds unacceptable.
"The Bush speech is acceptable to all sides, but there is a dispute over
its correct interpretation," said a senior diplomatic source. "Our
plan will accurately reflect the president's vision," the source added.
The Israeli plan follows Bush's vision for the creation of a Palestinian state
but will emphasize several principles, in particular an absolute end to
terrorism and a broad reform including a change in leadership to transform the
Palestinian Authority into a "properly functioning entity." Only
then will Israel accede to the establishment of a Palestinian state within
temporary borders, with limited sovereignty. As a final stage, negotiations
will be held over the final status agreement.
Israel will link progress with actual developments on the ground, and not to a
fixed time table.
"The plan has two halves. In the first half, [all responsibility] is
placed on the Palestinians and only when they prove themselves in a long list
of difficult demands, it will be time for the second half," said the
senior diplomatic source. If the Palestinians fulfill their part, there will
be broad public support for the plan in Israel, the source said.
"The Bush plan was formulated in cooperation with us, and includes
essential fundamentals that we had demanded."
As it stands currently, the Quartet's plan includes the establishment of a
Palestinian state by the end of 2003 within temporary borders. Prior to this,
a cease-fire must be achieved and the PA must undergo reforms, both of a
political/administrative nature, and in terms of its various security systems.
Simultaneously Israel will freeze all settlement activities and withdraw from
all PA territory reoccupied during the Intifada. A final status agreement may
be reached through negotiations by 2005 under the guidance and inspection of
The implementation of the plan is headed by a team under Minister Dan Meridor,
who is working on steps to reinforce "elements bypassing [Palestinian
Chairman Yasser] Arafat." Israel is interested creating a basis for
"the day after" Arafat.
The two teams, one for formulating the peace plan and the other for its
implementation, are working separately but share a number of members.
The international road map will be brought before the foreign ministers of the
Quartet for approval in the coming weeks. The European Union has demanded that
the final version of the plan - the third version, completed last month - be
made public immediately following the elections here to avoid any new changes.
The U.S. administration would like to postpone the authorization of the plan
until the establishment of a new government in Israel, and to allow for
changes to the final version, based on the comments of the two sides.
EU and UN diplomats are preparing detailed proposals for the implementation of
the plan, including an international inspection apparatus on the ground, which
would evaluate whether the conditions of each stage in the plan have been met
and whether it is possible to proceed further.
A diplomatic source said that "the draft of the road map is a general
plan, and it is logical that it be developed in detail. According to the road
map, step-by-step progress will be dependent on the performance of the two
sides and clear benchmarks for evaluating the performance must be