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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flashback: Oslo architect Yossi Beilin says 'we never thought about a final agreement'

The late Yitzchak Rabin used to refer to him as Peres' poodle. In an interview with Haaretz in 1997, during Prime Minister Netanyahu's first term in office, Oslo architect Yossi Beilin told Haaretz that he and his cohorts who illegally negotiated the Oslo declaration of principles (Israeli law at the time prohibited contact with the PLO) had never thought about a future, final agreement.
Shavit: When you entered the Oslo process, Rabin Peres and you, was it clear to you that this was going to a Palestinian state?

Beilin: No. It is very interesting to note that the talks of the soul regarding "where will this process lead" took place only between the sides, not within them. Within the Labor party and within the government and within the negotiating team I don't recall any real and serious discussion of the final solution.

Shavit: I don't understand. In 1992 you were elected to the government. In 1993 you created the Oslo process. At no stage did you ask yourselves where this all was leading to?

Beilin: No.

Shavit: You never spoke with Rabin about the significance of Oslo in the long run?

Beilin: Never.

Shavit: And with Peres?

Beilin: I also never spoke with Peres about it.

Shavit: That's to say that we are going to an historic process that is second to none in its drama and at no stage you don't say "wait a moment, let's think about this", let's check where we are basically going?

Beilin: By Rabin, avoidance of the final arrangement was a kind of policy. He pushed it off. After he died I sat with Leah Rabin and I said to her - if someone could have known what final arrangement Rabin had in mind it's only you. She told me - "Look, I can't tell you. He was very pragmatic, hated to deal with what will be in many more years. He thought about what will be now, very soon. To the best of my knowledge he did not have a very clear picture of what the final arrangement would be"

Rabin thought that things would develop, saw something instrumental like that, some autonomy that might become a state and might not. He did not have a clear picture.


Shavit: The question that must be raised is if the decisions of Oslo were made at all in a rational process?

Beilin: In general there aren't rational processes. Rationality, at the end, is almost always rationalizing. When you look at these kinds of processes you find that almost always the things happen out of internal feelings of the participants that they are doing the right thing. Out of their emotions and intuition and personal experience.


Shavit: Have you considered at times, that maybe, because of 1948, the complications of the dispute make it unsolvable?

Beilin: Yes. It occurs to me. But I immediately utterly rejects it. I see myself as an absolute rationalist and I want to live a rational world. I very much want to live in a world in which there is a solution to our existential problems that is possible. I have no proof that this is indeed the situation. This is like being an optimist. Is an optimist convinced that the pessimist is always wrong? No. He simply convinces himself that things will be good. That it will be OK. And then he also does everything in order to insure that he is right. That's the way I am.

I simply am not prepared to live in a world in which things cannot be resolved.
Obama would like Beilin. Unfortunately, we can all see where Beilin's worldview, which was imposed on us unwillingly, has led us.

By the way, the closest you can get to Rabin's view of a final settlement is his last speech to the Knesset in 1995. He was willing to offer much less than his successors (including Netanyahu) have offered, and far, far less than the 'Palestinians' are demanding.


At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the runaway train, Yossi!

At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy Bibi's going wild!!!

He's practically giving it away!!!

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Your Israel Matzav posts about liberal American Jews should be linked to this one. For decades, American liberal Jews have followed this Beilin man. And Rabin got along famously on his US fundraising trips even in the '70s with the radicals who admitted later that they "pushed a little too hard" in Chicago, Madison, etc. in the late '60s.

The fact that Israel did perform the compromises that these "optimists" (haha) wanted leaves a huge reservoir of positive potential among the U.S. liberal Jews, if it could be tapped. I'd suggest that Beilin come to the U.S. and do an "Oslo World Tour" speaking tour, but I wouldn't trust him not to advocate a suicidal niceness and unidirectional accommodation (does this count as a "bigotry of low expectations"?). It would need to be someone who believed in the Oslo approach and sees that, despite trying, it isn't practicable. I would like to see it be someone who doesn't swing all the way from peace-love-dove to the glass parking lot approach, but looks for practical steps to solve local situations... so border security methods co-experimented with the U.S. people along the US/Mexico border, urban security methods, work permit procedures, line-of-sight architecture in Israel and the SW US, etc. I know that isn't the big solution, but it does allow civilians in the region who want to to live, work, earn a living, invent, send their kids to school...

Also, I haven't seen much info lately on fence construction (in Israel - in the US SW, I heard they've stopped construction). But I've always been in favor of Israel continuing to construct the fence as a boundary, if not a border, and work from there.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The problem is Yossi Beilin and the Israeli Left think rationally. They act as though Israel is in Europe. What they forget is the Arabs - Israel's neighbors, are extreme and irrational. For them there can be no real peace with Israel, at most a temporary accommodation with it. All the peace processes in the world won't change this truth. A Palestinian state is not going to lead to the disappearance of Muslim anti-Semitism and the desire to see Israel vanish from the Middle East. And not one Palestinian leader has yet to indicate a willingness, in Arabic, to accept Israel as a legitimate entity in the Middle East.

There will be no peace in our lifetime.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

NormanF - Our Israeli friends are actually seeing the current years as a mini-golden age. "Quiet" is a very big compliment from an Israeli to a given stretch of time. NormanF, have you read the RIver War by Winston Churchill? It isn't irrational what they are thinking. It is a different planet. It is seeing this earth as a stepping stone with a better life to come. I saw this taught in Mexico to the poor in the Catholic Churches... that the greater the suffering in this life, the greater the position in Heaven. The most manipulative crowd control ever invented. Look at Mexico now. With Islam, there is the added bonus that if one dies fighting and taking a bunch of other people with them, then they get the jackpot reward in the next world. So I think "Quiet" is a good goal for peace for now. Defense of the Israeli mainland.


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