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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Absolving Arafat

You will recall that last week I blogged a story in which Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar admitted that Yasser Arafat instructed Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israel when he didn't get what he wanted at Camp David ten years ago. At the time, it seemed like nothing new because we all suspected it anyway, and because evidence had been discovered when the IDF invaded Arafat's Mukhata in 2002 that Arafat had been paying Hamas to commit terror attacks all along.

But Soccer Dad ties the Zahar admission to something else I had long forgotten: Deborah Sontag's fawning paean to Arafat that she wrote when she left Israel to return to New York nearly a year after Arafat started the war.
Mr. Barak did not offer Mr. Arafat the moon at Camp David. He broke Israeli taboos against any discussion of dividing Jerusalem, and he sketched out an offer that was politically courageous, especially for an Israeli leader with a faltering coalition. But it was a proposal that the Palestinians did not believe would leave them with a viable state. And although Mr. Barak said no Israeli leader could go further, he himself improved considerably on his Camp David proposal six months later.


All this behind-the-scenes movement was reflected in the atmosphere at that dinner party at Mr. Barak's home. The prime minister, who had refused to talk directly to the Palestinian leader at Camp David, now courted him. Mr. Ben-Ami, then foreign minister, said he left the dinner and told his wife that Mr. Barak -- whom he describes as ''deaf to cultural nuance'' -- was so intent on forging a peace agreement that he was willing to change ''not only his policies but his personality.''

But Palestinians drove away from that dinner with something else on their minds -- Mr. Sharon's coming visit to what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary and Jews know as the Temple Mount. Mr. Arafat said in an interview that he huddled on the balcony with Mr. Barak and implored him to block Mr. Sharon's plans. But Mr. Barak's government perceived the planned visit by Mr. Sharon, then the opposition leader, as solely an internal Israeli political matter, specifically as an attempt to divert attention from the expected return to political life by a right-wing rival -- Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister.

On the heels of very intricate grappling at Camp David over the future status of the Old City's holy sites, Mr. Sharon's heavily guarded visit to the plaza outside Al Aksa Mosque to demonstrate Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount set off angry Palestinian demonstrations. The Israelis used lethal force to put them down. The cycle of violence started, escalated, mutated and built to a peak between mid-May and June 1 with the Israeli use of F-16 fighter jets in Nablus and the terrorist bombing outside a Tel Aviv disco.
What Zahar's admission shows is that what Sontag wrote was incorrect. But what David shows is that what Sontag wrote was a lie - and that she knew it at the time.

Read the whole thing.


At 12:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount was a pretext. The Palestinians intended to make war along.

After a decade we know the truth. And that is there is NO difference between the "good" terrorists of Fatah and the "bad" terrorists of Hamas. They both want the same thing.

Its too bad the Israeli government still hasn't figured that out yet.

What could go wrong indeed

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is actually old news. It's just that the MSM didn't reveal it back then and they won't do so now, either.


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