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Friday, September 23, 2011

Bill Clinton holds a grudge, blames Netanyahu for 'peace process' failure

Bill Clinton hasn't forgotten how he railroaded Binyamin Netanyahu into signing the Why Why Wye agreement that gave more much of Hebron to the 'Palestinians.' Clinton was never happy with that agreement because much of it was never implemented. Now, he's going after Binyamin Netanyahu blaming him for - what else - killing the 'peace process' (Hat Tip: Shy Guy via Hot Air).
Clinton, in a roundtable with bloggers today on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, gave an extensive recounting of the deterioration in the Middle East peace process since he pressed both parties to agree to a final settlement at Camp David in 2000. He said there are two main reasons for the lack of a comprehensive peace today: the reluctance of the Netanyahu administration to accept the terms of the Camp David deal and a demographic shift in Israel that is making the Israeli public less amenable to peace.

"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke," Clinton said.

Sharon had decided he needed to build a new centrist coalition, so he created the Kadima party and gained the support of leaders like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert. He was working toward a consensus for a peace deal before he fell ill, Clinton said. But that effort was scuttled when the Likud party returned to power.

"The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn't seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu. They wanted to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there's no question -- and the Netanyahu government has said -- that this is the finest Palestinian government they've ever had in the West Bank," Clinton said.

"[Palestinian leaders] have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if [Netanyahu] put up the deal that was offered to them before -- my deal -- that they would take it," Clinton said, referring to the 2000 Camp David deal that Yasser Arafat rejected.
This is so wrong. Sharon's 'peace effort' wasn't scuttled when the Likud returned to power. It was scuttled when the 'Palestinians' refused to deal with Olmert because of Operation Cast Lead. That happened before Netanyahu and the Likud took power.

I have not heard Netanyahu say that the current 'Palestinian' government is the finest peace partner we have ever had. And even if he did, I would treat it with great skepticism. He has to do something to ease up on all that American pressure.

Third, even if the 'Palestinians' would accept 'Clinton's deal' today (which they turned down in 2000), why should it be offered to them again? Why do we have to keep offering these people the same deal that they turned down over and over again. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

And finally, if the 'Palestinians' would accept 'Clinton's deal' today, that's a tribute to Netanyahu for pushing them into a corner where the 'Palestinians' feel that they must accept Clinton's deal. After all, Abu Mazen told Jackson Diehl in May 2009 that a deal that was much more generous to the 'Palestinians' than Clinton's deal was not enough.

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At 1:20 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The problem is the maximum Israel could offer would be less than the minimum a Palestinian leader could accept and hope to remain in office.

There is simply no basis for any kind of common agreement between the two sides. The Palestinians refuse to accept Israel's minimum terms for a peace agreement and there is no evidence they are interested in peace with Israel.

Netanyahu is probably the last Israeli leader willing to be that generous with them. Future Israeli governments are likely to offer far less. And for that, the Palestinians have only themselves to blame.

President Clinton is profoundly misreading history. The Likud today if anything is far to the left of where the Labor Party was in the 1990s. Netanyahu's Israel has demonstrated a great deal of flexibility, ignored by the other side.

Then again Clinton refuses to acknowledge its not Netanyahu who has held up peace. A responsible criticism of the Middle East would accept this. Clinton may have a grudge against Israel's Prime Minister but its hardly fair to say Netanyahu did not try everything to make negotiations happen. History will prove him right and Clinton wrong on that score.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Unbelievable. First of all, the direct result of Clinton's genius was suicide bombings on Israeli busses, in restaurants... I saw the shell of the Dolphinarium disco on the Tel Aviv beach. And he blames Netanyahu? And the Israelis and American Jews hold this man dear with warm nostalgia. Never have understood this.

Mostly, given Clinton and his wife's machinations in the Arab world for his "library", Clinton, if he were a moral man, would just shut his mouth. But his legacy as, at the very least, an irresponsible fool, has to be shored up. He needs a scapegoat to unload his heavy guilty burden.

BTW, the thing he put into these agreements that has turned out to be prescient is that the Palestinians have to stop killing Jews as Step One. The shamed Clinton is lashing out, as shamed children do. The Israelis need to not let all these people off the hook, dishonoring those killed and maimed in the second Intifada, the rocket attacks, etc., by canceling in any way the signed Step One of ending attacks. No new agreements will have that in there as an opening condition to Israel disbanding itself.


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