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Clinton Reinvents Israel

5:43 PM, Sep 22, 2011 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
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That “deal” was adopted at an Arab League summit attended by only 10 of the 22 Arab leaders of the day, and among those not in attendance were the king of Jordan, the president of Egypt, and Yasser Arafat—suggesting that support for this proposal may have been quite limited. Moreover, it was a take-it-or-leave-it offer, never proffered as a basis for negotiation. This “heck of a deal” required “Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon.” In other words, go back to the indefensible 1967 borders, give up every settlement bloc, and give up every square foot of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall. Not quite as “huge” an offer as President Clinton recalls.

“The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were Rabin’s assassination and Sharon’s stroke,” Clinton said. I can think of some others: The fact that a terrorist and thief, Yasser Arafat, led the Palestinian people for decades; the fact that he turned down Israeli peace offers at Camp David; the fact that the Palestinians turned down Ehud Olmert’s even more generous peace offers in 2008; the fact that thousands of Israelis were wounded or killed in the first and second intifadas; the fact that no Palestinian leader has ever spoken with candor to the Palestinian people about the compromises they will need to make in any peace agreement; the fact that for the last two and half years the Palestinian leadership has adamantly refused to come to the negotiating table.

In his Knesset speech, Netanyahu had a far clearer view than Clinton of the real tragedy: “The Palestinians regard this day, the foundation of the state of Israel, their nakba, their catastrophe. But their catastrophe was that they did not have a leadership that was willing to reach a true historic compromise between the Palestinian people and the Jewish people.”  It is sad that President Clinton cannot seem to grasp this elementary fact.  

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