Report #: 1,030
08 October '10
Bill Clinton was on his way to a terrific post-presidency. Working with George H.W. Bush on international aid, and more recently with George W. Bush on Haiti relief, Mr. Clinton was having an impact both on national and international well-being. What led him to open his mouth about Israel is unfathomable.
A few weeks ago in New York, Mr. Clinton said too many Russian immigrants to Israel, and particularly too many Russians in the Israel Defense Forces, had made Israel unwilling to make territorial compromises on the West Bank and thus sunk his chance to broker "peace" at Camp David II in 2000. He invoked the universally respected Natan Sharansky - former Soviet refusenik and prisoner, Israeli politician, human rights activist and author - to bolster his claim. Sharansky took the unusual step of publicly rebuking Mr. Clinton.
The charge was rubbish anyhow. Mr. Clinton himself, as well as his aides, made it clear at the time and again later that the Camp David II talks foundered when Yasser Arafat walked out on Ehud Barak's offer of 95 percent of the disputed territory plus political accommodation in Jerusalem. Mr. Clinton had added the promise of American support and funding for resettlement of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in places other than the State of Israel. Arafat couldn't accept the terms.
Actually, Mr. Clinton acknowledged as much this week at the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, where he said the current talks were focused on what had, essentially, been his proposal in 2000. "They're not even pretending now that they are not basically going to go back and take the modernized version I authored in 2000 that Israel accepted [emphasis added]... They blew 10 years and complicated the problem demographically by not doing this in 2000. It must be done," he said.
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