Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Another Great Article
By Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 2 January
"After seven years of rumors and self-serving memoirs, the Israeli media has finally published extracts from an official source about the Camp David negotiations in summer 2000. For the first time it is possible to gauge with some certainty the extent of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's "generous offer" to the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat's reasons for rejecting it.
In addition, the document provides valuable insights into what larger goals Israel hoped to achieve at Camp David and how similar ambitions are driving its policies to this day.....
Although this is far from the only account of the Camp David negotiations, it is the first official document explaining what took place -- and one that certainly cannot be accused of being unsympathetic to Israel's positions......
In truth, Israel's need for recognition as a Jewish state is proof that it is not a democratic state, but rather an ethnic state that needs to defend racist privilege through the gerrymandering of borders and population. But in practice Olmert may yet use the recognition test to back Abbas, a weak and unrepresentative Palestinian leader, into the very corner that Arafat avoided.
Before Annapolis, Livni declared: "It must be clear to everyone that the State of Israel is a national homeland for the Jewish people," adding that Israel's Palestinian citizens would have to abandon their claim for equality the moment the Palestinian leadership agreed to statehood on Israel's terms.
Olmert framed the Annapolis negotiations in much the same way. It was about creating two nations, he said: "the State of Israel -- the nation of the Jewish people; and the Palestinian state -- the nation of the Palestinian people."
The great fear, Olmert has repeatedly pointed out, is that the Palestinians may wake up one day and realize that, after the disappointments of Oslo and Camp David, Israel will never concede to them viable statehood. The better course, they may decide, is a South African-style struggle for one-person, one-vote in a single democratic state.
Olmert warned of this threat on another recent occasion: "The choice ... is between a Jewish state on part of the Land of Israel, and a binational state on all of the Land of Israel."
Faced with this danger, Olmert, like Sharon and Barak before him, has come to appreciate that Israel urgently needs to persuade Abbas to sign up to the two-state option. Not, of course, for two democratic, or even viable, states, but for a racist Jewish state alongside a Palestinian ghetto-state. "