SEPT. 24, 2004

Israel's so-called "Best Offer" was a formula for more violence


Daily Herald Monday August 16, 2004

Longtime U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross finally explains in a new book called "The Missing Peace" why the Palestinian-Israeli peace process failed.

Although he didn't intend his 840 pages of pro-Israel blather to be interpreted this way, it's clear that what President Clinton tried to impose on the Palestinians was not a peace plan at all. More importantly, Palestinian President Yasir Arafat was right in rejecting the offer, knowing full well the alternative would be endless Israeli military violence.

Ross describes himself as "an observant Jew." Like many Jewish supporters who claim to want peace, the reality is they always start from a position of anti-Palestinian bias. Rose's heart was clearly always with Israel, even in this redact four years after the peace process collapsed.

His definition of "compromise" is tilted against the Palestinians. Nothing Israel did prior to 1967 and only some of what happened after was "negotiable" by his definition. That's called "the new realities."

The so-called "negotiations" were a deceitful imposition of Palestinian surrender. Clinton's entire purpose was to protect Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and push a "deal" in time for Barak to defeat a challenge from Ariel Sharon.

It was a safeguard Barak demanded. If the peace plan failed, Barak might salvage his career and blame failure of Arafat. That is the Israel's mantra.

Barak offered nothing of real substance. Arafat was asked to surrender Arab East Jerusalem and accept that Israel would expand it's already large confiscation of land around Jerusalem, separating it physically from a so-called "Palestinian State."

Palestinians would get "Abu Dis," an obscure hill a mile west of Jerusalem cleverly re-designated as being a part of Jerusalem.

The plan allowed Israel to keep the largest settlements reaching deep into the West Bank, and there even was a clouding of Israel's insistence of "security corridors, Palestinians said would severe the West Bank into three "reservations."

The other lie was in exchange for keeping the specifically defined settlements, the Palestinians would get "1 to 3 percent" of land on Israel's side of the 1949 armistice line.

It was easy to claim otherwise. Neither Clinton nor Barak ever presented Arafat with any maps that clearly defined the deal.

Barak's peace is a death sentence every Palestinian would be left to regret. Better that Arafat reject the surrender and call Israel's bluff, because Israel's refusal to genuinely negotiate a fair compromise guaranteed violence would erupt.

Clinton lacked Jimmy Carter's genuine desire for a Middle East peace. It was all a slick-Willy scheme to deceive Palestinians into formally giving Israel all that it has taken by illegal military force. The only compromise was on inalienable Palestinian rights.

Read Rose's book for yourself. It's filled with praise for Israel, and ignores all of Israel's faults, which I think is the pure definition of America's Middle East policy.

So what was Israel conceding?

Well, it's like a thief who steals your home and large backyard. With the backing of a corrupt police department, the thief agrees to give back most of the back yard and the garage.

Jewish leaders always lecture that the Palestinians cut off their noses to spite their faces. They "never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

Very clever, indeed. What they prefer, of course, is that we Palestinians cut out our hearts.

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To find out more about Ray Hanania, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at (Bonus columns are not posted to the Creators web site)

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian-American author. Reach him by e-mail at He is the winner of the Society of Professional Journalists Lisagor Award for Column Writing. His columns are archived at

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