Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Can Ehud Barak Save the
Zionist Empire from the Embarrassing Vulgarity and Fascism of Netanyahu?
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July
Israelis may not like
the vulgarity and extremism of the rightist politicians, like Netanyahoo and
Lieberman, but they have been electing them as hawks in denying the
Palestinian people their human rights. They may despise the leftist
politicians like the current Zionist Union leaders but they like their style
of dealing with the outside world, giving it deceptive words about peace but
without leading to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Barak combines the two Zionist tendencies together, being tough against the
Palestinian people at the same time of giving the deceptive appearance of
being open to giving peace a chance.
Two Zionist tactics, which may
seem different, but both have been leading to maintaining the Zionist Empire
through the continuation of the occupation of Palestine, death and
destruction throughout the Middle East, and tight control over politicians
in the US-EU.
|Ehud Barak: New Look for
Saving the Zionist Empire from Netanyahu's insanity
The Second Coming?
SUDDENLY, A familiar face,
almost forgotten, appeared on the TV screen. Well, not entirely familiar,
because it now sports a prominent black beard. (If I were he, I would
quickly shave it off.)
Yes, there he was. Former Chief of Staff,
former Prime Minister, Ehud Barak.
Barak in a new format. Aggressive. Outspoken. Damning Binyamin
Netanyahu in no uncertain terms. Repeating almost word for word my warning
that Netanyahu has lost his senses. Saying that Netanyahu "has gone off the
rails", and that there are now "signs of fascism" in Israel.
The entire country woke up and listened. Barak back again? At long
last, a man who could possibly defeat Netanyahu?
Barak denied that
he was a potential candidate for Prime Minister. Nobody believed him. Every
commentator worth his or her salt began speculating about plans for a new
party. Why not Barak together with Moshe Ya'alon, the former Chief of Staff
and Minister of Defense just kicked out by Netanyahu? Why not with Gabi
Ashkenazi, another former Chief of Staff, who has the additional advantage
of being an oriental Jew? The air was full of names bandied around.
There was a new atmosphere. A widespread feeling that "Bibi must go". A new
feeling that there is a realistic possibility of getting rid of him and of
Sarah'le, his unpopular wife.
I HAVE a slight problem with that. It
can be summed up with the place-name: Camp David.
For me, Camp David
was a historic turning point. Until the Camp David conference, July 2000,
there was optimism about peace. Since the conference,
peace disappeared from the scene.
For me, the man bearing almost sole
responsibility for that was Ehud Barak.
recount the events, as I saw them at the time.
Clinton was eager for a major triumph before ending his term of office.
Since President Jimmy Carter before him had achieved a major success in Camp
David with the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement, he was aiming for an even
bigger historic triumph with an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Palestinian partner, Yasser Arafat, was reluctant to attend. He pointed out,
quite rightly, that no preparatory work had been done by expert committees,
and feared becoming a nut in the American-Israeli nutcracker.
Clinton finally succeeded in dragging him to Camp David, after promising
that in the event of failure, he – Clinton – would blame no side. He later
broke this promise without compunction.
So Arafat went to the
conference in a very suspicious mood, ready to beware of traps, not
expecting any breakthrough. He was certain that Clinton and Barak would gang
up against him.
THE CONFERENCE lasted an unforeseen 14 days. During
all this time, Barak and Arafat did not meet a single time in private. Barak
did not visit Arafat, nor did he invite him to his private quarters, a
hundred yards away.
To my mind, this was very important. Arafat was
an outgoing type. He loved personal contact, entertaining guests, sometime
feeding them with his fingers. In a very Arab way, he believed in
Barak is the exact opposite, cold,
withdrawn, preferring impersonal logic to personal contact. Any kind of
intimacy is distasteful to him.
I sometimes wonder what would have
happened if Ariel Sharon had been there instead of Barak. Sharon, like
Arafat, was outgoing, enjoyed personal contact, liked hosting people and
perhaps would have helped create a different atmosphere.
course, the political differences were more important than the personal
Since there had been no preparations at all, the two sides
came with highly incompatible proposals.
Barak had absolutely no
prior experience with Arab matters. He came to Camp David with a set of
proposals which were indeed more far-reaching than anything Israel had
proposed before. He was ready to accept a Palestinian state, though with
many conditions and limitations. Perhaps he expected that the Palestinians
would jump up and embrace him upon hearing his concessions.
Unfortunately, Barak's maximum fell far short of Arafat's minimum. The
Palestinian leader thought about his reception back home if he gave up basic
Palestinian demands. In the end, there was no agreement.
furious and, in violation of his solemn promise, put all the blame on
Arafat. He was probably thinking about his wife, Hillary, who was at that
time was standing for election as senator of "Jew-York".
But it was
Barak who turned his personal failure into a historic catastrophe.
WHAT WOULD a real statesman have done in such a situation?
imagine a speech like this:
"Dear fellow citizens,
sorry to tell you that the Camp David conference has been adjourned without
reaching the hoped-for results.
Of course, it would have been
foolhardy to expect that a conflict that has already lasted more than a
hundred years could be resolved in a fortnight. That would have been a
The two sides have been engaged in an earnest dialogue,
based on mutual respect. We have learned much about each other's views and
We have now appointed a number of joint committees to
study the various aspects of the conflict, like borders, Jerusalem,
security, refugees etc in detail. In due course we shall convene a second,
and if necessary a third, conference, to achieve a final peace agreement.
Both sides have agreed that in the meantime, we shall do our best to
prevent any acts of war and violence.
We thank our host, President
Clinton, for his hospitality and commitment."
Instead of which Ehud
Barak did something that changed the course of history.
return he denounced Arafat, and the Palestinians in general, as implacable
Not only did he put all the blame for the failure on the
Palestinians, but he declared that we had no "partner for peace".
These were fateful words. Since then, "we have no partner for peace" has
become an axiom among Israelis, an excuse for all deeds and misdeeds. It
allowed Netanyahu and his likes to come to power. It was the funeral dirge
for the Israeli peace movement, which has not recovered since.
WHAT about a future candidacy of Ehud Barak for Prime Minister?
he set up a new party, which would put together a great coalition against
I am told that he has his doubts. "They all hate me," he
is supposed to have said.
Up to a point, that is quite true. Barak
is seen as an unprincipled person. People will be reminded of his last
political escapade, when he split the Labor Party in order to join
Netanyahu's cabinet as the Defense Minister.
Since taking leave of
politics, he is reputed to have amassed a large fortune, by putting his
experience and connections at the service of foreign governments and
Far from hiding this fortune, he is flaunting it
around, occupying several apartments in one of Tel Aviv's must luxurious
high-rise buildings. All this seemed to indicate that he had said good-bye
to politics forever.
But now his bearded countenance appears on the
small screen. It seems to announce: "Hi fellows, I’m back!"
Can he become the focal point of a new alliance, an alliance to "Kick Bibi
It is not impossible. I believe that only a few people hate
Barak anymore. Seen alongside Netanyahu, he appears in a much more positive
People change. Even politicians. Perhaps he has had time to
ponder on his experience, including Camp David, and learned from his
mistakes. Perhaps he would be preferable to new people who have not yet made
their mistakes, and therefore have nothing to learn from.
Barak is a
highly intelligent person. He has far more (self-acquired) historical
knowledge that usual in Israel's leading circles. He has a social
conscience. In short, he is no Netanyahu.
Not to be a Netanyahu is
more than half of the requirements for a new Prime Minister. And if Barak is
the sole credible candidate around, he is by definition the best one.
The Germans say "When he is hungry, the devil eats flies".
Even people who dislike Barak intensely
would welcome him as a savior from Netanyahu.
In Hebrew, Barak means "lightning" (unlike Barack in Arabic,
which derives from "blessing"). Lightning is the split-second flash that
illuminates the darkness. Did this split-second reveal a new Ehud Barak?
In short: is the Second Coming of Barak possible? My answer is yes.
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