I am terribly sorry to attempt to "spoil the celebration" around Beilin.
I cannot abstain from expressing my deep resentment specifically of this man Beilin and the phenomenon that he represents together with some others in the Zionist Left:
"Shooting and Crying"...In our jargon it means that while one is committing crimes he is at the same timelamenting about the consequences...
That's exactly what Beilin and his friends in Labour and Meretz have been doing ever since Oslo - but he morethan others.
I am sorry to have to admit that I was a member of Peace Nowand Meretz till the aftermath of the collapse of CD2.
I quit when I could not shut my eyes and not realize the deceitful and harmful behavior of Beilin and his colleagues' in Peace Now and Meretz prior to Camp David 2 and in its aftermath, in addition to the ideological falacies and premises that support their positions, i.e. the Zionist Leftist Ideology.
In your upcoming meeting with Beilin you have the golden opportunity to ask him a few questions.
First of all, how come he and his Leftist "Peacenik" colleagues allowed for the huge growth of the settlements under Rabin, Peres and Barak.
( When Netanyahu was in power they were all very good in criticizing him and mobilizing American pressure to effectively slow him down..)
Second, please ask him what did they have in their minds when they cut the Oslo accords in 1993? Didn't they let the Palestinians
understand that in the end of the process they are going to get a free Palestinian state in the 67' borders?
Didn't they tell the Palestinians that the only reason not to put the "settlement freeze" clause in writing is because of Israeli Internal difficulties and the need to "prepare the Israeli Public opinion for the difficult concessions"?
Please ask Beilin, what did he do in this respect -
did he ever start talking PUBLICLY about the necessity of dismantling settlements within the Final Status?
Please ask Beilin what did he do as a minister in Rabin's government when the later was expanding settlements?
Did you know the factthat when Rabin came to power before Oslo,
in 1992, there were 85,000 settlers and by the time Barak ended his term there were 205,000 settlers not including Arab East Jerusalem?
The contribution of Bibi was quite marginal.
Please, ask Beilin what exactly did they have in mind when they signed Oslo in 93' concerning the future of these settlements,
the final borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Refugees?
Did they not promise the Palestinians - without committing themselves in writing - that the "deal" is about the so called 67' borders and "sharing" Jerusalem?
If so, why did Mr Beilin and his colleagues allow for the expansion of the settlements,
building new Jewish Settlements in East Jerusalem like Har Homa ( Abu Ghuneim) etc? Why did they neverdare to speak to the Israeli Public about the real parameters of a settlement ?
i.e. more or less the 67' borders - with really MINOR amendments - and sharing Jerusalem -ie evacuation of at least the Arab Neighborhoods? And nothing but nothing about the Refugees...
I can say with full awareness and responsibility that Yossi Beilin -
when being a minister in Rabin's government NEVER did a thing to stop the settlement expansion -
nor in the short period under Peres, nor under Barak.
He was the Minister of Justice in Barak's Government when new land confiscation orders were issued for settlements' expansion and the so called "By Pass" Roads construction under Barak and even prior to CD2...
When there was an attempt to confiscate a beautiful nature reserve
( Dura el Qara) in order to construct another "by Pass" road between Ofrah and Beit El, right in the Eastern outskirts of Ramallah,
disposessing 140 refugee Families, Beilin wouldn't move his little finger to stop it.
I know because I appealed to him and was rejected.
Moreover - Beilin was the mastermind behind the unacceptable idea of the "Settlement blocks" - this unacceptable idea of annexing about 10%-12% of the West Bank to Israelin order to avoid the dismantling of the settlements....His friend Dr. Yossi Alper came out with
this idea in the early 90'ies and Beilin endorsed it, convinced large segments in the israeli Peace Camp,
including Meretz to endorse it.
The whole idea is ludicruous because the so called "Historical compromise" with the Palestinians wasbased on the 67' borders an not on additional compromise on the West Bank. Hemislead both Barak and many others in the Peace Camp to believe that the Palestinians will agree to give up more of their land...
this was not only immoral but also absolutely baseless and lead to a tragic misunderstanding and clash of expectations between the parties.
Did you know that the West Bank and Gaza together make up only 22% of Historic Palestine?
So isn't it a "fair" deal that We - Israelis get 78% and let the Palestinians have the meager remainder of 22% of their Historical Homeland???
It seems that Beilin thought that we can take more from "kivsat harash" ( the poor man's sheep). Unfortunately,
this immoral idea appealed to many of my ex - colleagues in Meretz and Peace Now,
and to the so called "Labor Doves". One can of course argue about the "sanctity" of borders - but for many naive "peaceniks" there used to be a simple answer:
One could claim that in 48' Jews were convinced that they were fighting for a minimum of existence. Any further land aquisition is nothing but sheer expansionism and greed and unfortunately it seems that in the Zionist ethos there is no limit to these two.
Furthermore - concerning Jerusalem - Beilin was systematically and continuously misleading the Israeli Public Opinion, as well as the leadership of the peace camp,
that there is a possibility to cut a deal in Jerusalem - without really "sharing" it - i.e.
without at least withdrawing from all the Arab Neighborhoods and transfering them to Palestinian soveregnity. He came up with the ridiculous idea of having the Palestinian Capital called "Al Quds' in one of the adjoining villages - Abu Dis...
Yes, this was what Beilin at Comp. used to present as a solution for Jerusalem... without really "giving back"
the Arab Neighborhoods in the heart of the City, not to speak about the Old City and the Holy Places to Islam on the Temple Mount - Al Harram Asharrif. It created an illusion that a peace agreement along these parameters could be possible -
while every single honest Peace Activist who had contacts with Palestinians knew that this was an absurdity. I have been involved in dialogue groups and activism very intensively since the first Intifada and I knew one thing:
For the Palestinians - leadership and grassroots - peace could have been attained based on three principles:
1. A Palestinian State with Arab Jerusalem as it's capital within the 67' borders, with very minor amendments ( Like in Latrun and giving up some - not all - of the Jewish Settlements in East Jerusalem.) Equitable and fair territorial exchange could be considered.
2. Dismantling of all the settlements in the Palestinian territories - allowing Israeli settlers who wish to stay there as Palestinian citizens subject to Palestinian Law - to stay there.
3. A just and acceptable solution to the refugee problem - i.e. - Israel must recognize the Historical wrong done to the Palestinians and their ensuing rights,
and on this basis there is a possibility to achieve a negotiated and agreed upon formula by which an agreed upon number of refugees will come back to "Israel proper",
without "destabilizing" Israel...The others will come back to the Palestinian State or settle where
they are now and get compensations etc...
as long as they were presented with a choice.
To my mind - the main issue here for the Palestinians was and still is not the prcise number of returnees to Israel proper - but the Historical recognition of the wrong done to them by Israel,
and the SYMBOLICAL rehabilitation of their legitimate rights and status in this Land as legitimate Owners and not "unwanted guests" or "charity cases" to whom we are doing some favor.
But Beilin and his olleagues want to reduce the whole issue of the refugees into a "charity case" by talking only about the "Humanitarian problem" of therefugees...
I can quote from an article by Beilin published In "yediot aharonot" last January:
"If only the Palestinian would stop talking about the "Right of Return" and start talking about the Humanitarian solution of the refugeeproblem -
we could have achieved a solution long ago..."
In all these three contexts Yossi Beilin didn't act in honesty - he must have known all these parameters as well as I did - or as well as any other person who was close to the Palestinians could know.
Therefore, he had amajor role in misleading both the Israeli left and its' leaders and thegeneral Public Opinion. To a considerable extent I blame him for Barak's failure - Barak offered Arafat in CD2 an utterly unacceptable offer, based on Beilin's ideas - the 88% - 12% formula ( immediate annexation of 12% of the West Bank for the settlement Blocks) with Abu Dis as "Al Quds" and some more villages in the outskirts ofJerusalm - but not the Urban Heart of the Arab city and not the Old city ofcourse.
All this based on Beilin's false preaching...And the Israeli publicgot in a state of shock and confusion when these offers were rightfully turned down by Arafat and the Palestinians.
Why so? Because following Yossi Beilin, Sarid at all. - theywere consistently mis-LEAD to believe that these were the feasible PARAMETERS for Peace... Therefore,
the rejection of these offers and the Intifada were perceived as a proof that the Palestinians are no Partners for Peace,
thatthey have rejected the "Generous offers" - and what they really want is toannihilate Israel by force or by the Right of Return...
Amos Oz, who turned himself into one of Barak'spropagandists wrote an article in the NYT in July 2000, and in Yediot
Aharonot in which he blamed Arafat and the Palestinians for the collapse ofCD2 - claiming that Arafat insisted on the ROR for 4 million Palestinians,blaming him that he wanted to be Sallah A'ddin - who expelled the Jews from Jerusalem. Needless to say that the Historical truth is quite different: The refugees issue was not even discussed in CD2 in July 2000, only later and
mainly in Taba, you can ask Yossi Beilin.
Second, Sallah A'ddin reinstituted the Jews in Jerusalem after he took the city from the Crusaders who had formerly expelled them.
Moreover - Beilin as Minister of Justice in Barak's Government - did not speak out and did not do anything to stop the extrajudicial assassinations started by Barak.
Not by Sharon.
You must ask him how on earth, he as Ministerof Justice and a Liberal Peacenik could have cooperated with theseatrocities and stay in Barak's Government....
and later back him in the election, and demand Israeli Arabs to support Barak after the assassination of 13 Israeli Palestinians in October 2000 by the Israeli Police under Prof.Shlomo Ben Ami....Moreover, Beilin again as Minister of justice collaboratedwith Barak not to allow for a Superior Investigation Committee to be nominated, and only strong public pressure managed to change the course of events.
Dear Friends, I am sure you know by now the real nature of Barak's initial offers at CD2 in July 2000 - and that they were indeed based on the above mentioned "88% - 12%" formula - and nothing of the 95% kind as falsely presented by Barak's propagandists in July 2000 and afterwards.
Yet, when it was presented this way in the Israeli Media, Mr. Beilin and his colleagues did not refute it - didn't say a word otherwise...
They let the Israeli Peace camp be shattered and actually hit with a death blow. By not speaking out, Beilin COOPERATED with Barak in spreading the "No Partner MYTH".
He did likewise during the 2001 elections campaign - in which Barak was defeated and together with his defeat the whole Israeli Peace Camp got a death blow...Once - again - Yossi Belin and his leftist colleagues like Sarid - had a major role in this Fiasco.
Why? Because they - more than others - and Especially Beilin - knew pretty well that Barak made major mistakes in CD2 - both in contents and form - the nature of the offers, the way he negotiated etc.
and that the outbreak of the Intifada had other meanings than the will to annihilate Israel ( Like protest against Arafat and his corrupt regime...)
Yossi Beilin, with all his political skills and experience should have understood that by supporting Barak in those fatal elections he is legitimizing Barak's claim of "No Partners for Peace".
Consequently, Barak's 101% foreseeable defeat would mean the defeat of the Peace Camp and the Peace Ideology as a viable alternative for most Israelis - and not just the defeat of Barak...
Yossi Beilin - together with others should have understood this process and its' severe consequences and should have chosen a different course of action rather than backing Barak to the imminent, well anticipated catastrophical defeat...
Catastrophical in its short and long term consequences...
They could chosen another track - they could have supported an alternative candidate from the Left - himself or Sarid - Not Peres... Such a candidate could have run an affective campaign in the sense that he could have EXPLAINED to the already confused Peace Camp public what has really happened,
what went wrong in CD2 and why did the Intifada break out and what has to be done to stop it -
Like talking honestly about the TABA talks and NOT spreading the lie that the Palestinians failed Taba too.
Doing so could have consolidated the peace camp. Such a candidate would have defeated Barakin the first round
( there were polls with a clear indication in thisrespect run by Prof. E. Yaar - the "peace watch") and later would be defeated by Sharon with a much smaller margin than Barak.
But the real gain could have been to consolidate a conscious ALTERNATIVE political force in thiscountry - not to allow for the "No Partner NYT" to prevail...thusdemoralizing our camp and breaking it to pieces...including the electoral
basis of Labor - Meretz... But Beilin didn't do so - and nor did the others in his camp.
The next logical and legitimate question is to ask WHY??? WHY? If I could understand and analyze the above mentioned parameters why couldn't they? The only answer is that Beilin and his colleagues understood it all - perfectly well -
yet they also understood that coming out against Barak and his offers that they have formerly backed and endorsed if not initiated, they should have to admit their own mistakes, misconceptions and false peremises for the Peace talks,
and not just criticize Barak's mistakes.
So actually they prefered to let Barak Fail, go down the drain of History all alone - carrying on his back all the blame for the colossal failure..not caring about the wider repercussions and consequences of his political defeat...
And what happened in the aftermath of the elections?
Indeed the Peace Camp was ruined; Peres joined Sharon's government, giving him "carte blanche"
in the Israeli Public opinion as well as International legitimacy to carry outa sinister strategy against any possible Peace agreement, causing thePalestinian people terrible suffering and heavy losses in every respect:
human lives, infrastructure, economy - you name it.
And causing us too heavylosses in precious human lives of many innocent civilians and the dangerous slow down of our economy, effecting first and utmost the weak social classes.
It took Mr.Beilin a couple of months to fully estimate the scope of the political catastrophe. He and his colleagues started their renewed campaign for the Israeli Public's support for a negotiated deal with the Palestinians only in July 2001...All of a sudden, in their search for their lost electorate,
they have re-descovered their long lost partners for peace...Then they started to push their associates to writeabout the CD2 myths, being helped by articles published in the InternationalMedia ( Susan Sontag, Bob Malley and many others ever since. ...)
But It was much too late...By that time the Israeli Public opinion was poisoned, most of their electorate lost to the Right and the Intifada gained a momentum and it could nothave been stopped,
especially when Sharon conducted most skillfully his deliberate escalation strategy.
Nowadays we are facing a political reality in which the Right has an overpowering majority...
If there are elections any time soon, the Labor - Meretz block will be defeated and they will hardly gain more than 35 seats in the Knesset... The present Ben Eliezer - Ramon contest is not between two Peace Camp leaders with a vision of Peace but between one who supports "unilateral sepation" and another who supports "security separation".
These two may well compete for the leadership of the "Peace Camp" in the coming up elections, but as their prospects are right now they will be easily defeated by any candidate of the Real and authentic Right - whoever he may be - Bibi or Sharon.
I attended last Saturday's Rally and for me it was a very sad event. Sad in many senses. First of all It was sad to see that the big square was half full - or half empty...it depends how one looks at it...There were huge"empty pockets" all over.. There were really no more than 35- 40 thousandpeople. Second, it was sad because I had to listen to the same voices who for the last 25 years are leading the Peace Camp without success andespecially to listen to people like Sarid, Beilin, Tzali Reshef and Amos Oz - whom I held responsible to a large extent for the catastrophe we are in today. Suddenly they were talking about "back to the 67'borders", Sharing Jerusalemetc. WHY didn't they say so 2,3,4,5,6.7.8. years ago??? Why did they support the "settlement blocks" idea = immediate annexation of 6%-12% of the WB and only now do they speak otherwise??? Why didn't they allow people like me in Meretz to speak freely about the 67' borders and render it as well asSharing Jerusalem the official Meretz line???? (I tried to run a campaign to this end in 1997 in Meretz and was defeated..) How come does Amos Oz once again DARE to say that had it not been for ARAB TERRORISM andREJECTIONISM we could have Peace a long time ago??...And once again nothing meaningful about the refugees safe a BIG concenzual NO to the Right of Return...
I came to the conclusion that there is something immanently wrong with these peoples' political integrity and in their discourse - the Zionist discourse about the conflict and its solution - but this is another long story,and I won't open it now. I would only say that this venue has reached a state of complete bankruptcy and one needs to start thinking in a totally different direction, following the course of truth and honesty in dealing with the conflict and the possible components of its' resolution.
You are free to circulate this letter to whoever you wish.
44 Sold Str. Ramat Ha Shron, Israel