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Sunday, December 12, 2004

a response to dennis ross

i wrote the response below to an essay by dennis ross posted at factsofisrael.com.

but first, a bit of explanation: usually when people talk about "israel's generous offer", they mean israel's position at the camp david negotiations of july 2000. anyone at a minimal level of literacy who has researched the question for five minutes knows that calling israel's ultimatum at camp david "generous" is bullshit. dennis ross is too sophisticated to use that line, but would still like to blame arafat for the failure of negotiations. his dilemma is that the vast majority of peace plans along the international consensus of the two-state solution were received well by the palestinians and either forcefully rejected or else ignored outright by israel (see chomsky's the fateful triangle). there are no cases that i know of in which the palestinians refused to consider a solution in accordance with security council resolution 242 and a palestinian state. so in order to blame the palestinians, ross relies on the clinton plan of late december 2000, after palestinian patience with israel's intransigence ended and they resumed armed resistance to the occupation, and israel responded with massive violence against civilians. that offer was not rejected by arafat but rather accepted as a basis for negotiations - negotiations that barak played along with but did not take seriously (see tanya reinhart's book), and eventually called off. the fact that arafat didn't accept the offer outright is viewed as evidence of his intransigence and duplicity, and is the key to blaming the palestinians for the lack of a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.

here's my response to the essay:

the fact that dennis ross, a former AIPACer, acknowledges that israel's "generous offer" at camp david is nonsense should settle the matter once and for all.

ross's entire case against arafat, judging by the essay above, reduces to this: arafat accepted the clinton plan as a basis for negotiations, rather than accepting it outright. this "rejection" is the reason there's no peace. not the dozen peace plans that the palestinians accepted and israel rejected, not barak's breaking off the taba negotiations over the clinton plan, not israel launching an all-out war on the palestinian population.

to the dennis rosses of the world, palestinians must accept every offer that they're given, without the opportunity to negotiate, and without any consideration of the context: decades of israeli rejection on the diplomatic front, and brutality and war crimes on the military front. could it be that palestinians were too upset at israel's unwillingness to live up to its obligations under oslo, too mad about the hundreds of palestinians murdered and thousands maimed between october and december 2000 to be willing to accept the generous concessions that the clinton plan expected them to make, including the surrender of individual and collective rights?

ross's essay is a contribution to the anti-palestinian propaganda that is used to secure acquiescence to israel's enormous crimes. it is not a contribution to peace-making.

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