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Menachem Klein's Lecture
Last uploaded : Wednesday 16th Jan 2002 at 19:52
Contributed by : Prof Bryan Reuben


News I read your news item about a talk by Menachem Klein, which claimed that
Barak's offer at Camp David and Taba was a hollow mockery. If true, these
allegations are serious because they imply that Israel wants to continue the
conflict with the Palestinians for some unspecified reason, just as the
Palestinians wish to continue the conflict with Israel in the hope that it
can be destroyed and the Jews swept into the sea, if not this century then
next century. Is what Klein says true?

Klein is said to have been an adviser to Barak and Ben-Ami, but that could
mean everything or nothing. Was he at the secret discussions at Camp David
and Taba? If not, then his view is no more likely to be valid than mine. (My
information from a reliable but unpublished source is that negotiations
broke down on the issues of refugee return and declaration of end of
conflict.) Perhaps someone could elucidate his status in your pages to aid
your readers in assessing his credibility.

If what he said was true, then the following questions need answers:
1. Clinton put forward a plan at Camp David accepted by Barak. If it was
such a mockery, why did Clinton put it forward and afterwards attack Arafat
for not accepting it? Clinton was desperately anxious for the meetings to
succeed and would not have put forward anything ridiculous nor would he
criticised Arafat if the fault had been Barak's.
2. Why did Mubarak and King Abdulla tell Arafat that the Camp David offer
was the best he was likely to get and that the only alternative (which was
what Arafat did) was war.
3. Why did Arafat not come up with some counter-proposals that highlighted
the inadequacy of the Israeli proposals and provided a basis for further

Without satisfactory answers to these questions, I think we are entitled to
assume that Mr Klein's picture of what happened at Camp David and Taba is
speculation. I have nothing against this - we all do it - but it is
different from hard facts. Truth is the first casualty of war, and
extremists on both right and left find it disturbing to their world
pictures. The deformation professionelle of soldiers is to think everything
can be settled by force; that of diplomats that everything can be settled by

Bryan Reuben

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