IMRA's weekly commentary on
27 July 2000
By Aaron Lerner
Before Camp David I listed the standards against which to judge the outcome of the summit. It is with deep regret that I note that Prime Minister Ehud Barak was a dismal failure at the talks. Yes, the talks failed, but by accepting the American bridge proposal Barak has already set the precedent that his administration accepts incredibly dangerous concessions among them the division of Jerusalem INCLUDING THE OLD CITY (turning them into a super Area A under the complete control of the Palestinians but with symbolic Israeli sovereignty until that too is dropped in later negotiation).
To make matters worse Barak embraced a policy of forfeiting Israel's ability to develop its own its own independent edge in weapons technology in return for promises of additional US aid this at a time that America is brutally honest that there is basically no conventional weapons technology that the petrodollars of our enemies and potential enemies cannot buy at the right price.
Yes, difficult decisions are being taken at this time due to the difficult situation our nation has been presented with as a result of the developments at the Camp David Summit. And when these decisions are taken it is important that several factors be taken into account.
#1 Prime Minister Ehud Barak is not about to concede that he made a grave error in the negotiations.
#2 If elections are held and Barak wins it will not matter WHY he won (for example, problems with the opposing candidate or issues having nothing to do with Camp David), the victory will be considered an endorsement of his positions.
#3 No official presentation of those positions can be expected to be shared with the public.
#4 There is no indication that the failed summit puts the suicide process on hold.
Keeping this in mind, the preferable situation would be the establishment of a new national unity government under the leadership of Barak but with clear guidelines rejecting the dangerous concessions Barak has made. Barak does not have to admit error just make the statesmanlike observation that in a democratic system based on coalition government not one man, even the prime minister, can claim to have a monopoly on the truth and that he RESPECTS the majority view of his new government.
If this fails then we are left with no choice but to proceed with efforts to bring about new elections. The road ahead will be tough, but I fear we have no choice. And if we have to go that route we must remember that nothing is insurmountable if properly approached.
If Barak does not formally present his Camp David stand, it can be argued that he understated the severity and scope of the concessions to the voting public.
Even the "most often decorated" line used to give the impression that Barak is a military genius. The public can be made to understand that those awards were for the execution of the policies of OTHERS, much like the most valuable player in a game may not be responsible for team strategy (or in American parlance, the most valuable player award does not necessarily go to the quarterback who called the play).
Again, this will be a tough week with tough calls. But we may have no choice.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director is direcotr of IMRA
(Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(POB 982 Kfar Sava)