Polemics & Exchanges

On Arafat and Sharon

I agree with Srdja Trifkovic (“Time for Arafat to Go,” The American Interest, February) that Yasser Arafat is not the best leader for the Palestinians and may well be an impediment to peace.  But Dr. Trifkovic repeats a common misconception when he says, in effect, that the Israeli offer at Camp David was just too good to pass up.  Despite what the media have led many to believe, Israel did not offer the Palestinians anything like an independent state.  True, former prime minister Ehud Barak would have ceded 94 to 96 percent of the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinians, but these percentages are misleading.  In fact, the proposal would have kept critical areas under Israeli rule so that the future Palestinian state would have been not a contiguous entity, like any other country, but a group of isolated Bantustans.  Maps of the proposed settlement, which were never shown to the American people, make this abundantly clear.  In short, the Barak proposal would have condemned Palestinians to perpetual servitude, and it is safe to say that no Arab negotiator could have accepted it.

As for Arafat’s continued support of “terror,” it is worth remembering that David ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, never moved against the Irgun or the Stern Gang until after the state of Israel...

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