1ª Sesión 27 de enero de 2004 Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo Shlomo Ben-Ami Hala Taweel Presidenta de la UME Diego Hidalgo Buenas tardes. Soy Diego Hidalgo, presidente de la Fundación para Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior, FRIDE, y también consejero de la Universidad de Oriente Medio y quiero darles a todos la bienvenida. Quería decir unas palabras muy rápidas antes de ceder la palabra a María Herrero la Directora de la Universidad de Oriente Medio en España y quería congratularme de tener en el estrago a dos íntimos amigos míos y quiero contar brevemente cómo los conocía a cada uno. A todos los niños y a muchos adultos se les pregunta <<¿Quién admira usted más en el mundo?>>, <<¿Quiénes son sus personajes más admirados?>> Pues yo.., ya larga de vida, he conocido quizás más de un centenar de jefes de estado, a muchos premios Nóbel a muchos personajes destacados en varios aspectos de la vida. Y tendría que decir que tanto Shlomo como Hala estarían en el top five. Y efectivamente ellos son dos de las, sin duda, yo diría de las cinco personas a quienes más admiro. Conocí, en primer lugar, a Shlomo Ben-Ami hace veinte años, cuando en mi otra encarnación era presidente de la Alianza Editorial y me dedicaba a la vida editorial, y tuve la suerte de encontrarme con ese experto, erudito en una época muy interesante de la historia de España, en los años veinte cuando el General Primo de Rivera fue dictador y en Alianza Editorial le tuvimos el honor de editarle un.., su libro sobre la dictadura de Primo de Rivera. Y, a partir de entonces, empezó una amistad que se ha fortalecido enormemente a lo largo de los años. A Hala Taweel la conocí a través de Anne-Marie Coduer, y miembro del Consejo de la Administración de la Universidad de Oriente Medio que está en la última fila aquí con nosotros y que, una vez en Harvard, hace unos siete años, me oyó hablar de Marruecos en un café y se acercó y dijo <<¡Qué caramba!>> y iniciamos una conversación y me habló de esa aventura apasionante que era la Universidad de Oriente Medio, donde a través de la educación se pretendía plantarse millas de paz en oriente medio y consiguió primero ella mismo y luego presentándome a los fundadores de la universidad entre ellos se contaba Hala y consiguió no sólo entusiasmarme con el proyecto sino también montarme en el carro y desde entonces hemos tenido una relación enormemente intenso. A José María Ridao acabo de conocerle, pero le conocí de oídos, y también se cuenta entre las personas admiradas y sin más, pues quiero dejar la palabra María Herrero para que hablen un poco sobre la Universidad de Oriente Medio de la conferencia. Muchas Gracias. Ex Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Israel 1/24 Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo María Herrero Muchísimas gracias, Diego. Muchísimas gracias a todas por estar aquí, hoy con nosotros. Es un día importante para la Universidad de Oriente Medio y también para FRIDE ya que lanzamos el Foro Sobre Oriente Medio y Norte África donde el director de FRIDE, José Luis Herrero, y Yo misma decidimos que en España había muchas iniciativas para hablar sobre cuestiones de Oriente Medio, pero que nosotros queríamos desde nuestra humilde casa es fomentar este tipo de iniciativa y sobre todo tener a gente como Shlomo Ben-Ami y a Hala Taweel hoy que hablan de temas no sólo políticos sino también queremos hablar de temas.., cómo es la educación en oriente medio, y el desarrollo. Queremos hablar del rol del Islam, de la mujer, de aspectos de desarrollo sostenible, medio ambiente y cuestiones verdaderamente de gran importancia para la región y por supuesto importante para España por sus lazos con el oriente medio y también para el mundo entero. Queremos darles las gracias por estar aquí hoy con nosotros y quiero dar las gracias a nuestros ponentes, a José María Ridao, A José Luis Herrero por su gran animación a hacer este foro de FRIDE, de la Universidad de Oriente Medio y sin más quiero decirles que la segunda conferencia sería el 19 de febrero. Nuestra ponente será Richard Norton que es jefe de relaciones internacionales en Boston Collage ha sido una de las personas que más ha escrito sobre la guerra en el Líbano y que nos va a hablar sobre perspectivas de reforma en oriente medio y esto será el 19 de febrero a las 7 de la tarde una hora un poco menos intempestiva que la de hoy. Es un placer para mí presentar a José María Ridao. El va a ser el moderador de esta conferencia hoy. Todos lo conocen pero permítame que le diga que es una persona que conoce muy bien el tema del oriente medio, es licenciado en filología árabe y en derecho, ha ingresado en la carrera diplomática en el año 1997 y ha ejercido desde entonces su labor profesional en países como Angola, Rusia, Guinea Ecuatorial y Francia y es autor de varios libros. Destacamos los Relatos de Excusas para el Doctor Duarte, el Mundo a Media Voz, escrito en el año 2000 y Agosto el Paraíso y sin mas le doy la palabra a José María Ridao. Gracias a todas por estar aquí con nosotros. José María Ridao Gracias, María. Gracias a todos ustedes. Gracias a la fundación FRIDE por esta ocasión de debatir sobre un tema que desde luego creo que una todos los elementos de estabilidad, inestabilidad, comprensión e incomprensión del mundo contemporáneo … hay un epicentro de las grandes discusiones del tiempo que vivimos particularmente después del 11 de septiembre este epicentro es justamente el conflicto árabe-israelí el conflicto entre palestinos y israelíes esta larga historia de dolor, de sangre, de esperanzas y decepciones. Y justamente hoy el tema que vamos a tratar es las esperanzas y las decepciones en torno a un proceso del que quiere de decir que cuando menos fue el más largo proceso de esperanza que ha habido desde que el conflicto entre palestinos y israelíes estalla y que por lo tanto es un proceso que cuando entra en declive produce tanta desazón, tanta desilusión como grandes fueron las expectativas en el momento de su comienzo. Gran parte de lo que estamos viendo podría decirse que es el negativo, el reverso de lo que supuso Oslo en materia de confianza entre las partes que negociaban, en materia de convicción de que la violencia resolvía difícilmente los problemas que se enfrentan dos pueblos, dos naciones, dos países, como se dan cita en ese lugar. Y por tanto, como digo, reflexionar sobre Oslo y reflexionar en general sobre el conflicto de palestinos e israelíes es reflexionar sobre algunas de las claves esenciales del momento que estamos viviendo. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo Aparte de ser un tema decisivo, como digo, creo que tenemos la suerte de contar con dos personas que conocen excepcionalmente bien el proceso de Oslo que han sido testigos y protagonistas del desarrollo de lo que hubo después, de lo que hubo entre tanto de este periodo de esperanza y también de esta situación de desilusión, esta situación en la que se encuentra hoy el proceso de oriente medio. El primero de nuestros ponentes que tomará la palabra será Shlomo Ben-Ami. Yo creo que es inútil prácticamente presentar Shlomo Ben-Ami, presentarlo en nuestro país, presentarlo en Madrid done fue embajador y es bien conocido no sólo por su labor como diplomático sino por su labor como intelectual, como conferenciante habitual como persona que participa normalmente en los debates que tienen lugar en España. En cualquier caso, sólo recordar que Shlomo Ben-Ami ha sido Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Israel y uno de los principales negociadores de la conferencia de Camp David de 2000. Ha sido miembro de la Knesset, formando parte de la comisión asuntos exteriores y defensa. Fue educado en la universidad de Tel Aviv y se doctoró en Historia por la universidad de Oxford, y es autor de abundantes libros: Anatomía de una Transición, que está publicado en Madrid el año ‟90, Italy between Liberalism and Fascism, publicada en Tel Aviv en el año „86, Spain between Dictatorship and Democracy publicado en Israel en 1980, Fascism from Above, publicado en Oxford en 1988, y finalmente the Origins of the 2nd Republic in Spain, publicado en Oxford en 1978. Sin más preámbulos dejo a palabra a Shlomo Ben-Ami. Shlomo Ben-Ami Ok, I understand that we are going to conduct this talk in English and that we have simultaneous translation. So I will begin by trying to explaining my position as to the conditions that produced the Oslo accords. I think that throughout history Bretford was important, which was always made possible by this unique rendezvous between the rightness of conditions and the leadership that needs to carry through the process. The years proceeding Oslo created precisely such unique conditions. On the one hand you had the incapacity of the Israelis then, by the way now as well, to quell the Intifada. There was no way that the Israeli military could do away with the revolt of the Palestinian people. This was one reason. Another was a very active and assertive American administration. The Bush father administration was very assertive. To some Israelis it was death to the sensibilities of the Jewish vote in America and of Israeli sensibilities and it started to exert pressure on Prime Minister Shamir and later on it facilitated the coming to office of Prime Minister Rabin. Another condition that helped to produce the Oslo accords was the Gulf War. In a way the Gulf War exposed, if not the fallacy, at least the weakness of the argument about centrality and the importance of territorial depth, because our cities were hit by old-fashioned missiles that were launched from Eastern Iraq. So in a way people in Israel started to realise that territory is always important, but not as central as it was originally thought. And there is also the question of what Rabin used to call the “window of opportunities”. He realised that there was in the Middle East a window of opportunities that depended on several key factors. One was the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nd by the collapse of the Soviet Union it became clear that the Arabs were losing their military option because Russia (or the Soviet Union) was incapable of delivering in matters of peace and therefore any peace move needed to pass through Washington. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo Another ingredient of that window of opportunities was the fact, according to Rabin, of the nuclearisation of Iran and Iraq were not yet produced. He always believed he belonged to s strategic thought or a strategic school in Israel that believed that the important existential threats that Israel faced were those on the second circle, that is Iraq, Iran etc. And in a way he thought that by moving as quickly as possible to a deal with the Palestinians, he would help neutralise. This is about time. Now is the time to make peace because we have this window that was opened with the Gulf War and before the Iranians and the Iraqis had become nuclear. So these were, as far as he was concerned, the central strategic and original considerations that brought him to contemplate making peace with the Syrians and then with the Palestinians. And there was another one, another consideration, and that was the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. He said upon coming to power, the following: It became clear to me that it is either Arafat or Hamas, that is the Islamic fundamentalists. There is no third partner, he said. The time had come to end the masquerade with the West Bankers, because at that stage Israelis were still negotiating with representative in the territories and he came to the conclusion that this leads nowhere and therefore it‟s about time to start negotiating with Arafat. Therefore I‟ve made a major decision, he said. I‟ve seen a window of opportunity. But for how long I don‟t know. It is not unlimited. The main threat at present and in the long run is the ugly wave of extreme fundamentalism. Seven or 10 years from now, Iran will be a major threat with conventional and nonconventional weapons. So let‟s make peace, he said. Let‟s have original development, bring up the standard of living of people in the Arab countries, and in this way, answer the main threat. So there was a philosophy behind Rabin‟s decision to cease that historical moment, that was produced by global, regional and local events and pushed forward. So his is, I think, the best example one can think of this encounter between leadership and conditions. Because one could easily imagine the same conditions – in fact they existed with a different leadership, with Izraq Shamir. The conditions were not invented by Rabin, they existed a few months earlier with Shamir, but Shamir did not budge, did not move. So it‟s very importance for us to realise that this is a historical concept that must not be dismissed too easily, that is, that encounter is always important. And then what was the viewpoint of the PLO, of the Palestinians, that helped them to come close to an agreement or at least the framework of an agreement, as Oslo is not a peace agreement as you may know, it‟s basically a framework. What brought the PLO closer to that deal? One, was, as usual … one additional, fatal mistake by Mr Arafat. The fact that Arafat decided to go against the current of international opinion, of Arab opinion and support Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, the Palestinians who had been campaigning, rightfully, for the principle that is inherent in principle 242 against the accusation of Land BY force, supported Saddam, who did precisely that. They were in fact acting against their own interests under the leadership of Arafat at that particular moment. He didn‟t gauge the meaning the way, I believe Rabin understood it – the meaning of the end of the Cold War and he lost himself in the strategic new map of the Middle East and of the world. So his weakness at the end of the Gulf War, being isolated by the Arab world and economically bankrupt, brought him to a deal with Rabin, that is that Rabin knew that precisely because of the weakness of Arafat and of the PLO, this was the moment to throw him a lifeline. And they did it. Shamir would have gone one more step to destroying the PLO. Rabin chose a different way, because he was a statesman. He understood that the miscalculations of Arafat don‟t eliminate the Palestinian problem. The problem remains there – it is the miscalculation of a leader. But the necessity to solve it is Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo there, there is no way to do away with it. So this is where the statesmanship of Rabin came into operation. The PLO was the same time was losing ground to Hamas, never short of money, which was not the case of course of the PLO. And then you had this competition that opened between the PLO, Hamas and Jihad and the local leadership. The PLO was being sidelined in the Palestinian national movement from being the central pillar in the struggle for independence. You have the fundamentalists and you have the local committees of the revolution, of the uprising. And this is another explanation why in Oslo; the positions of PLO negotiators were far more flexible than those of the official Palestinian delegation in Washington. Because he was not only looking for a deal. He was looking to reassert the leadership of the PLO. So these were indeed the very unique conditions that created the breakthrough. Another interesting questions is why Oslo? Why Norway of all places? Of course later we can fill in the gaps of some of the arguments that I have advanced here, but to Jose Luis and to some other friends here who are trying together here to advance the idea of a think tank and do some interesting work, the foreign minister of Norway, a very good friend who worked with me throughout two very hectic years (Yeglance), wrote a book. Its title is Impotent Superpower, Potent Small State. And he shows that a small, rich, liked, non-threatening country like Norway can be considerably better placed than the US, Britain or France to broker peace accords and human rights in the world. There is the strength of the medium-sized power. I think I don‟t want to be too professorial here but I guess that this can be an example for Spain too to emulate in international relations. I really believe that this was the unique position of a country like Norway that helped them make this breakthrough. Now these were the unique conditions and everyone was very happy and Arafat came to the territories in 1994. And economic development started to be felt. And everybody was globetrotting from capital to capital to speak about the enormous possibilities and chances that were being opened by the peace process. But then, bit by bit, the disappointed kicked in. What were the reasons? Again, in a nutshell because I believe that we‟ll have time to perhaps discuss some of these issues in more detail later on. I think that the collapse of Oslo was not perhaps the result of tactical wrong moves that the parties might have made in Camp David, or Taba or anywhere else – this is my personal view of things, my personal view is not technical, that is, I do not believe that there was a blunder either Palestinian or Israeli in terms of the technique of negotiation or something that needed to be done in a different way. I think there is a clash between the Palestinian question, or Palestinian aspirations and the world view of Israel as a nation. This is something that does not exist between Israel and other Arab parties. You see, with other Arab parties we have a peace process that is essentially about land. It‟s about land for peace. This is about restitution of land – it‟s almost a real estate business the kind of problem we have with other Arab countries. But when it comes to the Palestinians, this is not a mundane bargaining or a real estate. It‟s about historic rights, it‟s about religion, it‟s about memory. It‟s about certificates of ownership, it‟s about refugees, it‟s about a lost fatherland, it‟s about the fig tree, the olive tree … you have so many myths and divergent expectations that go far, far beyond what you would call a banal, bilateral negotiation on the Sinai Peninsula that was essentially about land. And this is one reason I came to the conclusion that in bilateral talks freely led by these two parties, it was practically impossible to reconcile the conflicting mythologies of each of the parties. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo The second reason that brought about the failure of Oslo in my view is that sometimes when you want to reach an agreement you do what Kissinger liked to do the most and that is to use constructive ambiguity. But then, constructive ambiguity was very important to start the process. But when you came to clinch the final details of the process you discovered that constructive ambiguity was a minefield that exploded under the feet of the negotiators, because things were left so wide open that they were left to the free interpretation of the parties. You didn‟t have precise principles, exact principles for how to solve the issues in the moment of the endgame. This was a major problem with the constructive ambiguity of Oslo and I believe it is a major problem in the Roadmap today, which is why it is important to put before the parties on the table as precise a deal or as precise a set of details as possible. Another factor that may help explain the problems that emerged at the last stage of Oslo, is this – and I‟ll try to explain because I doubt we have too much time and Hala needs to speak up her mind very soon. I‟ll try to explain the following: of course Israeli democracy is a imperfect as many democracies and perhaps even more so than many, just for the sake of argument. But it‟s still a democracy where you have majorities and minorities and decisions are taken on the basis of open, democratic debate. By the way, this was so before the creation of the state of Israel. The State of Israel‟s so-called declaration of independence was essentially a declaration because the ste existed before in terms of its political parties, its parliament, everything was there. And we knew, just as Rabin knew, that peace is an adventure that divides a nation. War unites nations. Peace divides. But we knew that the tools of the Israeli democratic discourse would, at the end of the day, solve the problem. That is, we would have a referendum, new elections or whatever and the divided nation would not be led to a civil war. We had difficult moments with the assassination of Rabin, there‟s no doubt it was not easy at all. Everybody understood that the price of peace was going to be tragically divisive. But we – Barak, myself, those who were in the government knew that we may be profits without honour, that the Israelis would not applaud us, but we would not go into a civil war. And we were ready to lose our political career, but still put before the Israelis a deal. Now, the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian National Movement under Arafat‟s leadership, were incapable of developing a democratic ethos. And I‟m not saying that in an attempt to pass verdict or give a judgement on.., maybe this is the way it should be, maybe if they had a different system, they wouldn‟t have come as close to realising their dreams as they came. And, I with all the criticism that I levelled in the past against Arafat, I still recognise that he was, at a certain stage, a gigantic leader who brought his people from the wilderness to be the central item in international politics for the last 30 years, it is not a mean achievement. So, I have a lot of respect, seen from the perspective of what he achieved, yet at the moment of truth, what happened is that precisely because of this lack of democratic culture and democratic mechanisms Arafat understood that the inevitably divisive piece will usher in a civil war… Because it doesn‟t have the tools. And, therefore their stability, that is what peace is all about, a peace deal is such.., for stability where the two parties can reconcile themselves.., to a line, to a position, to a deal that is not fully satisfactory to either side from their viewpoints, but then that precarious fragile line of stability that we understood would divide Israeli society, but that vision will be sold through democratic means, Arafat felt throughout that he will have to go into a civil war. And he couldn‟t and he would never go into a civil war. And this is something that I need to say to his credit. Unlike Zionism, in the 40‟s for example, the mainstream of the Zionist national movement used to extradite Jewish-Israeli terrorists to the British. The Palestinians never did such a thing, and this is the leadership style of Arafat, he will always look for a consensus. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo And the consensus of all people, Margaret Thatcher once said, is the negation of leadership. Consensus is the negation of leadership because you find refuge under the hearth and warmth of consensus and then you don‟t take a decision. And, Arafat is not a man for taking decisions. He didn‟t take a decision at Camp David, he didn‟t take a decision at Taba, he rejected the Clinton parameters that the Egyptian embassador in Washington told me later, and Nabil comes from the rather Nasserite school. I said, “to my surprise” because, in real time, he was more sceptical, So I think that it was also the problem of leadership and a question of the ethos of the movement and the fear of coming to a decision that will split the nation in a way that he couldn‟t afford. Let me just mention another last reflection here.., it‟s all very sort of spread here, but I hope you see what is essentially my position.., that with regard to Oslo and why it eventually failed, the question of building peace on trust this is one of the essential tenets of Oslo. You need to go gradually, incrementally and there was a problem here with the principle of being incremental.., you see, we all operate within given political systems, and politics is not a secondary ingredient of the process, sometimes it is the central ingredient, you can do nothing without politics. Citizens can be sceptical about politicians, and can criticise politicians, but there is nothing you can do without politics. And, what happened with the Oslo mechanism, and this is way today I am a strong believer in an international solution that will practically be imposed on the parties is that since Oslo was a piecemeal process, that is you needed to pay advance payments, in terms of territories, say 10% now, 20% then, you paid 10% price in territories but politically you paid as if it was a final deal. The political prize that Israeli governments paid, and I agree, I know that Israeli governments did not comply with all the elements of Camp David and of Oslo, and Rabin used to say dates are not sacrosanct and if we don‟t meet the dates or nothing happens then let‟s negotiate another date and every new Israeli government will renegotiate the deal that the previous government signed. Netanyahu negotiated the Hebron agreement that was a renegotiation of Oslo B; we renegotiated one agreement and turned it into another. We had our bit in terms of the inconsistencies and the oddities of the Israeli political system, we had our contribution in making the difficulties to Oslo, but again a major problem was here that we were asked to pay apolitical price that was not sustainable for an interim agreement and this is why we decided to jump, Barak and me and myself we were criticised for going too quickly to the final agreement, the reason being that we knew that we were going to pay the same price.., for the interim and the final agreement, so let‟s go for the final agreement. We may lose power for an interim agreement, so let us lose power for a final agreement. This was the major problem here, the question of the piecemeal process and the price that you pay for it. And then you have this question of trust that I mentioned.., you see… Today.., I understand that, I didn‟t understand that at the time. This is the benefit of hindsight and with the benefit of hindsight I can say that peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I came to the conclusion, cannot be built on trust. It‟s not about first building trust and then making peace. We need first to make peace and then build trust. It‟s not about love, it‟s about peace. We‟re not about making love, we‟re about making peace. I wish it would have been possible; it would have meant that we have changed human nature, but I don‟t really believe that you can build trust between the occupied and the occupier. You cannot, it simply doesn‟t work. In our case at least it didn‟t work. So, are we going to repeat the experience? This is what brought me to the conclusion that we need to jump, to make a leap into the final accord, and, as it were almost, impose it around a given set of parameters that can be discussed, if you want, later on. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo So, these are my initial remarks. I can‟t wait to hear what Hala has to say, so I will cut short my too long introduction. Thank you. José Ridau Muchas gracias a Shlomo Ben-Ami, voy a pasar la palabra a Hama Taweel. Ella es presidenta y fundadora del proyecto Universidad de Oriente Medio desde julio de 1997. Nació en Jerusalén y creció en Nablus y Ramala. La Sra. Taweel está actualmente completando su doctorado en Administración de Educación Universitaria en Boston Collage y trabaja en el Centro de Educación Superior Internacional y en el instituto irlandés de esta misma universidad. En 1997 obtuvo un Master en Administración Pública en la facultad John F. Kennedy en la Universidad de Harvard en 1991 obtuvo otro Master en Informática y en Humanidades en la universidad de París 8, y un diploma de estudios diplomáticos estratégicos del Centro de Derecho de Defensa de la Universidad de París 5. En 1992 también obtuvo un diploma del Centro de Estudios sobre África y Asia en París y desde 1989 hasta 1991 fue directora de comunicación y relaciones públicas de la Agencia de Prensa Palestina en Jerusalén. En 1990 y hasta 1993 fue directora de operaciones de la Agencia de Prensa de Jerusalén en París. Ha participado en diversas conferencias sobre oriente medio como la conferencia para el diálogo Islámico y Cristiano, celebrada en Estrasburgo, Francia. Hala Taweel Thank you very much José María for this introduction and I would like also to say thank you to Diego Hidalgo for all the help. I admire you so much as well. I also would like to thank José Ridau and María Herrero for putting this.., starting this conference series about the world and about democracy and especially with starting with this hot issue about the Middle East. We keep talking about the Oslo peace process and the fall and rise of Oslo and when I was talking to my nephew yesterday he is… 14 years‟ old and I told I have a lecture about the fall and rise of Oslo and he said, “but it never rose, it always failed from the beginning.” It was like a baby that was never born, and it was a very interesting remark, coming from a child his age and reflects lots of the realities of the ground. I would like first of to talk about myself as a Palestinian. I unfortunately don‟t have the political experience that Mr. Ben-Ami has and the first hand on the issues and there has not negotiated, unfortunately has never negotiated any of the deals going through the details and the maps and talking not only about Oslo, but about so many agreements I think that we run out of names of cities from Oslo to starting with Madrid to Oslo to Geneva to the Cairo agreement, just name it, there have been so many agreements and the problem is not the agreements, but mainly the implementations of the agreements. I think there was always the will of the two parties to sit down together although the political situation these days does not allow this to happen. First of all I would like to talk about myself as a Palestinian I was on the other side of the fence I was on the other side of the story, living this as a citizen, seeing Oslo as a hope, as all Palestinians, living the Euphoria of Oslo: “Wow! Finally a deal!” And the Euphoria started with Madrid, 1991, when everybody started dreaming although Shemi at that time, refused to have a Palestinian delegation alone, but had the Jordanians and others participate. But still for us it was a big step although it was not the PLO as we had hoped that would be representing the Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo Palestinians, but local Palestinians from inside occupied territories from Ramala, Nablus and Gaza, who went and represented the Palestinians. So, there was a plan. Talking about the Oslo peace Process, I agree with some of the issues that Mr. BenAmi mentioned about why it happened, but I would like to talk maybe more about the Palestinians and why the Palestinians, after all these years wanted a peace agreement. I want to talk as a Palestinian, as somebody who lived all her life under occupation, as somebody who has suffered from it, somebody who lost friends and who had family members put in prison by an occupation, the longest occupation of modern history. The PLO represent them, because we were always saying, for many years since 1967, that the Palestinians are only represented by the PLO, just as the sole representative. It was very important for us that the people, not only from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip participate in this, but it‟s important for us that people from Lebanon, from the Palestinians in Tunisia that are fighting themselves, as a symbol, come back and represent us. So it was the euphoria about something that we had dreamed about happening to us. Something that we‟d dreamed about was happening, finally. So of course this hope continued to grow in 1994 when Arafat came to Gaza. Arafat did not come to Gaza and the West Bank to become the mayor of Gaza, or somebody who was responsible for a small deal of land, he came back to build a Palestinian state, despite the difficulties. He came back to a country that was the infrastructure of the Palestinian economy after 27 years of occupation at that time. It was completely destroyed. There was nothing, from the infrastructure on the Gaza strip, to the West Bank, to the economics, to the institutions. It was like starting everything from scratch – starting not just an organisation, but starting a country from scratch, nothing was there. And I have to admit that it was very hard for the PLO and for us Palestinians. How do you go from being a Palestinian Liberation Organisation, more considered as a terrorist organisation for so many years, and start the transition from being what we were, to being a government. A transition that was extremely difficult on all levels. How to organise the internal house of the Palestinians? Myself, someone who lived under the occupation all her life, I couldn‟t even … I never knew any democracy. All I knew was occupation. I never lived under the other regime. I never experienced any other experience. How do you expect me to accept democratic standards when I‟d never experienced them? I think the same thing has happened to other Palestinians and to the PLO itself, where they tried to do all the area as if it were an organisation and not a state and these were some of the errors that happened at the beginning and we‟re still unfortunately suffering from some internal problems and I‟m certainly very critical of these. Talking about the euphoria, for us Palestinians, our dream was not as we started, negotiating small things -- Gaza and Jerico first, negotiating the removal of a few settlers, 450 (that never happened) from Hebron, negotiating the dismantlement of settlements here and there and asking for permission for freedom of movement from one city to another – the small things that you here take for granted is our life there, trying to go to work from one place to another. So what Oslo brought with it at the beginning was this small opening of the possibility of building an airport – wow, an airport, we‟re going to have an airport! Planes, a port, a place of access, the schooling system and the education system that belongs to us that wasn‟t how it was before. I always studied under a system that was controlled by the Israelis but this was a Jordanian system of education. So it was a big opportunity for the Palestinians to start somewhere, with something. And I believe everything started collapsing when we started negotiating the small details, not the big image. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo It‟s interesting that now, these days, looking back, that every time there is a suicide bomb now we say, “no more negotiations” and everything stops. But we had some suicide bombing when Rabin was in power and Rabin would get on the telephone to Arafat and say both of us are fighting terror together. Rabin never accused Arafat of being behind it. He would say, you are my partner. I have a partner in this and we are doing this together, which forced Arafat at the time to put his hand on Hamas and control them, which is not the situation now. Because the accusation now is immediately – you are guilty, you have to control them. How do you want me to control them when I‟ve been sitting in a prison for the last two years in Ramala, where I cannot move from one place to another and where my country is now occupied? The areas that we have negotiated, Oslo, everything – we are starting from scratch again as if nothing had happened. And it is a very sad picture, not only for me personally, but for the Palestinians who are living this on a daily basis. For the Palestinians who had the hope of going back – there were 100,000 Palestinians working in Israel at that time. I don‟t even know what the numbers are now, maybe there are a few thousand who can still go. People were hoping for a better economic situation. So it was a honeymoon that lasted less than two years. The real reality came on the ground with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. And it was very interesting to see this from the Palestinian side – the Palestinians mourning, a minister of Israel, something like this would never have happened before – mourning and seeing that it was the death of a hope, the hope that they all dreamed of. They dreamed of having trust – they were talking about trust, Mr Ben-Ami earlier – there was trust between Arafat and Rabin. But unfortunately there was never trust between Barak and Arafat, and not even to talk about Sharon and Arafat. So this brings us back to, not only the reasons that Mr Ben-Ami mentioned earlier of the fall of the – of the rise to start with – of the Peace Process and the need of the Palestinians to have a state, to have the possibility of self-determination and to have a passport – by the way I have a Palestinian passport and though in Arabic it‟s written on it Palestinian passport and in English it‟s written on it “travel document” (we never even agreed on the term, but we were still even thrilled to be able to have a VISA, to travel on something, a document). We were looking for a hope, just looking, searching for something that would keep us going, living, continuing, and this is what‟s happening now, that this hope has died. And it has died mainly because of the non-implementation of so many agreements, even of the Oslo agreement, when despite what the Oslo agreement said -- that the settlements were going to cease to grow – that‟s true they did not make new settlements (at that time), but even Rabin continued expanding the existing settlements. I don‟t even want to talk about the current government – they have 350,000 settlers now with 200 settlements in the West Bank. And I‟m not talking about the outposts – the outposts are a group of me, you, five, ten, who decide to go and sit on top of a mountain and say, now we are settlers and we are not moving. This is what they are trying to dismantle now, they‟re called “outposts”, and saying to the world “we are implementing agreements”, these are not agreements that are implemented. There are directors on the ground talking about water resources, issues of … pure issues of daily humiliation that the Palestinians live through and go through. I will never understand, it‟s beyond my comprehension, the suicide bombing, although I understand it, I don‟t accept it. I understand the willingness of someone – not the willingness – I understand the feeling of desperation: people who have no hope, no schools, no money, nothing – no future. When you know today that you have no future, and that there is a wall being built around your city that is still eating from your land, how can you think of a future? How can you think of a brighter future? Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo And this is the question that I will ask all of you today – where do we go from here? More agreements? More names? What? The Roadmap? The Roadmap was dead before it was born. There needs to be a real willingness from the Palestinians, not only from the Palestinians, certainly from the Palestinians, but also from the Israelis and more from the international community. For a long time we let the Americans, we said the Americans were going to deal with it. Yes, it‟s true that during the Clinton administration there was lots of hope and they tried to make lots of efforts. But there was also lots of pressure put on Arafat to accept deals that as a Palestinian, even now, I would have preferred Arafat to resign than sign this agreement. So for so many of you looking at it from the outside, you would see it as a missed opportunity. As a Palestinian I would tell you that it was not a missed opportunity. It was not the right opportunity. And yet the right opportunity is still to come. Arafat did accept the parameters of it, but he did not accept the deal. And even at that time, Barak did not have the capacity to deliver what he was promising. Both of them, Barak and Clinton were in a hurry because of election campaigns, to make a deal and to make it happen. But you know I think, putting myself in Arafat‟s shoes at that time, I would not have signed it either. I would think of what this would give the Palestinians. What kind of Palestinian state have we been waiting for since 1948, what are we waiting for? A Palestinian state without borders without continuity between the West Bank and Gaza, with so many Israeli posts here and there, they asked for 10 I believe, there were so many …. As a Palestinians scholar once said, Oslo is (and I can say the same thing now about not only Oslo but also about Camp David), it was like a Swiss cheese – it had plenty of holes. So we had accepted the Swiss cheese as it was, but we wanted to fill up the holes before we accepted. The Palestinians also wanted to see an endgame. But not to rush to it, they wanted to see an endgame for occupation, they wanted a solution for the refuges, they wanted an endgame for the dismantling of settlements and for a Palestinian state that can give autonomy and give pride for the Palestinian people. And this is what‟s lacking. I don‟t want to give you only a dark image of what it happening. I think that there are also lots of good initiative around: the Geneva one is one of them, the London one, and lots of initiatives, but these initiatives will never see the day if you, the European governments, do not help and push the two leaders to come together. I also want to say that despite the fact that the kind Israeli government said that they have no partner, as the Palestinians have accepted to deal with an Israeli government, including Sharon from the beginning, someone who has blood on his hands, someone who for us is considered as the worst enemy, we still respected and honoured the choice of the Israeli people by saying we are dealing with your prime minister because you chose him. I would ask the same thing from the Israelis and from the international community – that Arafat has been elected by the Palestinian people. And despite the errors that he has made, you have to deal with him. Because I believe that if you didn‟t deal with Arafat, you would have to deal with Hamas. And this would maybe be the end of the Peace Process. And everybody has been pushing in that direction. It‟s going to be a very, very hard thing as a Palestinian. I would not accept having Hamas to even deal with. But I think we are being pushed in that direction, where we are going is towards having two rightwing governments. One from the Israeli side and one from the Palestinian side, despite everything that has happened and despite the bad things and the good things that happened in Oslo. I think once of the good things that happened at Oslo was that it opened the way and paved the way for other countries in the Middle East. No one would have signed if Arafat had not signed with Israel. All Arab countries wanted to sing and do economic relations after Arafat signed the diplomatic relations with Israel. So you Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo should not forget that Israel, without the Palestinians, the way would not have been opened. And in order to open it again, you have to deal with the Palestinians. We could not, we should not … for years the Israelis tried to replace the leadership of the Palestinians and not respect their choice. Looking back at it, since 1967 they wanted Jordan, they wanted King Hussein of Jordan to come and replace the Palestinians saying – ok, we‟ll give you back the West Bank – they were giving him apparently 70% at that time. And Hussein refused, making his hysterical speech in 1988, saying that he would not accept a deal in the name of the Palestinians. The same thing happened in 1979, when Began at that time came to Sadat, saying – we‟ll give you the Gaza strip. And he said no, you have to give it to the Palestinians, they are the ones who are responsible. So my question is, why do we always have to look for a new leader to represent the Palestinians? Why is it easy to make a deal with Egypt, with Jordan and why do we want to give them back something that does not belong to them, ignoring the people of the land who‟re sitting there and waiting for something to happen? There are so many questions that I‟m sure we all have today. And I just want to tell you that already what we are doing in the debate here today, talking about the mistakes and the hopes that were also brought to us, is already a very big step. Mr Ben-Ami, correct me if I‟m wrong, I believe that it was only in 1989 that the Israeli Knesset banished the law of Palestinians and Israelis meeting. Later, in 1991? 1992, so maybe in Madrid, both of us could not have been here today because Mr Ben-Ami would have risked himself being imprisoned for negotiating with a Palestinian. So already good things have happened since then and we have to try to look at the bright side of that and we have to try to think that as long as there is debate, as long as there is dialogue as long as there are people on both sides who are willing to negotiate and willing to agree and willing to sit down together, we‟re in good shape. Thank you. José Ridau Iba tratar de concentrar en tres cuestiones, lo que creo que cuando Shlomo BenAmi hablaba del doble hitos que se paraba a palestinos y israelíes en la negociación sobre un futuro para la región, creo que, de algún modo se estaba refiriendo a lo que hemos visto en la mesa. O sea, por un lado la exposición de Shlomo Ben-Ami ha ido sobre las dificultades de la negociación, sobre lo que ocurría con los líderes qué tipo de relación se establecía, qué tipo de confianza, qué tipo de errores mientras lo que Hala ha explicado es una situación sobre el terreno. En este sentido, aprovechando que están las dos aquí, yo quería hacerles de algún modo una pregunta cruzada. La primera es, para Shlomo Ben-Ami, o podríamos empezar con Hala, para Shlomo Ben-Ami. Tengo en cuenta que es un proceso de negociación que usted ha descrito con brillantez se producía al mismo tiempo que ocurría lo que Hala decías. Es decir, que continuaba los asentamientos, que continuaban los controles, que continuaba o que se desarrollaban después los asesinatos selectivos. O sea.., ¿Cómo se explica desde la parte Israelí esta dualidad? Y para Hala le preguntaría, justamente tratando de encontrar ese punto común que de algún modo lo que hemos visto en el liderazgo de los territorios, el liderazgo palestino, es que se ha roto el consenso. Es decir cuando, en estos momentos, se habla, muchas veces se habla para lanzarlo contra alguien de que es defensor o es contrario a la causa palestina. Realmente lo que no sabemos es ¿Cuál es la causa palestina? De algún modo Shlomo Ben-Ami se refería a esto antes de entrar en la sala. ¿Qué pretende..? Lo que está claro es con Arafat, año ‟96, hay un reconocimiento de las resoluciones de las naciones unidas, un reconocimiento de Israel. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo ¿Pero en este momento cuál es el abanico de las causas palestinas que está en juego y cómo puede ser esto reconducido para que la parte israelí entienda el mensaje si hay un mensaje único? Esta es la primera pregunta para ambos. La segunda pregunta tiene que ver con algo que ocurrió en Oslo que probablemente sea una de las revelaciones más importantes de Oslo y uno de los avances más importantes de Oslo. Hasta Oslo se daba por descontado, de algún modo, simplificando mucho que el principal problema era territorial: que el problema eran los territorios sobre que había una población que había que decidir. Con Oslo queda claro que aparte de territorios hay una problema que es la interlocución de hecho Hala se refería a que todavía en la conferencia de Madrid vino una delegación jordano-palestina y allí hay una problema con la interlocución y Oslo, lo que sí da es una posibilidad de interlocución que es unas elecciones en los territorios ocupados en enero del año ‟96, de la que sale un líder que ya no es, por así decir, el líder de la OLP, sino que es un autoridad palestina elegida y democráticamente para comprometer lo que iba a comprometer en las negociaciones con la parte israelí. Entonces mi pregunta sería muy concreta: ¿Si es un avance de Oslo por qué de algún modo se ha dejado morir esa interlocución que si no me equivoco corríjame muere definitivamente en enero de este año, en enero de este año deberían haber celebrado elecciones que no son celebradas? Y por tanto lo que encontramos es en este sentido en un punto previo a Oslo. –Donde en los territorios ocupados. La tercera pregunta que les propondría, antes de dar la palabra al público por supuesto lo que quieran puntualizarse, es: ¿Qué pasó en Taba? Es decir, por parte palestina y, vamos por una parte, la sociedad israelí, pensemos de las personas que más radicalmente han criticado la negociación. Por eso pregunto cuál es, por parte palestina y por parte israelí se dice que fue generosa final por tanto lo que les pediría es un intento de acuerdo si es posible sobre qué pasó en Taba, qué hubo en Taba, porque, mirando desde a fuera tenemos que decir que lo que percibimos es confusión. Es cierto lo que dice una parte es cierto lo que dice la otra. Y estos serían las tres cuestiones que les plantaría para empezar y por supuesto insisto cualquier otra puntualización que ustedes entre lo que han dicho y después daríamos la palabra al público. Shlomo Ben-Ami Ok, I would first say that many of that many of the things that Halah said are genuine and correct and they express a situation on the ground that is very difficult to dispute, nor is it my intention to dispute the realities on the ground. I would even add to them one or two new elements. That is the Fact that in the years of Oslo – and this is one of the easy to explain why Oslo was initially, from the viewpoint of the Israelis very successful, at least at the outset – is that we experienced in the four years of Rabin‟s premiership an average economic growth of about 10% a year…, that is the four first years of Oslo have Israel an economic growth of almost 40%. It was incredible really. And at the same time, the standard of living of the Palestinians went down and down. Again, we can go into the discussion of why – was it only because the Israeli‟s created a state of economic dependency for the territories? There was a protocol signed in Paris (the Paris Protocol) that linked the Palestinian economy to the Israeli economy that those who know something about the history of South America will know that there is a Dependista school that is the colonialists, the imperial powers developed South American economy in a way that was subservient, that was. So there are many reasons. And another reason – one of the major differences between Zionism and the Palestinian national movement is this: they have a diaspora, we have a diaspora. They have what‟s called the escheuve – a state or a political entity, we have a political entity. What is the difference? Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo The difference is that in Zionism‟s history, the eschuve – the political entity – was the centre of decision-making and the diaspora was -- how shall I put it? – a logistical support – political, financial, but not the centre of decision/making. With the Palestinians it was always the other way round. They suffered the occupation, as she says, correctly. They launched the Intifada (by the way the first to be surprised by the Intifada was Arafat himself. And do you know, Hala, maybe you lived in those years there, and some difference between me and you is again – our friend tried to put it in the terms of ethos – I don‟t believe that this is what ethos means, but I have a professional deformation and that is being the historian that I am, I‟m trying to find the sense in the long durée of the process, you see. And the problem is that the Intifada, where the Palestinians suffered so much, was creating an authentic Palestinian democracy in the territories, as from 1987, with local committees, with regional committees, with an outrageous process of deIsraelisation of the territories and this was cut short by the dictatorial culture of the PLO, simple as that. Had the local leadership been able to develop their uprising to the end of it, you would have had today a democratic Palestinian state. It was cut short by Arafat. And this is something that you need to see, not from a sentimental and personal viewpoint, because we, after all, are only minor details in a large process. And if you go through the history of the first Intifada you will see the difference between that Intifada and this Intifada. That one was a crusade of children. The first Intifada was a phenomenon hardly seen in modern history, admirable in many senses. You had there the seeds of democracy being developed. And this explains why the PLO rushed to the Oslo agreement. And you know what, Hala? They were so eager to go back to the territories and stifle the rebellion – the PLO, not Israel – that in the Oslo agreement you will not find any limitations, listen to that – in the Oslo agreement – no limitations to the settlements. I was asked – by the way if Israel is building settlements in the territories they are acting against the spirit of Oslo, admittedly, but not against the letter. There‟s nothing I the Oslo agreements against settlements. I once asked a Palestinians local leader, somebody who did not gown us politically in Tunis – how come? How do you explain the fact that there is nothing in the Oslo agreement against settlements. He said well, because it was signed by people who didn‟t share the suffering of occupation and were not aware of what was going on in the territories. There was a real chance for a Palestinian democracy and it was cut short by the culture of the PLO. And it continues to be so. And believe me, I‟m a friend of the Palestinian people. I really believe that the Palestinian people have been the major victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. And I was the first Israeli representative to ever say it publicly in Ottawa in 1993 on the panel of the multilateral group on refugees. I was not aware of that, but Celine Tamari in a discussion in New York the other day said it publicly. This man was the first to recognise the responsibility of Israel in creating the Palestinian problem. But, if we want to move ahead, we need to be capable of self-criticism. Otherwise, we will not move ahead, no way! Self-criticism is a pillar of democracy and if we are incapable of looking at our own weaknesses, we will not move ahead. Israel is the vicious enemy that everybody thinks, ok. But what do we do now? We need to move foreword. And you can‟t move forward if you don‟t analyse in a sincere way, the weaknesses of you own side‟s behaviour. That‟s vital. Now I say that the Intifada was a democratic experience – a marvellous democratic experience. And there was a reason why Arafat cut it short. Now another thing about the suffering of the Palestinian people. When I say that the Jewish diaspora is a logistic sort of support, -- and I remember I worked with Rabin in the first years of Oslo in advancing some of the economic projects that he had in mind, and I met many Palestinian leaders, that is business leaders, outside Israel, but they were not ready to come and mobilise their resources. The Palestinian diaspora, the wealthy part, as not all the Palestinians are refugees in refugee camps, they did not mobilise their energies and their resources to assist in Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo the economic take-off in the territories and I add to this all the miscalculations of Israel, including the settlements. Now, I would warn … again, I see it from two perspectives: one, the knowledge of facts as I know them, of course, you never now all the facts, and I may be wrong … and also from some sort of historical perspective. There is a nostalgia about Rabin that I need to warn you against. Even nostalgia is not what it used to be. There was not much of a trust between Rabin and Arafat. Rabin could hardly – this is the simple, harsh truth – he could hardly stand Arafat. And in fact, as Hala said, suicide terrorism started with Rabin. And then you ask yourself why the hell should it start with this man that everybody is so nostalgic about? And he was destroyed politically before he was assassinated by a Jewish fanatic. Before he was assassinated, already the polls were giving victory to Netanyahu, because of suicide terrorism. And it is not true Hala that Arafat reacted at the time. He started to act after the assassination of Rabin … and after Peres was also destroyed by a wave of suicide terrorism. He started to act in the spring of 1996 when Perez was already politically lost. This is something that I always realised about Arafat. He somehow has distorted notions about what is politically possible. He always believes that he knows about Israeli politics and everything and he will not react at the moment he needed to react. So he reacted only after Rabin‟s assassination. Another point. I said in the conversation with Clinton here and Ramusa and President Sadir, I don‟t remember, Diego if you were there – you were around but I don‟t member if you were in the room … President Sadir said that the major mistake of Arafat was not to endorse Camp David … and there were Clinton, and Ramusa, Sadir and myself and I said that if I were Arafat, I would not have accepted Camp David. Camp David was not the missed opportunity. The missed opportunity was the Clinton parameters in Taba. And even Camp David was offered in Camp David and this was not a fair deal. This is my position, it was my position at the time, that 91% is not a fair deal. One hundred % of the Gaza Strip and 91% of the West Bank. This was what was offered at Camp David and I thought it was not a fair deal. And yet, there is no way you can have 91% and not have contiguity. On top of that, it´s not true that there was no link between Gaza and the West Bank, there was a link. I personally negotiated, not with Barak, with Jamil Tarife, the minister of administrative affairs in the Palestinian Authority, I personally negotiated the safe passage that, within the framework of the interim agreement, was supposed to be as you rightly say, under Israeli control. But, in the framework of the final agreement, which is what we negotiated in Camp David and Taba, it was to be free of any Israeli control, according to the peace agreement that we negotiated – and by the way, it is embedded as well in the Clinton parameters, for a safe passage, not controlled by Israelis. We need to look at what we accepted and what we rejected to at least see – may be what was offered in Taba is not entirely fair. And I will understand the Palestinian, I may not share his position, but I may understand it, knowing where they started from and knowing that in 1947 there was a partition plan that was much more generous to the Palestinian cause than just now being confined to the West Bank and Gaza – I understand that. But now we live in this particular moment and we need to see what we do with the current situation, so I think these are realities that we need to be aware of. And this is how fatally the equation developed in the Oslo years between settlement and terrorism. The Israelis, unilaterally, invaded the territory and created a Bosnia-Herzegovinastyle in the West Bank and the Palestinians responded with terrorism. And this killed the process. It killed the process. I think that Israeli settlements in the West bank, and I don‟t know in the history of Israel‟s fallen relations that a foreign minister, before going to Taba in an interview in a public interview in a newspaper Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo in Israel, I said that the settlements were the major march of folly in Israel‟s history. It makes no sense whatsoever in my view, absolutely, not only from the moral sense, the political sense, any kind of sense. But then we had this fatal equation that created the cycle. I always used to say to my Palestinian interlocutors, don‟t worry that there are so many settlements, at the end of the day, if we make a real deal, they will be either dismantled, or – as I personally, this is my copyright, proposed in camp Davis later on and it appears in the Clinton parameters – the settlements will be evacuated an will serve to absorb refugees. And this is what appears in Tabas! So settlements are a scene. But if you make a deal, they make nice house, believe me, where you can settle refugees. And this is our official position. We proposed that at Camp David and we proposed that in Taba. Every settlements to be removed will be given to the Palestinians for the absorption of refugees. Now, the second part of your question, when it comes to elections, I think that the Palestinians have here a position that is right – you can‟t really have free elections under occupation, there is no way. And this is why the Roadmap – at least this is the bright side of the Roadmap – it says that, contrary to Sharon´s position, that the process needs to be consequential, that is, first they need to do that and then I will do that – no, it says it needs to be parallel: You fight against terrorism (which they didn‟t do); and you remove, start removing settlements, which they didn‟t do either. And here you saw the weakness of the American mediator, the American mediator, who was the chief producer of the Roadmap, needed to come forward and say, listen, this is not sequential; we will put pressure on the two parties to do their bit. Israelis need to dismantle settlements and the Palestinians need to fight terrorism. Neither complied. Which is why, the conditions were not created, I understand, you cannot have in these conditions, free elections in the territories, it makes absolutely no sense. Now what happened in Tabas, the story of Taba, as far as I‟m concerned (and I was not an accidental visitor in Tabas, I was chief of the Israeli of the Israeli delegation), so I would say that Tabas … the story of Tabas is essentially very simple. We had the Clinton parameters that were issued by the president on the 23rd of December of the year 2000 from the White House. I was the head of the Israeli delegation there. And we got the parameters after we had negotiated between us in one of the airbases around Washington and we came to the President, who sort of drew a line of compromise between the positions of the parties as they stood in those negotiations and these were the parameters. And he said, give me an answer by Wednesday – it was Saturday – give me an answer by Wednesday. This is – take it or leave it. We gave an answer by Wednesday, against the will and the position of the military, who almost got all intents and purposes staged a coup détat against the government, by coming publicly and saying that we were sacrificing the future of the nation etc, etc. And Arafat didn´t accept it. And then you had what always happened with Arafat because he always fails in the moment of truth. And I say it very sadly, you had him, again, sitting in his bunker, waiting for telephone calls to come from all over the world. So you have the President of China, the Duke of Luxembourg, calling him: make a decision, this is a fair deal … and the Saudi‟s and the Egyptians and the Jordanians and everybody around the globe. And he would not make a decision. And then I went to see him in Cairo, mid-January. I saw Mubarrak first, who asked me, are you ready now that I invite Arafat to come to talk with you on the Clinton parameters and I said […Hebrew phrase] – I‟d be very happy. And he came. And we had a long conversation on the Clinton parameters, and I explained to him what the position of the Israeli government would be in terms of modifying, and some of the parameters that he wanted to modify, but I said we can‟t touch. On that basis he said let us go and negotiate in Taba. And we went to Taba. And these principles, as far as we >Israelis were concerned, we were supposed to negotiate, or rather translate into a peace agreement, the principles we had agreed upon. And then we Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo discovered that the >Palestinian delegation was not willing to accept any of the central principles of the Clinton ideas. They wanted to change them in all the parameters. Now again ask me – were they right? Maybe yes. I‟m telling the story of what happened, maybe they should have a better deal, but we need to decide, do we have the rules of the game, or don‟t we have the rules of the game? For example, I‟ll tell you another thing, Hala. We will not move very far, if we do not decide in international relations, what are the references, what are the terms of reference of the process. When we were invited to Madrid in 1991, we were told (and this was the reason that everybody came) that Madrid, the Madrid peace process, is based on 242. This is what everybody understood. Now you may say, and maybe you are even right, what about 194, why not 194? (Which is a resolution about refugees). You are right, Hala, but it is not in the terms of reference. If you decide to enter into a process on a set of principles – you could have decided not to have entered into the Madrid Peace Conference, but you decided to enter on the basis of 242, not on the basis of 194. Maybe if you had insisted on 194, the >Israelis wouldn‟t have come, but these are the terms of reference you agreed upon. Now I am really sad where the whole process came to I really think that we all failed. You‟re absolutely right about Barak being … a totally impossible character, somebody who couldn‟t develop trust with nobody and now I see that even with his wife he was incapable of developing trust. He is incapable of developing trust with an interlocutor, but you know, if you see the history of Camp David no. 1, I was surprised to discover that when I went and read books on camp David No. 1, that trust between Begin and Sarat was zero. They didn‟t speak – I thought that only Arafat didn‟t speak in Camp David with Barak and vice versa. Sadat and Begin did not speak to each other in Camp David, not even once. Yet they came to an agreement, because there was a sense of leadership and there was a sense of mission. And there was a capacity to make a decision. And there was a President who was in my view was better positioned – carter than Clinton, we can analyse Clinton in a different talk. But basically, the question of trust is important, but I wouldn‟t give it too much importance, because at the end of the day, leaders are normally difficult people. Normally they are not likable people. They are tough, they are uneasy to deal with. I don‟t know a nice leader. The failures of Clinton as a leader came from his nicety. The nice side of his character was the reason for his failure as a leader. So this is not a question of being nice, or developing trust. At the end of the day you have a set of principles that are put on the table. And are you ready to negotiate them and come to a tough, difficult decision and leave your people behind? And pay the price? And in this test, Arafat did not stand. He failed the Palestinian people. And it‟s not only me who says that, believe me, Palestinians close to Arafat say about Arafat – you know, I‟m a staunch supporter of Arafat compared with what people around him say, but don‟t say it publicly. So there is a problem of leadership. And we need to understand if we want to get out of this impasse of blood, to start criticising our own governments. This is the first stage to salvation. If we don‟t do that, we will continue to go from capital to capital, make our audience weep and be sad with us, but remain stuck where we are. Hala Taweel I‟m going to try to be brief and comment. I agree with so many issues, by the way, that Mr Ben-Ami just mentioned. To start with the terms of reference that the Palestinians went to Madrid … I think that the Palestinians, as you mentioned at the beginning of your talk, were forced even to go to Madrid in 1991 on this basis. But this was also to do with the Gulf War and the weakness afterwards, as you have mentioned. What I have heard from the Palestinians, they always mention 242, Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo always mentioned all United Nations resolution, including one in 94, one in 81 and there was never … this resolution still exists, even if you don‟t mention them but they are, these are the basis of the terms of references they want to discuss this particular agreement, but this was the start of a process, but it does not mean that they were not clear about the principle that they want to discuss. Mr Ben-Ami mentioned lots of things about the Palestinians and about the Intifada at the beginning and the local leadership. I would like to remind Mr Ben-Ami about the local leadership that was I believe Shamir at that time, even before, the government before that tried to develop the village league – it was a complete catastrophe … It was a catastrophe. They tried to bring people who called them … [unclear] … and told them take thirty in order to present the Palestinian people again. So the PLO was a natural, again, process for the Palestinians. And when the PLO came to Gaza and to the West Bank.., continuing the Intifada was not a natural deal.., the Intifada was what lead us to this agreement. But it was not the purpose of continuing the Intifada, they wanted institutions to start being built, but you could not have continued having the civil unions that were developed to continue making them part of the statute at that time. What‟s interesting, and you mentioned something very interesting about these children that started the first Intifada – this was in 1987. Look where we are now, fifteen years later.., sixteen years later almost, and these are children now who are fighting and doing suicide bombs, and these are the ones who are in Hamas and who are doing the Islamic Jihad, and this is the tragedy.., that these are the children that participated in the first Intifada, an unarmed Intifada, and now they are participating in an armed Intifada with full consciousness of what they are doing. And.., this is, I believe, a failure also of the Palestinians. I don‟t only blame it on the Palestinians, I certainly blame it on the occupation, and I blame it on not giving enough jobs for these people to see the future. Again, jobs are the key and economic status is a key to resolve the Palestinian problem. Something very important.., I‟m talking about investments, I believe that lots of Palestinians were trying to wait, lots of investors to see a stable. No investor is going to invest in a place where F16s can go and throw a one-pound bomb on a building in Gaza. Who wants to invest in such a place? It‟s a question that you have to ask yourself before you invest but I remember when I went back to Ramala just one year, even less that one year [unclear] Oslo and Ramala is a very small city.., and found out that there were one hundred new restaurants and hotels and new cinemas and it was blooming. For the first time people wanted something, they wanted an economic…, they wanted to flourish economically, they wanted to live.., who doesn‟t want to live? Who doesn‟t want to have a better schooling system? Who doesn‟t want to have better healthcare, better education and more money to live and enjoy life and travel. I mean these are the daily, small things that we take for granted that the Palestinians wanted to happen. So, I believe that as soon as there is stability again, lots of the Palestinian diaspora (unclear!) will go back and build back the future Palestinian state. There is a willingness but we should give them the trust and make a feeling of security in these areas to happen. Talking again about the “Safe passage”, you certainly are on top all the time and know better what your talking about, but what I read from Robert Marley and other people, this was the problem … [unclear question or comment from the audience/panel] … he wrote recently, there were also some articles recently about the noncontiguity, not only the non-contiguity, but also the Israeli control of all these areas. And I can share the article with you later.., that there was an Israeli control Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo of the passage between the West Bank and Gaza whether going through Hebron or going through other places … [unclear question or comment from the audience/panel] … well, in the Interim agreement, but this is the problem with the Palestinians. Always interim agreements.., always, but what is the final. You were talking earlier about that fact that you wanted to have a final. The Palestinians never saw the final vision of what the Palestinians said was going to be. It was interim, interim, something that will never happen. And, this is, I think the problem of the operation of the Palestinians. OK! What‟s the end? Where is it? When is it going to happen? Why interim again? So, I think many people want to ask questions and so I will leave it to the audience. Pregunta de público: Good evening. I haven‟t heard any word about Arab Christians or Palestinians Christmas. I think, Mr Will, that you are one of them. Do you think, Mr Shlomo Ben-Ami and Mr Will, that there is any special space for the Arab Christians, or the Palestinian Christians in this process, or other processes, apart from being part of that big diaspora that you, Mr Ben-Ami said is not working. You said it‟s working for the process. So that‟s my question. Is there any special role that the Palestinians Christians, Arab Christians can play in this situation, apart from being victims. Hala Taweel The Palestinians Christians – I don‟t know what the statistics are now – but there were more than 25% of the Palestinians were Christians. Not anymore now, because unfortunately there have been lots of people who left the country who have been under the diaspora, when you are Palestinian Christians it is always easier for you to leave the country and to get refuge somewhere else. And it is a big problem that will affect, even the status I believe, of Jerusalem in the future, which is something we will not talk about today, fortunately. And what is going, and the Palestinians Christians and the holy places are going to be affected by the final status. I grew up in Ramala and I never felt any difference between Palestinian Christians and Muslims. We were facing occupation as one. And there are lots of people in the PLO who are Christians from the FDLP, the head of the FDLP, the head of the FPLP as well and you have also lots of advisors to Arafat who are Christians. You have Hannah Nashawi … so I am hoping to see their role growing in the future in order to protect the Christian places in Palestine and have more opening. Maybe working a way between the West and the Palestinians, bringing more tourism in the future maybe to Palestine and, just because of their closeness to the West, bringing more understanding about the Palestinians Christians and the suffering of the Palestinian people in general. But I don‟t see any special role for them right now. I don‟t know if I have answered your question. Maybe Mr Ben-Ami would like to … Well I think that the Palestinian Christians are one of the tragedies of the IsraeliPalestinian story. I think that the population has been decreasing constantly over the last generation or so and it has become even more difficult over the years of the occupation by Israel since 1967. I don‟t know to pinpoint the reason – whether it was the fact that Israel tried to reach some sort of accommodation with the majority population and neglected the vital interests of the Christian community – but the bottom line is that they have been going from bad to worse in recent years. Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo Shlomo Ben-Ami I guess in the question of nationality they are absolutely alike with the Palestinian Muslim brethrens and this is something that is clear. But for all practical purposes this is a dwindling community. It is sadly a community that is becoming weaker and weaker. I commend the Sharon government for correcting one of the mistakes that our government committed in Nazareth. We allowed the construction of a mosque, again because of this tremendous pressure that Israeli governments are being put under constantly by fundamentalist groups including in Nazareth, we allowed the construction of a mosque in front of the Resurrection? Or Nativity? No, the Nativity is on Bethlehem, so it is the Resurrection Church and there was a lot of protest coming from Christian communities throughout the world and from the Pope. And the Sharon government cancelled the decision of our government and there is no mosque being built there. And I think it was a boost to the moral of the Christian community in Nazareth. Hala Taweel How many Arab-Israelis are Christians, do you know? Shlomo Ben-Ami I think again we are talking about a ratio of 15%. I don‟t know what the ratio is in the occupied territories. Pregunta de público: Más bien es un comentario a la intervención de Sr. Ben-Ami, y lo hago como investigador, desde unos 15 años que trabajo sobre este conflicto y sobre la intervención Sur-Iraní y el conflicto. Lo que ha permitido entre otras cosas, por ejemplo, publicar recientemente aquí en España un libro sobre relaciones en España y la cuestión palestina era un poco el contrapunto que faltaba después de muchas publicaciones sobre la relaciones entre España y Israel. Bueno, me pareció muy sugerente y provocador en muchos aspectos la intervención de Sr. Ben-Ami, por ejemplo ese paralelismo sobre las diásporas jugando con diásporas judías como si fuera diásporas israelí, ¿no? El paralelismo a diásporas palestinas. (MA = miembro del público. BA = Ben-Ami.) MA: Pero bueno, el objetivo es más bien centrarme en una cuestión creo clave y es que Oslo no pretender resolver el conflicto sino una de sus dimensionesBA: Una pequeña colección, y habla de la diáspora antes de la creación del estado Israelí por lo cual no hay ninguno incongruencia en mi argumento. MA: Sí, pero, digamosBA: Pero ninguna, en absoluto ninguna. No hay estado israelí hasta el 1948. MA: En tronca con una percepción de las relaciones Estado de Israel-diásporasBA: No, no había estado de Israel. MA: No, no que digo en tronca con la percepción… BA: Es otra cosa, yo no hablo de después del 1948, yo hablo de antes. MA: ., eh.., para cualquier Palestino que vive en carne propia el conflicto, yo creo es inseparables las tres dimensiones del conflicto para los palestinos desde 1949 y es que no se reduce solamente a la cuestión de los territorios. Es que para cualquier palestino una dimensión fundamental es a cuestión de los refugiados que Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo afecta la mitad de la población palestina y una tercera dimensión que no está en la agenda de Oslo pero para cualquier palestino está clara, y es el estatus de ciudadano de segunda categoría de los palestinos en el interior. Podemos decir si es solamente discriminación o es algo más incluso hay algunos analistas que lo han llamado presión israelí de apartheid, ¿no? El problema es que si desarrollan y llevan a cabo simplemente los acuerdos interinos de Oslo, las dos dimensiones no abordadas por Oslo salen a flete. Los refugiados son unas de las causas que hacen, digamos, naufragar Camp David y Taba. Pero es que la dimensión el interior de Israel hace que sea cada vez más imposible lograr una mayoría parlamentaria con el apoyo de los votos árabes. ¿Por qué? Porque en vez de facilitar la integración en el interior de Israel los palestinos han percibido el proceso de Oslo como un deterioro de su situación. El partido Laborista, al principio del proceso de Oslo, contaba con más de 50 diputados. Hoy, si no me recuerdo mal, entorno a 25. Por mucho apoyo de partidos árabes nunca van a tener una mayoría. Por tanto, la alineación que ha supuesto también el campo de la paz respecto a la minoría árabe dentro de Israel ha contribuido al fracaso. ¿No habrá también cierta necesidad de cambios profundos en el interior de Israel, lo mismo que se superó la línea roja de que nunca habría un estado palestino y que al final, hoy todo el mundo admite de que habrá un estado palestino con soberanía etc. Etc.? ¿No habrá que pensar también quizás en el interior de Israel una redefinición constitucional? Una redefinición constitucional significa entre otras cosas renunciar al excepcionalismo israelí en la comunidad internacional y reconocer el hecho que ya es un estado binacional. Pregunta de público: I will be very brief, I will take back one question that you put forward. You said, “Where do we go from here?” I think this is important because it‟s not just trust that you need, but don‟t you need a shared vision about where you want to go? I think this is crucial question for that issue. And I think that it is more important when you are trying to develop this university for the Middle East because what is that about? It‟s about building a paradigm..., Do you have a paradigm..? I mean where do you want to go? Maybe we can move from the realities as the people in Argentina say, “Please, we want less realities, we want more promises. Can we have some of thos?”, Hama Tawik I can answer quickly this question, thank you for your question. I ask myself this question everyday: where do we go from here? People like me and others are working on projects for peace and reconciliation, but what I do is building projects from people to people. I‟m not doing anything on the government level, which is putting the Israelis and the Palestinians together. But, to answer your questions, I think that the thing that makes more sense today is to start back where we ended last time, in Taba, and start back in the parameters of Taba. And not to renegotiate everything from the beginning, but to start where we stopped and this would be my suggestion, to both Palestinians and Israelis. Start there and try to build momentum, starting now. My only problem, and I would urge both sides if I was in command now to do something is to start as soon as possible because Israel is changing realities of the ground every day and the more we wait, the more we are losing: realities not only of the settlements, but of the wall. It‟s a horrible wall, the Israelis call it the wall of security, and now Sharon is calling it the anti-terror wall. So now we are not only negotiating things, we have to add more things on that, which is the wall. So, the more we wait, the more we have to add things whether there settlements, outposts, territories, what do we do with the people whose houses are destroyed everyday, what do we do Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo with families, what do we do with compensation, so there‟s always new issues and agendas. So, I don‟t know what Mr. Ben-Ami would think, but this is where I would start back if I was in power. I agree with some of the points made in the first question. That is, the internal problem of Israel, and it touches upon of course not only the Arab-Israeli relations and the balance of political power within the Knesset, there are some more issues internally that turn the Israeli constitutional system into a disaster when it comes to decision-making. That is, today according to the Israeli system that is, not necessarily the principles, but the realities of the system, Prime Minister Niser will invest about 40% of his time just in political survival and the rest in trying to govern. And that‟s an impossible system, a proportional system that, on the one hand favours the Arab vote because it gives them … it allows them to photocopy the demographic reality into the Knesset, but it does the same with other ethnic groups – Russians and all kinds of orthodox and … all kinds of incongruities that you find in the system. The whole constitutional process needs to be corrected if we are going to create a system that perhaps will sacrifice the principle of representation for the sake of the efficiency of government. Because in our system we sacrifice the efficiency of government for the sake of representation. And this is a disaster, You here in Spain for example, you have … it‟s called dou It sort of corrects in a way. And the British have the other extreme, that all minorities are destroyed, but at least you serve the efficiency of government. In the Israeli case, it‟s a total disaster, an absolute disaster. So I think it‟s vital to have. Now when it comes to the Arab-Israeli relations, again I would like to pint it in connection, and believe me, I‟m trying to be as candid as I can and I would like to repeat and emphasise how much I admired Rabin. Nevertheless, Rabin, in his own time, as you correctly say, had almost 50% of the Knesset and could rely on the Arab Knesset members, used to repeat loudly – but loudly not discretely – I will never make a peace agreement based on the Arab vote. He used to say that, because it would not be legitimate in the eyes of the Jewish majority. If you want to make a concession on Temple Mount, on Jerusalem, on values that Jews see as vital to their national mythologies – there was this nice sentence by our friend ?? that Felípe González mentioned the other day when we were presented his book, he mentions Renan, who says that a nation is a group of people that lie collectively about their past – so everybody lies collectively about their past. And we have our own lies but they are very dear to us. We are closely linked and intimately linked to our lies. Rabin didn‟t want to sacrifice these lies with the help of the Arab vote. So this is something that was not born, now, it was there all the time. We need to see the complexities, the enormous complexities of the situation. When I used to travel and see ministers around the world I used to tell them, “Listen, if at least I come from this conversation with you, admitting that it is a complicated problem, then I did something.” This is what I was trying to say, and I fully understand the position of Hala, that the slogan of end of occupation means everything, but at the same time it means nothing. Because, at the end of the day, you need to reduce it to achievable objectives, in terms of a peace deal. And this is where the two parties each with its own inconsistencies and blunders failed. So we need a constitutional change this is very important. We tried, by the way, in the 90‟s, direct election to the prime minister, but then, you know the Jews throughout history, perhaps excelled in some fields, but they were a total disaster in other fields, for example in politics, the Jews were a disaster. And we tried to invent something new in politics, direct election of the prime minister and it was a total disaster. Because what happened was that a man went to the polls and voted twice: once for the prime minister and another for the party of his dreams. It was like voting with one hand for the prime minister and Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo with another hand against the prime minister because you voted for party that would be against the positions of the prime minister. A total disaster, so silly! But, then we abandoned that system and we went again to total representation, which is again a disaster, so I agree with you absolutely. That, with or without the Arab-Israeli problem that has so many ramifications to it and needs to be obviously addressed, my answer would be, again in the Israeli debate I always said it, that there are some vital issues that we as a nation find it very difficult to solve. It is for example religion and state, which you somehow mentioned indirectly: the nature of the relations between religion and state; the Arab question; and social issues, you know, there is an abandonment of southern and northern periphery, all the oriental Jews that came in the 50‟s. You have many, many problems. Israel is a very bizarre phenomenon when you study it socially, also. And you need to solve all these problems. But my personal view would be, that all these problems are not solvable, unless you settle the question of the borders. You need first to decide, before you furnish an apartment.., you need to have walls. If you don‟t have walls, you don‟t know where to put the sofa, you don‟t know.., Israel is a state without borders. And it is enormously difficult. If you go through the recent history of Germany, you will discover something very interesting. German, Central and East European Nationalism is very similar to Jewish/Israeli nationalism in the sense that it is ethnic. It is not the French model of citizenship built through the educational system, our nationalism is similar to the nationalism of Central and Eastern Europe. Now the debate in Germany about the nation states started in recent years after they came to an agreement with the Czechs and the Poles for the final borders. The whole issue, you see, there is a fascinating debate going on in Germany today about citizenship – don‟t forget, for example, that the Israelis and the Jews, the Germans have also their own law of return for Germans in Russia. This is an ethnic nationalism, like the Israeli nationalism, it is an ethnic nationalism. Centrally, or principally Jewish. So, all this may start to change because there is now such a thing.., the inconsistencies of our system are many. On our ID, for example, it doesn‟t say that we are Israelis, it says that we are Jewish. So, you need to start a Jewish, sorry, an Israeli nation that will include Arabs and Jews. But, as long as you are mortgaged and dependent on the ups and downs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you cannot move in these fields you are not free, because nationalism kills everything, chauvinism kills everything. So you need first to solve the border issue, and then Israeli politics will have to move to a new phase, an entirely new phase which will be social. There is a high level of poverty in Israel, 20 percent. Now try to make election on this basis – nobody will listen to you. In a country like Spain they will listen to you, in Europe they will listen to you because you don‟t have border problems. Normally, European countries have overcome this problem. So the issues for your elections on the 14th of March will essentially be, you have a hangover of a national problem, of course, in the North etc., but essentially it will be about the achievements of the government etc. etc. employment, unemployment, the Euro, social services, health services, this is what normal countries do. In Israel, all these problems exist, they are very serious and severe, but you don‟t do elections on that basis. Politics is geared around the Palestinian issue, and the wall, etc. As for the dream, I think the vision should be an Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian confederation. This is what needs to be created at the end of this peace process. And, in the best of dreams, this confederation needs to be, and here many of you may not agree with me, needs to be incorporated to the European Union, in some future. And I really think that Israel needs to change its position with regard to the Palestinian Economy. In that kind of integration, as the Benelux case proves very Auge y declive del Proceso de Oslo well, the weaker country does not necessarily have to suffer, it can benefit. The Israeli economy is in principal very powerful, we have a Gross National Product bigger than that of all the countries that surround us. Almost similar to that of Russia with 200 million inhabitants and Israel with 6 million. But this doesn‟t mean that you have to exploit the Palestinian economy as we have been doing for the last forty years. You need to create a confederation of equals. And this confederation, I don‟t know if Arafat will like it, because I mentioned it to him once and he said, “No, no, no, not three countries, four,” I said, “which is the fourth?” and he said, “Lebanon.” So he said, “Lebanon. OK, Lebanon, they have a very Jewish sense of trade and commerce. Between a Bedouin-Palestinian economy in Jordan, and Jordan is not an easy country because you don‟t have oil, you don‟t have water, it‟s a wilderness, you have a big desert and there are no conditions, so we need to complement these three economies and turn them into some sort of political unit. Not a federation, a confederation. The difference between a federation and a confederation is that a federation is part of the same state. A confederation, three independent states that you create in alignment, you create a sort of union between them and they can become a powerful force of change in the Middle East This will be the shared vision that needs to be developed.
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