Thursday, August 30, 2007

It Was all Arafat's Fault

In response to yesterday’s post, a reader sends this essay from Newsweek, written about six months after Clinton left office:

June 27 [2001] - Nearly a year after he failed to achieve a deal at Camp David, former president Bill Clinton gave vent to his frustrations this week over the collapse of peace in the Mideast. And Clinton directed his ire at one man: Yasir Arafat. On Tuesday night, Clinton told guests at a party at the Manhattan apartment of former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and his wife, writer Kati Marton, that Arafat called to bid him farewell three days before he left office. “You are a great man,” Arafat said. “The hell I am,” Clinton said he responded. “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.”

I recommend the rest of the story, complete with Clinton’s assessment of the future (now past) found here. The text is no longer available on the magazine website.

Question: When will world leaders ever change their tune about Palestine? This is a case of willful blindness combined with political speak. Clinton has nothing to lose now; why can’t he step up to the plate and tell the truth?…oh, right, he’s hoping to be First Lady.

Well, maybe after Hillary’s done with her failures we’ll get a straight story. After all, freedom's just another word for nothing-left-to-lose...

[ends here]


Pastorius said...

Great post, Dymphna.

I hadn't heard this story anywhere before.

Besides the sheer humor of Clinton blaming his legacy on Arafat, there is the truth which has previously only been spoken by Dennis Ross, that I know of.

The Graduate said...

Thanks for this post. As one who lived in Israel during the period and remembers what happened, it has always driven me nuts that the failure of camp David was attributed to sovreignty over Jerusalem and not the untennable right of return.

Profitsbeard said...

Billy Jeff Clinton - B.J. for short- doesn't want to jeopardize his stupendously-lucrative Muslim speaking gigs.

Follow the money he's gotten from Dubai, ad nauseam.

That's why he'll never spill the beans.

(Although he's spilled worse.)

hank_F_M said...


Let’s see if I got this straight.

Bill Clinton got Barak and Arafat locked into Cap David and pressured them in to signing a peace agreement. When they both got home the found their political bases would not “ratify" it. It might have been sold in Israel if it was obvious that Arafat could make it fly on his side. Barak was looking at retirement if he failed but Arafat was looking a bullet in the head. So Clinton’s failure was that Arafat had a sense of self-preservation.

No, Clintons failure was his rock bottom belief that if peace wasn’t gotten on his watch - to hell with it. If he had let them get a more modest interim agreement come back in a year of ten he might have done something. Instead he has wrecked the chance of any peace for several decades.

But it’s not his fault. Just ask him.