Thursday, May 01, 2014

Clinton Surprises: 16 Meters of Wall

As we all should know, the Clinton Parameters for peace in December 2000 included this:

Israel would gain sovereignty over the Western Wall. The Palestinians would gain sovereignty and Israel would gain "symbolic ownership" over the rest [that should be the 'underground' are] of the Temple Mount, with both parties sharing sovereignty over the issue of excavations under the Temple Mount.

However, all seem surprised today at reports of Clinton restating history:

Former United States President Bill Clinton claimed on Wednesday [in] comments...made during a speech at Georgetown University in Virginia [you can hear/see the clip in this Hebrew news item], during which he made some revelations regarding the Camp David Summit attended by himself, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and then-PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

"The Israelis offered to give it (the Temple Mount) to the Palestinians," Clinton was quoted by Channel 2 as having said.

“They disagreed about only 16 meters of the Western Wall, about which Israel was right,” he continued, saying that the 16 meters in question were land leading to the Western Wall tunnels and that “if you got in, you could do mayhem to the ruins of the temples.”

True, Robert Malley claimed in the New York Times of July 8, 2001 that during the 2000 Camp David II, it was discussed that

Israel would exercise overall sovereignty over this area, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. 

and Moshe Amirav, in his book "Jerusalem Syndrome" on page 153, claims that Barak insisted on "not conceding the Temple Mount".  Greg Myre of the NYTimes writes in his book that the whole purpose of Arik Sharon ascending to the Temple Mount in September 2000, at the urging of Uri Dan, was to protest Barak's concessions on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Aaron Klein, though, already in 2007, reported on what Haaretz published:

In spite of longstanding denials by top officials here, the Israeli government in 2000 agreed to relinquish the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – to the Palestinians during U.S.-backed negotiations, according to declassified documents made public today.

According to declassified Israeli government documents published today by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, during U.S.-led negotiations in 2000 at Camp David, Ehud Barak, then prime minister, agreed sovereignty over the Temple Mount would be either “ambiguous” or control would be determined based on the bond of each party to the site. The Palestinians would therefore control the upper sections of the Mount, which houses the Al Aqsa Mosque and also is the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples.

...Barak at times denied he offered the Temple Mount to the Palestinians, but he also indicated during interviews he was willing to compromise over the site.

But what Clinton got wrong was this:

a. Arafat never believed the Temple was ever on the Temple Mount

b. the "mayhem" would not be done to the "ruins of the temples" (see 'a' above) but Arafat's fear was that Israel would undermine the Al-Aqsa Mosque or Dome of the Rock or cause the whole compound to collapse.


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