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December 13, 2002 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-13

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Replace Terror With Talk


arring a political earthquake
between now and the Israeli
elections on January 28,
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon is going to defeat his Labor
Party opponent Amram Mitzna.
In that case, the question of a
Palestinian state — the hottest issue
in Israeli politics today — will be on
hold. Sharon has made some faint
statements favoring a Palestinian
state — but only if the Palestinians
end their terror campaign against
Surprisingly, Sharon's Likud Party
supporters don't see things the same
way. When a cross-section of voters
in the recent Likud primary was
asked whether Israel should negotiate
with the Palestinians — even if the
violence continues — 51 said "yes,"
45 percent said "no" and the rest
were undecided. Sharon's con-
stituents, then, seem to be more
moderate than theii leader.
I don't know if similar polls have
been taken among the Palestinians or


Uri Dromi is director of international

outreach at the Israel Democracy
Institute in Jerusalem. E-mail•

what the results were. Yet some
recent developments suggest that
interesting things are happening at
the grassroots level on both sides.
Take, for example, the unofficial
draft for a final peace accord drawn
up by former Israeli Justice Minister
Yossi Beilin and Palestinian
Information Minister Yasser Abed
According to the draft, the
Palestinians are willing to give up on
the right of return in exchange for
Israel's symbolic acceptance of its
"responsibility" for the refugee prob-
lem and a token number of
The Beilin-Rabbo plan is based on
the proposal made by former U.S.
President Bill Clinton and picks up
where the talks in Taba, Egypt, broke
down in January 2001.
This is not the first time that
Beilin has tried to make peace
between Israel and the Palestinians.
Ten years ago, he masterminded the
Oslo process, which led to the first
peace accord signed between the two
And in 1995, he and Abu Mazen
(deputy to Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat) drafted the Beilin-Abu Mazen
plan, which they called a "framework

drawn up at Taba in January
And theirs is not the only
game in town. In September,
the details of a proposed Israeli-
Palestinian final peace agree-
ment reached by Sari
Nusseibeh, the PLO's Jerusalem
representative, and Ami Ayalon,
former head of the Shin Bet
secret service, were published in
Commentary the Israeli newspaper Hdaretz.
Extraordinary Statement
The two, who had traveled
The Beilin-Abed Rabbo deal is totally dif- together in the United States and made
public appearances where they spoke
ferent. The two have issued a joint state-
openly about their joint venture, made
ment that sounds quite extraordinary:
"Israelis ask why the Palestinian intifa- no attempt to wash their hands of it. On
the contrary: Parts of the plan were pub-
da broke out just when it seemed we
lished in Al Quds, the main Palestinian
were so close to an agreement.
newspaper in east Jerusalem.
Palestinians ask why Israel responded
Both sides attacked the plans and bad-
with such inordinate military power to
mouthed their designers. Beilin and
the uprising, using planes and tanks
Ayalon were accused of undermining
against a population largely subject to
Israel's position under fire, while Abed
Israel's security control.
Rabbo and Nusseiba were criticized for
"The adversaries are like two wrestlers
giving up the Palestinians' right of return.
locked in a deadly embrace who continue
to inflict wounds on one another, with no But the general public on each side
was relatively quiet. After letting each
benefit to either. If, in two years' time,
other's blood for so long, it seems they
you show film of the present behavior of
are not afraid of trying to talk again.
both sides, they will not believe they were
In light of what has been going on
parties to such stupidity."
here the last two years, that's a wel-
They go on to outline a prospective
peace settlement similar to the agreement come bit of news. ❑

for the conclusion of a final
status agreement between
Israel and the Palestine
Liberation Organization."
Because the Beilin-Abu
Mazen agreement created an
immediate furor, the two
partners decided to call it a
non-paper," half-embracing,
half-ignoring it.


How The Saudis Buy Friends

ast week, I contrasted two
official U.S. responses to
news that the Saudi ambas-
sador's wife possibly funded
the 9-11 hijackers: the Bush adminis-
tration pooh-poohed it while leading
U.S. senators expressed outrage.
I argued that this difference results
• from a Saudi-induced "culture of cor-
ruption" that pervades the upper
reaches of the executive branch but
that does not extend to the Congress.
Questions poured in, asking for
more about this culture of corruption.
It begins with none other than the
Saudi ambassador to the United
States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who
hinted at the problem as he boasted of
his success at cultivating powerful


Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle

East Forum and author of Militant
Islam Reaches America. This article
derives from a longer analysis in the cur-
rent issue of National Interest. E-mail•

Americans. "If the reputation ... builds
that the Saudis take care of friends
when they leave office, you'd be sur-
prised how much better friends you
have who are just coming into office."
This is precisely what happens. In
fact, it's so bad that Mohammed Al-
Khilewi, a Saudi diplomat who defect-
ed to the United States in 1994, put it
this way: "When it comes to the
Saudi-American relationship, the
White House should be called the
`White Tent.'"
Ex-Washington hands paid off by
the Kingdom include such figures as
Spiro T Agnew, Jimmy Carter, Clark
Clifford, John B. Connally and
William E. Simon.
A Washington Post account lists
other former officials, including
George H.W. Bush, who have found
the Saudi connection "lucrative." It
quotes a Saudi source saying that the
Saudis have contributed to every presi-
dential library in recent decades.
Many ex-U.S. ambassadors to
P iyadh have received substantial sums

the number of ex-ambassadors
of money since John C. West
who push a pro-Saudi line
set the gold standard by fund-
"startling," and concluded
ing his personal foundation
that "no other posting pays
with a half-million-dollar
such rich dividends once one
donation from a single Saudi
has left it, provided one is
prince, plus more from other
willing to become a public
Saudis, soon after he left the
and private advocate of Saudi
Kingdom in 1981.
Hume Horan, himself a for-
The Toronto-based National
mer U.S. ambassador to the
Post looked at five former U.S.
Kingdom and the great and
Spe cial
noble exception to this pat-
Comm entary ambassadors and concluded
"they have carved out a fine
tern, explains about his former
living insulting their own
colleagues: "There have been
countrymen while shilling for one of
some people who really-do go on the
the most corrupt regimes on Earth." If
Saudi payroll, and they work as advis-
you closed your eyes while listening to
ers and consultants. Prince Bandar is
their apologies, it went on, "you
very good about massaging and pro-
would think the person talking held a
moting relationships like that. Money
Saudi passport."
works wonders, and if you've got an
The expectation of a payoff even
awful lot of it and a royal title — well,
corrupts U.S. government operations
it's amusing to see how some
Americans liquefy in front of a foreign in Saudi Arabia. Timothy Hunter, a
former U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia
potentate, just because he's called a
turned whistleblower, reports that U.S.
officials there are "so preoccupied with
Surveying this problem for the
National Review, Rod Dreher found
PIPES on page 34




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