By HERB KEINON AND DAVID HOROVITZ
[..]They will never agree that this is a Jewish state?
So there is no reason for this diplomatic process, for indirect talks?
I think the process is a dead end, and I will explain why. [..]
What did they say to [Binyamin] Netanyahu? They said he has to accept the principle of two states. After [Ehud] Olmert, [Ariel] Sharon and [Ehud] Barak who all accepted the principle of two states – he can’t come and say “stop.” The world has moved forward.
Then he made the Bar-Ilan speech. I said to him there won’t be negotiations. Afterward they – the Americas, the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Israeli media – said that it was impossible that during the negotiations Israel would [continue to] build [in the settlements].
I said this [the Bar-Ilan speech] will not bring about negotiations, but it would place all the focus onto Jerusalem… From the time the security cabinet made a decision [to agree to the parameters of the Bar-Ilan speech], the European Union – two days later – decided that construction must stop in Jerusalem because in the future it would be the joint capital of both states. There are not yet even two states, but there is already a joint capital! But the talks were not renewed. The Palestinians thought genuinely that they created a new paradigm, where they could just sit on the side, and the Americans would do the work for them.
And look what happened. The Americans got a two-state solution out of the government as well as the settlement freeze. [The Palestinians realized that] if they would come to the negotiations then they, God forbid, would also be asked to make concessions. We would ask things of them: about security arrangements, about arresting suspects, about collecting illegal arms, stopping incitement in the media and in the educational system, and – of course – fighting terrorism, what is called dismantling the terrorist infrastructure.
So if someone else is doing the work for them, why should they go to talks? Until the Americans understood [what was happening], and are now coming to them. But now the question is what are the possibilities? I think the possibilities are narrow.
Why? Because the legacy that Arafat left here makes things almost impossible. The minute he said no to the offer he received from Barak, there is no way that anything could change. Barak, according to reports, offered 97 percent of the territory, and the remaining 3 percent in a land swap. [He offered] three of the four quarters in the Old City of Jerusalem, and sovereignty over the Temple Mount – we would get it underneath, as you remember. [The Barak government] started with [an agreement to allow the acceptance into Israel of] 40,000 refugees, and at Taba afterward on the eve of the elections, after the government fell, increased it to 100,000.
We demanded an end of claims, end of conflict. They [the Palestinians] said, “Fine, but why an end to claims? How can I say the next generations won’t have claims? They will have claims.” It fell apart.
So what happened? Abu Mazen cannot accept an offer less than this, nor an offer similar to this. And I don’t believe that there is a Jewish prime minister who can offer anything more than this.