Top 3 Signs Bill Clinton didn’t kill himself to “give” the Palestinians a State

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday claimed “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” and maintained that he secured an agreement, which the Palestinians turned down. In fact, no such text was ever presented to the Palestinian side, and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak kept flaking out on commitments previously made, leaving the Palestinian negotiators with nothing to agree to. Negotiator Aaron Miller later admitted, “There was not a formalized, written proposal that covered the four core issues. There was no deal on the table. None of the issues were explained enough in detail to make an agreement, though the Israelis made an interesting argument on Jerusalem.”

No time here to go into the paternalist and colonial language about “giving” the Palestinians a state. They are a stateless people because they are unrecognized; they would get a state by recognizing them as such, not giving them anything.

Here are signs Clinton didn’t put himself out that much:

1. From the time Clinton presided over the handshake between Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in 1993 to the end of Clinton’s term, the number of Israeli colonists on the Palestinian land from which Rabin had pledged to withdraw just about doubled. In 1993 there were between 95,000 and 116,000 Israeli squatters in the West Bank and Gaza. By 1996 there were 147,000. By 2000 there were about 200,000. These numbers do not include the squatters in East Jerusalem, which Israel has illegally annexed in contravention of the UN charter. This stab in the back by the Israelis of the Palestine Authority undermined the possibility of a Palestinian state. Did Clinton kill himself stopping this vast expansion of Israeli squatters on Palestinian land? No. Did he do anything at all about it? No.

2. Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from the West Bank by the end of 1998. It did not. Its troops are still there, guarding sometimes murderous or vandalizing Israeli squatters who are trying to displace the Palestinians from their homes. Did Bill Clinton kill himself to get the Israeli troops out of Palestine? No. Did he do anything at all about this collapse of Oslo process commitments on Israel’s part? No.

3. Donald Neff writes that in

“March, 1995 . . . President Clinton invoked the [UN Security Council] veto after all 14 other members approved a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Israel to rescind a decision to expropriate 130 acres of land in Arab East Jerusalem.23 The Clinton administration exercised two more vetoes in 1997, both of them on resolutions otherwise unanimously supported by the 14 other Security Council members. The draft resolution was critical of Israel’s plans to establish a new settlement at Har Homa ⁄ Jabal Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem in the midst of Palestinian housing.”

So did Bill Clinton kill himself stopping Israeli large scale theft of Palestinian land while he was supposedly being an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians? No.

Clinton was the most partisan President for Israel in our country’s history, and was anything but even-handed in his approach to the Palestinians. The Palestinians complained that they’d get an Israeli proposal, reject it, then get the same one from the Americans; there wasn’t really any difference between the positions of those two.

Clinton also defended the brutal Israeli assault on defenseless little Gaza in 2014, blaming it on Hamas and suggesting that they had craftily manipulated world media into blaming the Israelis for killing nearly 2000 Palestinians. Mr. Clinton did not address the issue of proportionality, the key one for critics of the assault. Nor did he address the Occupation, the displacement of Palestinian families to Gaza by the Israelis, or the siege of Gaza, contravening the Geneva Conventions if 1949.

Bill Clinton’s partisanship for the Israeli side and refusal to act as an honest broker, refusal to stop squatter settlements, refusal to let the UN Security Council demand of Israel that it stop contravening international law, and failure to get an actual text to which Palestinian negotiators could assent, all these defects doomed the Oslo process and doomed the world to more turmoil coming out of this interminable conflict. It also encouraged the Israeli side to think they could get away with anything and so warped them into a Likud far-right regime and an Apartheid state.

Bill Clinton didn’t kill himself getting a Palestinian state. His one-sided approach to the negotiations ensured that there would be none. Ever.

Related video:

Bill Clinton: ‘I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state

23 Responses

  1. Arafat was ambushed by Clinton and Barak, when both presented him a deal that was much more favorable to Israel than to Palestine.

    In a nutshell, Arafat was presented with “a take it or leave it deal” either Palestinians had to give up their claims to most of East Jerusalem and forfeit their Right of Return,

    and in return Palestinians would “gain” a non-contiguous state on parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or the whole Clinton-Barak offer had to be rejected outright; which he did.

    According to Barak’s offer, the proposed Palestinian areas would have been cut from East to West and from North to South, so that the Palestinian state would have consisted of a group of islands, each surrounded by Israeli settlers and soldiers.

    No sovereign nation would accept such an arrangement-that could hinder its strategic national security and interests,

    The occupied West Bank and Gaza strip have more Israeli Jewish colonies and bypass roads than ever,

    The Oslo Agreement’s fundamental flaw was that it had attempted to scratch the surface of the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and not to necessarily solve them.

    Any agreement, similar to the Oslo Agreement, is destined for failure if it won’t address the core issues of the conflict, such as the Palestinian Right of Return, the status of Jerusalem, water allocations, and the borders of the emerging states.

    link to

  2. Cinton killed himself​? His integrity perhaps. The umbrella problem was and is that the last thing the US wants in that area is another independent Arab state, particularly one not that enamoured of the US. The only short term solution is BDS until the pips squeak and the Israeli people themselves abandon their genocidal dream.

  3. It is important to remember that without U.S. authorisation and support , Israel can do very little. Israeli commentator Amir Orn was accurate in observing that the boss man called partner is the U.S. Administration

    On its present course, Israel has virtually no alternative to serving as a U.S. military base in the Middle East and complying with the U.S. demands

    Israel could accept peace and integration into the region or insist on expansion and confrontation and it has to inevitably depend on the US

    Israel has expanded its settlements with continued financial backing by the Us and now control 42% of the west B, according to B’Tselem, the Israeli Human rights Orgn.,

    There are cantons of Palestinians that are reminiscent of the distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid Regime of South Africa

    Head of General Security service (Shabak, Shin Bet) Ami Ayalan said that those who want victory against terror without addressing underlying grievances want an unending war

    For decades israel had been kidnapping and killing civilians in Lebanon or on the high seas holding them in Israel for long periods, often as hostages, sometimes in secret torture chambers like camp 1391.

    What would break the cycle of violence. The basic outline of solution are familiar and have been supported by a broad international consensus for thirty years, a two state settlement on the international border, perhaps with minor and mutual adjustments.

    • Excuse me, where were you when Netanyahu was openly rallying Congress against Obama and encouraging sedition against the Iran negotiations? What about the Lavon Affair and the attack on the USS Liberty? Israel does bad things, and then its lobbyists and PR machine make politicians demand that the US reward it. Israel has always been the lead actor in oppressing Palestinians, and the US has always caved in and changed its official position to match.

  4. The Clintons pick up the sent of money like a bloodhound. Protecting a penniless population would not be good or profitable for the Clinton Foundation.

  5. #4 If he had ‘killed himself’ wouldn’t he be dead?

    Even if they had rejected an offer, that does not imply that they rejected a decent offer. Some offers have to be refused.

    • The myth of America as “honest broker” dies hard. Especially since it’s always assumed that White countries like Israel and America mean well and can’t possibly be engaging in annexation and ethnic cleansing. That puts the Palestinians in an impossible position and Clinton knows that.

  6. the more i learn about this man, the more disgusted i become. i can’t believe i defended him so emphatically for so long.

  7. After Camp David failed, Barak said Israel had no partner for peace and Clinton echoed Barak’s claim. The result of these condemnations–by ostensibly left-leaning leaders–of Palestinian leadership was to enable right-wing Likudniks to sideline any calls for peace negotiations.

    The condensed story: According to respected historian, Ahron Bregman, in mid-June 2000, President Clinton “reported…to Barak that he had found a very suspicious Arafat, complaining that what the prime minister [Barak] sought was to trap him into coming to a summit, at the end of which Clinton would blame him for its inevitable failure. Clinton explained that he had promised Arafat that should he call a summit and it failed, under no circumstances would he place the blame on Arafat…” However, after the failure of the peace talks, Clinton publicly blamed Arafat even though we now know most of the blame rested with Barak. In fact, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s lead negotiator at Camp David, publicly stated the following: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.”

    The remaining portion of the story can be summed up in one word: Netanyahu. link to

    • One can actually go back to 1998 when elements within the Likud Party pressured Netanyahu to stop Israel’s performance under the Wye River Memorandum, which had been the instrument to implement the Oslo II agreement.

      The Wye River Memorandum had enjoyed broad-based support within the Israeli populace and should have been a stepping stone toward a final status accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

  8. Many years ago, I heard Phyllis Bennis give what I thought was a fair summation of the period of time after the U.S. took over the Oslo negotiations through their collapse at the end of Clinton’s presidency: They spent seven years negotiating over the easy issues while putting off all of the difficult issues.

    When Clinton’s presidency was ending and, by all appearances, he wanted a peace deal as part of his legacy, he apparently thought he could impose upon the Palestinians a ‘final resolution’ on the issues of refugee rights, water rights, Israeli settlements, borders, Jerusalem, Israeli military authority on Palestinian land, the right of the Palestinian state to control its own borders, and the like, by taking a proposal that was acceptable to Israel and telling Arafat, “This is the best you’ll ever get”. He did that despite having been warned by Arafat that it was a problematic time for the Palestinians to be entering into negotiations at all, and we know what happened with the promise that he would not blame Arafat if the negotiations failed.

    The subsequent negotiations at Taba suggest that Barak and Arafat might have been able to reach an agreement on far more just terms, but for the fact that Barak lost his election, ended the talks based upon his loss of a mandate, with the prospects of a negotiated resolution falling into the hands of Ariel Sharon, who preferred provocation and stonewalling to anything that might have resulted in a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

    After a week of off-and-on negotiations, senior Palestinian and Israeli negotiators announced they had never been more close to reaching agreement on final-status issues. But they had run out of political time. They couldn’t conclude an agreement with Clinton now out of office and Barak standing for reelection in two weeks. “We made progress, substantial progress. We are closer than ever to the possibility of stiriking a final deal,” said Shlomo Ben-Ami, Israel’s negotiator. Saeb Erekat, Palestinian chief negotiator, said, “My heart aches because I know we were so close. We need six more weeks to conclude the drafting of the agreement.”

    Whatever good he did for the peace movement prior to that time, Clinton would have done both sides a big favor by admitting his own fault for the failure of his summit — and for its aftermath.

  9. ¿What’s with the final “ever” in your essay?
    Reads as if you’re finalizing the exprez’ actions.
    Positive change will emerge in the west to recognize and support Palestinian human/political rights.

  10. “They (Palestinians), are a stateless people because they are unrecognized; …”
    What about: Palestinians are stateless because they have guns pointing/shooting at them.

  11. Your are too kind to Bill(ary) professor. From Truman to Obama, Israel has been a creation of USA and no amount of posturing can hide it. You should judge the countries by their actions not words just like you do with any person. State dept. always maintains that settlements are no good but they can’t hide their pinoccio nose when the next time settlements are condemned in SCouncil, US vetoes it. It always finds the resolution one sided but never puts forward its own!!
    Bill Clinton was paid 300K for one speech by Perez foundation for repeating the lies against Arafat. Bill and Hillary have made millions from Zionist money and even more. Trouble is we will have another young president competing with them soon for more of the same. BTW: Come to think of it, there will be 5 living ex presidents on our tax payroll January 17!! Lucrative business pandering to rich and powerful Zionists ( all except Carter) ? You betcha.

    • “From Truman to Obama, Israel has been a creation of USA and no amount of posturing can hide it.”

      The statement quoted above is simply not true when considering Israel’s establishment and the early years of its existence. When Britain decided to give up its Palestinian Mandate, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, announced in May 1947 and again in November, that his country supported the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 calling for the creation of two states, one Jewish and the other Arab.

      At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State. On that same date, the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional government as the de facto authority of Israel, but de jure recognition was only extended by the U.S. on January 31, 1949.

      Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was the first state to recognize de jure (on May 17, 1948) the establishment of Israel and its Provisional Government. This was eight months before the U.S. extended de jure recognition.

      Moreover, The Soviet Union, primarily via Czechoslovakia, was a significant arms supplier to Israel in its early years. From May 1947 until 1949, the Soviet Union supplied Israel with tanks and fighter planes which were used against the Arabs in the 1948 war.

      In its early years, Israel received far more support and arms from the Soviet union than it did from the United States. Of course, that all changed later, but it is a part of history that is largely forgotten today.

      • The former Soviet Union supported the formation of Israel on the basis that it was believed it would be Marxist in orientation. PM David Ben-Gurion’s Mapai Party had the hammer and sickle as its symbol and its kibbutzes were similar in structure to the Soviet Union’s collective farms.

        In later years, the Warsaw Pact countries played both sides of the fence, with Romania maintaining a tight relationship with the PLO and other Palestinian terror elements while at the same time maintaining friendly relations with Israel – this relationship was documented in the book Red Horizons authored by Lt. General Ion Pacepa, former chief of military intelligence during the Ceausescu dictatorship.

        In the late 1980s, President Shimon Peres sought and received Soviet assistance in the war crimes prosecution of John Demjanjuk by emphasizing the defendant was a traitor to Marxism. In 1982, however, the Soviet Embassy in Beirut was shelled and invaded by IDF tanks during Operation Galilee and in 1988 the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognize the independent State of Palestine declared by the PLO.

        • It has always been a source of wonder how little most people understand of the strong Soviet support for Israel in its establishment and early years of existence. Stalin believed Israel would be a socialist state in the Near East, more aligned with the USSR and its Eastern European satellites than with the West.

          Unwavering U.S. support for Israel really only began after the 1967 Six-Day War. And we should not forget that Eisenhower openly condemned the joint British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956.

      • Good comments on this thread. You need to go back to the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and then the awarding of the mandate to Great Britain by the League of Nations. The US wasn’t even a member of the League and had no interest in the area in the pre-WWII era. Also, when Israel claimed its independence and President Truman recognized it, it was against the recommendation of the State Department. In fact, the State Department was pretty anti-semitic in the first half of the 20th Century.

        • While there was no doubt an anti-semitic cast to the State Department at the time, that was not the primary reason for the recommendation against recognition of Israel. State Department Near East specialists, almost to a man, advised against American support for a Jewish state on geo-political, national security, and economic grounds.

          Loy Henderson headed up State’s Near Eastern Bureau after World War II, and his primary concern was that American support for the Jewish state would turn the Arab population against the United States and open up the Near East to Soviet influence.

          Moreover, American oil companies had broken into the nascent Saudi oil industry in 1933, and by World War II, the extent of Saudi reserves made it a national security priority. In order to placate the Saudi ruler Ibn Saud, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA) placed an Arabist, William Eddy, in charge of cementing Ibn Saud’s confidence in American intentions. Eddy gained Ibn Saud’s confidence, even staying in the royal tent on excursions to various tribal areas.

          It all culminated in Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s recommendation to President Truman against recognition of Israel. Truman rejected Marshall and the State Department’s advice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    • In 1956, Eisenhower forced the French and British to abandon their alliance with Israel in the joint invasion of Egypt, by threatening their Marshall Plan aid. He and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (a right-wing monster) were trying hard to show respect for the Arab republics that were overthrowing the monarchies we normally supported. Our oil companies wanted good relations with the monarchies, not Israel. Israel tried to trick the US into a war on Egypt via a false-front terrorist attack on a USAID library in Cairo, the Lavon Affair. Hardly necessary today.

      So you’re oversimplifying history. Later Israel figured out how to game the stupidity of the American political culture. It spammed us with propaganda, much of it from liberals from New York to Hollywood. Even Martin Luther King took Israel’s side, though if he had lived longer after the conquests of 1967 he might have learned better.

      But the master stroke was launching a second channel on the Right just before America swung rightward. That channel has done far more to deform our policies and morality to fit Zionist expansionism. What we don’t understand is how vulnerable our political system is to lobbyists who play both sides of the aisle. Even our historical memory is falsified by backdating a manufactured consensus – about taxes, welfare, financial regulation. Whoops, the Clintons did the mindwipe on the Democrats on all those issues.

  12. Dr. Gershon Baskin – originally a New York resident and anti-Vietnam War activist – has been the single person that has most successfully advanced the peace process with the Palestinians.

    In 1988 he initiated a dialogue between retired Israeli intelligence officials, on one hand, and PLO representatives in London which would eventually form the framework of the 1993 Oslo Accords – although Rabin, Peres and Arafat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it was Baskin, as a private citizen, who commenced the dialogue and acted as an outside advisor until the agreement was reached.

    Dr. Baskin was later recruited by Netanyahu to obtain the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit after years of unsuccessful negotiations by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. In four months that included face-to-face negotiations with Hamas leaders, Baskin negotiated an agreement that resulted in Shalit’s release.

    Baskin’s name is relatively unknown outside Israel, but it has been he – not Bill Clinton – who can be credited with some degree of success in achieving progress toward peace between Jews and Palestinians.

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