Palestine Papers: Mitchell vs. Erekat
“Anyone who was even slightly familiar with the process knows full well that Prime Minister Netanyahu never gave Ambassador Mitchell a chance,” resigned negotiations affairs official Saeb Erekat lashed out Thursday.
Well, according to the PLO’s own transcripts of meetings between Erekat and Mitchell, it sure looks like it is Erekat himself who frustrated Mitchell:
GM: But if you have good faith negotiations …
SE: They have a different interpretation of good faith, if you ever dealt with the Israelis.
GM: I would agree with Israel if you were negotiating and bringing actions against them [going to international bodies] it would be in bad faith.
SE: If they don’t take illegal measures, I would have no complaint. You think I complain for nothing! You know even rabbits have defence mechanisms. Let say they throw more families out of their homes. They defied you on this, and the UN.
GM: You can go for a public statement. The ICC is a different thing.
SE: I might go to the General Assembly.
GM: You would go to the GA if two families are thrown out?
SE: Maybe if it’s 50 families.
GM: Let’s not get diverted.
GM: How would the process begin?
SE: It’s been happening. Netanyahu tested you – what can be done. He’s getting the message. You should tell him you’re not going to have the cake and it too, if you want Lieberman and the settlements. And you’re not going to get me to sit with him under these circumstances. We know Bibi. He’s nervous. That’s why he is making a campaign now ‘asking’ AM to be a leader.
GM: So no talks with him while settlement activity continues.
SE: Yes. You asked me yesterday and I said that.
GM: So why are we having a discussion over the language?
SE: That’s a good question.
GM: So even if we give you the your ToR language, there will be no negotiations without the freeze?
GM: Then please rip out and the text I read out. [RD and KE hand GM papers] So you want us to give you the outcome. You’re saying there won’t even be negotiations. That’s your position.
SE: As long as BN continues as I said. They can send YD and AG to talk to us.
GM: So we reconsider the whole approach – why talk to both sides?
SE: It’s important. To get them to make decisions.
GM: But they need to make decisions with you, not us. And you’re not taking the same position as before. You negotiated without a freeze all the time.
SE: I told DH while you were out: don’t fool us. All the promises over the years – not delivered. The last time it was Bush, with Frasier and Selva. They did not deliver Before that Clinton and before that Baker.
GM: It was never promised. They said they would make an effort.
SE: They promised us last time they will be the judge.
GM: In all candour, your assessment of the political situation in Israel is totally wrong.
SE: I know the Israelis. If someone sneezes in Tel Aviv, I get the flu in Jericho. We know what it take, after 19 years. They cannot decide if they want two states. They want to keep settling in the areas of my state.
GM: But they will settle more if you continue this way.
SE: Then we announce the one state and the struggle for equality in the state of Israel. If our state will not be viable and will have the wall we will fight against apartheid. You either have a decision for peace or a decision for settlements. You cannot have both. Maybe as people keep saying that we never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, but we were never given an opportunity, not my grandparents or my parents, like I am not being given an opportunity.
GM: You’ve expressed your frustration over the last 19 years. But I tell you there has never been a president on this issue like this one. You are denying him the opportunity to create the state that you want. By saying one state you are telling him to get out, even though you negotiated with every Israeli government before under different administrations.
SE: We’re beat. We’re like a horse without rations who can’t walk.
GM: So then summon all your energy.
(h/t Serious Black)