Quest for Middle East Peace: How and Why it Failed

VOL. 31


No. 1
P. 75
Special Documents
Quest for Middle East Peace: How and Why it Failed

Days before the Palestinian uprising erupted in September, Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat held an unusually congenial dinner meeting in the Israeli’s private home in Kochav Yair.

At one point, Mr. Barak even called President Clinton and, two months after the Camp David peace talks had failed, proclaimed that he and Mr. Arafat would become the ultimate Israeli-Palestinian peace partners. Within earshot of the Palestinian leader, according to an Israeli participant, Mr. Barak theatrically announced, “I’m going to be the partner of this man even more so than Rabin was,” referring to Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli prime minister.

It was a moment that seems incredible in retrospect, now that Mr. Barak talks of having revealed “Arafat’s true face” and Ariel Sharon, the present prime minister, routinely describes the Palestinian leader as a terrorist overlord.