|Martin Indyk laughs about first Oslo violation of Arafat
Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA 19 September 2013
In an interview by Daniel Pipes, Martin Indyk papers over that there was an
understanding in advance that Arafat would not wear a uniform (see Eitan
Haber article that follows – Haber first raised the issue with Indyk when he
advised Indyk in a telephone conversation from Israel that PM Rabin agreed
to attend the White House Lawn ceremony and followed up on the issue in a
face-to-face meeting in Washington) and instead says that the uniform issue
came up only ten minutes before the ceremony.
Perspectives from the White House
Middle East Quarterly
Martin Indyk is special assistant to the president and senior director for
Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
Previously, he was the founding director of the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy and published “To the Ends of the Earth”: Sadat’s Jerusalem
Initiative in 1984. Daniel Pipes conducted this interview in the Old
Executive Office Building on November 15, 1993.
MEQ: I saw you on September 13. You seemed quite elated.
Indyk: Well, it was quite an exciting time, an amazing time—indeed, the most
amazing day of my life.
There was this amazing moment ten minutes before Arafat was supposed to
arrive. Arafat was supposed to arrive at the White House first, with Rabin
following a few minutes later. Dennis Ross and I were standing outside the
Oval Office, waiting to enter and brief President Clinton, President Bush,
and President Carter, who were later to go over to the Blue Room to meet
Arafat and Rabin. Dennis and I were on separate telephones shouting—Dennis
and I were on separate telephones shouting—Dennis at the Palestinians and
myself at the Israelis—because both were threatening not to come. The
Israelis got wind that Arafat was wearing a uniform and said that was
unacceptable. The Palestinians were upset because the text of the agreement
did not mention the PLO, only “the Palestinian Delegation.”
So, ten minutes beforehand, the Palestinians insisted that the Israelis
agree to a change in the text; and the Israelis insisted on a change in
Arafat’s clothing. There we were, the two of us standing there shouting at
these guys over the phone, telling them not to throw it all away. I think
the thought was running through both of our minds—that the whole thing was
going to fall apart at the last moment with thousands of people waiting
outside, and I was going to be blamed.
So we tried to find out what Arafat was wearing. Somebody with him told us
he was wearing a safari suit. I passed that on, explaining to the Israelis
that Arafat really wasn’t wearing a uniform, he was wearing a safari suit.
MEQ: Did you see the label? Banana Republic?
Indyk: No, no. (Laughter). It was pretty much a uniform, actually. In the
end, of course, they all turned up. I think they all probably intended to
turn up, and this was just a sign of last-minute nervousness on their part.
But it took a few years off both of our lives.
Eitan Haber ties Martin Indyk to first Oslo violation of Arafat
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 19 September 2013
In an article marking 20 years to the Oslo Agreement, Eitan Haber, who
served at Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s bureau chief, ties Martin Indyk,
who is now serving as the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian
Negotiations, to the very first violation of understandings carried out by
He describes events immediately before the White House Lawn signing ceremony
for the Oslo Agreement:
Saturday 11 September – Israel:
“Indyk called and demanded a final decision [AL: that PM Rabin himself would
participate in the ceremony]
‘Yes, he will come’, I told him, ‘but.’
…before he concluded the conversation, I told him what he hadn’t been told
until then: ‘no uniforms, no weapons and no kisses.'”
And then in Washington itself:
“We spent the last hours of the day and night with Martin Indyk and his
assistant, Bob Satloff, in an attempt to get down to the smallest detail, to
the unexpected possibilities…
What will we do if Arafat insists on carrying his perpetual gun with him?
‘No chance, we will disarm him.’
And what if despite it all he shows up in a uniform and wearing symbols?
‘But he promised.’ ”
Eitan Haber – Yediot Aharonot holiday supplement 18 September 2013
(For photocopy of quote http://bit.ly/1aWBuIg )
The front page of the article features a large photograph of Arafat, in
uniform and wearing symbols, shaking hands with Rabin with President Clinton
standing between them at the signing ceremony.
(Photo on front page of article http://bit.ly/18e8YMI )
When Yasser Arafat showed up at the White House in uniform and wearing
symbols to test the determination of Rabin and Clinton, there were two
possible outcomes: either he would end up borrowing a White House staffer’s
jacket or he would establish that he really didn’t have to honor his word.
And Israel accepted a precedent setting loss.
After all, if Yasser Arafat could get away with openly and publicly breaking
a promise in a move that the President of the United States and the Prime
Minister of Israel were both fully aware of in advance (they were standing
together in the White House before going out to the public) and then
publicly witnessed, what promise couldn’t Arafat break?
This in a nut shell shows us the problems of the folly of so called peace talks with Arabs. The Americans are just as big as idiots and wimps as the leaders of Israel.
If the Americans and Israeli’s would have stood firm, history might have been changed. How many Israelis have been murdered because we were weak on day one even before the signatures were attached to the document?