Date: 13 December 2012

One can appreciate how hard it is for foreigners to accept that the half-baked ideas of Israelis with impressive military records or years of experience in Arab Israeli affairs are really just that: half-baked ideas.

After all, one would hope and expect that someone who was able, for example, to reach the very pinnacle of the IDF would have both the common sense and integrity to think through their policy recommendations to the end before opening their mouths.

But this is nothing new.

From the very start of Oslo, opponents of Oslo maintained that it was a half-baked plan. That the Israeli leadership promoting Oslo did not really thought it through to the end.

And thanks to Ari Shavit’s interview of Yossi Beilin ( “Yossi removes his glasses” Haaretz Magazine, March 7, 1997) we have confirmation from the key man of Oslo that this indeed was a half-baked program.

Here is my translation of some excerpts:

Shavit: When you entered the Oslo process, Rabin Peres and you, was it clear to you that this was going to a Palestinian state?

Beilin: No. It is very interesting to note that the talks of the soul regarding “where will this process lead” took place only between the sides, not within them. Within the Labor party and within the government and within the negotiating team I don’t recall any real and serious discussion of the final solution.

Shavit: I don’t understand. In 1992 you were elected to the government. In 1993 you created the Oslo process. At no stage did you ask yourselves where this all was leading to?

Beilin: No.

Shavit: You never spoke with Rabin about the significance of Oslo in the long run?

Beilin: Never.

Shavit: And with Peres?

Beilin: I also never spoke with Peres about it.

Shavit: That’s to say that we are going to an historic process that is second to none in its drama and at no stage you don’t say “wait a moment, let’s think about this”, let’s check where we are basically going?

Beilin: By Rabin, avoidance of the final arrangement was a kind of policy. He pushed it off. After he died I sat with Leah Rabin and I said to her – if someone could have known what final arrangement Rabin had in mind it’s only you. She told me – “Look, I can’t tell you. He was very pragmatic, hated to deal with what will be in many more years. He thought about what will be now, very soon. To the best of my knowledge he did not have a very clear picture of what the final arrangement would be”

Rabin thought that things would develop, saw something instrumental like that, some autonomy that might become a state and might not. He did not have a clear picture.
Shavit: The question that must be raised is if the decisions of Oslo were made at all in a rational process?

Beilin: In general there aren’t rational processes. Rationality, at the end, is almost always rationalizing. When you look at these kinds of processes you find that almost always the things happen out of internal feelings of the participants that they are doing the right thing. Out of their emotions and intuition and personal experience.