I’ve just been reading Robert Wright’s contrarian view of the Arafat-Barak Camp David negotiations while the idiot news coverage of the arrest of Robert Blake plays in the background.
The essence of his argument is that we’re wrong to stick with the conventional wisdom that Arafat turned down a generous deal at Camp David and everything that follows from that assumption. The main conclusion that follows from it, of course, is that Barak’s offer put the lie to Arafat’s pretensions to be a true peace partner. If Arafat wouldn’t bite when Barak offered him the whole cake, the reasoning goes, then that must not have been what he was interested in in the first place. The cake being an equitable peace, of course, and … well, perhaps not the best metaphor or analogy, but let’s move along.
I think Wright is far more right than wrong. And I really, really recommend that you read it. It’s not that I think his analysis is correct in every respect. I disagree with a number of points he makes. But he’s right to bust open the simplistic way in which this whole drama is generally understood in the US.