Lewis Schrager, author of the new play about Dennis Ross and the failed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations of 2000, claims that the terms discussed in those talks are “what peace looks like. … That is as good as it’s going to get” (“Missing Peace,” WJW, Aug. 21).
In those talks, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered a series of extremely risky concessions: Israel would retreat virtually to the pre-1967 lines; a Palestinian state would be established in 92 percent of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank); the Palestinians would be given control of the Temple Mount; and Israel would admit 100,000 Palestinian Arab “refugees.” Lewis Schrager – and Dennis Ross – apparently think the Camp David terms would have brought peace. But Palestinian terrorism against Israel since then demonstrates that making such sweeping, one-sided concessions would have been suicidal.
And given Ambassador Ross’ latest revelation, Mr. Schrager may want to consider a new ending for his play. Ross wrote in The Washington Post on Aug. 10 that in 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assigned him to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza. “I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built,” Ross revealed. “They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right.”
Israel relented to the Clinton-Ross pressure and allowed the cement into Gaza. Hamas used the cement to construct dozens of terror tunnels, which were used to carry out the murders of
Israelis. In recent weeks, 64 Israeli soldiers have given their lives in the fight against Hamas.
Dennis Ross’s positions in the Camp David talks in 2000 would have been disastrous for Israel. Ross’s actual advice to Israel in 2010 was indeed disastrous.
Perhaps those whose counsel has proven wrong time and again, should stop telling Israel what to do.
MOSHE PHILLIPS and BENYAMIN KORN
Members of the Board, Religious Zionists of America New York