Bill Clinton has come to Israel. Finally. After almost a year and a half of Palestinian violence unleashed by his prodding us smilingly into the Oslo Accords, Mr. Clinton has finally come out with some mild rebuke for Mr. Arafat.
The violence, in which thousands of Israelis have been injured, and hundreds of children orphaned, husbands and wives widowed, parents left mourning at children’s graves was, in Mr. Clinton’s view: “A mistake.”
I wondered, at hearing him say that, to whose mistake he referred? His own, for facilitating this and encouraging it? Mr. Peres’ and Mr. Beilin’s, for suggesting it in the first place? The Israeli people’s, for allowing themselves to be lulled into a false belief that its best interests coincided with popularity polls in CNN and BBC? He couldn’t possibly have been referring to Arafat, could he? No one in his right mind would refer to killing innocent people as “a mistake,” could they? As in, the downing of the twin towers was “a mistake.” Because that would mean that under certain circumstances, such a thing might not be “a mistake”?
Mr. Clinton has finally come to Jerusalem. Lured by a one-thousand dollar a plate dinner in his honor, and an honorary doctoral degree from some misguided Israeli educational institution, he agreed to spend two days in the country his machinations has helped bloody and injure and endanger. Except for the cleaning ladies in the Foreign Ministry and a few loud-mouthed and enthusiastic women who said they were “From Miami, and we love you,” in front of the cameras (just nearby, a Palestinian murderer opened fire on a bus stop the very next day, killing two Jewish women) Israelis pretty much ignored him. I know I did. And I hope Jewish organizations will stop plying Mr. Clinton with fat speaker fees. Send it to Israel’s widows and orphans instead.
Some would argue that Mr. Clinton really loves Israel, and really wanted to help. That might well be true. But as I recall, he’s often said he loves his wife too. That hasn’t stopped him from betraying her, again and again and again.
Whatever your motives, Mr. Former, Impeached President, having arrived in Israel, I think you needed to add a few more words to your statement. I think you needed to say, in front of Israelis: “Sorry. I made a mistake in encouraging you to negotiate with a murderer and a terrorist who never had any intention of keeping any peace agreement. I made a mistake in encouraging you to give him guns, and land, and your trust. Sorry my mistake got so many of you killed, maimed, and orphaned. Sorry, for my mistake.”