Text size

The entire country was rocked when the previous director of Military Intelligence in the Israel Defense Forces' General Staff, Major General Moshe "Boogie" Ya'alon, said in May 1996 that Iran wanted Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than Shimon Peres, to be Israel's next prime minister. The leaders of the Israeli right accused the major general of trying to influence the elections' outcome, because, as any child knows, what is good for the ayatollahs is bad for the Jews.

Last Thursday, it was reported that the director of Military Intelligence, Major General Amos Malka, stated, in a press conference held on the occasion of his departure from that post, that "Arafat is not built, at this stage, and apparently is not built altogether, for an historic compromise intended to produce a political arrangement in which he would accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state within long-term secure borders."

Every newspaper reader can understand that the National Assessor was, in effect, saying that the Israeli right was correct and that the Israeli left was mistaken. You cannot negotiate with someone who is not built for a compromise with Israel. Someone like that should simply be assassinated.

According to the director of Military Intelligence, Foreign Minister Peres' efforts to formulate a compromise with Arafat's representatives and the left's attempts to renew the relationship of mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians are, at best, an optical illusion.

This time, no one dared to claim that the director of Military Intelligence was trying to find favor in the eyes of the present regime or was - perish the thought - leaning toward the right while eyeing the post of IDF chief of staff. It would be unrealistic to expect the new leader of the "peace camp," who is also the boss of Yitzhak Rabin's daughter, to rebuke the major general. After all, Defense Minister and now Labor chief Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has already ruled that Arafat has completed his historical role. However, it is very surprising that the Israeli left has not seemed perturbed over Malka's statement.

Has no one bothered to inquire as to the significance of the analytical phrase "Arafat is not built"? Has the director of Military Intelligence become a genetic engineer of human character? If Arafat is "not built," why has it taken Military Intelligence so long to expose this basic flaw and to sell it to the nation's leaders and to the Israeli public?

If Arafat is not built for a compromise that essentially means a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one that has secure borders, then he has misled Israel for 13 years. If he is not built for a compromise, he lied to the entire world when he announced at a session of the Palestinian National Council in November 1988 that the PNC was adopting United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.

If he is not built for a compromise, he once more deceived the United States, Russia and the European Union when, in October 1991, he authorized the participation of his representatives at the Madrid peace conference, which was convened on the basis of those same resolutions.

If Malka and the many consumers of his analysis are correct, Arafat has pulled the wool over the eyes of four American presidents. Ronald Reagan believed that the Palestine Liberation Organization had learned to accept Israel's existence and he launched a dialogue with the PLO. George Bush dragged then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir to Madrid. Bill Clinton spent more time on negotiations with Arafat than on all other American foreign policy issues put together. Even George W. Bush, despite his disappointment in Arafat, has announced that, from his perspective, the PA Chairman is still relevant.

If Arafat "is not built ... for an historic compromise," then the Nobel Peace Prize should be taken away from him and he should instead receive an Oscar for Best Actor of the past decade.

On the other hand, the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rabin and Peres should be traded in for the Award of "Suckers of the Century." The club of the Chairman's victims should include former prime minister Netanyahu, who gave him part of Hebron and signed a document that transferred an additional 13 percent of the West Bank to the King of Kings in the realm of chicanery.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak really went overboard when, on his way to "exposing Arafat for what he really is" (in other words, revealing that Arafat "is not built, etc."), he was prepared to hand over to this cheat 95 percent of the territories as well as control of two quarters in Jerusalem's Old City.

According to Malka and the ever-increasing number of disciples of his theory, even the directors of Military Intelligence in the IDF do not deserve any awards of distinction. For a very long period, none of them warned that Arafat and compromise were mutually contradictory terms.

The prime minister's office during the Shamir era tried to rid itself of the expert on Palestinians in the research section of Military Intelligence, arguing that he was skewing MI's assessments in the direction of the view that a major historical change took place in the PLO in the late 1980s.

Between the Rabin era and Barak's prime ministership, senior IDF officers, some of whom joined the choir headed by Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz and Malka, actively participated in the peace talks with Arafat. The talks were based on the assumption that Arafat would accept the existence of a Jewish state within amended 1967 borders.

Moreover, the senior members of Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet, Mossad and the Foreign Ministry's research department never argued that Arafat was determined to use terrorism in order to throw the Israelis into the sea. On September 30, 1997, Ha'aretz reported that the head of research in Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Amos Gilead, stated, in a session of the Netanyahu cabinet, that the PA Chairman's cooperation in the war on terrorism was "conditional upon progress in the peace process." Gilead stressed that Military Intelligence's assessment was that Arafat was uninterested in cooperating "if the peace process does not exist and if, in his view, Israel does not keep its part of the bargain in the agreement."

Granted, since that time, Arafat has made a considerable number of mistakes and has repeatedly played into the hands of the opponents of a compromise. And how many mistakes/settlements have Israel's leaders made during 34 years of occupation? Does that turn Israel into a state that is not built for an historic compromise, or is the voice of Military Intelligence like the voice of God? Especially on the eve of the fight for the post of IDF chief of staff.