THE ISRAEL REPORTMay/June 2000
English translation of 23 June letter from Sharansky to Barak(translated by Sharansky's office)
June 23rd 2000
Mr. Prime Minister,
Based on what I have learned in recent days, both from my own sources and from the Israeli and foreign media, I have reached two conclusions. First, that the team responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians has crystallized the Israeli position in a future agreement. Second, that you have developed a 'clever strategy' to ensure the agreement's acceptance by the Israeli people.
The elements of an agreement are even more problematic then I had assumed a few weeks ago, and include among them:
1. Jerusalem - Concessions on Israeli control in parts of Jerusalem.The 'clever strategy' is based on the following considerations.
A. It is clear to you that the elements outlined above are not acceptable to a number of coalition partners, I among them. At the same time, you believe, and rightly so, that without these partners, you do not possess the broad public support necessary to attend a summit in America, Therefore, you have attempted to include the coalition partners in a summit they oppose by claiming that "in fact, there is not yet an agreement, and in any case, any difference of opinion that will be found among us at the time of the summit will be addressed there."This is indeed a clever strategy. But it is not the way to deal with either coalition partners or with an Israeli electorate that has chosen you to lead them - particularly not with an issue that may determine the fate of this country and the fate of the Jewish people in this generation and for many generations to come.
In my opinion, the aboveboard and responsible approach is to go to the summit with a plan that has the backing f a majority of Israelis, expressed in a national unity government, through which the debate over the principles of an agreement will take place before you depart for a summit and not while you are there. In doing so, you will arrive at the summit with the strength and backing necessary for this fateful and complex undertaking, enjoying the broad and open support of a majority of the Israeli people - and look them confidently in the eye upon your return.
Mr. Prime Minister, this is the only approach of which I am aware which can lead to a peace agreement which I can support, and this is the only approach to which my party and I can be partners.
I call on you once again to stop your race toward a summit that is based on a "clever strategy' for dealing with your coalition partners and with the Israeli public, and instead to go to a summit when you will enjoy the support of the people of Israel and when the vast majority of their representatives will be partners to the process. If you do this, I will be happy to work at your side to forge consensus and agreement within the nation. Unfortunately, if you continue on your present course, it will mean the end of the partnership between us.
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