Interview with Dov Weisglass

(Ha'aretz)Ari Shavit - Dov Weisglass is Director of the Prime Minister's Bureau. "I am in ongoing and continuous contact with Rice. In complex times it could be every day, by phone. In less complex times it's a phone call a week. On average, I meet with her once a month. Since May 2002 I have met with her more than 20 times. And every meeting is a meeting. The shortest one was an hour and a half." What does she call you? "Dubi." What do you call her? "Condy." "If something happens - an unusual military operation, a hitch, a targeted killing that succeeded or one that didn't succeed - before it becomes an imbroglio, she calls me and says, 'We saw so-and-so on CNN. What's going on?' And I say, 'Condy, the usual 10 minutes?' She laughs and we hang up. Ten minutes later, after I find out what happened, I get back to her and tell her the whole truth. The whole truth. I tell her and she takes it down: this is what we intended, this is how it came out. She doesn't get worked up. She believes us." "It makes it possible for us to talk to them in real time, informally. When my conversation with Rice ends, she knows that I walk six steps to Sharon's desk and I know that she walks twelve steps to Bush's desk. That creates an intimate relationship between the two bureaus and prevents a thousand entanglements." "The Americans were here for four months in 2003. Through [assistant secretary of state] John Wolf they were involved in the process in the most intimate way. Wolf reported directly to Rice. Those four months had tremendous pedagogical value. The Americans saw for themselves what the Palestinians' most solemn promises really meant. They saw the Palestinians' detailed working plans and their splendid diagrams and they saw how nothing came of it." "When you add to that the trauma of September 11 and their understanding that Islamic terrorism is indivisible, you understand that they reached their conclusions by themselves. They didn't need us to understand what it's all about. So, when we came to them and told them that there is no one to talk to, we didn't have any problems. They already knew that as of now, there is no one to talk to." "Sharon doesn't think that after a conflict of 104 years, it's possible to come up with a piece of paper that will end the matter. He thinks the other side had to undergo a deep and extended sociopolitical change." "The American term is to 'park conveniently.' The disengagement plan makes it possible for Israel to park conveniently in an interim situation that distances us as far as possible from political pressure. It legitimizes our contention that there is no negotiating with the Palestinians....It also transfers the initiative to our hands. It compels the world to deal with our idea, with the scenario we wrote." "We succeeded in removing the issue of the political process from the agenda. And we educated the world to understand that there is no one to talk to. And we received a no-one-to-talk-to certificate. That certificate says: (1) There is no one to talk to. (2) As long as there is no one to talk to, the geographic status quo remains intact. (3) The certificate will be revoked only when this-and-this happens - when Palestine becomes Finland."

2004-10-08 00:00:00

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