Yossi Beilin: Israelis behind Oslo never thought about future, final
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 27 August 2010
"I simply am not prepared to live in a world in which things cannot be
Yossi Beilin - Interview by Ari Shavit "Yossi removes his glasses" Haaretz
Magazine, March 7, 1997
This is my favorite Beilin quote. But for some reason, the English
translation of the original interview doesn't seem to be available anywhere
on internet - including the Haaretz archive.
With Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about to fly to Washington it is
worthwhile to look back for a moment and consider the astounding revelations
from this long forgotten interview (only available in Hebrew in the archives
The following are translations of some choice excerpts:
Shavit: When you entered the Oslo process, Rabin Peres and you, was it clear
to you that this was going to a Palestinian state?
Beilin: No. It is very interesting to note that the talks of the soul
regarding "where will this process lead" took place only between the sides,
not within them.within the Labor party and within the government and within
the negotiating team I don't recall any real and serious discussion of the
Shavit: I don't understand. In 1992 you were elected to the government. In
1993 you created the Oslo process. At no stage did you ask yourselves where
this all was leading to?
Shavit: You never spoke with Rabin about the significance of Oslo in the
Shavit: And with Peres?
Beilin: I also never spoke with Peres about it.
Shavit: That's to say that we are going to an historic process that is
second to none in its drama and at no stage you don't say "wait a moment,
let's think about this", let's check where we are basically going?
Beilin: By Rabin, avoidance of the final arrangement was a kind of policy.
He pushed it off. After he died I sat with Leah Rabin and I said to her -
if someone could have known what final arrangement Rabin had in mind it's
only you. She told me - "Look, I can't tell you. He was very pragmatic,
hated to deal with what will be in many more years. He thought about what
will be now, very soon. To the best of my knowledge he did not have a very
clear picture of what the final arrangement would be"
Rabin thought that things would develop, saw something instrumental like
that, some autonomy that might become a state and might not. He did not
have a clear picture.
Shavit: The question that must be raised is if the decisions of Oslo were
made at all in a rational process?
Beilin: In general there aren't rational processes. Rationality, at the
end, is almost always rationalizing. When you look at these kinds of
processes you find that almost always the things happen out of internal
feelings of the participants that they are doing the right thing. Out of
their emotions and intuition and personal experience.
Shavit: have you considered at times, that maybe, because of 1948, the
complications of the dispute make it unsolvable?
Beilin: Yes. It occurs to me. But I immediately utterly rejects it. I see
myself as an absolute rationalist and I want to live a rational world. I
very much want to live in a world in which there is a solution to our
existential problems that is possible. I have no proof that this is indeed
the situation. This is like being an optimist. Is an optimist convinced
that the pessimist is always wrong? No. He simply convinces himself that
things will be good. That it will be OK. And then he also does everything
in order to insure that he is right. That's the way I am.
I simply am not prepared to live in a world in which things cannot be