In the room where it didn’t happen

Danny Ayalon, formerly deputy foreign minister in Israel, tells the story of the day, exactly 20 years ago, when Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat everything. He offered East Jerusalem and three-quarters of the Old City, holding back only the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall. But:

Everyone in the room stared at Arafat, who didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t envisioned or prepared for such a scenario. Finally he spoke: “I am sorry but I cannot accept this offer. There was never a Jewish Temple, so I cannot accept any Israeli presence. Not even underground.”

There was no way Arafat was making peace under any circumstances.

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