Segment #3: 'The Syrian Handshake Incident' – pages 71, 73


The translated section below is the conclusion of a chapter dealing with Barak's efforts on the Syrian front of the negotiation, and his failure (again, in the author’s view) to seize an opportunity for a breakthrough in that channel. Drucker demonstrates that one of the reasons for the failure was the data arising from the polls that were conducted during the Barak-A Shara Summit and other negotiation efforts focusing on the Syrian channel. It is claimed that Barak's negotiation strategy was affected by the public opinion reflected in the polls. Again, Stanley Greenberg is referred to as the main 'seismograph' that Barak turned to for public opinion insight.


"Ehud Barak suffers from 'polls addiction'. In his term, at least 100 polls were conducted, disregarding tens of private polls sent to Barak, at private pollsters' own initiative".

[Later in the book, Barak is subsequently compared to Netanyahu, who was considered a 'poll narcotic' (as the author puts it) Prime Minister; J.A]

"An opinion shared by many people involved in the Syrian channel, including Uri Sagi, argues that one of the reasons for the failure of this channel was the fact that Barak's predilection for polls increased intensively in that period of time. A month and a half following the Barak-A Shara Summit, Stanley Greenberg, Barak's pollster and advisor, examined the public opinion concerning the channel. A clear will for a tougher negotiation approach on behalf of Barak was expressed in Greenberg's focus groups. [Greenberg wrote]: "The absence of a handshake bears a great price in public opinion. People consider it a reflection of Syrian insincerity towards accepting Israel's right to exist, and that if peace will be achieved, it will be a 'cold one'. The belief that an agreement may bring about economic prosperity or true peace is accordingly small. As far as the focus groups are concerned, the fact that Assad did not show up for the summit, is evidence of his obstinate and intransigent approach towards peace."