Segment #9: The Question of Jerusalem and the Negotiation – 206-234


One of the questions Drucker deems crucial to the failure in Camp David was the defective preparation of the delegation on the issue of Jerusalem. This poor preparation focused both on the fact that no one bothered to assess the public opinion on the matter prior to the formation of a negotiation strategy, and the fact that no strategic research was committed on the matter, resulting in a fixed, unoriginal thinking process.

Drucker aims to reflect the ways Barak chose to tackle these challenges. The fact that no true preparation has been made as far as creative solutions of the permanent agreement was tackled through the usage of analyses conducted mainly by two NGOs, the Economic Cooperation Foundation and the Jerusalem Institute. As to the assessment of public opinion, once more, the pollsters were called into action, while the summit was taking place in Camp David.


"The Camp David Summit collapsed, above all, because of the disagreement over the Temple Mount".

[While in Camp David, as he was about to enter a critical meeting with President Clinton, Barak receives a report from Greenberg, that deals with the question of Temple Mount, the pivotal issue at that time of negotiation; Drucker claims, that this is another illustration of the effect polls had on Barak's decision making]:

"[208] "Imagine", Greenberg asks the public, "that the last obstacle for an agreement is the ancient city of Jerusalem. The Christian and Muslim quarters go to the Palestinians, the Jewish and Armenian quarters go to the Israeli side. Would you support such an agreement?". Fifty percent were against the purposed solution (among the Jewish public), and 44 percent supported it. Since the poll didn't include the Arab-Israeli voters, this wasn't considered a 'big majority'. In addition, it is also known that, once an agreement is achieved, the Israeli public tends to shift towards support. One must not ignore Barak's courageous answer to President Clinton in Camp David, an answer which clearly contradicted public opinion". [The exact questions used by Greenberg, as well as percentages (54% against, 42% support) are followed] "The most difficult finding, as far as Barak was concerned, was the Israeli public's resolve to reject any possible agreement based on these preconditions. The majority of the Israeli public, said the secret Barak polls, preferred to stop the negotiation and risk renewed violence, to the option of making the painful concessions in East Jerusalem".

[Greenberg was also asked to assess the public opinion of Abu Dis as the future Palestinian capital]

"On July 16th, the Summit's 7th day, Greenberg evaluated public opinion on the 'Abu Dis proposal'. Seventy-four percent of the Jewish public supported a solution that would establish a special regime in the ancient city, keeping it under Israeli sovereignty, and allowing Palestinian religious autonomy. Only 25 percent of the Jewish public refused such an agreement. The refusal percentage reduced to 18 percent, when the 'package' included a designated place for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. […] Barak exigently required any Jerusalem expert he could find".

[224] "Throughout the summit, Barak orchestrated an intense public opinion evaluation effort. At least eight polls were conducted in the 15 days of the summit. Stanley Greenberg, Barak's private pollster, conducted polls based on questions Barak had passed through to Moshe Gaon [..] The Greenberg analysis was put in a sealed envelope, and was forwarded to Barak's eyes only. Barak didn't show the polls to any member of the Israeli delegation in Camp David.

On July 12th, Greenberg conducted a poll at the request of Jim Gerstein, representative of the Jewish millionaire Danny Abraham. Gerstein forwarded (of course) these findings to Barak: "The PM's leadership was severely hurt, subsequent to the political incidents leading to the summit. Public support for Barak's effort in the peace process is in decline (6 percent decline in the support for Barak's efforts)". Greenberg concluded his report as following: "The public has completely lost faith in the government, in all fronts".

A few days prior to the July 12th report, Greenberg wrote Gaon: "I have previously used words like 'crisis' and 'dramatic loss of support' though these are not even close to describing the collapse in Barak's public support. The most troubling finding is that personal support for Barak has sharply declined. This is hard to recover from. His indicators on that matter are the lowest we've ever found. People also lost hope in Barak's ability to be 'tough' and are angry at his concessions to Shas and his lack of attention to the country's internal problems". In a passage entitled: "The Russian collapse" Greenberg wrote: "It is hard to find the vocabulary to describe the rates of dissatisfaction with the PM, as illustrated in the Russian public. This is a crucial indicator, since Barak's personal perception is imperative for the referendum".

[228; Drucker mentions that these pessimistic findings were also found in Daphna Goldberg's polls, though surprisingly, weren't found in the 'Shvakim Panorama" Poll, conducted at the expense of the French Jean Friedman. The author points out that he can not assess the credibility of the Panorama findings, though he implies that their findings were aligned with what people of the 'peace camp' would like to hear].

"The findings of the Panorama polls are hard to evaluate, though they strongly supported the agenda ran by many 'peace camp' activists. It mainly coincided with the small, yet nevertheless influential 'ECF group'".

[231-2, Drucker discusses the polemic dialogue between Barak and different 'schools' surrounding the negotiation – the 'all or nothing' camp and the 'flexible' camp, supporting a 'fallback agreement' which will be, in fact, yet another interim arrangement. Greenberg is referred to in this context, as one who was in charge of evaluating the public opinion with regards to these issues].

"Barak strongly negated the 'interim agreement' approach. The Palestinians objected as well. The Israeli public, however, found it rather appealing. Greenberg assessed this option. An agreement that will leave the issues of refugees and Jerusalem to a later phase, while handing over 70% of the land to the Palestinians (leaving the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty) received enormous support from the Israeli public. In the same poll, Greenberg also assessed the public opinion of a permanent agreement, which yielded a tie between supporters and opposition".