Monday, July 29, 2013

Camp David's Phones


...members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition in Israel have already made it known that they would desert the coalition if he conceded to the main demands of the Palestinians for a viable independent state, including a capital in East Jerusalem and a formula for recognising the “Right of Return” for the refugees who fled what became Israel in 1948. On his side, in the run-up to Kerry’s announcement, Abbas faced fierce opposition from officials of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) to any resumption of negotiations without a settlement freeze.

Yet, drawing on his own experience of shepherding negotiations between the Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat at Camp David in 1978, Carter believes such leaders can be coaxed to forge a deal by the prospect of attaining a place in history as the statesman who delivered their country from the grip of enduring conflict. Add to that the reward of a Nobel Peace Prize and any leader can be persuaded to face down his detractors back home.

Elaborating on this point, Carter told us that when Sadat and Begin arrived at Camp David with their respective entourages of 40 or so aides, to deter them from conferring with their colleagues back home or speaking to the media, they were informed that all the phones were being bugged. It was not true, he said, but the ruse worked, apparently. He also volunteered that Sadat’s aides were more hard-line than their president, while the members of the Israeli delegation were more amenable to concessions than was Begin himself. What finally convinced Begin to take the plunge, Carter said, was a phone call to none other than Ariel Sharon.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An Incidental Relating to the Irgun Attack on Jerusalem's Railway Station

Project Title: Pull Up A Sandbag

Exhibition: Palestine: a forgotten confllict?

Palestine veterans of 1945-47 believe that theirs is a forgotten conflict; although Britain's Mandate to administer Palestine lasted from 1922 until its termination in 1948. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders actually completed an earlier tour of duty in Palestine during the Arab Rebellion of 1936-39. This exhibition aims to remember this conflict with photographs and oral histories from Argylls who were there, including Lieutenant James Masson who was awarded the George Medal for his bravery in bomb disposal.

Assets in this exhibition include

James Masson at the Palace

James Masson pictured at Buckingham Palace with his parents and brother, shortly after King George VI had presented him with the George Medal for his service in Palestine.  James Masson was awarded with the George Medal for his bravery in bomb disposal.  Although James only served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and is wearing Argyll uniform, he was actually commissioned into the Highland Light Infantry and was never formally transferred.

Bombing of the Railway Station, Jerusalem

Bombs in suitcases were planted at the railway station in Jerusalem, by Irgun terrorists, masquerading as a honeymoon couple, on 30 October 1946.  Police became suspicious of the suitcases and the station was evacuated. A Palestinian policeman and Lieutenant James Masson, serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, inspected the cases and Lieutenant Masson carried one suitcase outside. Unfortunately, the other bomb was detonated when lifted by the policeman, who was killed in the explosion which destroyed much of the building.

Lieutenant James Masson was awarded the George Medal for his bravery with bomb disposal.