Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mossad Reports on Negotiations, 1977

The other day we looked at a newly declassified Mossad document from Moshe Dayan's meeting in Morocco with Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Hassan Tuhami in September 1977. Today, let's look at the second Mossad document in the same publication. November 1977 came and went, Anwar Sadat stepped out from behind the secret preliminary negotiations and visited Israel in the full glare of international astonishment, and now, in December, it was time to move the negotiations forward to an agreement. The going wasn't easy (and indeed, many months of hard bargaining were to pass before the breakthrough at Camp David in September 1978). In December 1977, Dayan and Tuhami were once again guests of King Hassan of Morocco - and once again, a Mossad agent was there and wrote a top secret report. (For more detailed background, see our summary.)

Here are some reflections about this Mossad document and its contents.

1. Note the very appearance of the document: a sparse letterhead, no insitutional logo, but a bright red stripe down the length of each page, with the words Top Secret (Sodi Beyoter), also in red. This is an organization with a high awareness of security matters, and when they create highly sensitive documents, they want those documents to be easily recognized from afar. Anyone who's got such a document has very high security clearance, but one can never be too careful, and the organization wishes to ensure that the document will be handled gingerly. So: no logo, which is a form of marketing, because there's no-one to market to; and a bright red bar, to ensure no-one accidentially reads it on the subway while commuting home. (And of course, there aren't many subways in Israel.)

2. Most of the discussions were between the Israeli and the Egytian. The host, King Hassan, came and went, and saw his job as facilitator. Thus, over dinner, he gently rebuked Dayan:
You [the Israelis] can't live on bayonets. You must find a way to peace. You [Dayan] look sad and tense and you're not like before. You must help Sadat overcome the difficulties.
Dayan: I'm sad because I don't see any progress in the Egyptian position. We're not getting anywhere even though I'm proposing significant changes to our position. I'm and honest man; I can't see any any possibility for progress with [Syrian President Hafez] Assad or even with [Jordanian King] Hussein. I wish you were right that Hussein will eventually join Sadat [in negotiating for peace with Israel] but I don't believe it. We will not meet any representatives of the PLO: they're murderers. I won't meet them anywhere, that must be clear.
Tuhami: Why are you so angry since we last met? Let's discuss things cordially. We should meet once again before you leave; you'll prepare a document with the points you brought up today, and I'll read you a document I've received from President Sadat....
3. Documents such as these offer us tones of dicussions and details. Near the end of the report King Hassan wished to placate Dayan and encourage him that the effort was worth making:
If you bring Hussein to join Sadat, those two will sign agreements with you even without Syria. Decisions of the Arab League have been changed in the past; in the matter of the Palestinians we'll be able to change the decision of [the 1974 Arab League Summit in] Rabat [where Hussein was forced to relinquish his claim to represent the Palestinians of the West Bank]. We need time, but let's aim for that. The PLO is a cancer for us. Their fate doesn't interest me at all. The two of you must get over minor details such as [control of] Sharm el Sheikh. The final goal is peace.

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