Prime Minister Ehud Barak's failure at Camp David has aroused
sharp criticism from members of his own party. And the press
even went as far as to quote senior ministers and party
officials who were angry at the way in which Barak conducted
The general thrust of their complaints was that Barak simply
does not understand how to conduct negotiations. Shimon
Peres, they claimed, would have made a better deal, at a
Those same ministers related that before Barak left for the
United States, he was warned not to discuss the issue of
Jerusalem, which is a stumbling block which is difficult to
overcome, and that this issue should be left for a later
stage, and for forthcoming years.
No such luck. "Barak doesn't listen, and if he does listen,
he thinks he knows best. He simply makes us feel hopeless,"
said one senior minister.
At the same time, those journalists who are not subservient
to the government-controlled media allowed themselves to be
very critical about the failure of the Prime Minister.
"Barak believes that if he is left alone, to do it himself,
he will end a hundred-year-old feud, in a week," wrote one of
the political commentators.
His colleague added: "Barak will be judged not only for the
essential positions he presented at Camp David, positions
that totally exceeded what has been accepted until now as the
Israeli consensus, but on the manner he chose in order to
reach the summit.
"A year ago, he set out to bring peace, and the result is
that he proved that peace is impossible. Barak granted the
political right wing a priceless gift. He proved that, on the
surface, the thesis that there is no partner to peace, and
that sweeping concessions cannot satisfy the Palestinians, is
true. His failure, is, to a great extent, an accomplishment
for his competitors. It is doubtful if that is what he wanted
to achieve, and doubtful if that is what those who elected
The writer adds: "Barak returned to Israel to a new reality
from a political and security point of view. He would like to
start everything from the beginning. But over the past year,
he ruined relationships, burned bridges, wasted large amounts
of the credit given him. The politicians will have to decide
if they want to give him another chance, or if at this
festive opportunity, to break everything up, and hold new
Presumably such sharp criticism will not sit well with the
venerable Prime Minister. Barak knows that in a time of
confusion, critical articles not only express public opinion,
but also accelerate the feelings of frustration and political
opposition of the public.
In such a situation, the political and governmental
developments accord the media a central status, due to the
opportunity to exploit them as a primary factor in the
formulation of public opinion.
Indeed, Barak and his colleagues are apparently trying to lay
their hands on the official media. "There has never before
been such intense interference in the Broadcasting
Authority," the director of Israel Radio, Amnon Nadav said
during a recent meeting of the Knesset State Comptrol
The admission of the director of Kol Yisrael is considered
the most significant revelation at that discussion, since we
are speaking about one who feels the pressures and the
interference on his very flesh.
The Broadcasting Authority therefore demanded that an
investigation committee headed by a judge be established to
examine the relationships between the Prime Minister's Office
and the Broadcasting Authority's professional staff.
Nadav told the committee that the director general of the
Prime Minister's Office Yossi Kucik, and Cabinet secretary
Yitzchok Herzog were attempting to interfere in the work of
the radio, and were also trying to cut short his tenure.
As expected, Kucik and Herzog rejected the claims and said
that there was no attempt to interfere in the professional
work of the radio.
The director general of the Broadcasting Authority, Uri
Porat, also attacked Barak for not agreeing to meet with him:
"During the past year attempts were made to dismiss all
members of the Board of Directors of the Broadcasting
Authority," he said.
"There is intense involvement in the Authority's work on the
part of the Prime Minister's office, especially in the
radio." He noted: "The radio has become an device which
determines the national daily agenda. Therefore, political
factors are trying to gain control of it for propaganda
purposes, in expectation of the referendum and the
For his part, the chairman of the investigating committee, MK
Uzi Landau, did not accept the explanations provided by the
Prime Minister's cronies.
"We haven't heard satisfactory explanations," he said. "If
the facts and the accusations are proven true, then this is
political corruption which borders on subversion."
The Committee discussion also brought out several other
criticisms of Broadcasting Authority. Right- wing MKs
complained about the fact that the opinions of the opposition
are not expressed. This trend, as is known, is evident in all
that pertains to the religious and chareidi sectors as well.
It's safe to say that nearly anything that pertains to the
Torah-observant community is portrayed in a negative and
alien manner, when aired.
Obviously, the fact that the media leans hard to the left is
nothing new. It has always been known that the media men in
Israel don't particularly like Torah-observant Jews. The
deliberation in the committee disclosed only the overt
activity of the Prime Minister and his office regarding
efforts to take over the official media.
Barak and the Leftists, who are apparently presumptuous
enough to think that they are able usher in a new way in the
State, are continuing the ill-suited way of the heads of the
old Mapai. It was they who transformed the media into a party
device for the left wing's political agenda and blackening
the reputation of anyone who opposed them. Such dictatorial
behavior, known only in the defunct Communist regimes, still
exists in Israel.