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Translation of an article to be published
in Ma'ariv on January 31, 2000

Wem nützt die Weizman Affaire?

by Uri Avnery

"Cui Bono? Who profits from it?" - that's the classic Latin question an experienced detective asks himself when faced with a mystery.

It is strange that with all the media tumult accompanying the Weizman affair, this question was not posed.
Who profits from it? Who profits from it just now, at this exact point in time?

No doubt, the timing is odd. The whole affair concerns financial dealings that happened long ago and are covered by the statutes of limitation. Even the stolen files, on which the allegations are based, were snatched years ago. But somebody sat on them patiently for years until deciding, just now, to turn them over now to Mr. Yoav Itzhak, who did not publish them as a news story, as a professional journalist would, by instead called a press conference, like a political party embarking on a campaign.

Why now? Why this way?

It happened immediately after the President put all his weight behind a peace with Syria which would entail the giving up the Golan. He declared that he would resign if the majority would vote in the promised referendum against the peace treaty. The next day the stolen file appeared from its hiding place. In order to hide the traces, the blame was put on Ofer Nimrodi, the newspaper publisher accused of several crimes. (These days, Nimrodi is good for everything.)

But nobody accuses Nimrodi for revealing Barak's election organizations. Here the timing was fixed by the State Comptroller. He discovered the facts, he drew the conclusions. The Attorney General decided within five minutes to start a criminal investigation against the Prime Minister and his men.

Quite by accident, all this happens when the negotiations - both with the Syrians and the Palestinians - approach the moment of truth. Ehud Barak has to make two historical decisions: One to return all the Golan to Syria, and another to agree to the setting up of a Palestinian state and a reasonably compromise on Jerusalem.

He would have to be a superman to be able to concentrate on the most important decisions since the creation of the State of Israel and at the same time to prepare for a criminal investigation that may seal his fate. Lawyers will take the place of the generals and statesmen in Barak's office, legal papers will replace the maps and agreements on the table.

Around the world, news about Barak appear nowadays beside the stories about Helmut Kohl and his colleagues, who have accepted tens of millions of Marks as bribes from local and foreign corporations. Before that, the name of President Weizman appeared next to the name of President Yeltzin, who turned his job over to a small war-monger in return for an amnesty to himself and all his family for all their alleged economic crimes. It seems that the Kreml's first family has received vast sums in return for allowing a small group of "tycoons" to rob the legendary riches of Russia.

Of course, these publications undermine the ability of the Israeli leadership to conduct international negotiations. This is well understood by President Clinton, who vividly remembers that the extreme right nearly succeeded in kicking him out of the White House, after financing the revelations about his sex life. This is also understood by the American Congress, who has to give the money for peace, and by the Arab leaders, who are called upon to take great risks for peace when they are not certain that their Israeli counterpart will not land in prison tomorrow.

The Israeli right is having a ball. They are quite content to sit back while assorted "leftists" lead the crusade against Barak, Weizman and their assistants, all in the name of morality, equality and the rule of law. For them, the only important thing is to undermine the government which they accuse of "giving up parts of the holy fatherland". Who needs another Yigal Amir, if Barak can be destroyed by police investigators?

I don't believe in the conspiracy theory of history, according to which history is made by devious conspirators acting in the dark. Indeed, I belong to the opposite school, the one that believes that stupidity and accident play a far more important role.

I do not want to investigate the motives of all the people involved in these affairs. But the fact is that all these assorted fools and wise men, file-thieves and policemen, state comptrollers and state attorneys, journalists and quasi-journalists, columnists and calumnists have succeeded, quite by accident, in striking a mighty blow against the peace that could put an end to the historic conflict and prevent the next wars.


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