Passport

Saeb Erekat sometimes doesn’t feel like lying (but does it anyway)

I have a feeling that this exchange, released in Al Jazeera’s Palestine Papers, is going to be making the rounds in Ramallah for some time. "SE" is chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and "YG" is Yossi Gal, then a deputy director general in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SE: How have you been? YG: Not ...

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

I have a feeling that this exchange, released in Al Jazeera’s Palestine Papers, is going to be making the rounds in Ramallah for some time. "SE" is chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and "YG" is Yossi Gal, then a deputy director general in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

SE: How have you been?

YG: Not too bad, can’t complain, how about you?

SE: I’m lying, I’ve been lying for the last weeks.

YG: Between jogging?

SE: No, no, lying, lying.  I was in Cairo, I was in Jordan, I was in America. Everybody is asking me what is going on Israel, what is Olmert going to do?

YG: And you are telling everyone we are on the verge of success.

SE: And I always tell them this is an internal Israeli matter, a domestic Israeli matter and I keep lying. If somebody sneezes in Tel-Aviv, I get the flu in Jericho, and I have to lie. So that’s my last week — all lies.

YG: As a professor of negotiations, you know that white lies are allowed now and then.

SE: I’m not complaining, I’m admitting — and sometimes I don’t feel like lying.

David Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. @davidkenner

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