As he prepares to leave the United States, Eytan Bentsur, Israeli consul general can look back on a career
that has taken him throughout the world.Newly appointed deputy director general of foreign affairs in the Jerusalem Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bentsur was in town last week saying goodbye to the Salt Lake Jewish community whom he served from his post in Los Angeles.
Bentsur began his career with a degree in history and journalism and was a journalist for the Israeli daily newspaper "Ma'ariv." He received a master's degree in Soviet studies from the London School of Economics and concurrently worked at the London Israeli Embassy as assistant in the African Affairs Department. He was then posted at Budapest, Hungary, as second secretary. Other positions included delegate to the first Arab-Israeli peace conference, a member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations and political counselor at the Washington, D.C., Israeli Embassy.
In an interview, Bentsur spoke of his time at the embassy in Washington, D.C. "One of the most rewarding experiences was serving as political counselor in Washington. I learned the American way of life, the frame of mind and mentality," he said.
Bentsur said he felt Israel could depend on the basic fairness of the American people regarding the Arab uprisings on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"The tragedy as we perceive it, is that so many opportunities have been missed. The Camp David Accords of ten years ago left 85 separate areas of governance to Palestinian determination. Only the security and foreign affairs of the two areas were excluded from the agreement," the diplomat said. "But the Palestinians never showed up for the talks that Egypt hosted."
Bentsur continued, "In the accords, Israel recognized the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people and prepared to establish a degree of independence and autonomy never enjoyed by the Palestinians under Arab rule. The second stage of the agreements had a premeditated ambiguity depending on good will and circumstances as to how quickly the final settlements could be made."
Claiming to be skeptical of the real objective of the uprising, Bentsur said, "I am still looking for the first 10 Palestinians engaged in a peaceful demonstration." Bentsur said the PLO, which was so good at directing violence, was now on the spot to provide real leadership.
"When King Hussein ended Jordanian involvement in the territories, PLO representatives rushed to the king to urge him to maintain some kind of presence. The PLO does not have a record of taking responsibility for the educational, social and economic development of the Palestinian people, and now it must suddenly go from an organization of intimidators and terrorists to one of administrators," Bentsur said.
Bentsur hopes the violence is diminishing, and he blames reporters for perpetuating the violence.