WUJS- Camp David 2000
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(editor's note - Text in navy blue italics has been added by the editor)
Camp David 2000 - And After
On 11th July 2000 the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met at Camp David under the auspices of Bill Clinton to try and hammer out the details of the final status agreement.
The conference broke up after two weeks with no agreement.
All kinds of stories have circulated since then as to what occurred.
Accusation: The Camp David talks broke down because Prime Minister Barak was not prepared to make enough concessions.
Rebuttal: At the press conference in which he admitted that the talks had ended in failure President Clinton said of Barak that he "showed particular courage and vision and an understanding of the historical importance of the moment."
Barak's offer to the Palestinians was the most substantial and far reaching that had ever been made. In Israel, people were stunned by the extent of the concessions that he was prepared to make. It is unclear whether the Israeli public were prepared to support Barak's deal. However they were never given the opportunity to endorse the proposals as Arafat rejected them out of hand. Following Camp David, the Israelis, under US pressure, agreed to far reaching concessions in negotiations in Washington DC and at Taba: According to media reports Barak's offer ultimately included:
Israeli redeployment from 95% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip
The creation of a Palestinian state in that area
The removal of isolated settlements which would be transferred to Palestinian control
Slices of Israeli land to be included in the Palestinian state to compensate for the percentage of the West Bank to become Israeli
Palestinian control over parts of Jerusalem including most of the Old City
"Religious Sovereignty" over the Temple Mount (rather than Israeli sovereignty, which had been in effect since 1967)
In return Arafat had to declare the "end of conflict" and agree that no further claims on Israel could be made in the future. Arafat refused the offer. According to reports from those present the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to modify its demands. They clung to old all-or-nothing positions, refusing to compromise on Jerusalem or the issue of Palestinian refugees. Arafat failed to offer counter-proposals, or to specify what particular problems he felt needed to be addressed. Following the failure of the negotiations Barak announced:
"Today I return from Camp David, and can look into the millions of eyes and say with regret: We have not yet succeeded. We did not succeed because we did not find a partner prepared to make decisions on all issues. We did not succeed because our Palestinian neighbours have not yet internalised the fact that in order to achieve peace, each side has to give up some of their dreams; to give, not only to demand."
Nonetheless and despite the outbreak of violence, negotiations continued. In Washington and at Taba:
See - The Myth of the Israeli Bantustan offer at Taba and other myths for details.
Since then, the Palestinian leadership attempted to lay the blame at everyone's door but their own. They accused the Americans of not being well-enough prepared for the talks. They claimed that Barak caused their failure due to his all or nothing approach, and his insistence on an end of conflict agreement. However, what Camp David really showed was that the Palestinians were not ready for peace. The people had not been prepared for the fact that they might have to make serious compromises for peace. The Palestinian leadership expected to be able to force Israel to make massive concessions without making any of its own. Soon after the negotiations, Palestinian violence broke out. Negotiations occurred sporadically but since they took place in the shadow of violence they were not been successful. It will take a long time to rebuild the trust that has been lost.
Contents - WUJS HANDBOOK ONLINE
Accusations and Rebuttals:
Handbook text is copyright by The World Union of Jewish Students ( http://www.wujs.org.il ). Excerpts have been adapted and are reproduced here by permission. Additions and changes are copyright by Ami Isseroff. Some are copyright in addition by MidEastWeb for Coexistence.
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