Oct. 22, 2018
- Did Camp David Doom the Palestinians? – Dennis Ross
Seth Anziska’s new book, Preventing Palestine: A Political History From Camp David to Oslo, portrays the Camp David Accords as largely responsible for denying the Palestinians self-determination and statehood. But I was present at the meeting between Yasser Arafat and President Bill Clinton in December 2000 when Arafat said no to Clinton’s parameters, which went well beyond what then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak proposed at the summit in July.
The Clinton parameters offered the Palestinians a viable state with 97% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, and a guaranteed corridor connecting the two; this would have been an independent state. Arafat’s rejection and the resort to violence in the Second Intifada, in which 1,100 Israelis were killed, left the Israeli public believing that there was no Palestinian partner for peace.
Anziska blames the Camp David Accords, but those of us negotiating the agreements did not see them as denying Palestinian rights. Not only would the Clinton parameters have undone the autonomy noted in the Camp David Accords, had the Palestinians said yes or offered a serious counterproposal. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008 and the Obama/Kerry principles in March 2014 would have done the same.
Yet there was no serious Palestinian response to these proposals. The sad truth is that at critical junctures, Palestinian leaders chose to say no and the Palestinian people have paid the price for their leaders’ rejection.The writer is a former U.S. envoy to the Middle East and counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Policy)