Camp David 2000 Summit

From Academic Kids

The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. It was another attempt at negotiating a peace to the unending Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is perceived by many as the "key" to resolving the broader Arab-Israeli conflict.


The summit

President Clinton announced his invitation to Barak and Arafat on July 5, 2000, to come to Camp David to continue their negotiations on the Middle East peace process. Building on the positive steps towards peace of the earlier 1978 Camp David Accords where President Jimmy Carter was able to broker a peace agreement between Egypt, represented by President Anwar Sadat, and Israel represented by Prime Minister Menachem Begin. And, it sought to build on the momentum of the earlier peace negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords of 1993 between the later assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitschak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

On July 11, the Camp David 2000 Summit convened. The summit ended on July 25, without an agreement being reached. At its conclusion, a Trilateral Statement was issued defining the agreed principles to guide future negotiations.

Trilateral statement (full text)

President William J. Clinton Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat Between July 11 and 24, under the auspices of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat met at Camp David in an effort to reach an agreement on permanent status. While they were not able to bridge the gaps and reach an agreement, their negotiations were unprecedented in both scope and detail. Building on the progress achieved at Camp David, the two leaders agreed on the following principles to guide their negotiations:
  1. The two sides agreed that the aim of their negotiations is to put an end to decades of conflict and achieve a just and lasting peace.
  2. The two sides commit themselves to continue their efforts to conclude an agreement on all permanent status issues as soon as possible.
  3. Both sides agree that negotiations based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only way to achieve such an agreement and they undertake to create an environment for negotiations free from pressure, intimidation and threats of violence.
  4. The two sides understand the importance of avoiding unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations and that their differences will be resolved only by good faith negotiations.
  5. Both sides agree that the United States remains a vital partner in the search for peace and will continue to consult closely with President Clinton and Secretary Albright in the period ahead.

Reasons for impasse

Both sides blamed the other for the failure of the talks: the Palestinians claiming they were not offered enough, and the Israelis claiming that they could not reasonably offer more. In the USA and Israel, the failure to come to an agreement was widely attributed to Yasser Arafat, as he walked away from the table without making a counter-offer. Clinton later stated "I regret that in 2000 [Arafat] missed the opportunity to bring that nation into being and pray for the day when the dreams of the Palestinian people for a state and a better life will be realized in a just and lasting peace." [1] ( Arafat was also accused of scuttling the talks by Nabil Amr, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority. [2] ( However, it was widely believed in Europe and the Arab world that both parties shared responsibility for the deadlock (Charles Enderlin Shattered Dreams, Tony Klug [3] ( There were three principal obstacles to agreement:

  • Territory
  • Jerusalem and the Temple Mount
  • Refugees and the 'right of return'


Resolution 242 calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the Six-Day War. The Palestinian negotiators indicated they wanted full Palestinian sovereignity over all the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, although they would consider a one-to-one land swap with Israel. The proposal offered by Barak and Clinton would have meant the Israeli annexation of 9-10% of the West Bank, encompassing many current settlement blocs, but leaving the Palestinian territory in one contiguous piece. In addition, a narrow strip comprising 15 percent of the length of the border along the Jordan river valley would be kept by Israel for security purposes on "long-term lease" for an interim period.[4] ( In return, the Israelis would cede 1-3 percent of their territory in the Negev Desert to Palestine. Arafat rejected this proposal and did not make a counteroffer.

Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

A particularly virulent territorial dispute revolved around the final status of Jerusalem. Although offered much of East Jerusalem, the Palestinians rejected a proposal for "custodianship," though not sovereignty, over the Temple Mount, demanding complete sovereignty, which for Jews would have meant losing a bond with both the Mount and the attached Western Wall.

Refugees and the right of return

The Palestinians stated that the proposed solution did not adequately address the issue of the Palestinian refugee problem. While realizing not all refugees could return, the Palestinians argued that any meaningful peace settlement would have to take the future of these people into account. In particular, they called for a right of return and an Israeli acknowledgment that they too had been responsible for the creation of the refugee problem (see also New Historians). The Israelis countered that similar numbers of Jewish refugees had been pushed out of Arab countries since 1948, and were not compensated, and that most of them ended up in Israel. They also asserted that allowing a right of return to Israel proper, rather than the newly created Palestinian state, would mean an influx of Palestinians that would fundamentally alter the demographics of Israel, jeopardizing Israel's Jewish character.


Soon after the collapse of the 2000 summit, Ariel Sharon and a delegation of Likud politicians took a tour of the Temple Mount to demonstrate Israel's control. The next day, a demonstration by a Palestinian crowd broke out of control and Israeli police opened fire on the protesters. From this point, an escalation in violence culminated in an uprising called the al-Aqsa Intifada, which continues to this day (see Shattered Dreams, Charles Enderlin). A wave of suicide bombings were unleashed by Palestinian extremist movements on Israeli civilians. In reprisal Israel sent in the Israel Defence Force to seal off the Gaza Strip and re-occupy the West Bank, which were brought under strict military rule. The leaders of Palestinian terrorist organizations were targeted for assassinations by Israel. The continuing violence has claimed the lives of over one thousand Israelis and three thousand Palestinians.

Calls for peace

In a last attempt to bring Middle East peace, Clinton wrote a proposal to Barak and Arafat, laying down the parameters for future negotiations.[5] ( Barak accepted the parameters (with some reservations) and Arafat, after a delay, accepted, also with questions and reservations. Clinton's initiative led to the Taba negotiations in January 2001, where the two sides published a statement saying they had never been closer to agreement, but Barak, facing elections, suspended the talks.[6] ( The increased violence led to a sharp swing to the right in Israeli politics; Ehud Barak was defeated by Ariel Sharon in 2001.

Sharon refused to negotiate until the suicide bombings ceased. Clinton's successor, President George W. Bush, along with the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations, put forward a "road map" for peace which calls for a fully democratic Palestinian state as early as 2005, on the condition of the cessation of terrorist attacks, Arafat's resignation, and democratic elections in the Palestinian territories. In 2002 Yasser Arafat told a newspaper he was ready to fully accept the Clinton parameters. On March 28, 2002 the Arab League held a summit in Beirut, Lebanon where they drafted a declaration for peace. Israeli officially welcomed[7] ( this proposal, which called for a return to the 1967 borders and mutual peace and recognition,[8] ( but in practice ignored it thereafter and it fell by the wayside. In 2003, moderates from both sides agreed on a peace proposal, the Geneva Accords. Arafat cautiously welcomed the document, but Sharon rejected its terms. The Israeli government has opted to pursue peace and security unilaterally, by constructing the West Bank Barrier and disengaging from Palestine.

Related articles

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

External links



The following links reference an extended exchange in the pages of the New York Review of Books on Camp David 2000. Presented here in chronological order.

On Barak

A critique of Barak's performance at Camp David and of Barak's version of events as given in the Morris-Barak piece in the New York Review of Books.

Palestinian offer

A newspaper article stating that the Palestinians made an implicit, unstated "peace offer" at Camp David.

de:Camp David II


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