Last updated on: 6/26/2008 11:14:00 AM PST

What Were the 2001 Taba Talks?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami (front-left) and
Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei (front-right) shake hands
on Jan. 21, 2001 at the Taba negotiations

David Matz, JD, Director of the Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in a 2003 article published in Palestine-Israel Journal titled "Trying to Understand the Taba Talks (Part I)," wrote:

"The Taba negotiation began on Sunday evening, January 21, and ended on Saturday afternoon, January 27. At the closing press conference, the parties issued this joint statement: 'The sides declare that they have never been closer to reaching an agreement and it is thus our shared belief that the remaining gaps could be bridged with the resumption of negotiations following the Israeli election.' There were 28 negotiators and professional staff at Taba...

As Taba ended, there was general talk about further steps. One proposal was a meeting of Barak and Arafat, before the election, to achieve an undefined breakthrough or to agree on a framework. Another suggested reconvening the negotiators after the election, with the goal of reaching agreement by April 30. Some planning toward further meetings did occur, but a bitter speech by Arafat on Sunday, January 28, in Switzerland, attacked Israel with language completely at odds with the Taba negotiations, and that marked the end of the process."

2003 - David Matz, JD 

Reuters published a Jan. 28, 2001 article titled "No Deal Peace Talks in Taba End Without a Settlement," that contained the following description of the 2001 Taba Talks:

"The [Israeli and Palestinian] negotiators discussed four main issues in Taba — the fate of Palestinian refugees, borders, security and the future of Jerusalem. The four were the main obstacles to a deal after an inconclusive U.S.-brokered summit [Camp David II] last July. A Palestinian official said the sides had agreed not to publicize the points of agreement hammered out by the negotiating teams so that they might resume their work without intervention after the election.

The Palestinians want to create a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinian negotiators told Reuters that progress had been made on territorial issues, refugees, and security. One negotiator said the sides had agreed Israel would remain in control of four percent of the West Bank in the areas of the Jewish settlements of Ariel, Gush Etzion and near Jerusalem. He said the figure did not include a possible land swap that would give Israel more West Bank land in exchange for an equal amount of territory inside its own borders. Negotiators were discussing dismantling slightly more than 100 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and leaving some 25 in place, the delegate said. He added that some settlements around Jerusalem would be dismantled and that all settlements would be cleared away from the Gaza Strip and the Jordan Valley."

Jan. 28, 2001 - Reuters