Last updated on: 6/26/2008 11:41:00 AM PST

What Was the 2000 Camp David Summit?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (left), U.S. President Bill Clinton (center),
and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat (right) at Camp David Summit, July, 2000

Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of New South Wales, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of the Modern Middle East at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 fourth edition of A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict wrote:

"The Camp David summit opened on July 11, 2000, but after 15 days of intense negotiations that often lasted well into the night, it ended on July 25 with no resolution of the issues. President Clinton was on hand, except for a brief trip to Japan to attend the G8 summit, and took an active role, along with Albright, Sandy Berger, the U.S. National Security Advisor, and Dennis Ross. Despite high hopes, the 'red lines' of the two sides as they entered the talks were unbridgeable. On borders, Israel offered to withdraw from over 90 percent of the West Bank, exclusive of Jerusalem and its environs, but wanted to annex those parts of the West Bank and Gaza with major Jewish settlements closest to Israel proper and possibly retain part of the Jordan valley. Presumably, Israeli settlements not annexed by Israel would be evacuated. The Palestinians insisted on Israel withdrawing from all the territory captured in the 1967 War, including all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

On Jerusalem, Israel would turn over Abu Dis and other suburbs of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians for the capital of a Palestinian state. Israel would also give Palestinians municipal autonomy in parts of East Jerusalem as well as the right to fly the Palestinian flag over the Muslim and Christian holy places. But Israel would not surrender sovereignty of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians, as Arafat demanded and on which he would not yeild. On the question of refugees, the Palestinians demanded the right of return of all the refugees and their descendants displaced by Israel's creation in 1948 and an admission by Israel of responsibility for their plight. Israel refused to accept moral or legal responsibility for the refugee problem and wanted it solved not by repatriation but by compensation through international aid."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in his 2001 book Righteous Victims, wrote:

"On July 5, 2000, President Clinton had announced that Barak and Arafat would meet at Camp David, starting on July 11, for the 'make or break' summit. During July 11-26, Barak and Arafat, with Clinton (assisted by Albright) playing a crucial mediating role, tackled the major issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians: The refugees, Jerusalem, the borders between a future Palestinian state and Israel, the Israeli settlements, and the problem of water supplies and pollution.

Over the summit hung the threat by Arafat that, in the absence of a final status agreement, the Palestininas would unilaterally declare statehood (and, presumably, the state's borders) on September 13. A crucial sticking point was Jerusalem. Barak, breaking a long-held, consensual Israeli taboo, agreed to a division of Jerusalem, with the Palestinians to receive sovereignty over most of the Arab-populated neighborhoods in the walled Old City and, more particularly, the Temple Mount (Haram ash Sharif) area within it, containing the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the (presumed) underground remains of King Solomon's and Zerubabel's (and Herod's) temples.

Arafat stuck firm to his demand that the Temple Mount and the whole of the Old City come under Palestinian sovereignty; he rejected President Clinton's last-minute proposal that the Old City be divided between Israel and the Palestinians, with the Temple Mount to be governed conjointly by the Security Council, Morocco (the permanent president of the Islamic states' 'Jerusalem Committee') and the Palestinians.

Major disagreement also surfaced over the Palestinian demand for recognition and implementation of 'the right of return' of the refugees (based on U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, from December 1948) to their homes, villages and towns in Israel (Israel rejected this 'right' and the return of millions of refugees, though it agreed to absorb 'several thousand' refugees over ten years as part of a 'family reunion scheme' and to participate in paying compensation for the refugees' lost property).

There was also contention over the Palestinian demand that Israel hand over all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Palestinian rule (Barak was willing to concede 84-90 percent of the West Bank and almost all of the Gaza Strip). The summit collapsed, with both the Israelis and Palestinians letting fly with recriminations."

2001 - Benny Morris, PhD