Last updated on: 5/19/2008 1:11:00 PM PST

Was Arafat Responsible for the Breakdown of the 2000 Camp David Negotiations?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Robert Malley, Special Assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, and Hussein Agha, Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford, in a Sep. 20, 2001 New York Times Review of Books article titled "Camp David: An Exchange," wrote the following:

"Years of accumulated mistrust and loss of faith in the peace process, political circumstances in Israel and among the Palestinians, the history of prior agreements, perceptions of the United States' role, the relationship (or lack thereof) between Barak and Arafat, the mechanics of the negotiations—all these contributed to a situation in which each side's actions were interpreted by the other in the most damaging way."

Sep. 20, 2001 - Robert Malley, JD, PhD 
Hussein Agha 

PRO (yes)

Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in a Feb. 21, 2002 Guardian exchange with professor Avi Shlaim, wrote the following:

"In 2000 turning his back on the Oslo process, Arafat rejected yet another historic compromise, that offered by Barak at Camp David in July and subsequently improved upon in President Bill Clinton's proposals (endorsed by Barak) in December. Instead, the Palestinians, in September, resorted to arms and launched the current mini-war or intifada."

Feb. 21, 2002 - Benny Morris, PhD 

Ehud Barak, MSc, Israeli Prime Minister during the 2000 Camp David Negotiations, in a June 6, 2002 Frontline interview titled "Shattered Dreams of Peace," stated the following:

"We were ready to take ideas that were raised by President Clinton as a basis for negotiations. We said we have our reservations... The problem with Arafat was that he never was ready to take President Clinton's ideas as a basis for negotiations."

June 6, 2002 - Ehud Barak, MSc 

Dennis Ross, PhD, former US Ambassador and Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in a Sep. 20, 2001 New York Times Review titled "Camp David: An Exchange," wrote the following:

"I am not one who believes that Chairman Arafat is against peace in principle. Nor am I one who believes that Palestinian negotiators made no concessions. But at no point during Camp David or in the six months after it did the Chairman [Arafat] ever demonstrate any capability to conclude a permanent status deal."

Sep. 20, 2001 - Dennis Ross, PhD 

Bill Clinton, JD, former US President, was quoted by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley in an Aug. 9, 2001 New York Times Review of Books article titled "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors," as saying the following to Arafat:

"If the Israelis can make compromises and you [Arafat] can't, I should go home. You have been here fourteen days and said no to everything. These things have consequences; failure will mean the end of the peace process."

Aug. 9, 2001 - Bill Clinton, JD 

CON (no)

Avi Shlaim, PhD, Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford, in a Feb. 21, 2002 Guardian exchange with Israeli historian Benny Morris, PhD, wrote the following:

"The latest national [Israeli] myth is that of the generous offer that Ehud Barak is said to have made to Arafat at Camp David, only to be confronted with a flat rejection and a return to violence [Al-Aqsa Intifada]. There is a broad national consensus behind this myth, including the left and the peace camp, but popular support is not the same as evidence." 

Feb. 21, 2002 - Avi Shlaim, PhD 

Richard Falk, SJD, Professor of International Law and Practice at Princeton University, in an Apr. 11, 2002 Nation editorial titled "Ending the Death Dance," wrote the following:

"Was Arafat to blame for the failure of the Oslo endgame? I think it was a most unfortunate failure of leadership by Arafat not to explain to the Palestinians, Israelis and the world why Barak's Camp David proposals were unacceptable."

Apr. 11, 2002 - Richard Falk, SJD 

Shibley Telhami, PhD, Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, in a Jan. 2001 Brookings Institute essay titled "Camp David II: Assumptions and Consequences," wrote the following:

"In important ways, Jerusalem is bigger than Palestine for many Arabs and Muslims, and had Arafat been perceived to have given away Jerusalem, he would not have been able to sell the deal- or contain the opposition.

Instead of leading to a comprehensive deal, the focus on Jerusalem, and the framing of the issue in religious terms at Camp David and since, may have ignited a serious threat to Palestinian-Israeli peace that goes beyond the violence: the possible transformation of the conflict from a nationalist conflict that can be resolved to a religious-ethnic dispute that cannot."

Jan. 2001 - Shibley Telhami, PhD