benami165_Ralph AlswangNewsmakers_clintonbarakarafatcampdavidpeacesummit Ralph Alswang/Newsmakers

A Doomed Middle-East Peace

The late PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, was right to reject the peace proposal made at Camp David 20 years ago this month. It was in rejecting the so-called Clinton Parameters, proposed six months later, that he made a grave mistake, effectively burying the prospect of Palestinian statehood.

TEL AVIV – Twenty years ago this month, US President Bill Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat to a peace summit at Camp David, in a bold effort to resolve one of the longest-running conflicts of modern times. Though no agreement was reached, the summit, in which I participated, was not a failure: the framework it produced became the foundation upon which Clinton built his “peace parameters” – the most equitable and realistic rendition of a two-state solution ever created. Why did nothing come of them?

Under the so-called Clinton Parameters, a large swath of Israeli settlements would be dismantled, in order to create a Palestinian state encompassing 100% of the Gaza Strip and 97% of the West Bank. Territories would be transferred from Israel, in exchange for the land the Palestinians conceded in the West Bank.

The Palestinian state would include the Arab sections of Jerusalem, which would serve as its capital, while the Jewish sections of the city would become Israel’s capital. This split would give the Palestinians sovereignty over al-Haram al-Sharif (which Jews call the Temple Mount), though Israelis would retain control over the Western Wall and its surrounding area.