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Camp David II Summit

CAMP DAVID II SUMMIT

Unsuccessful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that took place at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, from 11 to 24 July 2000, sponsored by President Bill Clinton, assisted by his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. The summit brought together the Palestinian president, Yasir Arafat, with the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, at a time when both were in a weakened position within their own camps. The Americans deliberately chose the symbolic site of Camp David, where the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords of 1978 were negotiated.

No official documents were exchanged as a result of the summit, so most knowledge of the proceedings comes from media accounts and interviews with some participants. There were several areas of disagreement. Israel reportedly was willing to relinquish some Palestinian villages and neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but was unwilling to give up East Jerusalem and the Old City. The Palestinians were reported to have proposed that East Jerusalem become the capital of the new Palestinian state and that Israel relinquish territory gained during the Arab-Israel War of 1967. The right of return was reportedly another insurmountable issue. The Palestinians asserted that 3.7 million Palestinian refugees should either be allowed to return to their homes in Israel or should receive compensation. Israel rejected both alternatives, contending that the return would threaten the identity of the Jewish state. Concerning the question of Jewish settlements, Israel proposed the annexation of 10 percent of West Bank territory, where the majority of the settlements were located, with the remaining 90 percent of the territory going to the Palestinians. The Palestinians objected to the size of the proposed annexation and called for an equal amount of territory in Israel. No agreement could be reached.

At the conclusion of the summit, the two leaders, Israeli and Palestinian, presented the following principles for future negotiation: "1) The two parties agree that the object of their negotiations is to put an end to decades of conflict and realize a just and durable peace; 2) The two parties commit themselves to pursue their efforts to conclude, as soon as possible, an accord on all questions relating to a permanent status; 3) The two parties agree that negotiations based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only means of coming to an agreement, and they commit themselves to creating the conditions for being able to negotiate without pressure, intimidation or the threat of violence; 4) The two parties agree on the importance of avoiding unilateral initiatives and that their divergences can only be resolved on the basis of the good faith of each; 5) The two parties agree that the United States will remain a vital partner in the peace process, and that they will stay in close contact with President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright."

In December 2000 the United States presented a proposal, called the Clinton Plan, to guide a resumption of the negotiation process, and talks began in Taba, Egypt. Time ran out, however, as Clinton left office in January 2001 and Barak lost to Ariel Sharon in the Israeli elections in February.

SEE ALSO Albright, Madeleine; Arafat, Yasir; Barak, Ehud; Clinton, William Jefferson; Clinton Plan.

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