Sunday, June 6, 2010

Arafat Walked Away From a Sweetheart Deal at Camp David

If you pay attention to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict you've heard many times that it just seems those Palestinians won't consider any peace offer. The prime example is the Camp David summit in the waning days of the Clinton administration. Supposedly Barak offered Arafat the moon and stars and he walked away. Proof positive that basically the Palestinians are unwilling to consider peace on any terms.

Well, that's all a massive load of crap. I've had to explain this over and over in discussions so I thought I'd create a post that contains the relevant information that I can reference in the future.

A good starting point is to watch Joe Scarborough try this argument out on an informed person, in this case Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brzezinski puts a pretty severe smackdown on him for it. Watch that here.

The key to understanding what happened is in viewing the maps. A simplified overview is here. What Barak did was he offered a West Bank that was virtually entirely subdivided into three separate cantons broken up by Israeli controlled settlement blocks. It would have meant basically a discontinuous West Bank which would have been pretty well isolated from East Jerusalem, which is the cultural center of Palestinian life. A more detailed view of Barak's offer can be viewed here. To consider this a generous offer is rather ridiculous.

Here's a key point that people who repeat the Scarborough line don't know. Negotiations were not halted at Camp David. They proceeded to Taba, Egypt. Barak and Clinton understood that Arafat's objections had merit. So Barak proposed something far more reasonable. The map is here. Arafat reacted very positively and it was considered a reasonable basis for further discussion. But there would be no further discussion. Israel halted the negotiations after only a week.

Undeterred the Palestinians and the rest of the world (without the US) continued working and ultimately the result was the Geneva Accords of 2002. Starting from the Taba framework a two state settlement was reached. It enjoyed majority support of both Israeli and Palestinian citizens. Unfortunately it was rejected by Israel and ignored by the US.

Israel has chosen expansion over peace. It's the same story that has been repeated for many years. The world stands on one side prepared to adopt a two state solution. The US and Israel stand virtually alone in opposition. Here's the roll call of the recent peaceful resolution considered at the UN. They've been doing this every year for 30 or so years and every year the results are pretty much the same.

So the claim that it is the Arab side that is rejecting peace on any terms is nothing but an example of classic Orwellian thought that turns reality on it's head. The facts are exactly the opposite of the prevailing beliefs of most Americans.


HispanicPundit said...

Interesting, I just saw a show on National Geographics claiming this very thing.

Great post.

Jon said...

Well thanks man. BTW I had a bad link, now corrected, on the public support for the Geneva Accords, in case you clicked that link and thought it didn't make sense.