10 years from Camp David, Clinton’s candor shows that the only peace offers worth making are to those prepared to accept th
Three days before he left office, President Bill Clinton received a message of congratulations from Yasir Arafat. “You are a great man,” Arafat told him. But Clinton was having none of it. “I am not a great man,” he replied. “I am a failure. And you made me one”.
President Clinton has always been very clear where he believes the blame lies for the failure of the Camp David peace talks that took place 10 years ago this month. Arafat, and the Palestinian leadership, Clinton believes, missed a golden chance when they rejected, out of hand, the deal they were offered by Ehud Barak.
In fact, reading My Life - Bill Clinton’s frank memoirs - is shocking. Here is what he writes about the moment he realises from Arafat’s body language that he is going to reject Barak’s offer: “The deal was so good I couldn’t believe anyone would be foolish enough to let it go.” And here is his explanation for Arafat’s behaviour: “He had grown used to flying from place to place, giving mother-of-pearl gifts made by Palestinian craftsmen to world leaders and appearing on television with them. It would be different if the end of violence took Palestine out of the headlines and instead he had to worry about providing jobs, schools and basic services.”