This version is a myth, but a powerful one whose simplistic formula helped shape the Bush administration's mantra that Arafat was not a "partner for peace." This characterization was adopted directly from Ehud Barak's public-relations blitz initiated during the Camp David
talks to absolve himself from any responsibility for failure even before the talks ended.
But the hopes spawned in 1979 that the Camp David
treaty would lead to a broader peace between the Jewish state and all its Arab neighbors, and in particular between Israel and the Palestinians, have remained mostly unfulfilled.
The most credible view that Arafat was not solely responsible for the failure of negotiations comes from an account that appeared in The New York Review of Books in August 2001 by Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, who were both present at Camp David
. Malley was Clinton's special assistant on Arab-Israeli affairs; Agha, an Oxford academic, served as an adviser to the Palestinian delegation.
One of the sources she names for the Camp David
allegations is Sharon Bush, the former wife of President Bush's brother, Neil.
Negotiators and scholars have debated for four years now who really was to blame for the breakdown at Camp David
. Some, like Rob Malley, who served on President Clinton's National Security Council, question whether Israel ever actually made a formal offer and fault Prime Minister Ehud Barak at least in part for the way he dealt with the Palestinians.
RETREAT: Bush at Camp David
yesterday; STORM-LASHED: Houses along the New Jersey coastline are battered by waves yesterday
The original name given to the retreat was "Shangri-La." In the 1950s President Dwight Eisenhower changed it to "Camp David
," naming it after his grandson David.
Australian prime minister John Howard declined an invitation to join the Anglo-American summit in Camp David
. His spokesman said it "was appropriate he stay in Australia at the present time."
The Camp David
meeting comes against the backdrop of a Daily Mirror ICM poll suggesting that 43 per cent of Britons oppose war on Iraq under any circumstances.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said the Camp David
talks would provide ``a useful opportunity to go over the issues flowing from Saddam's continuing violation of the UN resolutions''.
Then, when President Clinton called for a decisive summit at Camp David
in 1998, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did not prepare his people for a far-reaching agreement.
After all, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak had offered the Palestinians a state at Camp David
, had he not?