Clinton: Arafat Missed Golden Opportunity
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton urged Israel and the Palestinians on Sunday not to give up hopes of reaching a peace agreement, despite an estimated 16 months of bloodshed, which he called a “terrible mistake”. Clinton arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday for a two-day visit.
"We need a process that will stop the violence and terror, restore the necessary measure of confidence in negotiations, make both sides want to walk away from unilateral actions to a common future," he conveyed during a ceremony in which he received an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University.
Clinton's goal of administrating a final peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israelis collapsed in July 2000 during negotiations held at Camp David between then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
The Palestinian Intifada against Israeli occupation emerged in September 2000. "Even though it may seem impossible today, I think we (had) the outlines of a reasonable settlement," Clinton said in referral to the proposals viewed at Camp David.
"Chairman Arafat missed a golden opportunity to make that agreement. I think the violence and terrorism which followed were not inevitable and have been a terrible mistake."
Israelis believe the talks at Camp David and later, at Taba were the most far-reaching compromise they had ever offered for a peace treaty. However, Palestinians maintain the territory and conditions for establishing their own state fell short of their demands. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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