Friday, July 24, 2020

The Camp David debacle 20 years later: Still holding onto the Oslo delusion

The disastrous peace summit that led to a Palestinian terror war remains an object lesson in hubris and an unwillingness to accept the truth about an insoluble conflict.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
23 July '20..

It’s one anniversary that no one is celebrating. Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to a peace summit at Camp David. Looking back on it now, even Clinton administration veterans understand that it was an act of monumental folly. As former State Department Middle East peace processor Aaron David Miller wrote, the effort was doomed even before it began.

The problem is that even those who have, in retrospect, acknowledged that they were mistaken still cling to the delusion that smarter diplomacy and different American, Israeli and Palestinian leaders might still produce a different outcome. Even those who are striving to be self-critical about being, as Miller noted, “lost in the woods” at Camp David in July 2000, are only gradually coming to grips with the fact that some problems have no solution. Even worse, some of those who followed them, like White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was in charge of President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace efforts, seem to have failed to learn all of the appropriate lessons from the Camp David fiasco, even as he strove to do better than his predecessors.

Unlike the backdrop to the signing of the Oslo Accords seven years earlier, the circumstances that led the events of July 2000 are no longer much discussed. The famous photo op on the White House Lawn in September 1993 is still celebrated by some as a historic triumph, despite the catastrophic consequences of that agreement. But the ignominious conclusion to the 2000 summit has largely been thrown down the Orwellian memory hold by the foreign-policy establishment and the mainstream media.

They don’t want to draw appropriate conclusions from these events because the conclave exploded the entire concept behind the Oslo process from which it sprang as based on a myth.

(Continue to Full Column)

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