The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story About the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process

In This Review

The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story About the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process

By Clayton E. Swisher
Thunder's Mouth, 2004
208 pp. $14.95

Six decades of outsider-mediated efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian settlement have become neatly cataloged in the annals of diplomatic history by place-names: Rhodes, Lausanne, Geneva, Madrid, Oslo, and Camp David. All have left behind disputed histories of what happened, and none more so than the tortuous off-and-on negotiations from July 2000 to the end of January 2001 usually dubbed Camp David II. (The negotiations leading to the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty have become Camp David I.) The prevailing view in the United States and Israel is that Yasir Arafat backed away from Prime Minister Ehud Barak's generous offer, demonstrating that under his leadership Palestinians would never accept peace with Israel. Swisher, relying on interviews with U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian officials closely involved, has constructed a different story. He presents a poorly organized U.S. negotiating team with a less-than-clear modus operandi and at least a subconscious tilt toward Israel. He depicts Barak as arrogant and devious. The supposedly generous offer has been misrepresented, he argues. So, too, the presumed categorical Palestinian rejection. Challenging the pieties and political correctness of American discourse, Swisher makes a convincing case. This may not be the definitive "truth about Camp David," but it warrants careful attention from all who would learn from the history of negotiations to secure peace in the Holy Land.

Enjoy more high quality articles like this one.

Become a Subscriber

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.