Negotiating Outside the Law: Why Camp David Failed

Raymond G. Helmick

Negotiating Outside the Law: Why Camp David Failed

Raymond G. Helmick

Distributed for Pluto Press

352 pages | 5.90551 x 9.05512
Cloth $36.00 ISBN: 9780745322193 Published November 2004 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

In the summer of 2000, President Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat came together to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine. It was a moment laden with hope, that ended in infamous failure. But why did it fail?

The Camp David negotiations made headlines around the world for many months, but the real debates took place behind closed doors. Jesuit priest and longtime peace activist Raymond G. Helmick is one of the few people who remained in contact with what went on. He maintained communication with all parties -- including President Clinton -- throughout.

This book is his startling account of the arguments, the relationships and the strategies that played out over the summer of 2000. Based on personal correspondence and position papers with all three leaders, and a long personal association with Yasser Arafat and a whole series of Israeli Prime Ministers dating back to 1985, this book offers a unique account of the real reasons behind the failure of Camp David.

Helmick believes that a key factor in this failure was the scant attention given to international law by those involved. He explains the context of the negotiations and subsequent Taba talks, detailing the complex history of Israeli and Palestinian efforts to achieve peace, a process which had already been going on for so long. This includes an assessment of the level of communication that was reached in the Oslo accords, and the struggle for mutual recognition between the two peoples in the aftermath of the Six Day War.

Helmick details the recommendations he gave, as a mediator, during the period. Written with empathy for all parties involved, the book does not stop short of drawing serious conclusions. Above all it is a hopeful book: Helmick shows that, despite the renewed violence, people have an enormous capacity to overcome animosity and despair. He analyses the prospects for reconciliation in these difficult times.


Foreword by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.


PART ONE Building Relationships
1 The Path to the US/PLO Dialogue, 1985-1988
2 The Madrid stage and Oslo, 1990-1993,
3 Disappointments and postponements, 1993-1995

PART TWO The Failed Negotiations
1 Sad Millennium: The Disintegration of Ehud Barak
May, 1999 to July, 2000
2 Camp David
3 Negotiations Continue, August 1-September 28, 2000
4 Through the blood of the intifadah to the Taba negotiations, September 29, 2000-February 8, 2001

PART THREE Aftermath
1 The Web of Civility Dissolves, Early February to September 11, 2001
2 America goes to war, September 11, 2001 to the indefinite future
3 So what really happened at Camp David and Taba?


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