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  You are in: Home > Middle East Studies > The Camp David Summit – What Went Wrong?  

The Camp David Summit – What Went Wrong?
Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians Analyze the Failure of the Boldest Attempt Ever to Resolve the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict

Edited by Shimon Shamir and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman

Editor text to follow

The first book to bring together American, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators who participated in the summit, as well as experts who prepared the material for the negotiators and academics who specialize in the methodology of peace negotiations, to confront the different versions of what happened at Camp David.
Presents the full version of the controversial prime minister, Ehud Barak.

The Camp David Summit of 2000 was a formative event in the history of the Israeli–Palestinian relations. It was the most comprehensive effort ever to resolve a hundred-year conflict. Yet, it not only ended in failure but was immediately followed by the eruption of unprecedented violence.

After an message from President Bill Clinton, and introductory chapters by Shimon Shamir, Itamar Rabinovich, Sari Nusseibeh and Martin Indyk, the 27 chapter contributions are divided to: Israeli Negotiators, Palestinian Perspectives, American Participants, the Barak Version and its Critics, the Negotiation Experts, Academic Perspectives, and the Clinton Parameters. The volume concludes with a Political Debate on the way forward.

This book is essential reading for all those interested in Israeli–Arab relations, the Middle East in general, international diplomacy, and conflict resolution.

List of Maps


Opening Presentations
SHIMON SHAMIR The Enigma of Camp David
ITAMAR RABINOVICH The Failure of Camp David: Four Different Narratives
SARI NUSSEIBEH There Could Have Been Another Way
MARTIN INDYK Camp David in the Context of US Peace Strategy

Israeli Negotiators
DANNY YATOM Background, Process and Failure
AMNON LIPKIN-SHAHAK The Roles of Barak, Arafat and Clinton
YOSSI GINOSSAR Factors That Impeded the Negotiations
GILEAD SHER Lessons from the Camp David Experience

Palestinian Perspectives
MUNTHER S. DAJANI Wrong Assumptions
SAMIH AL-ABED The Israeli Proposals Were Not Serious
MOHAMMED S. DAJANI The “Blaming Game” Is Wrong

American Participants
AARON DAVID MILLER The Effects of the “Syria First” Strategy
MARTIN INDYK Sins of Omission, Sins of Commission
ROBERT MALLEY American Mistakes and Israeli Misconceptions

The Barak Version
EHUD BARAK The Myths Spread About Camp David Are Baseless

RON PUNDIK The Lines of 1967 Should Have Been the Basis for Negotiations
SHAUL ARIELI The Strategy of Creating Facts on the Ground Impeded Negotiations

The Input of Experts
REUVEN MERHAV Planning for Jerusalem
MOHAMMED S. DAJANI The Role of Informal Talks

Academic Perspectives
Y. BAR-SIMAN-TOV An Irresolvable Conflict or Lack of Ripeness?
ASHER SUSSER The “End of Conflict” Obstacle
ZEEV MAOZ The Pitfalls of Summit Diplomacy
PETER CARNEVALE Psychological Barriers to Negotiations

Past, Present and Future – A Political Debate

APPENDIX – The Clinton Parameters

The Contributors

The Camp David Summit – What Went Wrong? provides the most probing discussion of the Camp David experience and its implications from insider perspectives, especially from the Israeli side. What makes the volume such a valuable and surprisingly revealing resource is the discussions among heavyweight Israeli political figures and intellectuals. These discussions disclose sharp cleavages among the Israelis as to what went wrong and what the failure means for the future. For instance, Danny Yatom, former head of the Mossad as well as a member of the Israeli delegation at Camp David, said this about the Palestinian position: ‘we were not guilty of misunderstanding the depth of concessions that were required of the Palestinians. We understood very well the Palestinian argument that they had already made all the possible concessions when they agreed to the borders of June 4, 1967. We understood this, but did not accept it. It was not a matter of misunderstanding, but of disagreement’ (Danny Yatom in Shamir and Maddy-Weitzman, p. 39).” Journal of Palestine Studies

“The centrepiece of the book, however, and its real raison d’être, is a lengthy presentation by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak entitled “The Myths Spread About Camp David Are Baseless,” which gives a pretty clear idea of his no-holds-barred defense of his conduct at the historic summit.

There are many other tidbits in this volume that are intriguing. Yossi Ginossar, former Shin Bet official and member of the Israeli delegation at Camp David II, paints a very different picture of what happened there. His is quite critical of the lack of American leadership at the summit (p. 56), argues that Barak should have dealt directly with Arafat (p. 57), and states bluntly that “we Israelis are somewhat condescending toward Arabs in general, and toward the Palestinians in particular” (p. 59). Another tantalizing claim, this one from Gilead Sher, directly contradicts Barak by saying, “The fact is that the Right of Return was never the obstacle to reaching a permanent status agreement, neither at Camp David nor at any point thereafter” (p. 67).” International Journal of Middle East Studies


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
May 2005
  Illustrated:   Eight-page colour map plates
Hardback Price:
£55.00 / $67.50
Paperback Price:
£18.95 / $29.50

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