Twenty years later, it is clear that Arafat turned down the best offer his people have ever been presented with.
History was made last year when four Arab countries gave up on the Palestinians and made their own peace with Israel.
This was two decades after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat turned down the two-state solution following marathon peace talks hosted by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.
The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all ditched the longstanding Palestinian veto that called on Arabs to normalize relations with Israel only after the Palestinian conflict had been settled.
Since the failure of the Camp David talks, during which Clinton hosted Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, revisionist historians and journalists have tried to whitewash Arafat’s behavior and absolve him of blame for rejecting the deal for an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Media watchdog group Honest Reporting recently compiled all of the facts from those failed peace talks and provided an in-depth analysis of how Arafat rejected the chance for peace.
“Arab nations have not suddenly become ‘pro-Israel’ or abandoned their support for a Palestinian state, but they are more willing to call out Palestinian mistakes and lack of gratitude for longstanding Arab support,” HonestReporting’s Salo Aizenberg wrote.
After Arafat turned down the peace offer, the Palestinians launched the bloody second intifada, although Clinton made a last-ditch effort calling the two sides to the White House and giving them a set of final peace terms, known as the Clinton Parameters, which sought to bridge the gap between the Israeli and Palestinian positions.
Clinton asked each side for a yes or no response by December 27th.
“Barak agreed to the Parameters while Arafat effectively said no,” Aizenberg noted. “It was generally accepted by key observers and the media that Arafat had made a grave error in rejecting a deal that Barak accepted.”
In his report, Aizenberg painstakingly details Arafat’s rejection of peace with analysis by senior Saudi and American officials who were intimately involved in trying to reach a settlement. He uses their own words to nullify attempts over the years to shift the blame to Israel or change the narrative away from what really happened: Arafat rejected peace.
In his memoirs, Clinton wrote that with the peace offer still on the table: “I still didn’t believe Arafat would make such a colossal mistake … the deal was so good I couldn’t believe anyone would be foolish enough to let it go.”
“Arafat’s rejection of my proposal after Barak accepted it was an error of historic proportions,” Clinton concluded.