Public Media: Videos

 

Meidan gave his opinion on the current peace process, stating that he would like to believe that something is being negotiated by Netanyahu. He stated that the current economic, political and social stability in Israel undermines any sense of urgency in reaching a peace agreement. He reflected on the best outcome of a peace agreement, noting that a lose-lose situation is the most realistic option. Meidan highlighted the importance of an imposed agreement and one which is regional in scope. He suggested potential solutions for Jerusalem and explored the validity of the Geneva accords and the Clinton parameters. He argued only an imposed solution will be possible if the current negotiations fail.

Shaath highlighted the importance of a negotiated solution and the impossibility of resorting to arms. He explained the problems facing the Palestinians by reviewing social and economic indicators and stating that the Oslo agreement is effectively dead. He the lack of pressure on Israel from President Obama and stressed that the current negotiations are not producing any agreements. He traced the position of the Palestinians from 1948 and highlighted that they have already made historic compromises but have received little positive reaction from the Israelis.


Dr. Ron Pundak is the director of the Peres Center for Peace. He was one of the two Israelis who initiated the Oslo peace process by meeting the Palestinian delegation in an unofficial capacity.  He also worked with Yossi Beilin, the Israeli deputy minister of foreign affairs.


Dr. Afif Safieh was the PLO Ambassador to Holland, the UK, Russia and the United States. He is the deputy commissioner for international relations for Fatah, and a member of the revolutionary council.  Dr. Safieh recently published a book entitled The Peace Process; from breakthrough to breakdown, which collects a number of his speeches from 1980 to 2005.


Pini Meidan is a former Foreign Policy adviser. He was a member of the permanent status negotiating team under PM Barak in 1999-2001, who participated in the Taba talks in January 2001.



Nabeel Shaath is a senior Palestinian official who served as the Palestinian chief negotiator, cabinet minister and planning minister. He is currently head of the international affairs of the Fatah central committee and is one of the negotiators in the current round of talks.

 

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Ron Pundak spoke about his personal role in the creation of the Oslo negotiations and argued that there was a historical shift in positions resulting in mutual recognition. He examined the contributions by both sides to the failure of Oslo. Pundak portrayed the main spoiler of the Camp David summit as Ehud Barak. Finally he argued that the two state solution is the only option and emphasized the importance of a strong third party in reaching an agreement.

Dr. Safieh argued that the asymmetrical power balance prevented successful negotiations. He spoke of Israel’s refusal to recognize the initiatives proposed by the Arab League and the Palestinians. Safieh argued that the failure of the peace process was the cause of terrorist attacks during the 90s. Safieh also argued that the occupation is democratically sanctioned by the Israeli public and called upon Israel to end the occupation.

Clayton Swisher was a federal investigator and part of the security team at the Camp David Talks.  He used his experience and contacts to write “The Truth About Camp David” which is based on eyewitness accounts from more than 40 participants at the summit.  He is currently based in Doha with Al Jazeera and has extensively covered the Arab-Israeli conflict.


                           Dr. Ron Pundak and Afif Safieh

                         Introduction and Clayton Swisher

                           Pini Meidan and Nabeel Shaath

In his speech Clayton Swisher challenged the traditional narrative of the Camp David talks which blames Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s “generous offer” for the failure of the peace process.  Swisher explained how the American and Israeli negotiating teams came to the negotiations with unrealistic expectations of what the Palestinians could accept and how the American team adopted an unproductive strategy of consistently promoting the Israeli position.  Swisher also criticized the attempt to intervene in domestic Israeli politics, and in particular the decision to blame Arafat for the talks’ failure.