CNN Morning News, Wednesday, July 26, 2000
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, it is the day after the Camp David Mideast peace talks, they have ended. A few minutes ago we talked about the talks and what follows now with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erakat. Now, for the Israeli perspective on all of this and where we are headed, back to Washington, Israeli negotiator Oded Eran. He is live there this morning.
We just talked with Saeb Erakat, as I mentioned. He said placing blame in this case does nobody any good. Would you say, at this point, the Palestinians came up short in echoing Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton or not?
ERAN: I think that both the president and the secretary of state have indicated that Prime Minister Barak was willing to take courageous decisions, and they spoke about his vision, and I think that this is depicting the right picture, as we saw it in Camp David.
And unfortunately, and it’s not a matter of apportioning blame, but unfortunately Chairman Arafat was not willing to make this extra mile, and he was hesitating. And I hope that there wasn’t a missed opportunity here, and I hope that the dialogue will continue and somehow we will reach the moment of truth and the moment of decision.
HEMMER: As you well know, sir, Yasser Arafat wants the Muslim Quarter inside of the Old City of Jerusalem, in addition to East Jerusalem itself. The Israelis are saying, that’s off the table. Why not concede that small parcel of land inside the Old City and do the deal and get it done?
ERAN: Jerusalem is a very unique city. It is important to every religion that we know of in the Western world, and it is important to the Jewish people as well. This is the cradle of the Jewish people, the Jewish tradition, the Jewish religion.
In spite of that, we recognize the importance of Jerusalem to the Muslim world, to Christianity, and we were willing, in the context of the ideas that were flowing in Camp David, to go a long way, far away from what is called the red lines. And yet, we were not met at the middle of the road, and this is very unfortunate. We were willing, as I said, to go a long way towards meeting the sensitivities of Chairman Arafat, to the Arab world, the Muslim world, but we cannot do it at the expense of our deeper and most important and enshrined values.
HEMMER: Sir, I understand your answer, but do you foresee a time, a day possibly in the future, where that parcel of land will indeed be able to be negotiated?
ERAN: I think that we could do it in Camp David. I think that we will be able to do it in the future. There is a growing recognition, at least among the Israelis, that this is a shared city. We were willing to apply this concept.
Hopefully what happened in Camp David will be reassessed by the Arab world, by the Muslim world, and in the very near future they will come to the conclusion that there is a need to have a shared city there. I am hopeful on this issue. But I am, at the same time, very saddened by this missed opportunity in Camp David.
||The Camp David Summit – July 2000|