Between July 11 and 24, under the auspices of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat met at Camp David in an effort to reach an agreement on permanent status. While they were not able to bridge the gaps and reach an agreement, their negotiations were unprecedented in both scope and detail. Building on the progress achieved at Camp David, the two leaders agreed on the following principles to guide their negotiations:
1) The two sides agreed that the aim of their negotiations is to put an end to decades of conflict and achieve a just and lasting peace.
2) The two sides commit themselves to continue their efforts to conclude an agreement on all permanent status issues as soon as possible.
3) Both sides agree that negotiations based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only way to achieve such an agreement and they undertake to create an environment for negotiations free from pressure, intimidation and threats of violence.
4) The two sides understand the importance of avoiding unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations and that their differences will be resolved only by good-faith negotiations.
5) Both sides agree that the United States remains a vital partner in the search for peace and will continue to consult closely with President Clinton and Secretary Albright in the period ahead.
President Clinton's remarks Tuesday after the collapse of the Camp David Mideast summit, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks:
...After 14 days of intensive negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, I have concluded with regret that they will not be able to reach an agreement at this time.
As I explained on the eve of the summit, success was far from guaranteed, given the historical, religious, political and emotional dimensions of the conflict. Still, because the parties were not making progress on their own and the September deadline they set for themselves was fast approaching, I thought we had no choice. We can't afford to leave a single stone unturned in the search for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
Now, at Camp David both sides engaged in comprehensive discussions that were really unprecedented because they dealt with the most sensitive issues dividing them, profound and complex questions that long had been considered off limits.
Under the operating rules that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, they are of course not bound by any proposal discussed at the summit. However, while we did not get an agreement, significant progress was made on the core issues.
I want to express my appreciation to Prime Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat and their delegations for the efforts they undertook to reach an agreement.
Prime Minister Barak showed particular courage, vision and an understanding of the historical importance of this moment. Chairman Arafat made it clear that he, too, remains committed to the path of peace.
The trilateral statement we issued affirms both leaders' commitment to avoid violence or unilateral actions which will make peace more difficult and to keep the peace going until it reaches a successful conclusion.
At the end of this summit, I am fully aware of the deep disappointment that will be felt on both sides. But it was essential for Israelis and Palestinians finally to begin to deal with the toughest decisions in the peace process. Only they can make those decisions, and they both pledged to make them, I say again, by mid-September.
Now it's essential that they not lose hope, that they keep working for peace, they avoid any unilateral actions that would only make the hard task ahead more difficult. The statement the leaders have made today is encouraging in that regard.
Israelis and Palestinians are destined to live side by side, destined to have a common future. They have to decide what kind of future it will be. Though the differences that remain are deep, they have come a long way in the last seven years, and notwithstanding the failure to reach an agreement, they made real headway in the last two weeks.
Now the two parties must go home and reflect both on what happened at Camp David and on what did not happen. For the sake of their children, they must rededicate themselves to the path of peace and find a way to resume their negotiations in the next few weeks.
They've asked us to continue to help, and, as always, we'll do our best. But the parties themselves, both of them, must be prepared to resolve profound questions of history, identity and national faith, as well as the future of sites that are holy to religious people all over the world who are part of the Islamic, Christian and Judaic traditions.
The children of Abraham, the descendants of Isaac and Ismael, can only be reconciled through courageous compromise and the spirit of those who already have given their lives for peace and all Israelis, Palestinians, friends of peace in the Middle East and across the world who long for peace and deserve a holy land that lives by the values of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.