Then there's one other story. Even after Arafat had rejected the ideas in the meeting on January 2, 2001, President Clinton was still prepared to go out to the area, because Barak still wanted him to come out to try to forge an understanding. So I suggested that we go to Arafat and say, "Look, if we're so close, why don't you have a 24 hour non-stop discussion with Shimon Peres and Ammon Shahak"--the two Israelis that he respected the most. "If at the end of those 24 hours the three of you call together to tell me that you've now reached an agreement or at least you've established what you can agree on and limited what you can't and you'd like to finalize that, then I and the President will fly out and do that.

" This is ten days to go before the end of the administration. And Barak thought this was a great idea. So the President called Arafat and Arafat said, "Gee, I have a trip tomorrow. I have a trip to Tunisia." It was like saying, "Yeah, I've got to go to the dentist. I'm busy. The dog ate my homework."

Those are among the things revealed. I also put the maps in, so you can compare what the Palestinians say they were offered with what we actually offered.

What were your main reasons for leaving your post at the end of the Clinton administration?
I actually made the decision just before the election. I had become invested in a solution, and I knew that if we didn't reach an agreement by the end of the Clinton administration, we would be out of the solution business for some time to come. It would mean going back to crisis management, which is exactly what I'd done throughout the three years of the Netanyahu period [when Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel, from 1996 to 1999]. The idea of going back to doing that was something that, emotionally and physically at that time, I wasn't prepared to do. I was invested in a solution and I felt that with a new administration, they could have somebody who didn't have the same investment in a solution. They were going to have to do what I did from 1996 to 1999.

You write that at the beginning of the Bush administration the U.S. was pretty much disengaged from the peace process. Do you think that's still the case?
Yes. The administration is more involved now than they were at the onset, but the involvement is very minimal, a very limited investment and still a reluctance to do too much.

So are the administration's initiatives like the "road map" just rhetoric?
Well, the roadmap was a piece of paper. If it was to be something more than a piece of paper, it actually would have been negotiated with the Israelis and the Palestinians. Instead it was negotiated with three other partners who have no responsibilities for carrying it out. Those that have to carry it out weren't the ones negotiated with. They were asked for their comments. The road map has 52 paragraphs. Each paragraph has multiple obligations for each side. Each side interprets those obligations completely differently, so if we weren't prepared to negotiate that with the parties, at least we could have established what we consider the standard to be and then say, we're going to hold each of you accountable to that. But we didn't do that either. If you're not prepared to negotiate with them, it means that you can't have any common understandings. Without establishing what we considered the right understanding to be, it was bound to be what it became--a piece of paper.

Many American Jews plan to vote for Bush in the upcoming election specifically because he's been a strong supporter of Israel.
Well, I think there are two ways to evaluate this issue. One is, is Israel being judged by the same standard we judge ourselves when it comes to confronting terror? Here you have to give the Bush administration very high marks. Then the question is, do you think Kerry would do the same? My guess is he will probably do the same, but it's a legitimate question.

The other dimension is, what has been done to end the war between Israelis and Palestinians and to try to get back to peacemaking? Here I would say the Bush administration has not done very well. The Israelis have paid a very high price for having no peace process, as have the Palestinians. You have almost one thousand dead Israelis in the last three-plus years, and 3,000 Palestinian dead. There's no comparable period except in periods of wars, and in fact, in two of Israel's wars, they suffered fewer fatalities and casualties as they have in the last three years, not to mention the number of maimed and wounded on each side. Not to mention the economic destruction.

The Bush administration is not responsible for that--this is Israelis and Palestinians that have been fighting a war. But the Bush administration did not take the steps that might have contained it. So when you evaluate the Bush administration on the terror dimension, high marks. But on this dimension, low marks. Here, I think that Kerry would be much more inclined to be involved, much more like Clinton.