It seems like some of the Arab leaders liked and trusted Clinton more than any other US president. What was it about him that they admired?
Two things. One was the character of his commitment and the passion that was seen in that commitment. He cared about the issue and that came though. The other was that he unmistakably knew the issue. When he would sit with Arab leaders, he would know the issues better than they did. That for them was also a reminder that he really did care about it.

It meant that there was an American commitment to do something about it. Sometimes we get credit for just making the effort, but it has to be seen as genuine. It can't just be you pop into the region or you have a trip every several months, or you do a phone call. You have to show you're doing everything you can. In the Arab world, I was frequently criticized when I was a negotiator, and yet they look at me as someone who was unmistakably committed, doing everything he could to try to resolve it.

Are you at all hopeful for the future now?
I do think that [Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon's decision to pull out of Gaza has created an opening. It's putting Palestinians in a position where they have to assume responsibility. And they know it. That's why we're seeing a challenge to Arafat that is unprecedented. They know when the Israelis are out of Gaza, you can't blame the Israelis for what goes on there. Then the Palestinians have to be able to demonstrate before the world that they are up to governing themselves. The Palestinians don't want to be seen as failing on that. So if you could coordinate the character of the Israeli handoff, focus on what the Palestinians need to do as the Israelis withdraw, figure out how you get assistance and investment in there so they can be successful, make clear what they have to do with regard to security, and be prepared to work with those who are prepared to coexist with Israel, I think that you can begin to transform the situation. This could end the war and get back to a climate for peacemaking.