The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, March 22, 2004
Camp David/Taba Confusion
People routinely confuse the concessions Israel offered at Camp David in July 2000 with those it made at Taba in January 2001. Under the latter, based on the Clinton Plan, Israel would have withdrawn from 94-96% of Judea and Samaria, and as well as an amount of territory within Israel's 1948 borders equal to 1-3%. Under the Clinton Plan, 80 percent of the settlers would have remained under Israeli rule in settlement blocs. Israel would have retained the settlements around Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, and the Ariel bloc in Western Samaria.
The concessions called for under Taba/Clinton Plan were much more radical than those offered at Camp David. At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered 90-92 percent of Judea and Samaria, and only the outlying Arab sections of Jerusalem; all of the Old City would have been annexed to Israel.
In the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein misunderstands Taba and Camp David, when he writes, questioning a Haaretz article, that, if accepted, Sharon's request that President Bush agree to U.S. recognition of Israeli recognition of the Gush Etzion bloc "would be a huge victory for Israel" since it would annex territory that Israel would have kept under Camp David, but not under Taba. Bernstein is wrong. In fact, Gush Etzion would have been annexed under either plan, and even the recently proposed Geneva Accord would have retained Gush Etzion, albeit with the exception of Efrat, the area's largest community.
UPDATE: In the comments, reader Zev asks, "Would Israel have kept additional settlements under Camp David? If so, which ones?"
Indeed, Israel would have retained many more settlements under the Camp David proposals than under
Taba. Under Camp David, Israel would have retained a bloc of settlements in the Binyamin region, including Beit El, Ofra and Shilo, as well as Kedumim, and a security zone along the Jordan Valley (but not the Jordan Valley in its entirety). At Taba (which was based on the Clinton Plan), all of these were conceded. Not only would this result in fewer settlements, it would isolate the surviving settlement blocs from either other making them somewhat unattractive places to live even after annexation. In contrast, under Camp David, the fourth surviving bloc in the Binyamin area would have connected the various Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria.
Also, as mentioned, Israel would have kept all of the Old City of Jerusalem at Camp David, but not at Taba.
Check out this site for some of the differences between Camp David and Taba - though keep in mind that it's written by Palestinians from a Palestinian perspective.
UPDATE 2: David Bernstein responds:
You have a very useful summary of the differences between Taba and Camp David, but I didn't state, and didn't mean to suggest that the Gush bloc wouldn't have gone to Israel under either plan. I merely meant that since Israel already made further concessions at Taba, to get back to Camp David, and with someone committed to peace unlike Arafat, would be a great victory.