The myth that Barak was generous at Camp David is beginning to get some more attention, outside Ha'aretz' s diligent reporting. Now, it's Robert Wright of Slate who looks at the issue:
The Camp David offer also had features that kept it from amounting to statehood in the full sense of the term. The new Palestine couldn't have had a military and wouldn't have had sovereignty over its air space�Israeli jets would roam at will. Nor would the Palestinians' freedom of movement on the ground have been guaranteed. At least one east-west Israeli-controlled road would slice all the way across the West Bank, and Israel would be entitled to declare emergencies during which Palestinians couldn't cross the road. Imagine if a mortal enemy of America's�say the Soviet Union during the Cold War�was legally entitled to stop the north-south flow of Americans and American commerce. Don't you think the average American might ask: Wait a minute�who negotiated this deal?
I'm not saying any of these things aren't defensible from an Israeli point of view. I'm just saying it takes very little imagination to see why Palestinians might balk, after three decades of nursing a grievance centered on�at the very minimum�the right to have their very own state defined by pre-1967 borders.
This is a good essay that also discusses the second offer that Barak made after Camp David (the Taba proposal), which was more generous than Camp David. There is solid discussion of why the Taba proposal was more fair, and why things didnt work out due to the political situation on the ground. This was an eye-opening read. He also references a book co-authored by political scientist Richard Falk and Robert Malley, special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs in the Clinton administration. I may have to pick this book up. Falk also has some comments in this week's The Nation on the topic.
I plan on emailing the electronicintifada link to Wright, and maybe send Wright's essay to a few of the warblogs to see if they have any comment. I predict off-hand dismissal though. That's a shame because this essay has a lot of historical context and rational (pragmatic!) analysis.