Camp David

July 24, 2000

For the last few weeks the Camp David peace talks have held faint promise of a settlement that would bring peace to the nation. But as many predicted, the result was less than satisfying for many reasons. Two of the most important reasons were cost and commitment.

Even if a successful peace agreement was ratified, the cost of enforcing the agreement would have been significant to the United States. Estimates ranged from $15 billion to $150 billion. When the costs of resettlement of Israelis who live in the Golan Heights was factored in, those numbers nearly doubled. As one wag put it, that was a very high price to pay for President Clintonís legacy.

But enforcing the agreement requires commitment from the United States that probably doesnít exist. Charles Krauthammer summarizes the issue with one word: finality. He argues in a recent column that a truly effective agreement must mark the end of Palestinian claims against Israel and that the finality of the agreement must be guaranteed by the United States.

Finality doesnít mean a Palestinian pledge to end the conflict and forswearing of violence. They did that seven years ago on the White House lawn and continue to use violence and threats of violence.

Finality means that Palestinian claims against Israel come to an end. No more demand for land, resettlement, or compensation. Yassar Arafat cannot just pocket his gains from Camp David and continue his demands. The United States must bring finality to the agreement.

The U.S. interest in the Middle East is and should be peace, real peace. Not another postponement of hostility and violence. In the end, finality could not be assured given the obvious fact that President Clinton is a lame duck president who will be out of office six months from now.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.