Sharm el-Sheikh Conference, 2000

What happened at the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference in October 2000?

On October 17, 2000, less than a month after the violence of the al-Aqsa intifada erupted in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, President Bill Clinton met with Middle Eastern leaders for two days in Sharm al Shaykh, Egypt, in a US-sponsored effort to engineer a stop to Israeli?Palestinian violence.

Despite Clinton’s optimistic appraisal that “we made real progress,” the results of Sharm were indeterminate. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat didn’t hold face-to-face talks. Nor did the estranged “peace partners” sign an agreement or even publicly shake hands. Instead, President Clinton simply read a statement at a press conference summarizing three steps on which he said the parties had agreed. Clinton refused to answer questions.

According to the statement, both sides agreed to issue public statements calling for an end of violence and to take steps to end the confrontations. The parties also confirmed that they would consult with Washington regarding how to move forward with the resumption of final status negotiations. Of these steps, however, the only one to be implemented was one initiated by Mr. Clinton himself ? the establishment of a committee that would submit a report “on the auspices of the US president for publication.” This was a modest success, since Clinton was able to persuade the Palestinian leadership to abandon its demand for an international commission of inquiry under UN auspices, and instead accept a “committee of fact-finding” appointed by Clinton. This committee, formally known as the “Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Commission” came to be known as the Mitchell Commission and their report became the “Mitchell Plan”.

After the Sharm El-Sheikh Conference, the al-Aqsa intifada went on as before.

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