Letter from Arafat to Clinton, 27 December 2000
Mr. President, please allow me address you with all the sincerity emanating from the close friendship that ties us, and the historical importance of what you are trying to do. I want to assure you of my will to continue to work with you to reach a peace agreement. I need your help in clarifying and explaining the basis of your initiative.
I need clear answers to many questions relating to calculation of land ratios that will be annexed and swapped, and the actual location of these territories, as well as the basis for defining the Wailing Wall, its borders and extensions, and the effect of that on the concept of full Palestinian sovereignty over al-Haram al-Sharif.
We understand that the idea of leasing additional territory is an option we have the right to reject, and is not a parameter of your bridging proposals. We also presume that the emergency Israeli locations are also subject to negotiations and to our approval. I hope that you have the same understanding.
I have many questions relating to the return of refugees to their homes and villages. I have a negative experience with the return of displaced Palestinians to the West Bank and Gaza during the Interim Period. Because the modalities remained tied to an Israeli veto, not one refugee was allowed to return through the mechanism of the interim agreement, which required a quadripartite committee of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine to decide on their return. Equally, I don't see a clear approach dealing with compensation of the refugees for their land, property and funds taken by Israel under the aegis of the Israeli custodian of absentee property.
I feel, Mr. President, that the period for Israeli withdrawal specified in your initiative is too long. It will allow the enemies of peace to exploit the time to undo the agreement. I wonder if the "Period" is one of the fixed parameters of your proposal; a "basis" that cannot be changed.
Mr. President, I have many questions. I need maps, details, and clarifications that can help me take the necessary decisions with my leadership and people.
I would like you to appreciate that I do not want to procrastinate or waste time.
We need a real opportunity to invest once more your determination and creativity to reach a fair and lasting peace with you efforts and during your presidency.
I remain, Mr. President, ready to pay you a visit at the White House, in the shortest possible time if you find this visit appropriate, to discuss with you the bridging proposals and to exchange views on ways to develop them further.
Please accept my highest regards and best wishes,