M2001.99.202 | Arafat and Barak at Camp David: Strange Couple

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Drawing, cartoon
Arafat and Barak at Camp David: Strange Couple
Serge Chapleau
2000, 21st century
Graphite on paper
43.2 x 35.6 cm
Gift of M. Serge Chapleau
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379)
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Keys to History

"Another Israeli-Palestinian meeting. Something can always go wrong at such meetings, any little thing can derail the negotiations... including Mr. Barak's inadvertent use of Arafat's kaffiyeh as a dishtowel!"

Serge Chapleau

  • What

    One more stage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Invited to Camp David by President Clinton, the Palestinians and Israelis were not able, at least on this occasion, to work out a solution to the disagreements that had divided them for more than 50 years. The cartoon illustrates very well the gap separating the two men: that Barak is reduced to doing the dishes puts him in an inferior position. However, the fact that Barak uses Arrafat's kaffiyeh to dry the dishes depicts for readers the extent to which, in the eyes of the cartoonist at least, the Israeli leader is contemptuous of and lacks respect for the head of the Palestinian state.

  • Where

    Camp David is one of the official residences of the American president. It is more relaxed in terms of protocol than the White House and therefore more conducive to informal negotiations. Important talks are often held there.

  • When

    In July 2001, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli government head Ehoud Barak met in a closed-door session under the auspices of the American president, Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, the meeting had no tangible results. The participates held firm to their positions throughout the several days of negotiations.

  • Who

    Ehoud Barak was the prime minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001, and Yasser Arafat, whose presence here is indicated by his voice "off stage," was head of the Palestinian Authority from the 1970s up until his death in 2004.