Several times, from 1936 to the 21st century, Arab and Palestinian leaders were offered a state of their own in which to live side by side with their Jewish neighbours. Repeatedly, they declined.
In 1936, in response to the Arab Revolt and increased Arab violence against Jews, the British government appointed a commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel to assess the cause of the riots and recommend a solution. The Peel Commission recommended partitioning the land into a Jewish state and an Arab one, alongside an international zone stretching from Jerusalem to Jaffa, which would remain under British mandatory authority. The Peel Commission was rejected by the Arabs and, by 1938, Britain had declared the plan unimplementable.
In 1948, the Arabs rejected the Partition Plan, which led to the War of Independence. The plan recommended dividing the British Mandate-controlled area of Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish, with Jerusalem designated as an “international” city. The plan would have granted independence to Palestinians and Jews alike. When Israel declared statehood on May 14, 1948, Arab armies from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Transjordan attacked the country. Following Israel's military victory, the Palestinian Arabs failed to create their own state and much of the territory allotted to them by the United Nations was occupied by Jordan (West Bank and East Jerusalem) and Egypt (Gaza and Sinai) or incorporated into the State of Israel.
In July 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat gathered at Camp David for final status negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Taking place after significant breakthroughs, such as the Oslo Accords, as well as setbacks including the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the summit represented a unique opportunity to end the conflict and give birth to a new Middle East. Unfortunately, it would end in failure, as Arafat rejected Barak’s offer of an independent Palestinian State, which included east Jerusalem as the capital, “religious sovereignty” over the Temple Mount, and for a symbolic number of Palestinians to enter Israel.
In 2008, Palestinian leadership again rejected a land-for-peace offer. This time Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer that was comparable to Barak’s during the Camp David Summit in 2000. This deal called for Israel to retain some blocs of Israeli communities beyond the 1949 Armistice lines in exchange for territory in Israel.