Global Policy Forum

The Road Map


The Quartet - composed of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - came together in 2002 to explore new options for Israeli-Palestinian peace. In April 2003, the Quartet released its "Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis." The Roadmap outlines a three-stage program leading to an independent Palestinian state and a "final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict" by 2005. But as a "performance-driven" process with no enforcement mechanism, the Roadmap depended on the good faith of all sides and their voluntary compliance with obligations under the plan.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has demonstrated such compliance. The Roadmap requires that the Palestinians "immediately undertake an unconditional cessation of violence" and that Israel "freezes all settlement activity." Yet Israel continues to build settlements and construct its illegal separation wall in the West Bank. Israeli aggression, particularly in the form of assassination attempts, led to the breakdown of a unilateral Palestinian ceasefire negotiated by then-Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has refused to consider Arafat a partner for negotiations, weakening the Palestinian leader's authority. Violence has continued, the Quartet has shown no capacity for imposing requirements on the parties and the Roadmap has steadily lost credibility.

The Roadmap (April 30, 2003)

A Measure of International Seriousness (September 18, 2006)

The deployment of UN peacekeepers in Lebanon to monitor the implementation of Resolution 1701 has encouraged Palestinians to raise the possibility of deploying international forces in the West Bank and Gaza to supervise the Road Map or any other peace plan in the Israel-Palestine conflict. (

Quartet Agrees on Ways to Get Aid to Palestinians (May 9, 2006)

The Quartet has agreed on a "temporary international mechanism" that will direct aid to the Palestinians without dealing directly with the Hamas government. The US, which has taken the toughest stand against Hamas, agreed to ease the boycott under intense pressure from Russia, the EU and the UN. The move comes after the World Bank warned that the continuation of the suspension of aid was leading to a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories. (Reuters)

Quartet to Hold Key Talks on Fate of Its Mideast Peacemaking Role (May 3, 2006)

Following Hamas' victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections and the subsequent international boycott against the new government, the Quartet - composed of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN - is considering pulling out from the Road Map peace plan and ending Quartet mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. James Wolfensohn, who resigned from his position as the Quartet's envoy to Israel and Palestine, urged the international community "not to give up" in finding a solution to the Mideast crisis, warning of "severe consequences for the whole region and for world peace." (Haaretz)

Zahar Denies Talk of Two-State Solution (April 5, 2006)

In the first contact between the UN and the new Hamas cabinet, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar set out his government's stance towards Israel and the road map in a letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan. Zahar expressed the Palestinians' hope to live in peace "side by side with our neighbors." The letter allegedly also referred to a two-state solution, wording that might have hinted Hamas was recognizing Israel's right to exist. But according to a Hamas official in Gaza, the wrong version was mistakenly sent and "such a sentence was not used in the [revised] letter." Despite not referring to a two-state solution, analysts are hopeful that Zahar's letter – which they perceive as "conciliatory for a leader with a reputation as a hardliner" - hints at an evolution in Hamas' thinking. (Aljazeera)

End of the Road Map (January 27, 2006)

This article questions the fate of the Road Map and of the wider peace process in the aftermath of Hamas' victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections. The US and EU – which outlined the peace plan along with Russia and the UN – consider Hamas a terrorist organization and refuse to include the Islamist group in the peace process. Israel also refuses to recognize the results of the elections given that Hamas' founding charter calls for Israel's destruction. Some argue that the Road Map was doomed to fail as neither Israelis nor Palestinians ever intended to implement it. (TomPaine)

Israel Is Allegedly Intent on Freezing Peace Process (October 7, 2004)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's former Chief of Staff, Dov Weisglass, says Israel is withdrawing from Gaza in order to freeze the peace process. Weisglass claims that Washington supports Israel's attempts to retain its hold on the West Bank, but Washington says it remains committed to the Road Map. Some see Weisglass' statements, taken with the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza, as an attempt to appease the Israeli right. Others say it confirms Israel's intentions to tighten the occupation and squeeze out the possibility of a Palestinian state. (Los Angeles Times)

'Quartet' Decries Lack of Progress in Mideast (September 22, 2004)

Senior diplomats from the UN, EU, Russia and the US have no new ideas for the Middle East Peace Process in the face of the Road Map's failure. The Quartet continues to blame both sides, calling on Palestinians to "overhaul the Palestinian Authority" and on Israel to freeze settlements and dismantle outposts. (Washington Post)

Sharon Abandons Mideast Peace 'Road Map' (September 15, 2004)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has stated that Israel will no longer follow the Road Map peace plan, and will likely remain in the West Bank for an "extended period" after the Gaza withdrawal. Palestinians see this as an Israeli attempt to destroy the Road Map and solidify control over the West Bank permanently. (Associated Press)

Sharon Was Insincere From The Start (September 11, 2004)

This op-ed piece asserts that the Road Map plan for peace was dead from the beginning and that neither Israelis or Palestinians ever intended to implement it. According to the author, Palestinians never believed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would freeze settlements and Sharon never meant to engage with Palestinians in final status negotiations. Final status negotiations were supposed to take place in 2005. (Jersualem Post)

Mideast Status Quo 'Unacceptable', Efforts 'Unsatisfactory': Annan (June 16, 2004)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called recent efforts to implement the Middle East roadmap "deeply unsatisfactory." Expanding on Annan's remarks, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Roed-Larsen stressed that Israel should not view its planned withdrawal from Gaza as a substitute for complying with other provisions of the roadmap. (Agence France Presse)

Little Joy at Sharon Speech (December 19, 2003)

In a much-anticipated speech, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed commitment to the road map and spoke of dismantling some settlements. Sharon's critics denounced the speech for its vague proclamations and expressed doubt that the Prime Minister would act on his words. (Inter Press Service)

PNA Urges Mechanisms to Implement UN Resolution 1515 (November 20, 2003)

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) welcomed Resolution 1515 endorsing the road map, while the Israeli government stated that Israel "does not feel (. . .) bound by the resolution." (Palestine Media Center)

Roadmap Draft Resolution (October 21, 2003)

Russia has endorsed the roadmap by authoring a resolution that calls on all parties to fulfill their obligations to actualize a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

US Vetoes Resolution Condemning Israeli Security Wall (October 15, 2003)

US Ambassador John Negroponte defended the US veto of the draft resolution condemning the wall, calling it unbalanced and insisting that the road map offers the best hope for peace. The Palestinian representative to the UN and other member states argue that construction of the wall negates the road map. (Agence France Presse)

Abbas Quits in Blow to Mideast Peace Plan (September 6, 2003)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas resigned his post claiming that the US and Isreal lacked commitment to their obligations on the road map. Some Palestinian officials speculated that increasing tension with Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority, also contributed to the resignation. (Washington Post)

Call This a Ceasefire? (August 12, 2003)

Recent violence by Palestinian suicide bombers has imperiled the ceasefire agreed upon by key militant Islamist groups. The Economist recognizes recent pressure by the Bush administration to lessen Israeli retaliation, but it urges more stringent US involvement to avoid derailment of the road map.

Road Map Diplomacy Conceals "Politicide" of the Palestinian People (August 11, 2003)

A new book defines "politicide" as the Israeli government's political, economic and military policies to "dissolve the Palestinian people's existence as a legitimate social, political and economic entity." The author of the book, Baruch Kimmerling, criticizes the road map for allowing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to buy time, thereby prolonging the "politicide." (Electronic Intifada)

Does the Road Map for Peace Have a Chance? (July 28, 2003)

Ali Abunimah argues that the unbridged divide between the "rhetoric of peace" and unacceptable Palestinian living conditions caused the failure of the Oslo peace process. Settlements play a crucial role in perpetuating Palestinian misery, but more settlements spring up despite a road map dictate for their dismantlement. (Chicago Tribune)

"We Want Our Own State" (July 26, 2003)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas speaks to Newsweek about the viability of the road map, his relationship with Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat and other issues.

Calm Needs to Be Nurtured (July 10, 2003)

A cease-fire agreement between Israelis and Palestinians faces daily challenges to its legitimacy and prospects for longevity. A Haaretz editorial reminds both sides of the actions they must take to prolong this crucial first step on the road map.

Road Map: Sharon & the Record (June 20, 2003)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has consistent policies and keeps his word, but these attributes don't necessarily benefit the peace process. True to his military roots, he has a "persistent preference for force over diplomacy to solve political problems." (Foreign Policy in Focus)

Road Map to Perpetuating the Status Quo (June 19, 2003)

The Road Map seeks a solution for Palestine and Israel based on "the connection between territory and ethnic identity." It ultimately establishes a completely new sort of state where "sovereignty will be scattered." (Ha'aretz)

Whose Security? : Security and the Roadmap (June 16, 2003)

Jonathan Cook identifies an over-emphasis on security as the "core failing" of the roadmap for peace in the Middle East. Cook asserts that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has unfair flexibility to define the concept of security and make impossible demands on Palestinian leadership. (Al Ahram)

The Road from Aqaba (June 13, 2003)

Mouin Rabbani labels the Aqaba forum between US, Palestinian and Israeli leaders as a "summit of the unwilling, unable and uncommitted." Rabbani insists that without a change of focus and tactics, the Quartet cannot save the road map. (Middle East Report Online)

Enough Blame to Go Around (June 13, 2003)

Escalating violence in the Middle East demolishes high hopes surrounding the Aqaba summit. Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada explains that Israeli, Palestinian and US leadership – as well as Hamas – share substantial blame for the failure of the road map's objectives.

Blood Spatters the American Road Map (June 12, 2003)

Shira Herzog argues that recent violence in the wake of the Aqaba summit does not necessarily signal the destruction of the road map. International pressure, as well as constructive engagement from key regional powers, may nudge each side to the first step of the road map. (Globe and Mail)

Give the 'Road Map' a Memory (June 11, 2003)

A recent poll shows that 56% of Israelis support "a unilateral withdrawal from [occupied] territories in the context of a peace accord, even if that mean[s] ceding all settlements." Michael Young urges the Quartet to remember the population's wishes during the peace process. (Daily Star)

Road Map or Road Kill? (June 9, 2003)

Rashid I. Khalidi, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Chicago, argues that the "mainly American drafters" of the road map for peace in the Middle East have learned nothing from the collapse of earlier efforts and have thus included several features "that almost guarantee its failure." (The Nation)

Driving Along The Roadmap Trail (June 5, 2003)

Al-Ahram reports that notable absences at the US-Arab summit included Arab League representatives and state representatives from Syria. The Palestinian Foreign Minister remarked that the road map's success rests on a cooperative effort between Arabs as well as the Quartet.

In Cliché Land, the Two Sides Are Expected to Get Married Before They Fall in Love (June 5, 2003)

Robert Fisk argues that the road map for peace in the Middle East has the same flaws as the Oslo peace process: it requires a major commitment but does not address fundamental issues. (Independent)

Mideast Leaders Look Homeward (June 4, 2003)

Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon spoke of confronting the settlement issue, while Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas called for an end to the 32-month long intifada. The comments, which followed a summit to discuss the road map, sparked outrage among militant supporters of both leaders. (New York Times)

A Road Map to the Oslo Cul-de-Sac (May 15, 2003)

In this article from Middle East Report Online, Adam Hanieh and Catherine Cook argue that the "road map" proposed by the Quartet of the US, UN, European Union, and Russia offers no new path forward, but simply "repackages many of the flaws that led to the failure of the Oslo 'peace process' of the 1990s."

The Mountain Roared: Powell's Road Map Fiasco (May 14, 2003)

The former ambassador of Jordan and permanent representative to the UN tells the Electronic Intifada that the road map will result in "many losers and no winners." Chief among the losers are the new Palestinian Prime Minister, the Israeli people and the United States.

The "Roadmap": Repeating Oslo's Human Rights Mistakes (May 2003)

This report by Human Rights Watch identifies several flaws in the plan to end Israeli-Palestinian violence. The organization asks the sponsors of the plan (the Quartet) to establish an independent monitoring system to ensure the preservation of rights and the enforcement of humanitarian law for both peoples.

Too High Expectations (April 21, 2003)

Danny Rubenstein of Ha'aretz suggests that while American, European and Israeli spokesmen have been creating great expectations for the new government of Mahmoud Abbas, the expectations of Palestinians regarding the current "roadmap" to peace are much lower.

Roadmap Seeks End of Conflict by 2005 (April 17, 2003)

The British Foreign Office has leaked the "roadmap" for a settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict by placing it in the House of Commons library. This article suggests that the Foreign Office's action seems to be "a deliberate attempt by the government to pre-empt any attempt to further delay its formal release." (Gulf News)

Abu Mazen Gets Two More Weeks to Form His Cabinet (April 10, 2003)

Mahmoud Abbas, the newly appointed Palestinian prime minister, has asked for a two-week extension to resolve disputes over his choice for interior minister. Forming a new cabinet has been a condition for the US-backed "road map" to Palestinian statehood. (Associated Press)

The Settlement Detour on the Road Map to Peace (April 7, 2003)

Danny Rubinstein of Ha'aretz argues that the most difficult obstacle to the so-called "road map" to peace is the freezing of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories, since "the settlements have become an integral part of the Israeli reality."

Israel Stalls Over New "Roadmap" (March 23, 2003)

The Israeli government has made a number of objections to the so-called "road map" for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and with all eyes on the US and British invasion of Iraq, there are concerns that the plan may be stalled, perhaps indefinitely. (Independent)

Fears Grow that US Has Shelved Middle East Peace Plan (March 21, 2003)

Fears are growing that the Bush administration has put the peace process between Israel and Palestine on hold. The "roadmap" to peace which President Bush promised to release in his speech last week has still not been published, despite the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas as the new Palestinian premier. (Independent)

Misleading Roads (March 20, 2003)

According to Azmi Bishara, President Bush's sudden rediscovery of his commitment to the so-called "roadmap" for resolving the Palestinian issue may be shortlived, since it is mostly a response to the "whispered pleas" of European leaders on the eve of the US war on Iraq. (Al-Ahram Weekly)

This Is a Road Map to Nowhere (March 19, 2003)

Ahmad Samih Khalidi, an Oxford professor and former Palestinian negotiator, argues that the current "road map" for peace being advocated by George W. Bush and Tony Blair is only a transparent effort to gain support for a war against Iraq. (Guardian)

"This Road Map Is Long Overdue" (March 18, 2003)

The Guardian provides a series of reactions to President Bush's recent announcement that he would unveil a new "roadmap" for the peace process. The article includes quotes from newspapers in Israel, Jordan, and Qatar.

A Few Thousand Soldiers, a Thousandth of the Billions (March 17, 2003)

Akiva Eldar, writing in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, suggests that the lack of enthusiasm Palestinians have shown in response to President Bush's promise to present a "road map" for peace is due to the fact that Bush's promise "did not lift a single checkpoint or move any tanks on the way to schools and hospitals."

Behind the Palestinian Optimism (March 17, 2003)

Senior Palestinian officials have admitted that they have no choice but to express optimism about the "road map" for peace that was recently advocated by President Bush. But many Palestinians believe that the plan is really part of Bush's attempts to placate leaders in Europe and the Middle East on the eve of a war against Iraq. (Ha'aretz)

Bush to Publish Road Map to Peace (March 15, 2003)

President Bush reluctantly put his Middle East peace plan back on the agenda by promising to release his "road map" to a Palestinian state. However, the new peace plan has been linked to continuing efforts to pressure the Palestinian leadership to appoint a prime minister. (Guardian)


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