Global Policy Forum

The "Peace Process"


Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin negotiated the first meaningful agreement between Palestinians and Israelis at Oslo in 1993. The Oslo Accords called for mutual recognition and a five-year period during which Israel would remove its troops from major Palestinian population centers. However, the Oslo process failed to produce a definitive peace agreement. After seven years of disillusionment, the Palestinians began an uprising against the occupation in September 2000. Talks in the Red Sea town of Taba offered a moment of hope in late 2000, and when the talks ended the sides declared that they had "never been closer to reaching an agreement."

After that, there were several prominent efforts to reach a settlement, though none succeeded. Most prominent was the "Roadmap" (2003), produced by the "Quartet" of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN. The Roadmap outlined steps towards an independent Palestinian state by 2005. Yet Israel continued to aggressively impose its occupation and to construct many new settlements, while Palestinian violence continued as well, undermining the required provisions of the plan. Israel felt little pressure to make concessions, because it enjoyed unconditional support from the United States.

Various governments and individuals proposed alternatives to the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap. Two important initiatives of this kind were the Saudi Plan (2002) and the Geneva Accord (2003). When released to the public, both plans received extensive media attention as well as regional and international interest, yet the Israeli government rejected both. Quiet conversations between the parties continued, and some hope for new beginnings arose after the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But the Israeli separation "wall" and continued settlement-building led to the election of a Palestinian government headed by Hamas, a hard-line Islamist group. Meanwhile, Israel had turned its back on negotiations and begun a unilateral process of defining its future borders. As Western governments refused aid to a Palestinian authority dominated by Hamas, Israel seized on a border skirmish in 2006 to launch a major military attack on Gaza, setting off a wider and serious regional conflict.

Annapolis Conference

A Middle East Conference, held at Annapolis, Maryland (USA), began on November 27, 2007. The Conference aims to assist Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement, ending the violence and creating a Palestinian state.

Geneva Accord

Hoping to break the stalemate, prominent Israeli and Palestinian figures launched a non-official peace negotiation with the support of the Swiss government. They went beyond the official step-by-step negotiations, seeking instead a comprehensive agreement that would resolve the most divisive issues. This page provides articles and analyses on the Geneva Initiative and its critics.

Road Map

In April 2003, the Quartet released the Roadmap, a three-stage program leading to an independent Palestinian state and a "final and comprehensive settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict." But the Roadmap depended on voluntary compliance and neither side followed the rules. The US was never committed. The Roadmap has lost credibility as a path to peace.

Saudi Peace Plan

In March 2002, Saudi Arabia proposed a peace plan that received much media attention and international support. The Plan required Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories and accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The plan would ensure peace and regional recognition to Israel. The Palestinian Authority accepted, but Israel rejected the proposal.

Oslo Accords

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin negotiated the first meaningful agreement between Palestinians and Israelis at Oslo in 1993, calling for mutual recognition and a five-year transitional period leading to a definitive peace agreement. The Oslo agreement was vague and the process failed to deliver its promises.

General Analysis on the Peace Process



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