Global Policy Forum

General Analysis on the "Peace Process"


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David Cameron to Israel: join talks or I may support independence declaration (May 4, 2011)

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, may make a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence from Israel at the UN general assembly this September (2011). British Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned the Israeli head of State, Binyamin Netanyahu, that Britain may support Abbas’ declaration if Israel does not take part in substantive peace negotiations with the Palestinians to create a two state solution to the current crisis in Israel, Palestine and the occupied territories. (The Guardian)

U.N. Report: Palestinian Authority Ready for Statehood (April 12, 2011)

According to this UN Report, the Palestinian Authority has met the criteria to become a state. However, it will continue to have limitations due to the conflict with and occupation by Israel as well as the divide with Hamas over Gaza. The Palestinian Authority is looking to the future and the possibility of asking the General Assembly for membership in September despite warnings from Israel that this would push the peace process back. (The Washington Post)


A 90-Day Bet on Peace Talks (November 14, 2010)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has pledged to push for a one-time-only 90-day freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank. The proposed freeze was negotiated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and is supposed to break the impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. However, this deal seems rather one-sided. In exchange for a mere 90-day freeze, Israel will receive 20 fighter jets from the US as well as a promise that the US will veto any future Security Council resolution that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza without Israeli agreement. While this deal is subject to Israeli cabinet approval, why would they hesitate to accept? (New York Times)

Arab States May Ask UN to Recognize Palestinian State if Settlements Continue (October 15, 2010)

The Arab League supports the suspension of direct talks between Palestine and Israel as long as Israeli settlement construction continues in the West Bank. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has said that if settlement construction continues, Arab nations will examine alternatives to negotiations. The Egyptian FM mentioned the possibility of the Arab League asking the UN to recognize a Palestinian state. (AP)

Israel Moots Spy Deal (September 29, 2010)

Israel has supposedly approached Washington with a deal to extend the freeze on the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories in exchange for the release of Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied for Israel and is jailed in America for life. Binyamin Netanyahu has long pressed for Pollard's release. Palestine is demanding an extension on the moratorium on construction to stay at the negotiating table. The spy deal could provide a sop to the right wing in Israel, enabling the government to re-impose the settlement freeze. (Mail & Guardian Online)

Standoff over Settlement Construction Bogs Down Mideast Talks (September 15, 2010)

The US-brokered peace talks between Israel and Palestine are being hampered by the standoff on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank. The US has repeatedly called on Israel to extend its partial moratorium on construction and Palestinians have threatened to quit the talks unless the moratorium continues. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is constrained by right-wing parties in his coalition government who want to resume full construction on land seized by Israel in the 1967 war. According to a recent poll, most Israelis believe Netanyahu is only participating in the talks because of US pressure.(Los Angeles Times)

A Peaceful Strategy for Palestinian Independence (April 19, 2010)

Palestine, within the West Bank, are developing a peaceful strategy to achieve their national goals laid out by the negotiated peace agreement with Israel - put an end to occupation and create the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. The most impressive of the Palestinian initiatives is the "state and institution building program," which is improving infrastructures, economic opportunities and administrative organization. Furthermore, the Palestinian leadership is blocking Israeli manufactured products from Palestinian shops and discouraging Palestinians from working on Israeli settlement construction projects.  (The Guardian)


Olmert Says Israel Should Pull Out of West Bank (September 29, 2008)

Israeli interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that if Israel wants peace with Palestine, it must withdraw from nearly all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and give the Palestinians a similar percentage of the occupied territories it plans to keep. Olmert made its statement after announcing his resignation in September 2008 instead of during his years as prime minister. (New York Times)


Israel and Palestine Fail to Agree Before Conference (November 20, 2007)

This Mail & Guardian article reports that Israeli and Palestinian leaders couldn't overcome key obstacles and sign a joint declaration before the Annapolis Conference. Palestinian sources claim that the existing drafts do not mention important principals from past UN Security Council resolutions, which calls for an end to the conflict. Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas said that even though Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, released Fatah prisoners he still hasn't halted Israeli 'illegal outposts' in the West Bank.

Olmert Hopes Syria Will Attend Annapolis Conference (November 6, 2007)

Although Israel and Syria have tensions over the Golan Heights territory, Olmert believes that neighboring Syria should play an important role at the Annapolis conference, despite US resistance. He stressed that Syria should not pressure Israel about their own issues during the conference. Syria has condoned Hamas in Syrian territory, and therefore, Syrian’s participation in the conference could help bring Hamas into the talks. (Reuters)

Olmert Deputy Urges Talks on Future of Jerusalem (October 8, 2007)

A US-sponsored conference on the Middle East will take place in November, where Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas agree to a comprehensive peace? Negotiators from Israel and Palestine have already started to draft a joint document to present at the peace talk. Israel considers trading 'some Palestinian areas within Jerusalem for Jewish settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank.' However, Israel will not concede authority over Jerusalem but will allow greater access to the Palestinians. The author does not mention either Hamas, the people in Gaza or Syria within in the peace agreement agenda. (Reuters)

Bush Peace Plan Met with Scepticism (August 19, 2007)

US President George Bush is proposing the tenure of an international summit in an attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. However, the conference would not include representatives from Hamas and Syria, as both refuse to recognize the state of Israel. The exclusion of key players in the summit has led international critics to question the validity of President Bush's motives and to suggest that the US is pushing for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to secure Arab backing for a possible US-led war against Iran. (Inter Press Service)

History of Failed Peace Talks (May 21, 2007)

The BBC follows the peace plans and negotiations that came after the Middle East war in 1967, none of which have resolved the central conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. The Saudi Peace Plan, re-launched by Arab leaders in March, has yet to be renegotiated. Currently, no peace talks are in progress and both the Palestinian Unity Government and Israel have failed to implement previous agreements.

Israelis Now Say Saudi Peace Plan Isn't So Bad After All (March 12, 2007)

Contrary to Israel's previous position, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have both spoken of "positive" elements in the Saudi peace proposal that offers Israel full recognition and permanent peace with the Arab states in return for a withdrawal to 1967 lines. The Saudi initiative also proposes that Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homes in accordance with UN Resolution 194 which has so far largely been ignored by Israel and the Arab League. Separately, Defense Minister Amir Peretz of Israel is to press for better United Nations monitoring of arms smuggling from Syria to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon. (International Herald Tribune)

Ban Ki-Moon Voices Hope Palestinian Unity Government Will Pave Way For Peace (February 19, 2007)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is hopeful about the role of the recently formed Palestinian Unity the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The 'Diplomatic Quartet' (UN, United States, Russian Federation and European Union) had frozen contacts and withheld monetary contributions to the Hamas Government pending a commitment to 'renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept agreements already signed between Israel and the Palestinians.' Ban says that the sanctions may be lifted following further steps in the peace process. (UN News)


Security Council Must Take Over Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts – UN Rapporteur (October 20, 2006)

A UN rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories calls on the Security Council "to assume responsibility for finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of leaving it to the diplomatic Quartet? He believes the influential Quartet, including the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States, acts partially when it imposes economic measures on the Hamas government. According to the UN official, the situation in Palestinian territories has worsened since June 2006, and requires talks between Israel and Palestinians on a permanent status accord. (UN News)

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. (

Israeli and Palestinian Women Call on Quartet to Intervene to End the Conflict (July 13, 2006)

The UN-backed International Women's Commission for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace (IWC) has urged the Quartet to intervene to stop the fighting in the Middle East. Deploring that "civilians, mainly women and children, are paying the price daily for this vicious cycle of retaliation and counter-retaliation," the IWC calls upon the Quartet to dispatch high-level special envoys "to mediate a truce and the exchange of prisoners, and to lead the parties back to political negotiations that address the root issues of the conflict."

Climbdown as Hamas Agrees to Israeli State (June 22, 2006)

In a major shift in policy, Hamas has agreed to accept a document drawn up by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails that recognizes Israel's right to exist. The move represents a victory for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who had threatened to call a referendum on the issue that might have removed Hamas from power if the party continued to reject the document. Both parties hope for the restoration of desperately needed international aid following the move. While a step forward, progress in the peace process remains unlikely until the violence subsides. (Guardian)

This Nonsense of Not Talking To Hamas (May 31, 2006)

This Haaretz article argues that Israel has more to gain from talking to Hamas than from maintaining its current policy of refusing to engage in dialogue. The author claims that Israel made a mistake in ignoring the National Conciliation Document, drawn up by Palestinian prisoners as a basis for conciliation between their rival factions but that marked a flexibility yet unseen in the Hamas government. Starting a discourse with Hamas, while difficult, would not be as drastic a policy change as is suggested by the 'Israeli tribal camp' he suggests.

For Israel and Hamas, a Case for Accommodation (May 15, 2006)

This Washington Post article sees a unique and unexpected opportunity for progress between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian authority. It argues that while the two governments may well be "mortal enemies", both sides currently depend on the other to achieve their immediate goals. While Hamas needs "implicit Israeli acquiescence" to create some level of stability, Israel needs Hamas' help in creating a calm environment if its ambitious withdrawal plan is to be accepted. The article warns that this small window of opportunity could close depending on the pragmatism of the two sides and on the reaction of the US.

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)


As Israel Leaves Gaza, Will Militants Lay Down their Guns? (September 9, 2005)

The Palestinian militant group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade believes that Palestinians should stop attacking Israel from Gaza if Israel completely reverses its 38-year occupation: "If there is no Israeli occupation, there is no need for resistance." However, some ambitious groups, including Hamas, say the struggle should continue. According to Ziad Abu Amr, a Gaza City representative to the Palestinian legislative council, "these militants' expectations and ambitions have increased. They are trying to get a bigger piece of the cake." (Christian Science Monitor)

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Will Be Illusory Without Popular Support (April 29, 2005)

Although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian factions have taken important steps to create an environment 'conducive to peace talks,' neither side has taken sufficient note of the demands of civil society. This opinion piece argues that these demands are crucial to a resolution to the conflict. If both sides want to capitalize on the political 'window of opportunity' and avoid another deadlock in peace talks, they need to build a broad consensus and gather popular support for crucial issues such as final settlement. (Daily Star-Lebanon)

Palestinian Caution Is Warranted (February 13, 2005)

This Toronto Sun article warns against optimism about peace in the Middle East, stressing that Palestinians will unlikely give up their armed struggle in return for "a wretched mini-state." As Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and Palestinian Authority leader Abbas renew the "peace process," Israel continues its expansion of illegal settlements. As long as the US refuses to pressure Israel to compromise its demands, a Middle Eastern peace remains unlikely, reducing Abbas to "merely the latest US-imposed overseer in the Arab world."

Partner for the Pullout - and After (January 11, 2005)

The election of Mahmoud Abbas as Chairman of the Palestinian Authority has raised new hopes for resuming the so-called "peace process." This article calls on Israel to back the "elected, moderate leader who aspires to renew the diplomatic process" and has high hopes for Sharon's new government and its "disengagement plan." But questions remain as to how Abbas will handle Sharon's unilateral withdrawal agenda without compromising the demands of the Palestinian people. (Ha'aretz)


Egyptian Plan: International Force To Be Deployed in Gaza After Pullout (June 23, 2004)

Haaretz details an Egyptian peace plan calling for the deployment of multinational peacekeeping forces in Gaza. Palestinian militant groups reject the plan, criticizing Egypt for excluding Palestinians from the negotiation process.


A Disaster Foretold (September 13, 2003)

Uri Avnery worries that the decision to "remove" Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat will negate a compromise to end the violence. Arafat's assassination would plunge all sides into an "all or nothing" spiral of violence. (Gush Shalom)

Israel Announces Official Decision to Remove Arafat (September 11, 2003)

The Israeli government has vowed in principle to remove Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, threatening him with expulsion or imprisonment. Some media outlets have even encouraged assassination, echoing past comments and insinuations made by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (New York Times)

A Drug for the Addict (August 23, 2003)

Uri Avnery states that the Israeli military, 'the only really functioning party in Israel,' never accepted the truce offered by Palestinian militant groups. With the truce in tatters, it seems that the generals will continue the 'peace process' on their own terms. (Gush Shalom)

Thy Fearful Symmetry (August 22, 2003)

The cycle of Israeli and Palestinian violence defies easy identification of primary culpability. As the dominant power, however, Israeli leadership has greater ability to take decisive steps toward peace. (Guardian)

Hamas Leader, Bodyguards Killed in Israeli Missile Attack (August 21, 2003)

The Palestinian militant group Hamas formally ended a ceasefire after an Israeli missile killed a key political leader. In response to a Palestinian suicide bombing, the Israeli government announced the resumption of  'targeted strikes' against perceived Palestinian threats. (Associated Press)

It Takes Three to Tango (August 18, 2003)

A 'credibility gap' exists between the Israeli and Palestinian leadership. This gap perpetuates a vicious cycle of mudslinging, which destroys political initiatives. A multinational third party could help the two sides make progress through partnership and encouragement. (Haaretz)

Bush Just Doesn't Get It (July 31, 2003)

Simon Tisdall of the Guardian argues that US President George Bush demonstrates overly-optimistic naivety in asserting that talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders yield 'good progress in a short period of time.' Fundamental problems remain as intractable as ever.

Needed: A New Cognitive Road Map for Peace (July 5, 2003)

A Daily Star editorial argues that a peace plan for the Middle East must begin with a frank admission of past wrongs committed by both Israelis and Palestinians. To achieve peace, psychological considerations deserve equal attention to political considerations.

Dramatic Leaps Needed to Clear Hurdles (July 7, 2003)

The potential release of Palestinian security prisoners and the increase of Jewish and foreign visitors to the Temple Mount may raise tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Danny Rubenstein of Haaretz argues for far-reaching steps to give these embattled populations a chance for peace.

Hopes for Peace Are Finally Reawakened (July 2, 2003)

A positive tone characterized a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. The hastily-arranged meeting sought to harness positive momentum from the transfer of security authority in Gaza. (Haaretz)

Follow South Africa's Lead (June 24, 2003)

Despite continual violence, South Africa ended apartheid due in part to a policy of openness between black and white leaders and public engagement for a fairer society. Shira Herzog argues that Israelis and Palestinians should follow these examples of conflict resolution. (Globe and Mail)

The Road to Peace Needs No Map (June 26, 2003)

The former ambassador of Jordan to the UN argues that Israel must demonstrate the level of commitment to the road map shown by all other members of the Quartet. (Electronic Intifada)

Still Striving For Peace (June 23, 2003)

A serious obstacle to the success of the road map includes the 'assassination policy' against Arab militants adopted by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This policy, deeply unpopular among Israelis, prevents the implementation of the first steps in the new peace plan. (Economist)

Hamas Breaks Off Truce Talks With Abbas, Collision Course Over Intifada (June 6, 2003)

The radical Islamist group Hamas declared an end to dialogue with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, accusing Abbas of "giving away historical Palestinian rights" during the recent summit. This development poses a key obstacle to Abbas, who pledged to engage actively with such groups. (Agence France Presse)

Bush 'Committed to Palestinian State' (June 3, 2003)

President George W. Bush met with Middle Eastern leaders to gain Arab support for the road map for peace in the region. However, the BBC reports that both sides remain suspicious about the degree of commitment to the plan's objectives.

Bush Calls Sharon, Abbas to Encourage Peace Talks (May 21, 2003)

US President George W. Bush called Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to reiterate his commitment to a two-state solution and to encourage Abbas to combat terrorism. (Haaretz)

Jerusalem Is Still the Real Issue (April 28, 2003)

Jerusalem's Arab residents are expected to boycott the upcoming municipal elections in Jerusalem, as they have since 1967, because Palestinians have refused to recognize the occupation of the eastern part of the city by Israel. This article suggests that this boycott epitomizes the fact that the question of Jerusalem still poses the main obstacle to the "peace process." (Ha'aretz)

Question and Answer: Is Bush Serious About Mideast Peace? (March 17, 2003)

Henry Siegman, director of the Council on Foreign Relations' US/Middle East Project, suggests that President Bush's apparent endorsement of the so-called 'road map' to peace between Palestinians and Israelis raises questions about whether the US is seriously committed to the peace process. (Council on Foreign Relations)

Bush Says Ousting Hussein Could Aid Peace in Mideast (February 27, 2003)

In his first significant remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in eight months, President Bush focused largely on Iraq, claiming that removing Saddam Hussein could set the state for peace between Israel and what he called a "viable" Palestinian state. (New York Times)

President George W. Bush's Speech on Iraq and the Middle East "Peace Process" (February 26, 2003)

The full text of President Bush's speech to the American Enterprise Institute. In his first significant remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in eight months, President Bush focused largely on Iraq, claiming that removing Saddam Hussein could set the stage for peace between Israel and what he called a "viable" Palestinian state. (CBS News)


The Last Negotiation (May/June 2002)

Following failed attempts of conflict resolution, it seems that conflict management is now necessary to bring peace to the Israel/Palestine question. Foreign Affairs argues that it is time for a US-led international coalition to rebuild 'the fabrics of trust.'

Sharon Presents 3-Stage Peace Plan (March 25, 2002)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposes three phases for a peace plan: a cease-fire, a "long-range interim period" with a partial peace arrangement, followed by negotiations for a permanent peace treaty, "an end to the conflict and peace." (Associated Press)

Peres Says Mideast Peace Process Flawed From Outset (February 21, 2002)

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres believes the self-rule agreement that grants Palestinian autonomy, as negotiated in the 1993 Oslo accords, places the Palestinians in a worse situation. "We have to give them equal rights, equal recognition," says Peres. (Associated Press)

Peres Unveils New Peace Proposal (February 12, 2002)

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres outlines details of a peace plan worked out with Palestinian parliament speaker, Ahmed Qureia. Although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has dismissed the plan, Peres remains confident that his Labour party will back him. (BBC News)

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