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Road map for peace

Road map for peace

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The roadmap for peace or "road map" for peace is a plan
Plan
A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with timing and resources, used to achieve an objective. See also strategy. It is commonly understood as a temporal set of intended actions, through which one expects to achieve a goal...

 to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

 proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service Officer Donald Blome, were first outlined by U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in a speech on June 24, 2002, in which he called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in peace: "The Roadmap represents a starting point toward achieving the vision of two states, a secure State of Israel and a viable, peaceful, democratic Palestine. It is the framework for progress towards lasting peace and security in the Middle East..."


Concept


In exchange for statehood, the road map requires the Palestinian Authority to make democratic reforms and abandon the use of violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

. Israel, for its part, must support and accept the emergence of a reformed Palestinian government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and end settlement activity of the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 as the Palestinian terrorist threat is removed.

Process



The road map comprises three goal-driven phases with the ultimate goal of ending the conflict as early as 2005. However, as a performance-based plan, progress will require and depend upon the good faith efforts of the parties, and their compliance with each of the obligations quartet put the plan together, with amendments following consultations with Israelis and Palestinians:
  • Phase I (as early as May 2003): End to Palestinian violence; Palestinian political reform; Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities and freeze on settlement expansion; Palestinian election
    Election
    An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

    s.
  • Phase II (as early as June-Dec 2003): International Conference to support Palestinian economic recovery and launch a process, leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders; revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues; Arab states restore pre-intifada
    First Intifada
    The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

     links to Israel (trade offices, etc.).

  • Phase III (as early as 2004-2005): second international conference; permanent status agreement and end of conflict; agreement on final borders, clarification of the highly controversial question of the fate of Jerusalem, refugees and settlements; Arab state to agree to peace deals with Israel.

Israel's immediate rejection of major Road Map obligation


On May 12, 2003 it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 had rejected Israel's main road map requirement, a settlement freeze, as "impossible" due to the need for settlers to build new houses and start families. Ariel Sharon asked then US Secretary of State Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

 "What do you want, for a pregnant woman to have an abortion just because she is a settler?".

On May 25, 2003 the Israeli government announced fourteen conditions to the plan. These included:
  • The total dismantling of all militant Palestinian sub-groups, collection of all illegal weapons and their destruction
  • Cessation of violence and incitement against Israel, but the Roadmap will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians
  • Palestine as a demilitarized state, and Israeli control of the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, plus its airspace and electromagnetic spectrum (Radio, television, radar, etc.)
  • Declaration of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, as well as the waiver of any right of return of refugees to Israel
  • Issues pertaining to the final settlement such as Israeli settlement in "Judaea, Samaria" (West Bank
    West Bank
    The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

    ) and Gaza
    Gaza
    Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

     (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts), the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem, and all other matters pertaining to the final settlement will not be discussed prior to the final settlement talks.
  • No reference other than the key provisions of U.N. Resolution 242 and 338.

Start of implementation


The first step on the road map was the appointment of the first-ever Palestinian Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 (also known as Abu Mazen,) by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

. The United States and Israel demanded that Arafat be neutralized or sidelined in the road map process, claiming that he had not done enough to stop Palestinian attacks against Israelis while in charge. The United States refused to release the road map until a Palestinian prime minister was in place. Abbas was appointed on March 19, 2003, clearing the way for the release of the road map's details on April 30, 2003.

On May 27, 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated that the "occupation" of Palestinian territories was "a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians" and "can't continue endlessly." Sharon's phraseology prompted shock from many in Israel, leading to a clarification that by "occupation," Sharon meant control of millions of Palestinian lives rather than actual physical occupation of land. The Prime Minister's Cabinet approved the road map with 14 reservations.

President Bush visited the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 from June 2–4, 2003 for two summits
Summit (meeting)
A summit meeting is a meeting of heads of state or government, usually with considerable media exposure, tight security and a prearranged agenda.Notable summit meetings include those of Franklin D...

 in an attempt to push the road map as part of a seven-day overseas trip through Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Russia. On June 2, Israel freed about 100 Palestinian prisoners
Palestinian prisoners
Palestinian prisoners in Israel mainly refers to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel following apprehension resulting from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict...

 before the first summit in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 as a sign of goodwill. The list consisted largely of administrative detainees who were due to be released. Subsequent prisoner releases involved members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but the government insisted that those slated for release did not have Israeli "blood on their hands." In Egypt on June 3, President Bush met with the leaders of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, and with Prime Minister Abbas. The Arab leaders announced their support for the road map and promised to work on cutting off funding to terrorist groups. On June 4, Bush headed to Jordan to meet directly with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas.

Halt in implementation


After Bush left the region, the Palestinians launched a series of terror attacks against Israelis. This threatened to derail the road map plan. On June 5, 2003, the bodies of two Israelis were found near Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, beaten and stabbed to death. On June 8, 2003, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
Dr. Abdel Aziz Ali Abdulmajid al-Rantissi ; 23 October 1947 – 17 April 2004) was the co-founder of the militant Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin....

 directed an attack that killed four Israeli soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint in the Gaza Strip. On June 10, 2003, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car in Gaza in a failed attempt to assassinate Rantissi; two Palestinians were killed. The next day, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 17 passengers and bystanders on an Israeli bus. On June 15 Israeli forces entered Gaza killing a Palestinian, In the following few days, Israel continued its targeting of Hamas leaders with new helicopter attacks.

The hudna


On June 29, 2003, a tentative cease-fire ("hudna
Hudna
Hudna is an Arabic term meaning a temporary "truce" or "armistice" as well as "calm" or "quiet", coming from a verbal root meaning "calm". It is sometimes translated as "cease-fire"...

" in Arabic) was reached between the Palestinian Authority and four major Palestinian groups. Islamic Jihad and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 announced a joint three-month cease-fire, while Yasser Arafat's Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 faction declared a six-month truce. The cease-fire was later joined by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

. One condition of maintaining the truce was a demand for the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, which was not part of the road map process. Despite this, Israel withdrew troops from the northern Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and was discussing the transfer of territory to Palestinian control. This coincided with a visit to the region by United States National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

.

On July 1, 2003, in Jerusalem, Sharon and Abbas held a first-ever ceremonial opening to peace talks, televised live in both Arabic and Hebrew. Both leaders said the violence had gone on too long and that they were committed to the U.S.-led road map for peace. On July 2, Israeli troops pulled out of Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

 and transferred control to Palestinian security forces. The plan required that Palestinian police take over from withdrawing Israeli forces and stop any anti-Israeli militant attacks. At the same time, the U.S. announced a $30 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority to help rebuild infrastructure destroyed by Israeli incursions.

The hudna quickly collapsed. In an IDF operation to arrest Hamas bombmakers, gunfight broke out in which an Israeli soldier and two alleged Hamas militants were killed. Hamas responded with a suicide bombing on August 12, killing one Israeli civilian. Fatah claimed responsibility for a second suicide bombing on August 12, killing another Israeli citizen. Despite this de facto violation of the hudna, Hamas stated that the cease-fire would continue. Hostilities then escalated: the Israeli army killed Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

's Muhammad Seeder on August 14; the Jerusalem bus 2 massacre
Jerusalem bus 2 massacre
The Shmuel HaNavi bus bombing was the suicide bombing of a crowded public bus in the Shmuel HaNavi quarter in Jerusalem, Israel, on August 19, 2003. Twenty-three people were killed and over 130 wounded. Many of the victims were children...

 by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on August 19, killed 23 and wounded 136 people ; and Israeli forces killed Hamas' Isma'il Abu-Shanab on August 21. After the killing of the two high-ranking leaders, Hamas eventually called off the hudna.

In November 2003, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 endorsed the road map in Resolution 1515
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1515
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1515, adopted unanimously on November 19, 2003, after recalling all previous resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, particularly resolutions 242 , 338 , 1397 and the Madrid Principles, the Council endorsed the Road map for peace proposed by the...

 which called for an end to all violence including "terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction". By the end of 2003, the Palestinian Authority had not prevented Palestinian terrorism, and Israel had neither withdrawn from Palestinian areas occupied since September 28, 2000, nor frozen settlement expansion. Thus the requirements of Phase I of the road map were not fulfilled, and the road map has not continued further. It is thus currently effectively in limbo.

On February 13, 2004 the United States government decided that it would endorse Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for a unilateral withdrawal of most Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, adding that "...negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance."

Continuation of the road map


On April 14, 2004, President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon seeming to herald two significant changes or increased specifications to longstanding but ambiguous U.S. policy which had most recently been embodied in the road map. For the first time during the road map process, Bush indicated his expectations as to the outcome of the final status negotiations. The letter was widely seen as a triumph for Sharon http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/16/AR2005061601379.html, since Bush's expectations seemed to favor Israel on two highly contentious issues. Regarding final borders, the letter stated: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities...". Second, regarding the Palestinian refugees' right of return
Right of return
The term right of return refers to a principle of international law, codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, giving any person the right to return to, and re-enter, his or her country of origin...

, Bush also stated: "It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than Israel." http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/politics/15MTEX.html?ex=1083211200&en=0bbb19713b14bdf4&ei=5070

On May 8, 2004 in an interview with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

's Al-Ahram
Al-Ahram
Al-Ahram , founded in 1875, is the most widely circulating Egyptian daily newspaper, and the second oldest after al-Waqa'i`al-Masriya . It is majority owned by the Egyptian government....

 newspaper, President George W. Bush clarified the current situation regarding the road map stating:


Well, 2005 may be hard, since 2005 is right around the corner. I readily concede the date has slipped some, primarily because violence sprung up. When I laid out the date of 2005, I believe it was around the time I went to Aqaba, Jordan. It was a very meaningful moment, where former Prime Minister Abu Mazen, myself, Prime Minister Sharon and His Majesty, the King of Jordan, stood up and pledged to work together.

But we hit a bump in the road -- violence, as well as Abu Mazen being replaced, which changed the dynamic. I don't want to make any excuses, but nevertheless, I think the timetable of 2005 isn't as realistic as it was two years ago. Nevertheless, I do think we ought to push hard as fast as possible to get a state in place.

And I repeat to you, sir, that part of my frustrations were alleviated with the Quartet making the statement it made the other day -- the Quartet being the EU, Russia, United Nations and the United States, working together. I think we can get the World Bank involved. But there is a certain sense of responsibility that falls upon the Palestinians, reform-minded Palestinians to step up and say, yes, we accept these institutions necessary for a peaceful state to emerge.


On July 18, 2004, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 stated that the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005 was unlikely due to instability and violence in the Palestinian Authority. (Le Figaro)

In November 2004, Yasser Arafat died at age 75 in a French hospital. Arafat's powers were divided among his officials, with Mahmoud Abbas elected head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Rawhi Fattuh
Rawhi Fattuh
Rawhi Fattuh is the former Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and was the interim President of the Palestinian Authority, following the death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004 until January 15, 2005. Under Palestinian law, he was to hold the post for 60 days until an election is...

 sworn in as acting president of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the death could be a turning point for peace if the Palestinians "ceased terrorism" and waged a "war on terror". The White House simply described the death as a "significant moment in Palestinian history", and offered condolences.

On 8 February 2005, the leaders of Israel, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and the Palestinian Authority came together at Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 for a summit meeting
Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005
The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 took place on February 8, , when four Middle Eastern leaders gathered at Sharm el-Sheikh, a town at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in order to declare their wish to work towards the end of the four-year Al-Aqsa Intifada...

 at which they declared their continuing support for the road map.

In his May 26, 2005 joint press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 in the Rose Garden
White House Rose Garden
The White House Rose Garden is a garden bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House. The garden is approximately 125 feet long and 60 feet wide...

, President Bush said:

Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

 must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work. There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza. This is the position of the United States today, it will be the position of the United States at the time of final status negotiations.


This statement was widely seen as a triumph for Abbas, as many commentators view it as contradictory to his April 14, 2004 letter. The Bush administration has made no attempts to clarify any perceived discrepancies between the two statements.

In August 2005, the Israelis started their planned disengagement from the Gaza Strip, removing all of its settlements from this area and from a portion of the West Bank. This was widely endorsed around the world and the process, although unilateral on Israel's part, was co-ordinated with the Palestinian Authority.

In early January 2006, Sharon suffered a major stroke and did not awake from an induced coma. With Sharon in a serious condition in hospital, his powers were transferred to his deputy, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

. On March 28, Knesset elections were held, and Olmert's party, Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, won the most seats. On April 14, 2006 Sharon was declared permanently incapacitated, and Olmert was named interim Prime Minister, becoming Prime Minister on May 4.

On 4 June 2006 Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 announced he would meet Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas , also known by the kunya Abu Mazen , has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation since 11 November 2004 and became President of the Palestinian National Authority on 15 January 2005 on the Fatah ticket.Elected to serve until 9 January 2009, he unilaterally...

 to resume talks on the Road map. Olmert and Abbas joined breakfast with King Abdullah II of Jordan on 22 June 2006 in Petra
Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

. They pledged to meet again in coming weeks.

On 22 June, Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 accepted parts of the prisoners' document, which called for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the creation of a Palestinian state. On 27 June 2006 Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 both accepted the document fully.

2006: hostilities resume


In January 2006, the Islamic militant group Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

. The preliminary results gave Hamas 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, with the ruling Fatah party trailing with 43.

Both Israel and the U.S. announced that they would not deal with Hamas. In Israel, Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated, "Israel will not conduct any negotiation with a Palestinian government if it includes any members of an armed terror organization that calls for Israel's destruction." Bush said the U.S would not deal with Hamas until it renounced its call to destroy Israel. But Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahhar refused to renounce violence. "We are not playing terrorism or violence. We are under occupation," he told BBC World TV.

In mid-2006, the 2006 Israel-Gaza conflict
2006 Israel-Gaza conflict
The 2006 Israel–Gaza conflict refers to the series of battles between Palestinian militants and the Israel Defense Forces . Large-scale conventional warfare beyond the peripheries of the Gaza Strip began when Israel launched Operation Summer Rains , the codename for an IDF military operation in the...

 started between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza strip. Not long after, clashes with Hezbollah in Lebanon precipitated the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. This conflict had a profound impact on the Middle-East crisis surrounding Israel. Controversial armament shipments from the USA were "rushed" to Israel, inducing Arab resentment.

The crisis caused many analysts to declare the road map dead, or at least severely strained.

In October 2006, it was revealed in a Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

expose that rampant construction of settlements was ongoing in the West Bank, contrary to Israeli promises to the United States to halt settlement construction. According to the report, many of these settlements were built on private Palestinian property, including properties previously guaranteed by Israel. The report was allegedly kept secret in order to avoid a political
crisis with the US.

As of mid-June 2007, a Palestinian civil conflict
Fatah–Hamas conflict
The Fatah–Hamas conflict , also referred to as the Palestinian Civil War , and the Conflict of Brothers , i.e...

 was unfolding, as Hamas had taken control of the Gaza Strip from the Fatah-led forces while Fatah controlled most of the West Bank.

In June 2008, Hamas and Israel agreed to a cease-fire which somewhat held until November, 2008.

On December 27, 2008, the Gaza War began. On January 21, 2009, Israeli troops completed their pullout from the Gaza Strip

2009 Israeli elections


In January 2009, prior to the February 2009 Israeli elections, the then election front-runner and leader of Israel's right-wing Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 party, Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

, informed Middle East envoy Tony Blair that he would continue the policy of the Israeli governments of Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert by allowing "natural" growth of settlements in the West Bank, in contravention of the Road Map, but not building new ones

Hillary Clinton said that Israel was in breach of the road map with its plans to demolish 80 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 that Israel claims were built illegally.

2009 President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu debate on settlement freeze


In June 2009 Netanyahu announced Israel's acceptance of the Road Map while simultaneously rejecting a settlement freeze which is a main Israeli requirement under the Road Map
In rejecting President Obama's call for a settlement freeze Netanyahu also claimed that settlement expansion, so called "natural growth", was needed to allow settlers to raise families by moving to new larger houses rather than move to existing houses either elsewhere in the Occupied Territories or in Israel itself.
In June 2009 the construction of 300 new houses in the West Bank was announced by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Most of these "new" houses were already built or in the process of completion. The Defense Minister's permit for construction was just another layer on top of those already given earlier. In November 2009 Netanyahu announced a 10-month settlement freeze that excluded East Jerusalem, public buildings and projects already under way.
In September 2010 Netanyahu confirmed that this partial settlement freeze would not be extended beyond September 26 and Israel would resume its previous stance of rejecting its settlement freeze Road Map obligation. Netanyau "vowed to ensure" that the Palestinians would comply with their respective Road Map commitments and refrain from acts of violence such as firing missiles at Israel.

2010 Iran's support of Hamas undermined with a boycott exchange



On May 17, 2010, Israel shipped 16,000 tons of necessaries and supplies on over 675 trucks to Gaza upon the announcement that the UN Quartet agreed to expand the sanctions against Iran due to the latter's unsatisfactory agreement to ship enriched uranium for temporary storage in Turkey. This is part of the confidence-building efforts supporting Abbas's Fatah party and undermining Iran's support of Hamas, while simultaneously building Israel's confidence that the Quartet will stop's Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. Anticipating statehood and an end to the Hudna with an inability to control Arab violence and continued Jihad, Abbas requested NATO troops be stationed to separate Israeli and Palestinian populations to "protect the new Palestinian State" from retaliatory IDF defensive incursions, but specified that no Jewish soldiers be a part of that force.

Statistical background


Although the Oslo accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 stipulate no settlement ban, Israel refrained from building any new settlements but continued building in existing settlements at a pace which fell far short of the Shamir government's 1991-92 level. Construction of Housing Units Before Oslo: 1991-92 14,320 units. After Oslo: 1994-95 3,850 units; 1996-1997 3,570 units The Palestinians built throughout area C administered by Israel without permit which, according to Peace Now is due to the extreme difficulty Palestinians face in obtaining building permits for Area C. (Under the 1993 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 59% of the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 was allocated to Israeli control and denoted as Area C.) Only 91 of 1,624 Palestinian requests permits were approved by Israeli authorities in 2001-2008. Peace Now also said the army demolished 33 percent of the 4,993 cases of illegal Palestinian construction against which it issued demolition orders. By contrast, 7 percent of the 2,900 cases of illegal settler construction that drew demolition orders were torn down, the group said. Further in other areas such as East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 the UN in May 2009 noted that "only 13 percent of East Jerusalem land is currently zoned by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction, and much of that is already built up" While the settlers constitute 17% of the residents of the West Bank (300,000 out of a total population of 1.8 million), the built up areas in the settlements occupy just 1.7% of the West Bank; and if they continue to build solely at the rate of their natural growth (9,000 births per year), they will consume over the next decade a total of just one-half of one per cent in an area already delineated as their "municipal boundaries.". The amount of land allocated to Israeli settlements will exceed this figure if the current level of immigration is maintained in addition to "natural growth". Settler immigration to the West Bank accounted for between a third and half of the population growth in each year between 1999 and 2007, save 2005, when numbers were skewed by Israel's withdrawal of 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip. However, the total population increase has been 9,000
per year, including immigration.

Further Israel is enclosing some main Israeli settlements with a West Bank Barrier. According to the current route, 8.5 percent of the West Bank territory and 27,520 Palestinians are on the "Israeli" side of the barrier. Another 3.4 percent of the area (with 247,800 inhabitants) is completely or partially surrounded by the barrier

In addition Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 argue that in addition to the stated area of West Bank settlements there is a further impact on the Palestinian population as "bypass roads and related infrastructure and discriminatory allocation of other vital resources, including water, have had a devastating impact on the fundamental rights of the local Palestinian population, including their rights to an adequate standard of living, housing, health, education, and work, and freedom of movement within the Occupied Territories."

Total population in the settlements of the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem):
  • 2005: 258,988
  • 2006: 268,400
  • 2007: 276,462
  • 2008: 285,800

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

  • Paris Peace Conference, 1919
    Paris Peace Conference, 1919
    The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

  • Faisal-Weizmann Agreement (1919)
    Faisal-Weizmann Agreement
    The Faisal–Weizmann Agreement was signed on January 3, 1919, by Emir Feisal , who was for a short time King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of the Kingdom of Iraq from August 1921 to 1933, and Chaim Weizmann as part of the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 settling...

  • 1949 Armistice Agreements
    1949 Armistice Agreements
    The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

  • Camp David Accords (1978)
  • Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)
    Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
    The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

  • Madrid Conference of 1991
    Madrid Conference of 1991
    The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

  • Oslo Accords (1993)
    Oslo Accords
    The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

  • Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
    Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace
    The Israel–Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed in 1994. The treaty normalized relations between the two countries and resolved territorial disputes. The conflict had cost roughly US$18.3 billion...

  • Camp David 2000 Summit
    Camp David 2000 Summit
    The Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David of July 2000 took place between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat...

  • Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    The peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has taken shape over the years, despite the ongoing violence in the Middle East and an "all or nothing" attitude about a lasting peace, "which prevailed for most of the twentieth century"...

  • Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
    Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
    Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis have been operating for years in different fields.- Policy groups:Organizations or institutions which address and analyze policy issues in a wide range of areas...

  • List of Middle East peace proposals
  • International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
    There is a broad international consensus that the actions of the nations involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict violate prohibitions contained in international law. However, this legality is disputed by some of the nations involved...

  • Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005
    Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005
    The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 took place on February 8, , when four Middle Eastern leaders gathered at Sharm el-Sheikh, a town at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in order to declare their wish to work towards the end of the four-year Al-Aqsa Intifada...


External links