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Report Summary May 2009
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Middle East Peace Prospects
Is there any hope for long-term peace?
By Irwin Arieff

Three major events reshaped the political landscape of the Middle East during a seven-week period beginning in late 2008. Israel launched a devastating 22-day assault on Gaza to halt ongoing Palestinian. . . .

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The Issues
  • Is a two-state solution still a viable possibility?
  • Has the “roadmap for peace” become a fig leaf for inaction?
  • Can the Palestinians form a national unity government?

Did Israel's military action in Gaza make Israel more secure?

Pro Pro
Yoaz Hendel
Security and Military Affairs Analyst and Research fellow, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Written for CQ Global Researcher, April 2009
Paul Rogers
Global Security Consultant, Oxford Research Group, and Professor of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, United Kingdom. Written for CQ Global Researcher, April 2009


The Israeli-Palestinian conflict began immediately after Israel declared itself a state in May 1948, but progress toward peace has been painfully slow and elusive. The U.S.-mediated Camp David Accords led to the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state. The Oslo Accords, negotiated secretly between Israeli and Palestinian officials in Norway, set out a plan for a Palestinian Authority to gradually take over administration of lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. The 2003 Roadmap for Peace was drafted by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia — a self-proclaimed Quartet of international mediators — to guide Israelis and Palestinians to establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a comprehensive peace agreement. While Israel and Egypt remain at peace today, the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap were never carried out.

Here are three major milestones reached along the way:

Camp David Accords (1978)

  • Negotiated in secret at the Camp David, Md., U.S. presidential retreat under the guidance of then-President Jimmy Carter.

  • Signed at the White House by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

  • Led to the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979, in which both countries agreed to mutual recognition.

  • Established a framework for Egyptian-Israeli relations and for an autonomous, self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Deliberately excluded the fate of Jerusalem.

  • Established U.S. economic and military aid packages for each country that over the past 30 years have totaled $142 billion.

  • Led to Sadat and Begin winning 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

Oslo Accords (1993)

  • Signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat on Sept. 13, 1993, in the White House Rose Garden with President Bill Clinton. Highlight of the ceremony was the first public handshake between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

  • Called for withdrawal of Israeli forces from certain parts of West Bank and Gaza Strip; creation of a transitional Palestinian Authority to administer the territories under its control, and democratic election of a transitional representative council.

  • Called for the two sides to negotiate a comprehensive and permanent peace agreement within five years, based on principles previously established by the U. N. Security Council.

  • Divided the West Bank and Gaza into three zones, pending a final agreement: Areas under complete control of the Palestinian Authority; areas under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control and areas under complete Israeli control.

  • Established a framework for future relations between the two parties, with particular emphasis on regional development and economic cooperation. In side letters (agreements) to the accords, Arafat said the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized Israel's right to exist in peace and security and renounced the use of terrorism and other acts of violence, and Rabin said Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and would begin negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process.

Roadmap for Peace (2003)

Arafat and Rabin shake hands. (AFP/Getty Images/J. David Ake)
President Bill Clinton gleams with pride as Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) shake hands in the White House Rose Garden on Sept. 13, 1993. It was the first direct, face-to-face meeting between Israeli and Palestinian political representatives. (AFP/Getty Images/J. David Ake)

Set out a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap to a comprehensive and final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 2005, in three phases:

  • Phase I (to be completed by May 2003): end Palestinian violence; implement Palestinian political reform; Israeli withdrawal and freeze on expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; Palestinian elections.

  • Phase II (to be completed by December 2003): hold international conference on Palestinian economic recovery; establish a process leading to an independent Palestinian state.

  • Phase III (to be completed by the end of 2005): Israel and Palestinians conclude a permanent agreement that ends their conflict, ends the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, defines Palestinian refugees' right to return to their former homes, establishes Jerusalem's borders and status and fulfills the vision of two states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security. Arab states agree to establish full diplomatic relations and make peace with Israel.

Document Citation
Arieff, I. (2009, May 1). Middle East peace prospects. CQ Global Researcher, 3, 119-148. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/
Document ID: cqrglobal2009050000
Document URL: http://library.cqpress.com/globalresearcher/cqrglobal2009050000

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