Long line of Israeli-Palestinian peace bids precedes Trump administration’s push

US President Bill Clinton (C) meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat July 25 at Camp David at the end of the Middle East Peace Summit. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 June 2019
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Long line of Israeli-Palestinian peace bids precedes Trump administration’s push

The economic conference in Bahrain follows a history of peace efforts that have failed to overcome decades of distrust and violence.

Here is a list of the main plans and initiatives undertaken by the parties themselves and international mediators since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured the Jordanian-held West Bank and East Jerusalem, Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and the Egyptian-run Gaza Strip and Syria’s Golan Heights.

• 1967 — UN Security Council Resolution 242

After the Six-Day War, UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” in return for all states in the area to respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The resolution is the foundation for many peace initiatives but its imprecise phrasing — is the reference to all territories or just some? — has complicated efforts for decades.

• 1969 -1971 — The Rogers Plans

US Secretary of State William Rogers proposes three plans that focused on ending warfare between Israel and Egypt, whose forces were then glaring at one another across the Suez Canal. It urged that Jerusalem be a “unified city” with roles for Israel and Jordan in its civic, economic and religious life. It also called for a “just settlement” for Palestinian refugees.

• 1978 — Camp David agreement

Five years after the 1973 Middle East war, which began with Egyptian and Syrian offensives to regain the Sinai and the Golan Heights and ended with Israel still in control of the two territories, US President Jimmy Carter brings Israel’s Menachem Begin and Egypt’s Anwar Sadat to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, to negotiate peace.

In 1977, after a series of disengagement of forces agreements between Israel and Egypt, Sadat had become the first Arab leader to visit Israel. At Camp David, he and Begin agree on a Framework for Peace in the Middle East. It calls for an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, an Israeli withdrawal in stages from the Sinai and a transitional Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

• 1979 — Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty

Signed on the White House lawn, it is the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country. It set out plans for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai within three years.

• 1981 — Fahd Plan

Saudi Crown Prince Fahd proposes plan calling for complete Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in 1967, creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a right of return or compensation for Palestinian refugees.

• 1982 — The Reagan Plan

After Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, US President Ronald Regan urges a “fresh start” in resolving the wider Israeli-Arab conflict. He proposes a five-year transitional period of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and negotiations leading to self-government by the Palestinians in association with Jordan.

• 1991 — Madrid summit

Four years after a Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, erupted in the West Bank and Gaza, an international peace conference convenes in Madrid. 

Representatives of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) attend, a historic first. No agreements are reached but scene is set for direct Israeli-Palestinian contacts.

• 1993-1995 — Declaration of Principles/Oslo Accords

Israel and the PLO hold secret talks in Norway that result in interim peace agreements. The accords call for a Palestinian interim self-government and an elected council in the West Bank and Gaza for a transitional period not exceeding five years, along with Israeli troop withdrawals. Negotiations would begin no later than the third year of the interim period on a permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

• 2000 — Camp David summit

With Israel and the Palestinians unable to resolve core issues, US President Bill Clinton convenes Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David. They fail to reach a final agreement and another Palestinian uprising ensues.

• 2002-2003 — Bush Declaration/Arab peace initiative/Road Map

George W. Bush becomes first US president to call for creation of a Palestinian state, living side-by-side with Israel “in peace and security.” Saudi Arabia presents Arab League-endorsed peace plan for full Israeli withdrawal from territory occupied in 1967 and Israel’s acceptance of a Palestinian state in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Quartet of mediators — the US, the EU, the UN and Russia — presents a roadmap to a permanent two-state solution to the conflict.

Amid the Palestinian uprising, the plan calls for an “end of terror and violence,” Israeli troop pullbacks and an Israeli settlement freeze, all leading to final-status negotiations.

• 2007 — Annapolis summit

In the most intense US peace push since Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2000, Bush hosts a Middle East summit in Annapolis, Maryland. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attend and agree to resume talks, with the declared aim of crafting a peace treaty by 2008. Olmert later says they were close to a deal but a corruption investigation against him and a Gaza war in 2008 caused the negotiations to end.

• 2009 — Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan address

In a speech at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he would be prepared to reach a peace agreement that includes establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state. He also sets another condition: Palestinian recognition of Israel as the “state of the Jewish people.”

• 2010 — Israeli settlement freeze/talks resume — and end

Under pressure from US President Barack Obama, Netanyahu imposes a 10-month partial moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank. Peace talks resume just before the freeze ends, and then break down within weeks after Netanyahu refuses to extend the moratorium.

• 2013 — 2014 — Washington peace talks/negotiations collapse

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, coaxed to resume talks by US Secretary of State John Kerry, meet in Washington. Kerry says the objective is to reach a final-status agreement within nine months. Talks go nowhere and Israel suspends them in April 2014, citing its opposition to a unity pact between President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group and Hamas.

• 2019 — Netanyahu says he intends to annex West Bank settlements 


Sudan is heading in the right direction but much work remains, says US envoy

US is working with other governments in the region to build support for the transitional process in Sudan. (Reuters)
Updated 14 min ago
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Sudan is heading in the right direction but much work remains, says US envoy

CHICAGO: US Special Envoy for Sudan Donald E. Booth on Tuesday said that leaders of the military government and the opposition in the African nation are moving toward a reconciliation, but added “there is a lot” that still needs to be done.
Booth, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in June, is charged with leading the US efforts to support a political solution to the current crisis that reflects the will of the Sudanese people.
Both sides in Sudan agreed a political power-sharing deal on July 17 that set out a 39-month period of transition, led by Sudan’s new “Sovereign Council,” before constitutional changes can be made. Under the agreement, a military general will lead the council for the first 21 months, a civilian for the following 18 months, and then elections will be held.
“That political declaration really addresses the structure of a transitional government and not the entire structure,” Booth said. “(The July 17 agreement) has put off the question of the legislative council. It is a document that is the beginning of a process. We welcome the agreement on that but there are still a lot of negotiations to be conducted on what the Sudanese call their constitutional declaration.”
The envoy said he expects the Sovereign Council “will have to address what the functions of the different parts of the transitional government will be,” such as the roles and powers of “the sovereign council, the prime minister, the cabinet and, ultimately, the legislative cabinet. Who will lead that transitional government is still undecided.”
The crisis in Sudan came to a head in December 2018 when President Omar Al-Bashir imposed emergency austerity measures that prompted widespread public protests.
He was overthrown by the Sudanese military in April 2018 as a result of the unrest but the protests continued. Demonstrations in Khartoum turned violent on June 3 when 150 civilians were killed, sparking nationwide protests in which nearly a million people took part.
Booth said these protests had changed the dynamics in Sudan, forcing the military to negotiate with the people.
“The 3rd of June was a signal of the limits of people power,” he said. “But then there was the 30th of June, in which close to a million people took to the streets outside of Sudan and I think that demonstrated the limits of the military power over the people.”
Some have asked whether individuals might face prosecution for past human-rights violations, including Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Gen. Hemeti, who was appointed head of the ruling transitional military council in April after Al-Bashir was removed from power. Booth said this would be a decision for the new transitional government.
“One has to recognize that General Hemeti is a powerful figure currently in Sudan,” he said. “He has considerable forces loyal to him. He has significant economic assets as well. So, he has been a prominent member of this transitional military council. But he has been one of the chief negotiators for the forces of Freedom and Change.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Both sides in Sudan agreed on a political power-sharing deal on July 17 that set out a 39-month period of transition, led by Sudan’s new ‘Sovereign Council,’ before constitutional changes can be made.

• Under the agreement, a military general will lead the council for the first 21 months, a civilian for the following 18 months, and then elections will be held.

• We will have to wait and see what type of agreement Sudanese will come up with, says US envoy.

“We will have to wait and see what type of agreement they will come up with…we don’t want to prejudge where the Sudanese will come out on that. It is their country and their decision on how they move forward. Our goal is to support the desire for a truly civilian-led transition.”
Booth noted that although sanctions on Sudan have been lifted, the designation of the nation as a state sponsor of terrorism remains in force. He also said he expects the pressures and restrictions on journalists covering Sudan’s transition to ease as progress continues toward redefining Sudan’s government.
“As you can see, there is still a lot that the Sudanese need to do,” said Booth. “But we fully support the desire of the Sudanese people to have a civilian-led transitional government that will tackle the issues of constitutional revision and organizing elections, free and fair democratic elections, at the end of the transitional period.”
He added that the US is working with other governments in the region to build support for the transitional process, including expanded religious freedoms, an end to the recruitment of children for military service, and improving Sudan’s economy.
“I think it is important we give the Sudanese space to negotiate with each other, and to continue to express our support to get to the civilian-led transition government that will be broadly supported by the Sudanese people,” said Booth.