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

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 


Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

Updated 21 January 2020

Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

  • Expert says sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in Libyan conflict unlikely

JEDDAH: With the conclusion of the Libya peace summit in Berlin on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether Turkey is willing to implement the provisions of the final communique and stay out of the conflict.

Ankara is accused of sending Syrian fighters to the Libyan battlefront in support of Fayez Al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced concerns over the arrival of Syrian and other foreign fighters in Tripoli, saying: “That must end.” 

Samuel Ramani, a geopolitical analyst at Oxford University, speculates that Turkey will not deploy more troops.  

But he told Arab News that a sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict is unlikely for the moment as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will remain present “until the GNA’s future is secured.”

Noting the difficulty of enforcing the Berlin agreement, Ramani said Turkey might not be the first mover in breaching a cease-fire in Libya.

But he added that Turkey will not hesitate to deploy forces and upend the agreement if Haftar makes any moves that it considers “provocative.”

The summit called for sanctions on those who violate the UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya.

Turkish opposition MPs recently criticized the expanded security pact between Ankara and the GNA, saying the dispatch of materials and equipment to Libya breaches the UN arms embargo.

Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.

Micha’el Tanchum, Analyst

The summit does not seem to have resolved ongoing disputes regarding the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, a planned natural gas pipeline connecting eastern Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete.

The Cypriot presidency accused Turkey of being a “pirate state,” citing Ankara’s recent drilling off its coasts just a day after Brussels warned Turkey that its plans were illegal.

Erdogan dismissed the warning and threatened to send to the EU some 4 million refugees that Turkey is hosting.

Turkey dispatched its Yavuz drillship to the south of Cyprus on Sunday, based on claims deriving from the maritime delimitation agreement with the GNA.

Turkey’s insistence on gas exploration in the region may be subject to sanctions as early as this week, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.

Aydin Sezer, an Ankara-based political analyst, drew attention to Article 25 of the Berlin final communique, which underlined the “Libyan Political Agreement as a viable framework for the political solution in Libya,” and called for the “establishment of a functioning presidency council and the formation of a single, unified, inclusive and effective Libyan government approved by the House of Representatives.”

Sezer told Arab News: “Getting approval from Libya’s Haftar-allied House of Representatives would be a serious challenge for Ankara because Haftar recently considered all agreements with Turkey as a betrayal. This peace conference once more showed that Turkey should keep away from Libya.”

Many experts remain skeptical about the possible outcome of the summit. 

Micha’el Tanchum, a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said: “Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.”