Years of efforts for Israel-Palestinian peace

Years of efforts for Israel-Palestinian peace

The United States has long played the role of mediator in efforts to find a way out of the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

With a new peace plan announced by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday but talks between the two sides stalled since 2014, here is a recap of previous initiatives by the US and other players to find a solution:

 

The government of president Ronald Reagan opened dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1988 after its leader Yasser Arafat accepted US demands to recognise the right of Israel to exist as a country.

The administration of the next US leader, George H. Bush, established channels of communication between Israel and Arab countries.

In 1991, Washington and Moscow co-organised an Israel-Arab peace conference in Madrid, capitalising on improved relations after the adversaries stood together against Iraq in the Gulf war over Kuwait.

The Madrid conference was the first time Israelis sat at the negotiating table with Palestinians, who were included in the delegation from Jordan because Israel refused direct PLO participation.

The talks came amid the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

 

Israelis and Palestinians held six months of secret meetings in Oslo in 1993.

In a breakthrough, Israel agreed to allow limited Palestinian self-government and to recognise the PLO as representatives of the Palestinian people.

It was sealed with the Oslo Accords, signed in Washington in September 1993 in a ceremony hosted by president Bill Clinton.

The following May, Jericho in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip became the first autonomous Palestinian territories.

Two months later, Arafat returned to the Palestinian territories after 27 years in exile and formed the Palestinian Authority administration.

In September 1995, Oslo II extended Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank.

In November, Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist opposed to the peace process.

 

In October 1998, Clinton hosted a meeting at the Wye Plantation which resulted in an accord on an Israeli withdrawal from part of the West Bank.

Israel, however, froze the deal two months later.

In July 2000, the two sides held days of talks at Camp David outside Washington but they stumbled over Jerusalem -- claimed by both sides -- and questions around Palestinian refugees.

The second Palestinian intifada erupted two months later.

In March 2002, Arab states led by Saudi Arabia proposed diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for its withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since the 1967 Middle East war.

It came to nothing because the very next day Israeli premier Ariel Sharon launched a fresh military offensive against the Palestinians following repeated suicide attacks.

 

In April 2003, the so-called Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and United States published a document dubbed a "roadmap" towards a Palestinian state.

It depended on a halt to Palestinian attacks and Israel's building of new settlements on occupied land.

Both sides committed to its application in June 2003 but it was eventually crumpled up amid continued settlement activity.

 

In November 2007, president George W. Bush oversaw a meeting of representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Annapolis, near Washington, after years of impasse.

But the new peace effort was thwarted amid disagreement over Israeli's continued building of Jewish settlements and its checkpoints, violence in Gaza and divisions among the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority quit the talks when Israel launched a massive offensive in Gaza in late 2008.

In July 2013, US secretary of state John Kerry announced the launch of new direct talks.

However, they were suspended by Israel in April 2014 when Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation.