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Road map for peace

From Academic Kids

The "road map" for peace is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The principles of the plan were first outlined by U.S. President George W. Bush in a speech on June 24, 2002, in which he called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with the Israeli state in peace. Bush was the first U.S. President to explicitly call for such a Palestinian state. Bush's phrase "road map" later became a popular synonym of the word "plan" in many other contexts.

Contents

Concept

In exchange for statehood, the road map requires the Palestinian Authority to make democratic reforms and abandon the use of terrorism. Israel, for its part, must support and accept the emergence of a reformed Palestinian government and end settlement activity of the Gaza Strip and West Bank 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 outlined below. Should the parties perform their obligations rapidly, progress within and through the phases may come sooner than indicated in the plan. Non-compliance with obligations will impede progress. Diplomats from the 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 and freeze on settlement expansion; Palestinian elections
  • Phase II (as early as June-Dec 2003): Creation of an independent Palestinian state; international conference and international monitoring of compliance with the road map
  • 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 states to agree to peace deals with Israel

Start of implementation

The first step on the road map was the appointment of the first-ever Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. 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. Nevertheless, outsiders believed that Sharon knew what he was saying when he used the word "occupation" and was carefully offering the road map for peace a chance, despite his traditionally hawkish views towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 Prime Minister ,  President , and  Prime Minister  after reading statement to the press during the closing moments of the Red Sea Summit in , , , .
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, United States President George W. Bush, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon after reading statement to the press during the closing moments of the Red Sea Summit in Aqaba, Jordan, June 4, 2003.

President Bush visited the Middle East from June 2-4 2003 for two summits in an attempt to push the road map as part of a seven-day overseas trip through Europe and Russia. On June 2, Israel freed about 100 Palestinian political prisoners before the first summit in Egypt as a sign of goodwill. In Egypt on June 3, President Bush met with the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, 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 Sharon and Abbas.

Halt in implementation

After Bush left the region, a series of retaliatory attacks by Israelis and Palestinians threatened to derail the road map. On June 10, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at a car in Gaza in a failed attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Two Palestinians were killed in the attack. The next day, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on an Israeli bus, killing 17 passengers and bystanders. In the following few days, Israel continued its targeting of Hamas leaders with new helicopter attacks.

On June 29, 2003, a tentative cease-fire was reached between the Palestinian Authority and four major Palestinian groups. Islamic Jihad and Hamas announced a joint three-month cease-fire, while Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction declared a six-month truce. The cease-fire was later joined by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One condition of maintaining the truce is a demand for the release of prisoners from Israeli jails, which is not part of the road map process. Despite this, Israel withdrew troops from the northern Gaza Strip and was discussing the transfer of territory to Palestinian control. The apparent breakthrough coincided with a visit to the region by United States National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

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 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.

As of the end of 2003, the Palestinian Authority has not prevented Palestinian terrorism, while Israel has not withdrawn from Palestinian areas occupied since September 28, 2000 or frozen settlement expansion. Thus the parties have not complied with the requirements of Phase I of the road map and no further progress on the roadmap has been made and it is thus currently effectively in limbo.

On February 13, 2004 the United Stated government decided that it may endorse Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for a unilateral withdrawal of most Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, noting that "...negotiations were impossible because of Palestinian recalcitrance."[1] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/13/politics/13DIPL.html?hp)

Revisions to the Road Map

On April 15, 2004, President George W. Bush proposed two changes to the envisioned peace agreements. One, that Israel will retain major population centers located to the east of the 1949 Armistice line: "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, that Palestinian refugees will not enter Israel: "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." [2] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/politics/15MTEX.html?ex=1083211200&en=0bbb19713b14bdf4&ei=5070)

On May 8, 2004 in a interview with Egypt's Al-Ahram 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. <P> 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. [3] (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/689/fr4.htm) </blockquote> On July 18, 2004, United States President George W. Bush stated that the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005 is unlikely due to instability and violence in the Palestinian Authority. (Le Figaro) (http://www.lefigaro.fr/magazine/20040716.MAG0008.html)

See also

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

External links

he:מפת הדרכים

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