Sunday, September 26, 2010

Facts you should know-Timeline of the Middle East Peace Process

The Israel Project

Israel signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Peace negotiations with the Palestinians have at times achieved important progress but have been set back often by military hostilities and terrorism.
Israel has consistently affirmed its willingness to give up land for peace and security and proved this with its withdrawal from Sinai and unilateral military redeployments from Gaza and South Lebanon.

Here is a chronology of important events in the peace process which began seriously following the 1973 Yom Kippur War: 1974/75: Israeli signs disengagement agreements with Egypt and Syria and withdraws from strategic territory it had occupied in the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

November 1977: President Sadat becomes first Arab leader to make official visit to Israel.

March 1979: Israel and Egypt sign peace treaty. Israel fulfills agreement by withdrawing completely from Sinai Peninsula, giving up access to valuable oil wells and evacuating towns and villages.

June 1982: Israel occupies southern Lebanon to suppress PLO rocket fire and terrorist incursions. Over next three years, Israeli troops withdraw to narrow border zone.

1987: First Palestinian Intifada launches six years of violence and civil unrest.

October 1991: United States hosts first Arab-Israeli peace conference in Madrid, followed by Israeli-Syrian, Israeli-Jordanian, Israeli-Lebanese and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington.

1992/93: Secret talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials lead to Oslo Accords signed at White House ceremony September 1993. Israel recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization and allows Yasser Arafat to return to the West Bank and establish a Palestinian Authority. It also accepts the eventual goal of a Palestinian state. The PLO recognizes Israel’s right to exist and renounces terrorism.

October 1994: Israel and Jordan sign peace treaty and establish diplomatic relations.

January 1997: In Hebron Agreement, Israel military redeploys from 80 percent of Hebron.

1998/99: The Wye and Sharm-el-Sheikh agreements of the late 1990s lead to further Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank.

June 2000: Israel unilaterally withdraws its forces from southern Lebanon. Hezbollah forces, armed and financed by Iran and Syria, take control of the region.

July 2000: At Camp David Summit, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offers the Palestinians more than 90 percent of the West Bank, which would mean the uprooting of about 40,000 Israeli settlers. The deal would also include Palestinian control over the Christian and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem’s old city and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods, as well as religious sovereignty over the Temple Mount, considered Judaism’s holiest site and known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). Yasser Arafat turns down the deal.

2000-2004: Second Intifada marked by many suicide attacks against Israeli civilians and retaliatory actions.

January 2001: At Taba Conference, Israel offers even more of the West Bank: territory equivalent to 97 percent of the total land area requested by the Palestinians, including swaps from within pre-1967 Israel. Arafat again rejects the deal and a day later delivers accusing the Israeli government of a “barbarian and cruel war using fascist methods…”

June 2003: Quartet of the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations issue a “road map” for peace including the establishment of a Palestinian state.

August 2005: In Gaza Disengagement, Israel unilaterally pulls all of its citizens out of the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. This dramatic move costs Israel approximately $2 billion, and includes the evacuation of all of the roughly 9,000 Israelis living in the affected. Hamas, armed and financed by Iran, takes control of Gaza and uses the territory to launch rockets against Israeli towns and villages.

July 2006: Second Lebanon War erupts after Hezbollah kidnaps two Israeli soldiers across border.

December 2008: Israel launches three-week “Operation Cast Lead” to suppress constant Hamas rocket fire against civilians in southern Israel.

November 2009: Prime Minister Netanyahu announced 10 month construction freeze in West Bank settlements.

2009/2010: Israel undertakes series of actions to improve conditions on West Bank and help spur economic activity. These include opening highways, dismantling 60 security checkpoints, facilitating travel for Palestinian businessmen through security crossings and allowing Arab-Israeli civilians to visit the West Bank through all crossings along the security fence. 2009 marks first year since the Second Intifada began in September 2000, no suicide bombings were carried out. This is attributed to Israeli security measures as well as cooperation with the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.

September 2010: Israel and Palestinians resume direct peace talks.

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