Let us count all the ways the Middle East peace process has failed before


Some 50,000 Palestinians marched in the funerals through the streets of Gaza mourning their losses and protesting the raid that ended with at least12 Palestinians dead. The marchers voiced their opposition to the U.S. 'road map' for peace plan.


Abid Katib

The re-invigorated peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians seems doomed to fail.

After decades of broken promises and warfare, such cynicism has become synonymous with the peace process.

The last round of negotiations in 2010 ended on particularly bad terms. The Israelis refused to acquiesce to certain preconditions, including the cessation of all settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, enraging Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Negotiations this time around will likely pick up where the 2010 conference left off, and are buttressed by the Israeli government’s decision to release 104 prisoners of war in waves over the next few months. Of course, that is still contingent on the pace of negotiations, which many expect to be painfully slow.

Ahead of the latest batch of negotiations, GlobalPost takes a look at the failures of the past.

1. Lausanne Conference (1949)

The 1948-49 first Israeli-Arab War reflected the opposition of the Arab states to the formation of the Jewish state in what they considered to be Arab territory. (AFP/Getty Images)

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War began the day after Israel declared independence; the Lausanne Conference was the first attempt to create peace. Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria signed agreements with Israel demarcating cease-fire lines. The boundaries held until the 1967 Six-Day War, but tensions remained high.

2. UN Resolution 242 (1967)

On June 5, 1967, Israel launched preemptive attacks against Egypt and Syria. In just six days, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula of Egypt, the Golan Heights of Syria, and the West Bank and Arab sector of East Jerusalem (both under Jordanian rule), thereby giving the conflict the name of the Six-Day War. (Pierre Guillaud/AFP/Getty Images)

The 6-Day War was a major tactical victory for Israel. It captured the Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and all of Jerusalem. At this stage Israel had bargaining chips and sought to leverage them. UN Resolution 242 was the first to recommend the peace plan nearly all subsequent talks have adopted: land for peace. The resolution was mired in ambiguity advising Israel only to withdraw “from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” Overall the resolution produced little substantial peace accords and did not address Palestinian concerns.

3. Camp David/Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1978/1979)

This file picture dated September 17, 1978 shows Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat (back to camera) and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin embracing each other after signing a peace agreement in the East Room of the White House as US President Jimmy Carter looks on. (AFP/Getty Images)

After years of fighting and escalating tensions, Egypt finally had enough. In 1977 Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Jerusalem in a gesture of peace. Seeing positive developments, US President Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to Camp David in 1978 to negotiate peace. One agreement, A Framework for Peace in the Middle East, addressed the possible process to solving the “Palestinian Problem” through self-government in the West Bank and Gaza and recommended every Arab state adopt a peace treaty with Israel. In 1979, Israel and Egypt signed a mutual peace accord. Egypt became the first Arab state to recognize Israel and it regained control of the Sinai Peninsula. While these talks were the most successful, the 1981 assassination of Sadat by terrorists in response to peace made it clear that tensions remained unsolved.

4. Madrid (1991-93)

Pro-Iranian Hezbollah supporters demonstrate against the United States and Israel on Oct. 30, 1991 in Beirut. (Nabil Ismail/AFP/Getty Images)

Just after the conclusion of the Gulf War in 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union invited Jordan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinians to a peace conference in Spain. The talks were the first time the governments of these nations met face to face to discuss the “Palestinian Problem.” While little positive developments came of the process, in 1994 Jordan and Israel managed to sign a peace treaty.

5. Oslo (1993)

The Palestinian uprising, or Intifada against Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas, broke out in 1987 and lasted until 1993, when the Oslo peace accords were signed. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

The Oslo Conference had what all others lacked: face-to-face peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. At the start, the talks appeared to give promising signs of lasting peace as Israel agreed to remove troops from the West Bank and Gaza while the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist. Unfortunately, after the agreements were signed, Hamas began ramping up suicide attacks in Israel and Israel continued growing settlements in the West Bank.

6. Wye Agreements (1998)

US President Bill Clinton stands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (L) and Jordan's King Hussein (2nd-L) during signing ceremonies of the Wye Agreement on Oct. 23, 1998 at the White House in Washington, DC. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright looks on. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

Since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, frequent suicide bombings and growing Israeli settlement building proved neither side was actively implementing the peace agreements. In 1998, US President Bill Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to sign an agreement to implement the procedures outlined in the Oslo Accords. After days of intense debate, the agreement was signed. However, like all previous talks, both sides became suspicious of each other and hostilities remained with agreements in a stalemate.

7. Camp David (2000)

Israeli soldiers shoot at stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers in Khan Yunes in the Gaza Strip during the Second Intifada on Oct. 24, 2000. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

The Oslo Accords and Wye Agreements sought only to solve the question of Israeli’s occupation of disputed lands. The 2000 Camp David summit looked to solve the question of refugees, borders and the status of Jerusalem. No agreement was signed as the Palestinians refused anything less than a return to the 1967 borders, while Israel only offered the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank and parts of the Negev Desert. The failure of the meetings ushered in a new Palestinian uprising, known as the Second Intifada.

8. Road Map to Peace and Geneva Accords (2003)

Some 50,000 Palestinians march in the streets of Gaza, mourning their losses and protesting the raid that ended with at least 12 Palestinians dead. (Abid Katib/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2002, George W. Bush became the first US president to overtly call for the creation of a Palestinian state, following on Clinton's suggestions that peace was impossible without the creation of a Palestinian state. A year later, the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations worked together to create a three-step plan for lasting peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. First, both sides would end violence and issue statements supporting a two-state solution. Second, the borders of a Palestinian state would be discussed at an international conference. Finally, the final peace agreement would be signed. Some weeks after the roadmap was proposed, Yossi Beilin, one of the Israeli negotiators of the Oslo accords and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo agreed upon an unofficial plan in Oslo that would flip the roadmap, whereby borders would be discussed before peace. Neither plan was implemented and violence continued.

9. Annapolis (2007)

Thousands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movement supporters rushed to central Gaza City in front of the parliament for a rally to reject a key Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. (Abid Katib/AFP/Getty Images)

The Second Intifada left the implementation of the “roadmap” stalled. In 2007, during the last few months of his presidency, George W. Bush invited Israel and the Palestinian Authority, among a backdrop of other Arab nations, to a peace conference in Maryland. Hamas, which had just taken control of the Gaza strip, was not represented. Despite signing a “joint understanding,” no agreement was signed and talks abruptly ended as Israel launched a new offensive in Gaza.

10. Direct Washington Talks (2010)

Cranes are seen in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in East Jerusalem on Nov. 10, 2010. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Just months after taking office, US President Barack Obama tried his hand at brokering peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. In 2009, after meeting with Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to suspend settlement construction in the West Bank for 10 months. The settlement freeze lasted, but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refused to accept growing settlements in East Jerusalem. When the two parties finally met in Washington in September 2010, the 10-month freeze was up and settlement construction began again. The talks ended shortly thereafter.