In 1993, Israeli and Palestinian leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organization strove to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict known as the Oslo peace process. Perhaps the most important milestone of this period was Yasser Arafat's letter of recognition of Israel's right to exist. The crux of the Oslo agreement was that Israel would gradually cede control of the Palestinian territories over to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. The Oslo process was delicate and progressed in fits and starts, but finally came to a close when Arafat and Barak failed to reach agreement. Robert Malley, special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, has confirmed that Barak made no formal written offer to Arafat. Consequently, there are different accounts of the proposals considered. However, the main obstacle to agreement appears to have been the status of Jerusalem.

Current status

The Oslo peace process obligated both sides to work towards a two-state solution, as noted above. However, during the process itself, there were numerous acts of violence by both sides. Israelis claimed they were acting only in response to Palestinian acts of terrorism. Palestinians claimed they were only carrying out legitimate resistance, against numerous violations by Israel of Palestinian rights, and political sovereignty.[citation needed]

In addition, during this process, both sides expressed dissatisfaction and grievances with the other side. The main Israeli allegation was that Palestinians were actively inciting and funding terrorism against Israel. The main Palestinian complaint was that Israel was repeatedly violating Palestinian rights, which made it pointless to attempt to persuade ordinary Palestinians to accept Israel.[citation needed]

In 2006, Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council, prompting the United States and many European countries to cut off all funds to the Palestinian Authority. The US cited three conditions that the Palestinian government would need to satisfy for a resumption of aid: an end to violence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to the Road Map for Peace. Palestinian critics stated that the US and Israel themselves complied with none of these conditions, and that Israel's support of the Road Map was accompanied by 14 reservations which, they say, drain it of its substance. Furthermore, they assert that Israeli violence against Palestinians continues without discussion. Israel states that its military actions are in response to Hamas's frequent rocket attacks from Gaza into Sderot, and on other Israeli cities. [citation needed]

In early 2007, Hamas and Fatah met in Saudi Arabia, and reached agreement to unite their respective parties, and a new unity coalition government of both Fatah and Hamas took office in March 2007. There remained much debate as to whether the PNA was now a credible negotiating authority, and whether sanctions should be lifted. When the Fatah-Hamas coalition collapsed, and the two parties engaged in a physical conflict, the debate changed to whether the newly separated Fatah was a credible negotiating partner. [citation needed]

In June 2007 Hamas militarily defeated Fatah in the Gaza Strip in response to attacks which critics of Fatah said were an overthrow and possible coup attempt funded and assisted by the United States, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, engineered by US National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy Elliott Abrams and executed by Fatah militants, led by Mohammed Dalan.[citation needed] The various forces affiliated with Fatah engaged in combat with Hamas, in numerous gunbattles. Most Fatah leaders escaped to Egypt and the West Bank, and some were captured and killed. Fatah remained in control of the West Bank, and President Abbas formed a new governing coalition, which some critics of Fatah said subverts the Palestinian Constitution and excludes the majority government of Hamas.

The current policy of Israel, the United States, and several allied governments, is to censure Hamas for its non-recognition of Israel, and to assist and deal with President Abbas and Fatah, in support of their stance in favor of recognition of Israel. It is the position of the UN, the International Criminal Court, and a vast majority of the international community that Israel and the Palestinians should come to a peaceful resolution based on internaltional laws, UN Resolutions, reciprical recognition of self-determination and human rights.

Both Sides do not Trust each others, that the thing that makes the peace process very difficult.

The only one way to return the Peace Process to its normal way, by increasing the trust for our leaders, or by electing strong leaders that can take difficult decisions for continuing the Peace Process.

Mohammed Al-Nakhalah

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I totally agree with you, Mohammed, that trust is the key to returning the peace process and strong leadership is necessary! On mepeace we are not waiting for politicians to take make peace. On mepeace we are demonstrating trust and leadership.

Thank you for the well written analysis.

Trust is a key that we need to create not only in our leadership also in ourselves. Getting a strong leader in Palestine my causes another internal violent round that may be weakens the Palestinians and attract Israeli intervention.

I guess there is a challenge for the young generation to find the way to structure trust in the Palestinian society and evoke trust with the Israelis (also the ones that are not involved in "peace" activity). Israel must behave in a way that enables Palestinian change of attitude to earn the trust of the Palestinians. This is sad complex vogue situation that needs shift of focus of what is important for the best of our children. Trust signal us that we are all in this together.



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