Conflict Resolution in the Middle East
History of the ARAB-ISRAELI conflict
The Palestinian Arab and Jews rivalry is of recent origin that started on the eve of 20th century. Even though both of them have different religions the religious diversity is not considered to be the reasons of such rivalry. This is necessarily a struggle over the territory. The territory claimed by both the groups till 1948 was known as Palestine. However, during the period following the war of 1948-49 the territory concerned was split into three portions: the state of Israel, the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip. This small territory comprises of about 10,000 square miles which is considered of equal size with that of the state of Maryland. The conflicting claims of the groups are not capable of being resolved if a group exerts political control over the total territory. The claim of Jews is attributed to the historical reasons of biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants and based on the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel and cater to the Jewish need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)
On the other hand the claims to the territory by the Palestinian Arab’s are based on constant residence in the country for hundreds of years and they constitute the majority native of the land. In the 19th century, both the Jews and Palestinians started developing a national consciousness and steered to attain the national objectives. The Palestinian territory at that time was a part of the Ottoman Empire at that time. However, the territory was not under a single political unit. Till end of the 19th Century most of the Jews were residing in Palestine were diffused in four cities with religious significance: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safad and Tiberias. Their loyalty to the territory was religious rather than national and they were not involved in or supportive of the Zionist movement that started in Europe initially and brought into the Palestine by the settlers. Most of the Jews that came from Europe led a more secular lifestyle and were loyal to the objectives of creating a Jewish nation and determined to create a modern, independent Jewish state.
On the eve of 20th Century Palestine was demonstrated to become a disturbed area strangled with territorial struggles and political interests. During the initial years the gradual downfall of Ottoman Empire was seen and the rising of European powers in the Mediterranean area inclusive of the Palestine. In the post World War II periods growing struggle over the Palestine between the Arabs and Jews and between the Zionist militias and British army forced Britain to surrender its mandate over the Palestine. British appealed the United Nations instituted recently to resolve the issue. On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed the resolution in favor of partition of the Palestine into two states namely, Jewish and Arab. The Zionist leadership had to accept the leadership even though they thought of more expansion in the borders allotted to the Jewish state. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)
The Palestinian Arabs and the coterminous Arab states could not accept the UN determination and accused General Assembly vote as an international infidelity. The struggle between the Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Palestine cropped up soon after the adoption of the UN plan. The armed forces of Arab were weak in terms organization, training and arms in comparison to the Zionist military forces that were small in number but well equipped, trained and organized. The Zionist forces could succeed in securing control over the most part of the area allotted to the Jewish state by spring of 1948. British evacuation of Palestine was effected to on May 15, 1948 and the Zionist leaders proclaimed the state of Israel.
The Palestinian Arab State as planned by the UN could not ever be established. As a result of the incessant struggle between Palestine and Israel during the period 1947-49 most of the Palestinian Arabs became refugees. According of the official sources of Israel the refugees had to flee as per the orders of Arab Political and military leaders. During the early 1960s the territory was considered turbulent amidst the Cold War rivalry between the U.S. And the Soviet Union for global dominance. In response to a Syrian request for assistance, in May 1967, the Egyptian troops moved to Sinai Peninsula coterminous with Israel. With continuance of the military and diplomatic crisis Israel attacked Egypt and Syria on June 5, 1967 as a defensive effort. The short war of six days exhibited Israel as the dominant regional military power. The rapid and diligence victory of Israel disgraced the Arab regimes.
Contrary to this the Palestinian national movement rose as a major incident after 1967 in form of political and military groups in the name of Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestinian population in West Bank and Gaza began a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. This effort drew the attention of the organizations and institutions emerged under occupation. Organization of the Intifada activism through the popular committees under the patronage of United National Leadership of the Uprising was seen. Even though the intifada could not resolve the occupation issue however, it transpired that the status quo was unsustainable. The PLO adopted a clear political program to guide the struggle for independence. The Palestine National Council in its convention at Algeria in November 1988 acknowledged the State of Israel proclaimed an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and relinquished terrorism. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)
However, there was no response of the Israeli government to such events since no remarkable change has been noticed and that the PLO was a terrorist organization with which it would never negotiate. Israeli Labor Party government came into power under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin in June 1992 and committed a quick effectual to the Israel-Palestinian agreement. However, the hostile fighting by HAMAS an Islamic Resistance Movement and Islamic Jihad against Israeli targets further aggravated the tensions. Paradoxically, before the intifada, Israeli authorities resorted to the policy of enabling rising of Islamist organizations as a means to split the Palestinians in the occupied regions. Moreover, the Palestinian expectations were not accommodated by the Oslo accords.
The differences with the two parties in the matters of Jerusalem and refugees made it quite impossible to arrive at an accord in the Camp David Summit meeting held during July 2000. Imposition of terms on the Palestinians by Israelis are started to have been realized by them could never fetch peace. The peace approach initiated at Oslo was believed to have suffered from deep flaws coupled with the continuous irritations and humiliations inflicted upon Palestinians in the occupied territories initiated a second intifada started in late September 2000. The Palestinian street discarded the Oslo and the top officials of the PA presently opined that the UN resolutions must form the basis of future final status talks. (Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer)
— why the topic is important for the world?
The turbulence in Middle East today has given scope to proclaim it as the most militarized region in the world and considered to be the centre of global arms market. The dominance and involvement in the Middle East with the wide availability of the energy resources forming the strength of the Western economies are considered to be quite significant for the past and present imperial and superpowers like France, Britain, USA and former Soviet Union. (The Middle East) The Americans perceive the incidents of Middle East is of considerably significant for the U.S. foreign policy and consider the Middle East region is of paramount importance to the U.S. advantage. The Middle East region was therefore considered by most in U.S. To be of considerable significance to the U.S. economy. The possible outcomes of the hostility in Middle East therefore are considered to have profound impact on the U.S. A relatively stronger majority of the Americans believed that the U.S. Mid-East policy is one of the crucial factors instigating the September 11th terrorist attacks. Such attitude is common to the whole world. (Israel and the Palestinians: Importance of the Middle East to the U.S.)
What is unique in Middle East? One specialty is perceived in institutionalization of the hostility-with its continuance over the few decades if not more. It is worthwhile to view the annual budgets of all the organizations dedicated to moralize the Middle East. The provision of funds to all the activist organizations, the lobby groups, the news publications, the charities, the think tanks that exist primarily to label blame to the Israeli or Arab side are required to be estimated. The hostility in the Middle East is considered as a cottage industry in U.S. And Europe. This is not similar to the hostilities in other regions. It is quite fascinating to probe into the way it is. The pro-Israel camp has its own lobbies, organizations, think tanks, magazines, support groups, Internet user groups, etc. that strives hard to establish that the Arabs are wrong and they are right. The Israelis pose to be more outstanding in morality than the Arabs. Similarly the lobbies, organizations, think tanks, magazines, support groups, Internet user groups, etc. existing in the side of pro-Arab camps strives hard to establish that the Israelis are wrong and they are right. They also announce in similar fashion that they are morally more upstanding in comparison to the Israelis. Both of the groups are accusing each other labeling allegation that the other is morally deficient, the other is not acting nicely and because of the other that they are not arriving at a conclusion. (Why the Middle East Conflict Continues To Exist)
— peace initiatives to resolve the conflict
During the post First Gulf War period in 1991 George W. Bush convened the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 in Madrid, Spain. It has no outcome, however, resulted in a series of confidential meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators led by Norway. These meetings gave rise to thee Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israel signed in 1993 by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with U.S. President Bill Clinton. A variety of Palestinian views of the peace process existed in the Israeli-Palestinian hostility. Some of the Palestinian leaders perceived that the peace process is directed to attain a permanent solution in the State of Israel; some other are of the view that the objective of the peace process is in total destruction of Israel. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process) Even though several contracts were executed with the efforts of the negotiators, the Palestinians constantly visualized their territory to be confiscated along with the illegal construction of the Jewish settlement in the West Bank. They could also visualize that the roads only suitable to the settlers were constructed rapidly in the land of Palestinians. (Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism?)
The peace process became stand still after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin during 1995. The resident Palestinians of the occupied territories could not visualize the improvement in their living standards. Moreover, the Israeli settlements viewed by the Palestinians as one of the largest impediment to the peace process were not started to be dismantled. Rather their number is considered to have doubled in the West Bank and to add with the suicide bombing attacks from Palestinian militant groups and the following castigatory actions from the Israelis further aggravated the situation. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process) To the Israelis the approach to peace should able to fetch not only peace but also security. Besides, the Palestinian revolutionaries hailing from the Islamic organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad produced new period of the Palestinian suicide bombers. The terrorist attacks intermittently estimated to have taken heavy toll of Israeli lives during the seven years of peace. This is more than that of the preceding six years of uprising. During 1996, with a week the attacks by suicide terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad resulted in 70 Israeli civilian deaths terrorizing the Israeli people. (Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism?)
A peace summit at Camp David was convened during 2000 by President Clinton with Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The Israeli Prime Minster claimed to have offered the Palestinians about 95% of the disputed territories simultaneously granting Palestinian sovereignty over the East Jerusalem. This however has no base. The proposal of Barak was to relinquish 69 Jewish settlements which constituted only 10% of the disputed territories along with the Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The proposal of the Barak was also to extend temporary Israeli control over another 10% of the West Bank territory that encompasses many Jewish settlements. The proposal for the remaining 80% of the proposed Palestinian West Bank was to split up by Israeli bypass roads and check points that exert restriction for the Palestinians to travel freely throughout their proposed nation and reduce the ability to absorb Palestinian refugees. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
This offer was bluntly turned down by Arafat and irrespective of the efforts of President Clinton the talks broke down. A new dimension was chalked out by the Israelis at the Taba agreements in January 2001. The proposal instantly demanded removal of ‘temporary Israeli controlled areas which was accepted by the Palestinian side as a basis for further negotiations. However, Ehud Barak was unable to present it to the Israeli public due to lack of heart felt support and onset of communal violence in the West bank and he could not even make any counter offers. The talks terminated without any accord and Ariel Sharon, the right wing Likud party candidate was elected as the Prime Minister of Israel in February 2001. With a view to devising plans for mitigation of the Israeli Palestinian hostility in 2002 a summit meeting was held at Beirut in March 2002. According to the foreign minister of Jordan the efforts of Arab in Beirut Summit offered complete peace in the area in conformity to the internationally acknowledged formulation of ‘land for peace’- a return to June 4, 1967, borders in exchange for normal relations and a collective peace treaty. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
The ‘Road Map’ in 2002 appealed for autonomous actions by the Israel and the Palestinian Authority with hostility issues put off until a rapport can be established. This peace process can be viewed in detail at a later section. The weaknesses of the roadmap insisted upon devising an alternative formula. Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert devised a formula demanding unilateral withdrawal from large parts of the West Bank and Gaza strip, discarding some Jewish settlements at the same time annexing some territory. This was regarded by many as a trial balloon. Ariel Sharon in his speech on December 18, allowing the Palestinian Authority a few months to adhere to the roadmap prior to taking up of unilateral steps by the Israel. The speech was vehemently condemned by the government of United States. It has also been warned by United States not to avoid the consequences of the roadmap. The U.S. was in favor of Israelis concern for security and the need for achieving reciprocal concessions in return for the withdrawal.
A team of negotiators under the leadership of Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Aded Rabbo formulated another peace approach after clandestine negotiations of two and half years. An unofficial blueprint was signed by both the parties in Geneva on December 1. The Geneva devised the basic structure for resolving the hostility. It is basically similar to the roadmap in terms of its end objectives. However, it adopted a ‘big bang’ approach of resolving all the big issues at once rather than taking a step-by-step approach. It was vehemently opposed by the Israeli government and many Palestinians with the Palestinian Authority staying non-committal. However, it was highly solicited by many European governments and some significant elements of the Bush Administration including the Secretary of State Collin Powell. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
Moreover, another strategy was devised by a number of groups inside and outside Israel depicting a ‘bi-national solution’ that formally annex the Palestinian territories however, making the Palestinian Arabs citizens in a unitary secular state. The suggestions pioneered by Tony Judt, a New York Professor have attracted both favor and condemnations. It was not considered new, since the idea was as old as of 1920s. However, it laid extra emphasis on the population issues in view of the fast growing Arab population in Israel and the territories. This is even supported by some Israeli settler groups visualizing it as a means that could permanently legitimize its claim over the West Bank and Gaza strip. In view of the vast political and demographic concerns attached to it, this is taken to be a highly dubious solution to the problem. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
— the role of the United States, EU, UN and Russia in resolving the conflict
The dual direction inherent in U.S. foreign policy over several regions over the periods is viewed as the contradiction of views stemming from the State Department on the one hand and the White House and other parts of the Administration on the other. This state of affairs however is evident in respect of the Israeli-Palestine hostility. The State Department while attempting to direct the foreign policy in a direction taking into consideration at least the parameters of international legitimacy and the views and sensitive matters of foreign states, other departments relied upon other methods regarding their stand as more ‘pragmatic’ and ‘realistic’ approach. Since the overall U.S. position was inclined toward Israel, the State Department was made to choose the option of holding an increasingly tenuous line. The American stand on the Occupied Territories was first resolved by President Reagan and the successive presidents have provided ample flexibility to the Israelis on their settlement issues. (Road-map to nowhere)
The United States is not succeeding in its assignment to execute the roadmap and the Bush vision of June 24, 2002, and to set up a feasible Palestinian state in conjunction with a secure Israel. There are many facets to this letdown. One is the triviality of U.S. attack. When the history of U.S. attacks over the past three decades were analyzed, it is obvious that American participation in the Arab-Israel clash was triumphant when it revealed on its own in the extended existence in the region, say more than weeks and even months of moving back and forth and meeting wholly with the parties of a strong U.S. secretary of state, namely Henry Kissinger in 1974-75, James Baker in 1990-91 with a clear presidential mandate, or Jimmy Carter, the president himself 1978-79, restraining the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Of course, President Clinton was unsuccessful in a comparable undertaking in 2000, and it was his unsuccessful prestigious participation at Camp David and afterwards that discouraged President George W. Bush and his aides and pressurized the existing administration’s initial ‘hands off’ policy. (An Israeli View: New American priorities)
Based on his guess that he had sufficient fine leadership substance to use between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas when Bush forced himself to the task, he had only one likely way to victory, that is to pursue the tracks of presidents Nixon, Ford and Bush senior, all Republicans, and authorize a very senior American official to go camping in Jerusalem and Ramallah until the job was completed. But he declined. The imminent presidential elections of November 2004 can be one reason. The lobbying organizations of Jewish and right wing Christian communities, whose votes and funds are badly wanted by Bush, have indicated him to defer and not force Sharon on key matters like settlements. However, still this does not clarify why he did not try to spur increased force on the Palestinian Authority to take apart the terrorist infrastructure until recently. His casualness on both subjects and his other obsession with prisoner release and the ‘wall’, both non-vital matters, seem to echo poor recommendation at the tactical level relating to the essential preferences.
It also suggests a deficiency of presidential knowledge of the harm caused to U.S. welfare in the region by the continuation of this clash and by the extension of settlements, dynamics that eventually are likely to obliterate Israel as a democratic and Jewish state. This leads to the definite recent U.S. obsession in the Middle East, that is, Iraq and its predicaments. The removal of the Saddam Hussein government was believed to steer in a new age of democracy and declination of weapons of mass destruction -WMD in the region, and to aid Arab-Israel peace. So far it has been enormously unsuccessful. This alternative’s financial aspect is overwhelming: U.S.’s expenditure per month in Iraq is much more than its expenditure per year in aid to Israel and the PA; its yearly expenditures in Iraq is around two times that of President Clinton’s plan on expenditure for Israeli-Palestinian peace over ten years. Hence, so as to reduce public pressure from significant constituencies, the administration will evade prominent participation and turn or slash its losses while giving power to Sharon to carry on and even go up his war on terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. (An Israeli View: New American priorities)
In the Middle East peace efforts, the European Union considers itself as an important member. Its assistance to the efforts is through its periodic meetings with the main players and consistent trip of its leaders to the Near East. (The United States and European Union Policy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict) To identify terrorists in its hub, the European Union has invested tens of millions of dollars in Palestine’s economic and educational infrastructure and its mechanisms. (Mediating Forces in the Israel-Palestine Conflict – January-February 2002) Its chief input in the region is its 179 million euro a year on average spread over the past six years in straight aid of the Palestinian Authority, refugees and regional Peace Process projects. It is the initial contributor of financial and technical help to the Palestinian Authority supplying over 50% of the international community’s money for the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 1994 and 1998. For the period 1994-1998, cumulative assistance to the Palestinians amounts to 2 billion euro. Moreover, there includes Common Foreign and Security Policy — CFSP, combined proceedings such as supervising Palestinian elections in the beginning part of 1996 and coaching of Palestinian policemen. (The United States and European Union Policy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)
In 2000, the EU appreciated the PLO resolution to put off the announcement of statehood, but in the same document affirmed the right of the Palestinian people to construct an independent, elected, practical and peaceful state, which hoisted condemnation from Israel. The top preference is the democratization. (The United States and European Union Policy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict) The anxieties brought out by accessible and tried UN resolutions are addressed by the European Union with the help of high-level links with the two adversaries and the larger Arab and Islamic world. The EU, guided by France, has wished for the Palestinian Authority to obtain a new mandate through an election. Then, the international community will evidently distinguish the conqueror that stands for the Palestinian people and hence it would ethically and politically force Israel to come back to discussions. Basically, the EU envoy and military annexure have a mediating power on the aggression. The Temporary International Presence in Hebron – TIPH carries on its tactful role of surveillance and arbitration. (Mediating Forces in the Israel-Palestine Conflict – January-February 2002)
As of the Israeli point-of-view, European endeavors in the peace process looks like a naive effort to inflict Europe’s knowledge in clash resolution onto the Middle East, without investigating basic disparities in the past and circumstances. The evilness of Israel and Jewish autonomy is supposed to be given by European political officials, NGOs, journalists, and academics. Rosemary Hollis contends that Europe could play a role to reduction of the clash, if it would offer another package deal: Israel had to sacrifice its demands on the Westbank and Gaza including the Arab Jerusalem and in return would be put into exclusive relation to the European Union. That would indicate cultural and economic amalgamation into the European Union in addition to NATO assurances for its safety. The policies of the European Union hitherto was following a linear progress from the statements of Venice in 1980, and Berlin in 1999 and was backing a two state solution of the clash. The troubles with EU policies concerning the Near East is that they are extremely assertive in spite of the significance of the conflict that has to be solved and are too much dependent on the partner USA. (The United States and European Union Policy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)
Many have looked upon the United Nations as a fiasco in its mission of upholding and implementing peace in the Israel – Palestine clash. It is definitely correct that the United Nations is nowadays viewed very sarcastically in the Arab and Muslim worlds as being biased. (International Institutions) The General Assembly, during the years 1947 to 1989, conceded a total of 690 resolutions either full or partial. Among these, 429 were in opposition to the Israeli position while merely 56 were in opposition to Arab positions. Out of the 56 votes in opposition to Arabs, 49 relate to the founding or funding of peacekeeping forces. Apart from these, the previous anti-Arab vote in the General Assembly, on any concern, was in May of 1949. The United Nations General Assembly, on November 10, 1975, accepted Resolution 3237 that bestowed on the PLO the rank of observer in the Assembly and in other international conferences held under United Nations patronage. This perpetual representative rank was not for a nation but for a terrorist organization called PLO. Then, the PLO Observer Mission started its UN base of operations office in midtown Manhattan. (What is the evidence that the United Nations is biased against Israel?)
The Algiers Declaration made independent decree of a Palestine state in 1988. In spite of the declaration’s legal and historical contradictions, the PLO’s stable representative at the UN presented it to the world body on December 15, 1988 for a vote. The UN General Assembly, continuing its tradition of anti-Israel bias, adopted by a vote of 104-2, in opposition to the U.S. And Israel, with 36 votes absent, quoting the Algiers declaration, and emphasizing that the Palestinian people have the right to declare a state according to Resolution 181, a resolution that the Arabs had insisted for years was unacceptable and invalid. The UN decision also incorporated a stipulation enriching the PLO’s observer rank by substituting references to the Palestine Liberation Organization with Palestine in all UN bodies. The machinery of the UN is structured around Regional Groups. But Israel is the only country that has been deprived of membership in any regional group. (What is the evidence that the United Nations is biased against Israel?)
Keeping out from a regional group at the UN means that Israel is, in effect, not allowed from ever becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council; it is structurally not allowed in many other ways from taking part in UN discussions; and it has been and will remain to be gravely under-represented in UN leadership and employment positions. In spite of many attempts by United States to advance Israel’s membership, resistance to Israel has disallowed Israel from joining a regional group. The Arab states obstruct the membership in Israel’s usual place, the Asian Group. Adversaries from the southern European states together with Italy, Spain, and Portugal, are supposed to have obstructed American efforts to permit Israel on a temporary basis to the Western European regional group. At last, in June of 2000, Israel became an impermanent member of the Western Europe and Others – WEOG regional group, making it hypothetically qualified for appointment to the Security Council and to other important UN bodies for the first time since it became a member state in 1949. The impermanent rank has its restrictions, but it has to be observed how this will turn out in long-standing. (What is the evidence that the United Nations is biased against Israel?)
All things that U.N. has done in the background of the Arab-Israeli conflict originates from the viewpoint that the Jewish side is not permitted to fight back: examples are its call for going back to 1967’s undefended borders, its declarations that Jerusalem is engaged territory, its stipulation for the return of Palestinian refugees ending the Jewish ness of the state, and its attempts to detach and demonize Israel as the most horrible human-rights abuser in the world today. (U.N. Vs. Israel: Telling standards) The difficulty exists in the stipulations allowing any single member of the UN Security Council to refuse action. Many feel that the right time has come to set up a method to supersede a single huge power veto possibly through an exceptional mass resolution of the General Assembly. (International Institutions)
The heritage of USSR-Middle East tie ups formed the foundation for the continuation of Russian interests in the Middle East. The incessant desire of the foreign policy communities to establish Russia as a super power in global vision provided further impetus to be interested actively in the Middle East issues. The role of Russia in this respect as a super power has been viewed in two dimensions. Firstly, being a close neighbor to the Middle East and a super power having broad economic, political, spiritual, religious and military objectives, its interest in the Middle East is obvious. The second role of USSR stems from its being the permanent member of the UN Security Council and thereby forming a co-member along with U.S. contributing towards the peace process in Middle East. It seeks to promote Arab-Israeli settlements and vehemently opposes the monopolization of mediation efforts by any single state. The Russia visualizes the escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostility in the present days since the autumn of 2000 and felt the need for interference of USA, Russia, European Union and leading Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and UN for mediating the peace process combined. (Russia & The Middle East)
The Quartet formed in March 2002 for promotion of peace in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement regions was strongly patronized by the Russia. The intension of the Russia is to establish its dominance over the issue and at the same time marginalization of the role of USA. Moscow is seen to play active diplomacy with USA to challenge her presence in the mediation and at the same time establishing own dominance in the process of quest for security in Middle East. Moreover, the long held heritage of close tie ups with Arab States and large immigration of Israel since the late 1980s provided Moscow an essential base from which to undertake diplomacy and improve the economic relations with both Israel and the Arab States. However, the termination of economic tie ups with Arab countries is seen in early 1990s as a result of the U.S.S.R. break down and constant efforts are presently undertaken by Moscow for restoring the same in the present days. (Russia & the Middle East)
— the Road Map, and why it appears to have reached a dead end?
The unified efforts have been made by the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations in 2002 to find out the new alternatives for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The efforts initiated with publication of “Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis” in April 2003. A three stage program is delineated in the Roadmap to attain independency of the Palestinian State and a complete and final settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict by the year 2005. (The Road Map) It was necessary that the Palestinian authority must embark on noticeable attempts on the view to detain, upset, and suppress individuals and groups carrying out and preparing brutal attacks on Israelis anywhere and a reconstructed and refocused Palestinian Authority security machinery must start continued, targeted, and efficient operations aimed at tackling all those occupied in terror and take apart terrorist facilities and infrastructure. Israel, on its part, had to take apart settlements found after March 20001, halt all settlement actions, take away its army from Palestinian areas occupied after September 28, 2000, stop curfews and simplify limitations on passage of persons and goods. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
However, both the parties did not comply with the requirements of this peace plan. Israel has dismantled only small post-March 2001 settlements and, has in fact, extended some settlements. Expressed as measures to Combat Terrorism; the Israeli army even now steadily attacks and bombs Palestinian controlled areas. In contrast to the road map to peace, reporters maintain that Israel has additionally damaged the peace plan by constructing Israeli West Bank barrier between Israeli and Palestinian populated areas. Palestinians, on their part, did not lessen aggressive actions by Palestinians against Israeli and Israel. They attribute the sustained Israeli attacks and the disagreements between resistance factions as reasons. In the beginning, Hamas and Islamic Jihad one-sidedly declared a 45-day impermanent ceasefire on stipulation that Israel stops its killing of Palestinian leaders and frees a mass of thousands of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons without trial or charges. Israel discarded the proposition. (Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process)
Its different parts lack definition, and every step is expected to lead to endless quarrels between the two sides. There is neither an imposing mechanism, nor a sign of what will occur if the schedule considerably trips. The most significant part is that it does not give a thorough, fleshed out description of a permanent status agreement. By itself, it is neither a thorough, realistic plan for peace nor even for a termination of hostilities. (A Middle East Roadmap To Where?) However, as a ‘performance driven’ approach with no modus operandi for enforcement, the Roadmap relied upon the faith from all the sides and their voluntary compliance with commitments under the plan. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has exhibited such commitments. (The Road Map)
The Roadmap necessitated the Palestinians to undertake immediately an unreserved termination of violence and that Israel ‘freezes all settlement activity’. In contravention to this Israel goes on building settlements and in constructing the illegitimate partition wall in the West Bank. The Israeli terrorism in form of attempts of assassination broke down the unilateral Palestinian ceasefire initiated by the Prime-Minister, Mahmoud Abbas. The Israeli Prime Minister Sharon could not accede to consider Arafat a partner for negotiations which substantially, weakened the Palestinian leadership authority. The hostility continued to grow and the unified organizations could not be able to exert influence over the parties to adhere to the commitments and the Roadmap gradually lost its significance. (The Road Map)
Despite the many efforts by members of the Quartet to transfer the stress, the roadmap ordered clearly that the Palestinian Authority must start ‘sustained, targeted and effective operations’ to take apart terrorist infrastructure, etc. Nothing of that sort took place. On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority ended a brief ceasefire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad; those groups utilized this as a break to rearrange and rearm, and it rapidly became obvious that neither Arafat nor the terror groups viewed the hudna as a complete stop to violence. (An Israeli View: Not yet time to fold the roadmap)
The Roadmap is further weakened when the Washington abandoned its positions on settlements. Moreover, their position was severely divulged and Israel had merely to freeze construction with out referring to the legality issue of existing settlements. It further, endangers the positive steps in this respect in the past years as a result of persistent adherence to the parameters of international law by the United Nations and its member states, the jurisprudence of International Court Justice in respect of the ‘separation fence’ of the Israel and the wide support extended to it by the UN General Assembly. Moreover, the European Union and Russia have practically no influence on the development of the Israel-Palestine hostilities for years before the road map was drafted and recently none had had any influence since then. (Road-map to nowhere)
It has been condemned that when the genuine realization of the ‘Road Map’ started, the Bush administration pushed the other Quartet members to the side and gave them the feeling that it would take the lead in supervising roadmap execution. It is no shock, then, that the U.S. is extensively seen as accountable for the roadmap’s letdown. (A Palestinian View) It is perceived that even though the Roadmap is in existence since the summer of 2002 has made no significant impact on the conflict, lacking either a definite modus operandi to evaluate the progress or a mechanism of making both the sides to the conflict to agree with its terms. (Road-map to nowhere)
Despite this, one could also build a case that after some careful retooling it could yet lead to optimistic results. By aiming for a bit lower results and if the difficult first stage can be overcome, the ‘map’ could still function as a general scope to bring the two sides to a long-term ‘modus vivendi’ which, though not complete in resolving all the exceptional issues like Jerusalem, holy places, or the final borders of the future Palestinian entity, would nonetheless put a stop to bloodshed and give the two groups an continued period of peace and progress. As revealed by history in other parts of the world, including Europe that peace is achievable by initially taking practical arrangements and then closing by permanent peace, Israel and Palestinians too have to wait for generational transforms to get fully enjoyable complete peace. (An Israeli View: Not yet time to fold the roadmap)
— is there any way to resolve the conflict?
The Israeli Palestinian hostility has taken several shapes during the previous years; processes of armed confrontations have changed with eras of discussions, and with years of preparation for further struggles. The world is presently progressing through an era of violent struggles which has resulted in enormous suffering to both sides and which could turn into even enhanced and further dangerous confrontations. Every effort which might facilitate reestablishment of rest and development of peace is of great importance. (Possibilities of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution based on mutual recognition of national aspirations) Since the Peel Commission report of 1937 it was being realized that division provides an opportunity of ultimate peace and harmony, several plans have been proposed for dividing the nation between the Jews and Arabs – and all efforts have not proved futile so far. The common ground of all the plans, from the UN decision in the year 1947 to the Oslo Accords and the road map is based on the goodwill of both the parties. (It’s Time to Internationalize the Solution)
But it created more deadlocks and prevalence of violence. A similar situation was also to be held to the armistice agreements which portioned the nation after the Israeli war of independence, and the Israeli occupation of the territories, which existed on the unity of the borders and the bureaucratic division between citizens with necessary rights and the members of the military government. The idea of division has great support, both internationally as well as internally. But against the background of failed performances by the two parties, which have caused problems in its execution, it is worth taking into consideration the alternatives of internationalization: expropriating the power to decide the territories and security dealings from the Israelis and Palestinians and giving the power to the superpowers, led by the U.S. Internationalizing the solution would free the parties from hostilities with their concerned national ethos. In their name, USA and UK would give up ‘the right of return’ and Judea and Samaria would also have to leave their own contribution to adding to the dangers of the hostility. (It’s Time to Internationalize the Solution)
Finding out a solution convincing to both the groups enabling negotiation and implementation of the agreement for restoring peace in the region is considered to be a matter of great concern. Even though the Israelis and the Palestinians are aware that the two state solutions is advantageous to both the nations yet due to lack of confidence on each other this could not be effected to and the groups relied upon the harsh and violent measures for punishing the other sides. Additionally, there existed powerful groups in both the sides that opposed to the reasonable solutions fervently. The Israel and Palestinian leaders therefore, confronted with the problems of finding out agreeable solutions as well as to discharge their responsibilities of replying to their constituencies of the possibility of a solution in the peace process. A radical departure from the present day Israeli and Palestinian approach to mitigate the hostility is the need of the day. (Challenges of the Road Map)
It is expected of the Israelis to stop violent activities against the Palestinian life under occupation and co-operate for negotiation. Besides they should think of it as necessary step towards a peaceful solution to the hostility. The peaceful solution to the terrorism without military intervention constituted the basis of this approach and the peace with the Palestinians can considered to be accomplished only through honest and patient negotiations. Cessation of terrorism and violence should be acknowledged by the Palestinians as not merely to please Israel or U.S., however is intended to cater to the best interests of the Palestinian people with removal of a major bottleneck in the approach to restoring peace in the region. Similar to the Mitchell and Tennet plans, the Zinni mediation and other peace initiatives, the Road Map strategy will also become irrelevant and thrown to the ‘dustbin of history’ in absence of such fundamental change ideology. (Challenges of the Road Map)
There are presently two distinctive existences: One is the state of Israel having a government which is based on democratic principles and another is the Palestinian autonomy having a Palestinian population under the control of the Israelis and of a Palestinian authority. It also contains Israeli population who neglect the Palestinian power. This situation is being considered by both parties as a transition phase. A solution which is practical is the two states solution. A Palestinian state is to be found which is to be controlled by a Palestinian rule, having no Israeli interference. The territories between Palestine and Israel are to be well-defined; Jewish population in Palestinian border is to be dismantled, with the exception of those which can be included into the Israeli border on the basis of the definition of the territories which are agreed upon. Solutions of a single state have been developed; however the advocates of these solutions prevent providing any right to the other party. (Possibilities of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution based on mutual recognition of national aspirations)
There are separate sections in Israel who disregard Palestinian rights, since they give prominence to Israel and promote a single state solution with full rights to the Jewish populace. Accordingly there are Palestinian opinions that imagine that Israel can be eradicated and the entire borders would come under the control of Palestine. It is to be understood that a two states solution does not provide a disconnection between Israel and Palestine. There are several matters which they cannot handle separately such as taking care of water resources, environment, tourism etc. And in several other matters as it is in their best interests to co-operate closely. Accordingly, it is significant for both the parties to reach a common consensus in the matters of interest to both parties without any feeling of compulsion. Any solution of the Israeli — Palestinian hostility must include a solution of the problem of the refugees. From an economic point-of-view it is to be understood that the costs for solving the refugee problem is considered to be less while comparing it with the savings on armaments that the sides involved in the hostility could make. To add further the economic benefits as a result of the settlement are likely to compensate for its expenses. (Possibilities of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution based on mutual recognition of national aspirations)
— why is it important to resolve the conflict for the whole world?
Kept at a comparatively lesser levels of violence, the present crisis can be controlled and managed, albeit as a permanent headache for the U.S. And co-operative countries in the area. (Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism?) A much stronger sections of the people of United States have been providing enormous concentration on the events which are resulting in the hostility between Israel and Palestine. A greater majority of the people of U.S. feel that Israel is significantly relevant to the U.S. The challenge before the Bush government is to find a solution to enable that the hostility between Israel and Palestine do not provide barriers to the ability of the U.S. To carry out greater and further significant objectives in the Middle East and the Muslim areas. (Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism?) Peace and harmony between Israel and Palestine, no less than a resolution of the hostility of Iraq, is of enormous significance to the entire world. Throughout the entire globe, there is a feeling that it is greatly significant to provide a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine to win the struggle against terrorism. (Israel and the Palestinians: Importance of the Middle East to the U.S.) In an era of globalization, the tension which is prevalent in the Middle East more than ever influences the interests of security and stability of the entire world. (Russia & the Middle East)
Alpher, Yossi. An Israeli View: New American priorities. Retrieved from http://www.bitterlemons.org/previous/bl010903ed33.html#pal1 Accessed on 22 October, 2004
A Middle East Roadmap To Where? Middle East Report. 02 May 2003. Retrieved from http://www.crisisweb.org/home/index.cfm?id=1659& l=1 Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Bainerman, Joel. Why the Middle East Conflict continues to exist. Retrieved from http://www.jewishinternetassociation.org/articles/bainerman_21dec03a.html Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Bayefsky, Anne. U.N. Vs. Israel: Telling standards. April 20, 2004. Retrieved from http://www.nationalreview.com/script/printpage.asp?ref=/comment/bayefsky200404200848.asp Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Benn, Aluf. It’s Time to Internationalize the Solution. Retrieved from http://friedensbewegung.zionismus.info/international/internationalize.htm Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Beyer, Cornelia. The United States and European Union Policy in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Retrieved from http://www.uni-kassel.de/fb10/frieden/regionen/Nahost/beyer.html Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Chaim, Aharoni. Possibilities of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution based on mutual recognition of national aspirations. Retrieved from http://tx.technion.ac.il/~ada/Haim%20Article.htm Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Challenges of the Road Map. Palestine International Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture. Vol.10; No.2. 2003. Retrieved from http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=34 Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Definition of Israeli: The Peace Process. Retrieved fromhttp://www.wordiq.com/definition/Israeli_views_of_the_peace_process Accessed on 21 October, 2004
International Institutions. 16 October 2004. Retrieved from http://www.eurolegal.org/interinst.shtml Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Israel and the Palestinians: Importance of the Middle East to the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/IsraelPalestinians/IsrPalest.cfm Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Khatib, Ghassan. A Palestinian View: Three pieces of advice. Retrieved from http://www.bitterlemons.org/previous/bl010903ed33.html#pal Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. Retrieved from http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/toc-pal-isr-primer.html Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Rempel, John. Mediating Forces in the Israel-Palestine Conflict – January-February 2002
Retrieved from http://www.mcc.org/respub/un/2002/02_feb/mediating.html Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Road-map to nowhere. August 26th, 2004. Middle East International. Retrieved from http://meionline.com/editorial/267.shtml Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Robinson, Glenn E. Will the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Impede the War on Terrorism? Strategic Insights. Volume I, Issue 1. March 2002. Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Retrieved from http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/mar02/middleEast.asp Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Shah, Anup. The Middle East. October 12, 2003. Retrieved from http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/MiddleEast.asp Accessed on 22 October, 2004
Shoval, Zalman. An Israeli View: Not yet time to fold the roadmap. Retrieved from http://www.bitterlemons.org/previous/bl010903ed33.html#pal1 Accessed on 21 October, 2004
Smith, Mark. A. Russia & the Middle East. September, 2002.Retrieved from http://www.da.mod.uk/CSRC/documents/Russian/F79 Accessed on 22 October, 2004
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