Tue, September 07, 2010
World > Middle East > Middle East peace in talk

Middle East peace talks: the history

2010-09-06 10:24:20 GMT2010-09-06 18:24:20 (Beijing Time)  SINA.com

The famous handshake between the then PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, and Yitzhak Rabin, the then Israeli prime minister, at the Clinton White House in 1993. (Reuters)

The summit in Washington between Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas follows several previous attempts at peace process in the Middle East.

Camp David I Israel signed the Camp David accords in 1978 and a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and returned the Sinai peninsula in return for full relations with its former enemy. But talks on Palestinian autonomy went nowhere.

Madrid The mother of all Israeli-Arab peace conferences was at Madrid in 1991, when Israel and all its immediate Arab enemies came to the negotiating table for the first time. Israel refused to deal directly with the PLO, so the Palestinians formed part of a joint delegation with Jordan. Talks eventually petered out but the principle of "land for peace" has remained the basis for all subsequent negotiations.

Oslo This summit in 1993 was the big breakthrough, leading to the famous handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn. Israel and the PLO recognised each other. Rabin's assassination in 1995 marked a sharp decline. Israel came to regret the Oslo deal, while many Palestinians saw it as a trap to perpetuate occupation.

Camp David II Subsequent smaller-scale agreements, at Taba, Wye Plantation and Sharm el-Sheikh were followed by Bill Clinton's final attempt to broker a deal at Camp David in 2000. Agreement seemed close even on the toughest issues – Jerusalem borders and settlements – but in the end talks collapsed. Each side blamed the other for the breakdown, which was followed by the second Palestinian uprising.

Annapolis In 2007, a belated attempt by George Bush to show his concern for Israel-Palestinian peace after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. It was widely dismissed as little more than a photo-opportunity.


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