The struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians is one of the most enduring and explosive of all the world’s conflicts.
It has its roots in the historic claim to the land which lies between the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river.
For the Palestinians the last 100 years have brought colonization, expulsion and military occupation, followed by a long and difficult search for self-determination and for coexistence with the nation they hold responsible for their suffering and loss.
For the Jewish people of Israel, the return to the land of their forefathers after centuries of persecution around the world has not brought peace or security. They have faced many crises as their neighbors have sought to wipe their country off the map.
BBC News Online highlights some of the key dates of recent Middle East history and looks back at the origins and development of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
A History of Conflict
|Ancient Times – 1250 BC – 638 AD||1890s 1897||1910s 1917||1920s- 30s 1929-36||1940s 1947
The Movement for Peace
The Carter Timeline
Former US Pres. Jimmy Carter and experts from The Carter Center assisted unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in designing a model agreement for peace—called the Geneva Accord—in 2002–2003
The Geneva Accord addresses and presents a comprehensive solution to all issues vital to ensuring the end of the conflict and the realization of the national visions of both parties. It would give the Palestinians almost all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip drawing Israel’s borders close to what existed prior to the Israeli annexation of territory at the culmination of the 1967 war.
The plan has much similarity with the 2000 Camp David Summit and Taba Summit proposals, and Olmert’s 2008 Napkin map. Only settlements along the Green Line would be annexed by Israel with mutual land swaps, including Ma’ale Adumim, Pisgat Ze’ev and Giv’at Ze’ev. In the Geneva Initiative, Ariel would be dismantled and the Palestinians be given more sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be divided administratively, with East Jerusalem (“Al-Quds”) serving as the capital of the Palestinian state and West Jerusalem (“Yerushalayim”) as the capital of Israel. A Multinational Force would play an important role. In return for removing most of the Israeli settlements, the Palestinians would limit their “right of return” of refugees to Israel to a number specified by the Israeli government and will put an end to any further claims and demands from Israel.
The key concepts included in the Geneva Accord include:
- A mutual Israeli–Palestinian declaration of an end to the conflict and future claims.
- Mutual recognition of both nations and their right to an independent state.
- Almost complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with a limited number of settlement blocs on the basis of a 1:1 land swap.
- A comprehensive solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees based on the Clinton Parameters (2000); of which the main component will be compensation and a return to an independent Palestinian State.
- Jewish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Arab Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital with Jewish areas under Israeli sovereignty and Arab areas under Palestinian sovereignty.
- A non-militarized Palestinian state and detailed security arrangements.
The proposal for the Palestinian refugee problem is modeled after UNGAR 194, UNSC Resolution 242, and the Arab Peace Initiative. It outlines a compensation plan for recognition of “Refugeehood” and loss of property and a remuneration plan for states that have hosted Palestinian refugees. The Geneva Accord outlines multiple options and modalities for refugees to exercise a choice of permanent place of residence (PPR) in accordance with clauses set forth in the document, some of which include the option to elect to remain in their present host countries, or relocate to third countries, among them Israel, at the sovereign discretion of third countries.
Borders and territory
The Geneva Accord bases the International Border between the States of Palestine and Israel on the June 4th 1967 lines, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 242 and UNSC Resolution 338, with reciprocal modifications in the form of landswaps on a 1:1 basis. Israel will annex several areas currently densely populated by Jewish communities near the Green Line (such as Gush Etzion). In return for areas annexed by Israel from the West Bank, the Palestinians will receive territory of equal area and quality adjacent mostly to the Gaza Strip. The State of Israel will assume responsibility for resettling the Israelis living in what would be determined as Palestinian sovereign territory such as Ariel and other settlements.
The sharing of Jerusalem will be addressed along the Clinton Parameters. Jewish Jerusalem will serve as Israel’s capital and Arab Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital. Each state would be sovereign over the neighborhoods predominately inhabited by its respective community. The Old City will be open and free to movement and the parties will commit to safeguarding the character, holiness, and freedom of worship in the city. The Implementation and Verification Group will act as an impartial international presence to monitor and verify the preservation of cultural heritage in the Old City in accordance with UNESCO World Heritage List rules. The IVG will establish an Old City Policing Unit to perform policing duties to defuse local tensions and resolve disputes.
An Implementation and Verification Group (IVG) will be established to facilitate, assist in, guarantee, monitor, and resolve disputes relating to the implementation of the agreement. Under the authority of the IVG would be a Multinational Force (MF) which will serve to provide security guarantees to the Parties, act as a deterrent, and oversee the implementation of the relevant provisions of the agreement. The specific details related to the composition of the MF and responsibilities of the IVG as a whole are outlined in the annexes.