A history of the Middle East peace process
For over half a century, disputes between Israelis and Palestinians over land, refugees and holy sites remain unresolved. DW gives you a short history of when the conflict flared and when attempts were made to end it.
UN Security Council Resolution 242, 1967
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, passed on November 22, 1967, called for the exchange of land for peace. Since then, many of the attempts to establish peace in the region have referred to 242. The resolution was written in accordance with Chapter VI of the UN Charter, under which resolutions are recommendations, not orders.
Camp David Accords, 1978
A coalition of Arab states, led by Egypt and Syria, fought Israel in the Yom Kippur or October War in October 1973. The conflict eventually led to the secret peace talks that yielded two agreements after 12 days. This picture from March 26, 1979, shows Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, his US counterpart Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin after signing the accords in Washington.
The Madrid Conference, 1991
The US and the former Soviet Union came together to organize a conference in the Spanish capital. The discussions involved Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians — not from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) — who met with Israeli negotiators for the first time. While the conference achieved little, it did create the framework for later, more productive talks.
Oslo I Accord, 1993
The negotiations in Norway between Israel and the PLO, the first direct meeting between the two parties, resulted in the Oslo I Accord. The agreement was signed in the US in September 1993. It demanded that Israeli troops withdraw from West Bank and Gaza Strip and a self-governing, interim Palestinian authority be set up for a five-year transitional period. A second accord was signed in 1995.
Camp David Summit Meeting, 2000
US President Bill Clinton invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to the retreat in July 2000 to discuss borders, security, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem. Despite the negotiations being more detailed than ever before, no agreement was concluded. The failure to reach a consensus at Camp David was followed by renewed Palestinian uprising, the Second Intifada.
The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002
The Camp David negotiations were followed first by meetings in Washington and then in Cairo and Taba, Egypt — all without results. Later the Arab League proposed the Arab Peace Initiative in Beirut in March 2002. The plan called on Israel to withdraw to pre-1967 borders so that a Palestinian state could be set up in the West Bank and Gaza. In return, Arab countries would agree to recognize Israel.
The Roadmap, 2003
The US, EU, Russia and the UN worked together as the Middle East Quartet to develop a road map to peace. While Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas accepted the text, his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon had more reservations with the wording. The timetable called for a final agreement on a two-state solution to be reached in 2005. Unfortunately, it was never implemented.
In 2007, US President George W. Bush hosted a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, to relaunch the peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took part in talks with officials from the Quartet and over a dozen Arab states. It was agreed that further negotiations would be held with the goal of reaching a peace deal by the end of 2008.
In 2010, US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell convinced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to and implement a 10-month moratorium on settlements in disputed territories. Later, Netanyahu and Abbas agreed to relaunch direct negotiations to resolve all issues. Negotiations began in Washington in September 2010, but within weeks there was a deadlock.
Cycle of escalation and ceasefire continues
A new round of violence broke out in and around Gaza in late 2012. A ceasefire was reached between Israel and those in power in the Gaza Strip, which held until June 2014. The kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June 2014 resulted in renewed violence and eventually led to the Israeli military operation Protective Edge. It ended with a ceasefire on August 26, 2014.
Paris summit, 2017
Envoys from over 70 countries gathered in Paris, France, to discuss the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Netanyahu slammed the discussions as "rigged" against his country. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives attended the summit. "A two-state solution is the only possible one," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said at the opening of the event.
Deteriorating relations in 2017
Despite the year's optimistic opening, 2017 brought further stagnation in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A deadly summer attack on Israeli police at the Temple Mount, a site holy to both Jews and Muslims, sparked deadly clashes. Then US President Donald Trump's plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem prompted Palestinian leader Abbas to say "the measures ... undermine all peace efforts."
Trump's peace plan backfires, 2020
US President Donald Trump presented a peace plan that freezes Israeli settlement construction but retains Israeli control over most of the illegal settlements it has already built. The plan would double Palestinian-controlled territory but asks Palestinians to cross a red line and accept the previously constructed West Bank settlements as Israeli territory. Palestinians reject the plan.
Conflict reignites in 2021
Plans to evict four families and give their homes in East Jerusalem to Jewish settlers led to escalating violence in May 2021. Hamas fired over 2,000 rockets at Israel, and Israeli military airstrikes razed buildings in the Gaza Strip. The international community, including Germany's Foreign Ministry, called for an end to the violence and both sides to return to the negotiating table.