Why No Progress in the Peace Process for the Past Eight Years?

[Commentary] Rick Richman - At his meeting Monday with Jewish leaders, President Obama noted that for the past eight years there was "no daylight and no progress" between Israel and the Palestinians. The following would be my summary of the progress over the past eight years: After the Palestinians rejected an offer of a state at Camp David in 2000, rejected the Clinton Parameters in 2001, and conducted a terror war against Israeli civilians from September 2000-2002, Israel nevertheless agreed in 2003 to the "Performance-Based Roadmap" for the creation of a Palestinian state, despite reservations about the manner in which that plan would actually be implemented. In 2003 and thereafter, Israel ceased all settlement activity - as it understood that Phase I Roadmap obligation (no new settlements; no building outside settlement boundaries; no financial incentives for Israelis to move to settlements) - and believed American officials agreed with its interpretation of that obligation. In 2004, after the Palestinian Authority failed to meet its own Phase I Roadmap obligation (sustained efforts to dismantle terrorist groups and infrastructure), Israel nevertheless proposed to dismantle every existing settlement in Gaza, remove every Israeli soldier, and turn over the entire area to the PA - in exchange for a written American commitment to defensible borders and retention of the major settlement blocs necessary to insure them. In 2005, after receiving the American commitment, Israel proceeded to carry out the Gaza disengagement, and - at State Department insistence - further dismantled four settlements in the West Bank as well. In 2006, the Palestinians elected their premier terrorist group to control their government. Hamas from Gaza and Hizbullah from Lebanon caused two wars and finally convinced Israelis further withdrawals were insane. In 2007, despite the Palestinian failure to carry out its Phase I dismantlement obligation, and its categorical rejection of Phase II (a state with provisional sovereignty before Phase III final status negotiations), Israel agreed to proceed immediately to final status negotiations once again under the "Annapolis Process" and in 2008 offered 100% of the West Bank (after land swaps) for a state, with concessions on other major issues, all of which were rejected. During this eight-year period, the Palestinian concessions (aka reciprocal "progress") can be enumerated more briefly: zero.

2009-07-16 06:00:00

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