Road Map for Peace
Road Map for Peace was a plan initiated by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations; the “quartet” of international entities. The basic principles of the plan were declared by U.S. President George W. Bush in a speech delivered on June 24, 2002 which was the establishment of an independent Palestinian State coexisting with Israel. According to him:
"The Roadmap represents a starting point toward achieving the vision of two states, a secure State of Israel and a viable, peaceful, democratic Palestine. It is the framework for progress towards lasting peace and security in the Middle East." In exchange for the independent statehood, the Road Map called for democratic reforms from Palestinian Authority and restrain from violence. And Israel was required to accept the Palestinian government and lift occupation from West Bank and Gaza Strip and to dismantle the settlement outposts. However, the Road Map did not see as much progress as it aimed to. The road map process was divided in three phases with a collective solution reaching no later than 2005. Based on its principle, the Road Map will “bring an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories that began in 1967” and create “an independent democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.” Phase I of the road map aimed to end violence from both Israel and Palestine, put an end to Israeli settlement activities in Gaza Strip and the West Bank and for Palestinian Authority to gain recognition as Palestinian government. Phase II stated creation of an interim Palestinian state whose borders will be set on temporary basis. Phase III will lead to final negotiations regarding the status of Jerusalem, fixation of Palestinian borders and international recognition for both Palestine and Israel. However, the plan was rejected by the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stating that he does not approve of the settlement freeze. Although the plan of Road Map was set for a designated period, it was also “performance-based”, meaning that peaceful solutions will be derived from it only when Israel and Palestine fully corporate with each other and fulfill their sides of the deal. The plan also did not state anything about the long-going issues regarding the status of Jerusalem and defining of the Palestinian borders, keeping the issue of “final status” open to successive negotiations. Even today the principles of Road Map remain the basis for all the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. However, Israel held view that Palestine has failed to put a rein on violence and Palestine said that Israel remained adamant for not vacating the settlement outposts. Experts have also regarded Road Map similar to Oslo Accords where no final agreements were laid out and were simply frameworks for negotiations.