0001190 - Rebuilding Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations C....

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Spring 2008 The Ambassadors REVIEW 5 Rebuilding Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations C. David Welch Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs n November 27, 2007, President George W. Bush brought together Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland to launch renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with the shared aspiration of concluding a permanent status agreement by the end of 2008. This landmark event demonstrated the commitment of the United States and of the parties themselves to realize President Bush’s vision, first articulated in June 2002, of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. More than 40 Foreign Ministers attended the conference, representing a broad swathe of the international community including traditional European allies, 15 Arab states (plus the Palestinian Authority), and important Muslim states such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan. In a sense, Annapolis was the culmination of US and Quartet * efforts that were reinvigorated following Israel’s war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. But most importantly, Annapolis was the starting point for political negotiations now underway. Only such negotiations can lead to the establishment of an independent, viable, peaceful and prosperous Palestinian state that can be a source of stability and security for Israel and the broader Middle East. The divisions in the Middle East have never been clearer than in the wake of the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. On one hand, there were the advocates of violent “resistance,” Hezbollah and Hamas, supported by Iran and Syria. On the other hand was a group of states, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that support political progress toward peace in the region and abjure the use of violence. In the eyes of these governments, Hezbollah’s successful propaganda campaign in the wake of the war challenged their sensible leadership. These leaders felt under increasing pressure to show that they could deliver results based on peaceful diplomacy rather than violence. At the same time, it became evident that Israel’s policy of unilateral withdrawals, such as Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and its withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, left a security vacuum that radical non-state actors (with Iranian and Syrian support) could fill, posing a significant threat to Israel’s security and regional stability. In fact, during the Lebanon War southern Israel came under constant bombardment from rockets fired by extremists in Gaza just as northern Israel suffered katyusha rockets fired from southern Lebanon. ** * Editor’s Note
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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0001190 - Rebuilding Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations C....

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