Mahmoud Darwish in the presence of absence (photo by GZ) Cremisan Road, Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Corridor from Erez crossing into Gaza (Photo by CdV) Drone flying over KhanYounis, Gaza. (Photo by CdV) Hisham's Palace, Jericho (photo by GZ) Mahmoud Darwish on Yasser Arafat- Ramallah (photo by GZ) Old city of Hebron (photo by GZ) Bypass road north-south - Jerusalem (photo by GZ) Gilo settlement - Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Wall grafitti made by Berlin residents. (Photo by CdV) Anti-wall demonstration in Bi'lin. (Photo by LS)

1990-2005 The road to peace?


The larger part of this time line is an adaptation of the historic overview in ‘Before their Diaspora, a photographic history of the Palestinians 1876-1948’ by Walid Khalidi.

 

1990

UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar expresses concern over tougher measures adopted recently by Israel against Palestinians in the OPT. Violation of Palestinian rights include administrative detention, demolishion of houses of families of ‘wanted’ Palestinians, confiscation and destruction of Palestinian property and crops and violence against civilians. The Swedish Save the Children Fund condemns Israel's treatment of Palestinian children: 159 children under the age of 16 have been killed by gunfire, beating or teargas.

 

1991

Kuwait expells hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, making them refugees yet again. The expulsion is a response to the alignment of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the PLO with Iraq. The exodus has a great impact on many West Bank families depending on salaries earned in Kuwait.

The first attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations:  the Madrid conference opens with delegations from Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation. The Palestinian team, because of Israeli objections, was shaped as a joint delegation with Jordan and consisted of Palestinians with no open PLO liason. Following the Madrid conference talks in Washington commenced, while Israel was conducting direct and secret talks with the PLO, that would culminating in the Oslo accords.

 

1993

The Oslo accords affirm a Palestinian right of self-government through the creation of a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. Palestinian rule was to last for a five-year period during which "permanent status negotiations" would commence. Major issues such as Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, security and borders remain unaddressed.

 

1994

The Palestinian National Authority is formed as a five-year interim body, during which final status negotiations are to take place. According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is designated to have control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas (referred to as "Area A"), and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas ("Area B"). The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region, and bypass roads between Palestiniancommunities, are to remain under exclusive Israeli control ("Area C").

In defiance of the accords, which call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israel increases the illegal land confiscation and the construction of settlements on the West Bank and in Jerusalem. Freedom of movement for Palestinians is severly limited due to increasing numbers of checkpoints, roadblocks and bypassroads that are inaccessible for Palestinians.

 

2000

The Camp David summit proves to be an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a "final status settlement" of the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The PA rejects Barak's demand to annex large settlement blocs (9% of the West Bank)surrounding Palestinian territory, with no Israeli land in return, the lack of contiguity that the settlement blocs cause would make a Palestinian state unviable.

Also, the PNA has little faith in the commitment of Israel to actually evacuate the thousands of Israeli settlers. The limited sovereignty for Palestinians over Arab neigborhoods and holy Muslim sites in Jerusalem while Israel was to receive full sovereignty over Jewish holy sites proved an additional problem.

After Israeli forces attack Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque, leaving five dead and over 160 injured, violence erupts across the West bank and Gaza, leaving scores of Palestinians wounded. Throughout the Occupied territories Israeli troops use excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators. The Second – or Al Aqsa intifada has commenced.

 

2002

After a suicide bombing in Netanya, causing the deaths of 29 people, the IDF invades and occupies various Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Curfews are imposed for several weeks non-stop. The IDF destroys homes and infrastructure- like Gaza airport - and kills civilians as well as combatants. Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem and Bethlehem are hit particularly hard. A series of suicide bombs send a shock wave through Israel, like the attack by 18-year old Shadi Tobassi in a reastauant in Haifa, killing 14 and wounding dozens others. Hamas and Islamic Jihad take responsibility. Another suicide attack kills at least 15 in a Rishon Lezion billiard hall.

 

2003

The Quartet, comprising the EU, UN, Russia and the US, unfolds its 'road map' aiming to resolve the issue in 2005. It comprises an end to Palestinian violence; Palestinian political reform; Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities and freeze on settlement expansion and Palestinian elections in phase 1. Followed by economic recovery, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders; revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues; Arab states are to restore pre-intifada trade relations with Israel. Like at the times of ‘Oslo’, matters related to Jerusalem, refugees and the existing settlements are postponed.

PM Sharon says for the ‘road map’ to proceed, the Palestinians must drop the ‘right of return’ demand. After the White House issues a statement promising to "fully and seriously" address Israel's "real concerns", PM Sharon tells the US that he accepts the plan. 

 

2004

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin says that Hamas would agree to a "temporary peace" with Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state "on the basis of the 1967 borders," the evacuation of settlements and resettlement of Palestinian refugees inside Israel.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague determines the legal consequences of the construction of Israel’s over 700 kilomter wall, built largely on Palestinianland, ruling that it contravenes international law, that it must be dismantled, and that compensation must be paid to the Palestinian owners of property confiscated for its construction. The UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly with 150 to 6 and 10 abstentions to demand that Israel obey the ICJ ruling and tear down its wall. The US vetoes while all 25 EU countries vote in support of the resolution.

November: President Arafat dies in Paris.

 

2005

Following the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and the newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announce a cessation of hostilies and agreement on more security coordination and a coordinated effort on the disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank. Hamas and Islamic Jihad criticize the pledges made at the summit, but say they will wait to see what comes next. This marks the end of the Second Intifada.

Sharon dismantles the settlements in the Gaza Strip, relocates the 800 settlers to other settlements. As Israel maintains control of Gazan borders, crossings, airspace, territorial waters and public administration, the Gaza Strip is still considered occupied territory.