Professor Yossi Mekelberg has co-written a Chatham House Briefing Paper on Israeli-Palestinian peace making, and what can be learned from previous efforts.
Mekelberg, Head of Programme, International Relations, Politics and Law at Regent’s, and his colleague, Greg Shapland, an independent researcher and writer, are both a part of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme at Chatham House - Senior Consulting Research Fellow and Associate Fellow respectively - and propose that it is important for Israel’s leaders to recognize clearly that their country’s central conflict is with the Palestinians, not with the Arab states (or Iran).
US President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are shown here at Camp David in the US in July 2000. Photo: Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images.
A quarter of a century ago, the Palestinians gained acceptance as an independent negotiating partner with Israel. The Oslo process, which secured that acceptance, did not bring about a permanent settlement of the Israeli– Palestinian conflict.
It was followed by numerous further attempts, including the Camp David negotiations in 2000, the Abbas–Olmert talks of 2007–08 and the Kerry initiative of 2013–14. These efforts have employed several different approaches and have involved varying degrees of engagement on the part of the international community.
The purpose of the paper is to examine these endeavours and identify lessons that would be useful for those intending to try again. Some of these lessons concern leadership. For peace efforts to have a chance of succeeding, the experience of the past 25 years suggests that leaders on both sides must not only engage directly with one another but also show a combination of boldness, commitment to peace and fine political judgment.
For their part, Israeli leaders must recognize that the conflict with the Palestinians cannot be wished away.
Read the full paper here.