Lesson 5: The Continuing Conflict & Peace Process


Primary Sources

Texts, Media, Keywords, Images and Maps

Document 1: First Intifada and the Palestinian Declaration of Independence (1988)

In 1987, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank engaged in an uprising, or intifada, against Israeli control of these territories. Palestinians attacked Israelis with improvised weapons and firearms supplied by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which organized much of the uprising. Israel tried to contain the violence, which was directed at soldiers and civilians, primarily in the territories. In 1988, expressing their nationalist aspirations, the Palestinians declared independence. The Intifada continued until the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.


Nourished by many strains of civilizations and a multitude of cultures and finding inspiration in the texts of its spiritual and historical heritage, the Palestinian Arab people has, throughout history, continued to develop its identity in an integral unity of land and people and in the footsteps of the prophets throughout this Holy Land....

With the uprising [intifada], with the escalation of the revolutionary struggle and with the accumulation of revolutionary experience wherever the struggle is in progress, the Palestinian conjuncture reaches a sharp historical turning point. The Palestinian Arab people asserts once more its inalienable rights and its demand to exercise those rights in its Palestinian homeland.

...The Palestine National Council hereby declares, in the Name of God and on behalf of the Palestinian Arab people, the establishment of the State of Palestine in the land of Palestine with its capital at Jerusalem.

The State of Palestine shall be for Palestinians, wherever they may be therein to develop their national and cultural identity and therein to enjoy full equality of rights. Their religious and political beliefs and human dignity shall therein be safeguarded under a democratic parliamentary system....

The State of Palestine shall be an Arab State and shall be an integral part of the Arab nation....

"A/43/827-S/20278 of 18 November 1988." United Nations. Web.

Document 2: Declaration of Principles (1993)

The Declaration of Principles (DOP), in the peace process that has come to be known as Oslo I, is a set of agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993. The DOP was an interim agreement that envisioned a permanent settlement in five years, which would address remaining core issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, and relations and cooperation with other neighbors.

Along with the DOP, Israel and the PLO exchanged Letters of Mutual Recognition. For the first time, the PLO formally recognized Israel, renounced terrorism, and publicly expressed acceptance of peaceful coexistence with Israel. For its part, Israel formally recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.


The Government of the State of Israel and the P.L.O. team, representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process. Accordingly, the two sides agree to the following principles:

Article I: Aim of the Negotiations

The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the "Council"), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Article III: Elections

1. In order that the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may govern themselves according to democratic principles, direct, free and general political elections will be held for the Council under agreed supervision and international observation, while the Palestinian police will ensure public order.

Article IV: Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.

Article V: Transitional Period and Permanent Status Negotiations

  1. The five-year transitional period will begin upon the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.
  2. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible....
  3. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.
Additional primary media resource

Database, ECF. "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:." Declaration of Principles (Oslo I, 1993). Web.

Document 3: Treaty of Peace Between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (October 26,1994)

As with the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, the United States led a difficult but successful diplomatic process to help Jordan and Israel achieve peace. In 1994, Jordan became the second Arab nation to recognize Israel. Trade, business relations, tourism, cultural exchanges, and scientific cooperation between the two nations have increased since the agreement was signed, although at a slower pace than hoped for initially.


The Government of the State of Israel and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...Aiming at the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East...Have agreed as follows:

Article 1: Establishment of Peace

Peace is hereby established between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (the "Parties") effective from the exchange of the instruments of ratification of this Treaty.

Article 2: General Principles

The Parties will apply between them the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law governing relations among states in times of peace. In particular:

  1. They recognise and will respect each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence;
  2. They recognise and will respect each other's right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries;
  3. They will develop good neighbourly relations of co-operation between them to ensure lasting security, will refrain from the threat or use of force against each other and will settle all disputes between them by peaceful means. . .

Article 5: Diplomatic and Other Bilateral Relations

  1. The Parties agree to establish full diplomatic and consular relations and to exchange resident ambassadors....
  2. The Parties agree that the normal relationship between them will further include economic and cultural relations.

Article 6: Water

With the view to achieving a comprehensive and lasting settlement of all the water problems between them:

  1. The Parties agree mutually to recognise the rightful allocations of both of them in Jordan River and Yarmouk River waters and Araba/Arava ground water....
  2. The parties, recognizing the necessity to find a practical, just, and agreed solution to their water problems...jointly undertake to ensure that the management and development of their water resources do not...harm the water resources of the other party;
  3. The Parties recognise that their water resources are not sufficient to meet their needs....
  4. The Parties agree to search for ways to alleviate water shortage and to co- operate in the following fields: development of existing and new water resources, increasing the water availability...and minimising wastage of water resources...; prevention of contamination of water resources; mutual assistance in the alleviation of water shortages; transfer of information and joint research and development in waterrelated subjects.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. "The Peace Agreement between Israel and Jordan" English. Web.

Background image: Balloons released into the air during the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty signing ceremony at the Arava Terminal. Government Press Office (Israel) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

document 4: The Second Intifada: Statement of Senator George J. Mitchell and Senator Warren B. Rudman on the Publication of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report (May 21, 2001)

In July 2000, the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Authority convened at Camp David to negotiate a final peace settlement. The Summit ended with no agreement with President Clinton ultimately blaming PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat for the failure of the talks. A few months later, in September, before he became Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, a site that is holy to Jews and Muslims. Claiming that Sharon's visit was provocative, many Palestinians began to riot and threw stones on Jews worshiping at the Western Wall below. Many Israelis claimed that Sharon's visit was a pretext for violence, that the visit had been coordinated in advance with Palestinian officials.

In October 2000, representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union met in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt, to try and quell the violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. At this Summit, a fact-finding committee was formed to investigate underlying causes to the conflict and to develop a set of recommendations to prevent their recurrence. What follows is an excerpt from a statement made by US Senators George Mitchell and Warren Rudman when the report of the committee was made public.


Last October [2000], leaders of the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Governments of Egypt, Jordan, and the United States met in a summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. They agreed that an International Committee should be formed to look into the then recent outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Just a few weeks ago, on our Committee's last visit to the region, leaders on both sides told us, in virtually identical words, that life has become unbearable for their people. They said that the violence has to end. But it has not ended. It has gotten worse….

We call on the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement our recommendations:

First, end the violence. That must be the immediate aim. The cycle of violent actions and violent reaction must be broken. We call upon the parties to implement an immediate and unconditional cessation of violence. Part of the effort to end the violence must include an immediate resumption of security cooperation between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority aimed at preventing violence and combating terrorism. Political leaders on both sides must act now to reduce the tension and stop the violence.

Then, rebuild confidence. The restoration of trust is essential. We recommend several steps to this end. Given the high level of hostility and mistrust, the timing and sequence of these steps are obviously crucial.

Among our recommendations are:

  • The PA and GOI should resume their efforts to identify, condemn and discourage incitement in all its forms.
  • The PA should make clear through concrete action to Palestinians and Israelis alike that terrorism is reprehensible and unacceptable, and that the PA will make a 100 percent effort to prevent terrorist operations and to punish perpetrators. This effort should include immediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate terrorists operating within the PA's jurisdiction.
  • The GOI should freeze all settlement activity, including the "natural growth" of existing settlements.
  • The GOI should ensure that the Israel Defense Force adopts and enforces policies and procedures encouraging non-lethal responses to unarmed demonstrators, with a view to minimizing casualties and friction between the two communities.
  • The PA should prevent gunmen from using Palestinian populated areas to fire upon Israeli populated areas and IDF positions. This tactic places civilians on both sides at unnecessary risk….

Finally, resume negotiations…. Political leaders on both sides must act and speak decisively to reverse these dangerous trends; they must rekindle the desire and the drive for peace. That will be difficult. But it can be done and it must be done, for the alternative is unacceptable….

"Mitchell-Rudman statement on Mideast report." CNN. Cable News Network. Web.

Background image: Aftermath of a bus bombing in Haifa, Israel in 2003.

Document 5: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's (Original) Disengagement Plan (April 2004)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (1928-2014) led Israel to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements as part of a larger policy of “disengagement,” the separation of Israel from territories envisioned for a future Palestinian state. The Gaza disengagement in 2005 was very controversial in Israel, because Israeli soldiers were required to uproot fellow citizens who wanted to remain in their homes in Gaza.


1. General

Israel is committed to the peace process and aspires to reach an agreed resolution of the conflict on the basis of the principle of two states for two peoples, the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people and a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people, as part of the implementation of President Bush's vision.

Israel is concerned to advance and improve the current situation. Israel has come to the conclusion that there is currently no reliable Palestinian partner with which it can make progress in a bilateral peace process. Accordingly, it has developed a plan of unilateral disengagement, based on the following considerations:

  • The stalemate dictated by the current situation is harmful. In order to break out of this stalemate, Israel is required to initiate moves not dependent on Palestinian cooperation.
  • The plan will lead to a better security situation, at least in the long term.
  • ...in any future permanent status arrangement, there will be no Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, it is clear that in the West Bank, there are areas which will be part of the State of Israel, including cities, towns and villages, security areas and installations, and other places of special interest to Israel.
  • The relocation from the Gaza Strip and from Northern Samaria [some of the area in the northern part of the West Bank]...will reduce friction with the Palestinian population, and carries with it the potential for improvement in the Palestinian economy and living conditions....

2. Main elements

i. Gaza Strip:

  1. Israel will evacuate the Gaza Strip, including all existing Israeli towns and villages, and will redeploy outside the Strip....
  2. Upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces or Israeli civilians in the areas of Gaza Strip territory which have been evacuated.
  3. As a result, there will be no basis for claiming that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory.

ii. West Bank:

  1. Israel will evacuate an Area in the Northern Samaria Area, including 4 villages and all military installations, and will redeploy outside the vacated area. Upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces or Israeli civilians in the Northern Samaria Area.

"Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza Disengagement Plan - Non-UN Document (16 April 2004)." United Nations. Web.

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