chapter  12
24 Pages

From Camp David to the Road Map

The “Disengagement” from the Peace Process
WithSamih K. Farsoun, Naseer H. Aruri

The failure at Camp David in 2000 was followed by two years of American diplomatic reticence. By 2003, however, the European Union, together with the Russian Federation and the United Nations, had convinced the United States to cosponsor a new “peace” plan, which became known as the Road Map to Peace. Both the Oslo Accords and the Road Map were distinguished by built-in tendencies toward deliberate ambiguity, which hampers real diplomatic activity and impedes progress. These tendencies have had an adverse effect on the Palestinian negotiating position, which has had to grant increasing concessions under relentless Israeli and US pressure. These concessions began to reach new heights during the diplomatic quagmire of Oslo, but even newer heights were reached as George W. Bush began to align his position with that of the right-wing Likud Party after the horrendous crimes of September 11. The Road Map, with a token of international sponsorship, was actually grounded in the June 24, 2002, speech 1 by Bush II, which embraced Ariel Sharon’s perspective and agenda. 2 By contrast, the unconditional Palestinian embrace of the Road Map reflected power inequality. In sum, the Road Map was the perfect instrument to enable Sharon to prolong the never-ending stalemate, consistent with the well-established 350Israeli strategy of opting for unilateral interim settlements and the never-ending pretense of negotiations, of which Oslo is the best example. The aftermath of Oslo has seen a modified Israeli strategy in which unilateralism (Bush’s favorite approach) has replaced the bilateral contact of the Clinton era. Meanwhile, Israel would continue to declare the Palestinian leadership recalcitrant and irrelevant, not deserving to sit at the table before ending “terror,” and thereby would ensure a continuous freeze of the “peace process.”