Road Map (2002)

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ROAD MAP (2002)

American-sponsored proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement put forth by the so-called Quartet (the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia) in April 2003; it was formally accepted by both sides, but never implemented. A revised version of a proposal floated, at the urging of British prime minister Tony Blair, in September 2002. The Road Map was issued as the United States and Britain took up the occupation of Iraq following the initial phase of the Iraq War of 2003, which had been justified, in part, as a step toward a general peace in the Middle East. The Road Map provided for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005. It called for the Palestinians, again, to recognize Israel's right to exist; to renounce violence; and to reform the Palestinian Authority (PA), specifically to create the position of prime minister (to allow Israel to negotiate with someone other than Yasir Arafat). It called for Israel to remove curfews and roadblocks in the occupied territories; freeze settlement activity; dismantle "illegal" settlements (not defined; under international law all the settlements are illegal); and withdraw from territory seized from Palestinian autonomous areas since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000. The Road Map was accepted by the PA, and a prime minister, Mahmud Rida Abbas (Abu Mazen), was appointed. The Israeli government of prime minister Ariel Sharon, fundamentally opposed to giving up any occupied territory or settlements, as well as to allowing a sovereign Palestinian state, publicly accepted the Road Map with reservations, but did nothing to implement it. Since then both sides have continued activities in violation of the Road Map and little progress has been achieved. In February 2004 Sharon announced his own plan of "unilateral disengagement" from the Gaza Strip, which involved dismantling Israeli settlements there and moving the approximately 7,500 to 8,000 settlers to the West Bank, while also removing four settlements in the West Bank. In September Sharon announced that he would not follow the Road Map, and added that once the disengagement from Gaza is complete, "it is very possible . . . there will be a long period when nothing else happens."

SEE ALSO Abbas, Mahmud Rida; Aqsa Intifada, al-; Arafat, Yasir; Gaza Strip; Iraq War; Palestinian Authority; Sharon, Ariel.