The year 2003 saw continued violence between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as new attempts at peace. The following article describes the most prominent of these peace efforts.
Among the momentous effects of Al-Qaeda’s violent strikes against the United States on September 11, 2001, was a re-orientation of American policy toward the Middle East. The new paradigm adopted in Washington viewed much of the world as being divided into opponents versus supporters of terrorism. Furthermore, the roots of terrorism were ascribed to Mideast regimes that caused social and economic failures while pursuing the interests of small groups of ruling elites.
Palestinian Regime Change
The Bush administration increasingly came to view the regime of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat as a hindrance rather than a partner. Widespread corruption in the Palestinian Authority and its lack of a stable judiciary were problematic, but the convoluted nature of the PA’s multiple security arms–along with mounting evidence that they were involved in or supported terror attacks against Israeli targets alongside militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad–persuaded influential officials in the White House that progress in the Middle East required a form of “regime change” in the Palestinian Authority. The administration advocated replacing Arafat with another Palestinian leader.
President Bush announced a new plan on June 24, 2002, in which Bush stated that the leadership of Yasser Arafat was unacceptable to the United States. The U.S. called for the election of new Palestinian leaders not compromised by terror and for the creation of a truly democratic Palestinian entity. This was balanced by support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state–the first unequivocal and open expression of such support from an American administration. The U.S. also persuaded the so-called Quartet–a group consisting of the European Union, the United Nations Secretariat, Russia, and the United States–to endorse aims consistent with its policies a month later.
Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.