Currently, Hamas controls Gaza, and Fatah is in control of the West Bank, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been increasingly engaged in diplomatic efforts to spur the peace process and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas have engaged in peace talks for the first time in seven years.
The modern Israeli-Palestinian peace process began in September 1993 after a series of secret meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators facilitated by the Norwegian government produced what is now known as the Oslo Accords. A framework for the peace process, the Oslo Accords broadly defined the scope and timetable of negotiations and successfully overcame many of the obstacles that had served to block the path to peace in the past.
According to the Mitchell Commission’s Report, on September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon, then the leader of the Likud party, visited the Temple Mount. Israel interpreted the gesture as an internal political act directed at Prime Minister Ehud Barak by a political opponent, and thus did not prevent Sharon’s visit. However, the Palestinians interpreted Sharon’s visit as a provocation.
During the four year period from September 2000 to November 2004, peace efforts remained stalled as Israel refused to negotiate with Chairman Arafat after he rejected Barak’s proposal and failed to stop the campaign of terror. Yet during the Fall of 2003, grassroots initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians took place outside the official arms of either government in hopes of restarting dialogue around the peace process.
Disengagement, New Leadership and the Second War with Lebanon.
Despite the pivotal role the United Nations played in the creation of the Jewish state, the relationship between Israel and the UN has been often antagonistic. From the 1975 UN resolution equating Zionism with racism to the continuing use of the assembly as a forum for airing Arab grievances, Israel has often been on the receiving end of UN criticism.