1967 – UN Security Council Resolution 242

United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242, adopted in 1967 after the Six Day War, defines guidelines to arrive at the desired goal of a peaceful environment in the Middle East. It aims to establish ‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’ between Israel and its neighbours. Israel has accepted these resolutions, and recognises them as the basis for all peace negotiations for an Arab-Israeli peace settlement. Resolution 242 is a remarkably succinct document (291 words) with key provisions and principles. It has become the central document of the Middle East diplomatic effort.

The language of Resolution 242, painstakingly drafted and carefully worded by its British sponsors, was the product of long and exhaustive debate in the United Nations. Resolution 242 applies to ‘every state in the area’ of the Middle East, and therefore does not refer to Palestinians because it applied only to existing states. It explicitly calls for the Israeli armed forces to withdraw ‘from territories occupied’ in the June 1967 war – specifically not from ‘the territories’ or ‘all the territories’.

The omission of the definitive article ‘the’ in front of ‘territories’ in the binding English version of the resolution is of the highest significance, and should not be derided as mere wordplay or legal acrobatics. Some five and a half months of debate and diplomacy over the resolution’s wording produced several draft versions – such as ‘from the territories occupied’ (the Arab states) and ‘all territories occupied’ (the Soviet Union). All such versions were defeated in the UN General Assembly and Security Council, and the British version was unanimously adopted on 22 November 1967. Thus, the debate over which version of Resolution 242 is binding – the English or French version (which uses a definitive article – ‘des territories’) – is less complex than usually thought. In the UN, the binding version of any resolution is the one that is submitted to the voting body. In the case of Resolution 242, the English version takes precedence over the French version.

In other words, the resolution calls for a withdrawal from an undefined portion of territory, and only to the extent required by ‘secure and recognised boundaries’ in order for Israel to establish defensible borders. There is no demand on Israel to withdraw from all the territories captured in 1967.

In fact, Lord Caradon, Britain’s UN representative at the time and the principal author  of Resolution 242, said, ‘It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967…That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right to do so.’ Furthermore, the resolution requires ‘respect for and acknowledgment of…[every State’s] right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.’ Eugene Rostow, US undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 and a key player in the production of Resolution 242, has written, ‘Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 rule that the Arab states and Israel must make peace, and that when “a just and lasting peace” is reached in the Middle East, Israel should withdraw from some but not all of the territory it occupied in the course of the 1967 war. The Resolutions leave it to the parties to agree on the terms of peace.’

View UN Security Council Resolution 242

1973 – UN Security Council Resolution 338

In the later stages of the Yom Kippur War – after Israel thwarted the Syrian attack on the Golan Heights and established a bridgehead on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal – international efforts to stop the fighting were intensified. US secretary of state Henry Kissinger flew to Moscow on 20 October and, together with the Soviet Union, the United States proposed a ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council. The Security Council met on 21 October, and by 14 votes to none, adopted Resolution 338, which called on the warring parties to cease fighting and resume diplomatic efforts in accordance with Resolution 242. In fact, Eugene Rostow, US undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 and a key player in the production of Resolution 242, has written, ‘Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 rule that the Arab states and Israel must make peace, and that when “a just and lasting peace” is reached in the Middle East, Israel should withdraw from some but not all of the territory it occupied in the course of the 1967 war. The Resolutions leave it to the parties to agree on the terms of peace.’

View UN Security Council Resolution 338

1974 – Separation of Forces Agreement: Israel and Egypt

After the Yom Kippur War, efforts were made to reach an agreement on separation of forces between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Syria. Efforts to conclude an agreement on separation of forces between Israel and Egypt that were made at kilometre 101 and later in Geneva failed. US secretary of state Henry Kissinger successfully narrowed the gap between the parties, bringing about the conclusion of an agreement. Before the signing of the agreement, the Israeli government approved it and issued a statement. A day later, the agreement was signed at kilometre 101 by the chiefs of staff of the Israeli and Egyptian armies.

View the Separation of Forces Agreement: Israel and Egypt

1975 – Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt

The Interim Agreement provided for a limited forces zone, a UN supervised buffer zone, an Israeli and an Egyptian electronic surveillance station and an additional station to be manned by 200 American civilian technicians as part of an early warning system. The American presence was specified in a separate agreement between the United States, Israel and Egypt. Egypt regained access to the Abu Rudeis oil fields. The duration of the agreement was to be at least three years, with an annual extension of the mandate of the UN Emergency Force (UNEF). The details were prepared by Israeli and Egyptian delegates who met in Geneva as a military working group.

View the Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt

1977 – Israel's Self-Rule Plan

In December 1977, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin announced his autonomy plan. The plan for the first time formally suggested that the solution to the problem in the West Bank and Gaza Strip involved some combination of self-rule and shared rule. The plan called for administrative autonomy of the Arab residents in the West Bank and Gaza districts, and the election of an 11-member Administrative Council (among other provisions). Palestinian leaders rejected Begin’s self-rule plan.

View Israel’s Self-Rule Plan

1978 – Camp David Accords

The Camp David Accords, mediated by US president Jimmy Carter, brought together Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to negotiate a framework agreement that led to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty (signed in 1979). The negotiations – which were based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 – were concluded by the signing of two frameworks.

The first agreement (the ‘Framework for Peace in the Middle East’) established a framework by which to pursue a negotiated peace between Israel and the Arab states and their neighbours. It offered a gradual approach, by means of an interim agreement. In addition, it established a format for conducting negotiations for the establishment of an autonomy regime in the West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinians. The second agreement (the ‘Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty Between Egypt and Israel’) stipulated a full Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt promised full diplomatic relations with Israel, and to allow Israeli passage through the Suez Canal, the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba.

View the Camp David Accords

1979 – Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty

The Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt led to the signing of a negotiated peace treaty on 26 March 1979. The agreement was signed in Washington, DC by US president Jimmy Carter, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israel prime minister Menachem Begin. It was the first peace treaty signed between Israel and any of its Arab neighbours. Sadat and Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their historic agreements. The peace treaty led to a full Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula by April 1982, in exchange for full diplomatic relations and the demilitarisation of the Sinai.

View the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty

1979 – Israel-US Memorandum Agreement (Part I)

On the same day as the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, Israel and the United States reached an agreement in which the US clarified its commitments to Israel should the treaty be violated, the role of the United Nations, and the future supply of military and economic aid to Israel.

View the Israel-US Memorandum Agreement (Part I)

1979 – Israel-US Memorandum Agreement (Part II)

On the same day as the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, Israel and the United States reached an agreement in which the US clarified its commitments to Israel should the treaty be violated, the role of the United Nations, and the future supply of military and economic aid to Israel.

View Israel-US Memorandum Agreement (Part II)

1980 – Venice Declaration

The Venice Declaration was produced by the nine member states of the European Community in June 1980 to articulate the basic EC position on peace negotiations. It called for recognition of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, as well as recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It also states that the nine EC states are ‘prepared to participate within the framework of a comprehensive settlement.’

View the Venice Declaration

1982 – Israeli proposal for self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza

In accordance with the Camp David Accords, Israel proposed a plan for the establishment of a self-governing authority (administrative council) that would be comprised of one body representing Palestinian Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza. The plan envisioned that this body would be chosen through free elections, thereby giving the Palestinians their first elected representative body in accordance with their own wishes and free choice, that would be able to carry out the functions assigned to it as an administrative council.

View the Israeli proposal for self-governing authority in the West Bank and Gaza

1989 – Israeli Peace Initiative calling for a negotiation process

Israel’s national unity government (Labour and Likud coalition) presented a document of principles for a political initiative that would deal with the continuation of the peace process, the termination of the state of war with the Arab states, the situation for the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, peace with Jordan and a way to handle the situation of the residents of the refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

View the Israeli Peace Initiative calling for a negotiation process

1989 – Baker's Five Point Plan

US secretary of state James Baker presented a plan intended to bring together Israeli and Palestinian delegations to discuss elections and the negotiating process as set out in Israel’s initiative.

View Baker’s Five Point Plan

1991 – Madrid Peace Framework

In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, US president George Bush Sr. and US secretary of state James Baker organised  the Madrid Conference, in collaboration with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. It was attended by Israel, Syria, Lebanon and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation. The opening of the three-day conference inaugurated two separate yet parallel negotiating tracks – the bilateral track (meant to resolve bilateral conflicts) and the multilateral track (intended to shape the future Middle East and build confidence among the regional parties). For the first time, Israel entered into direct, face-to-face negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians. Today’s Middle East peace negotiations are carried out within the structure of the Madrid Framework.

View the Madrid Peace Framework

1993 – Israel-PLO Mutual Recognition

A few days before the signing of the Declaration of Principles, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin exchanged letters of mutual recognition. The PLO accepted Israel’s ‘right to exist in peace and security’ and renounced ‘the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.’ Israel recognised the PLO ‘as the representative of the Palestinian people.’

Read about Israel-PLO Mutual Recognition

1993 – Declaration of Principles (Oslo I)

The Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP, also known as Oslo I), signed by prime minister Rabin and chairman Arafat on the White House Lawn on13 September 1993, outlined a framework for the transfer of self-governing authority to the Palestinians. The DOP called for (1) a staged Israeli withdrawal from two areas, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, (2) the creation of a Palestinian Authority to govern Palestinians in those areas until the election of a governing council to conduct affairs for five years whilst a permanent settlement was negotiated, (3) the creation of a Palestinian police force, and (4) Israeli control over external security and foreign relations and Palestinian control over domestic affairs during the five-year interim period. Permanent status negotiations were to commence by the beginning of third year of the interim period. The agreement on contentious issues – Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbours, and other issues of common interest – were to be resolved in permanent status negotiations, reserved for discussion at a later stage.

View Declaration of Principles (Oslo I)

1994 – Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty

On 26 October 1994, at the Arava desert border crossing, prime minister Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan, alongside Jordanian prime minister Abdul-Salam Majali, signed a formal peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, normalising relations between them. The treaty comprises 30 articles, five annexes and six maps addressing such issues as boundary demarcations, security, water, refugees, police cooperation, environmental issues and mutual border crossings.

View the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty

1994 – Gaza-Jericho Agreement (the Cairo Agreement)

At a ceremony in Cairo on 4 May 1994, Israel and the Palestinians signed the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (sometimes called the Cairo Agreement). The agreement led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) shortly thereafter. Each party to this agreement undertook numerous obligations, foremost among them Israel’s commitment to turn territory over to the PA, and the Palestinian commitment to combat terror and prevent violence.

View the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (the Cairo Agreement)

1994 – Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities

On 29 August 1994, this agreement was signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement puts into effect the next phase (early empowerment) of the Declaration of Principles (Oslo I).

View the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities

1994 – The Washington Declaration

Although Israel and Jordan maintained secret relations, the first public meeting between King Hussein of Jordan and prime minister Rabin took place in Washington on 25 July 1994. This meeting produced the Washington Declaration, signed by King Hussein and prime minister Rabin, with US president Bill Clinton serving as a witness. The major achievements of the Washington Declaration were a series of agreements and concrete steps: (1) the state of hostility between Jordan and Israel was terminated; (2) both states agreed to seek a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338; and (3) Israel would respect the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom over Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem.

View the Washington Declaration

1995 – Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (Oslo II)

The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (also known as Oslo II) was signed on 24 September 1995 in Taba, Egypt, and countersigned four days later in Washington. It is an extensive, complex document. Among its major provisions, Oslo II calls for further Israeli troop redeployments beyond the Gaza and Jericho areas. Under the agreement, Israel was first scheduled to redeploy from the major Palestinian population centres in the West Bank (the ‘second redeployment’) and later from all rural areas (the ‘third redeployment’), with the exception of Israeli settlements and the Israeli-designated military areas. The IDF retained responsibility for the safety of the citizens of Israel, and Israel released numerous Palestinian prisoners who had not been involved in the killing of Israelis. For its part, the Palestinian Authority assumed responsibility for civil affairs and security, including the commitment to prevent terror attacks on Israel.

View the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (Oslo II)

1997 – The Hebron Protocol

The Hebron Protocol called for dividing the West Bank city of Hebron into Israeli and Palestinian areas. Israel agreed to withdraw from 80 percent of Hebron whilst maintaining security control over 20 percent of the city. The protocol (along with the Note for the Record) reaffirmed areas to be implemented in accordance with the Interim Agreement (Oslo II). For Israel, this included responsibilities to redeploy troops, negotiation of a safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank and the opening of a port and airport in Gaza. In return, the Palestinians reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate with Israel on security issues and to combat terrorism. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and chairman Yasser Arafat agreed to restart permanent status negotiations.

View the Hebron Protocol

1998 – Wye River Memorandum

The Wye River Memorandum was signed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and chairman Arafat on 23 October 1998 in a ceremony attended by King Hussein of Jordan and hosted by president Clinton. The memorandum consists of steps to facilitate the implementation of the Interim Agreement (Oslo II) and other related agreements, including the January 1997 Note for the Record. The agreement emphasises reciprocity and addresses specific security concerns that Israel had raised in the past. Attached to the memorandum is a ‘timeline’, which outlines step by step the implementation of the mutual undertakings incumbent upon each side. Upon completion of each phase of the Palestinian commitments, Israel was to transfer a specified percentage of land to the Palestinians within the context of ‘further redeployments’ as stated in previous agreements. As result of this agreement, Israel withdrew from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank.

View the Wye River Memorandum

1999 – Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement

On 4 September 1999, the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement was signed by prime minister Ehud Barak and chairman Arafat. Restating the commitment of the two sides to full implementation of all agreements reached since September 1993, the agreement set out to resolve the outstanding issues of the interim status, in particular those set out in the Wye River Memorandum, in order to accelerate completion of the interim period towards the initiation of negotiations on permanent status.

View the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement

1999 – Protocol concerning safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

This protocol – based on the Interim Agreement (Oslo II), the Wye River Memorandum and the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement – set out the parameters for the use of a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza.

View the Protocol concerning safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

2000 – Camp David II Summit

From 11-24 July 2000, at the invitation of president Clinton, prime minister Barak and chairman Arafat met at Camp David to discuss permanent status issues and negotiate a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with the September 1993 accord (Oslo I). However, no formal agreement was reached at Camp David. American and Israeli negotiators put forward bold ideas that would have affected issues such as borders, Jerusalem, settlements, the prospects for Palestinian statehood and refugees. Arafat, who did not present any counter-offers to Barak, rejected these offers, and a wave of Palestinian violence erupted in September 2000 (the second intifada).

Read about the Camp David II Summit

2000 – The Taba talks

Hosted by president Clinton, talks were held in Washington with Israeli and Palestinian teams from 19-23 December 2000. The Israeli delegation was headed by foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and prime ministerial bureau chief Gilad Sher. President Clinton presented a bridging proposal to the parties. Following a meeting in Cairo between foreign minister Ben-Ami and chairman Arafat, marathon talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations were held in Taba from 21-27 January 2001, ending in a joint statement, but without an agreement.

Read about the Taba talks

2000 – The Clinton Parameters

Often referred to as the ‘Clinton Peace Plan’, on 23 December 2000, president Clinton presented both Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams with his parameters for a final status agreement. He asked that the parties respond to him by 27 December if the parameters were acceptable as a basis for further negotiations. President Clinton proposed the following: a Palestinian state in 97 percent of the West Bank, 100 percent of Gaza (and a land link between the two), the Arab neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state, a right for Palestinian refugees to settle in a future Palestinian state (along with an international fund of $30 billion USD that would be put together for either compensation or to cover repatriation, resettlement and rehabilitation costs), some form of sovereignty over parts of the Temple Mount, and many other historic proposals. Barak endorsed the plan; Arafat introduced reservations (without presenting a counter-offer) to each one of the proposals and made them wholly unworkable.

View the Clinton Parameters

2001 – The Mitchell Commission Report

The text of the Mitchell Commission Report (also known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report) is an account of Israeli-Palestinian violence that erupted in September 2000. It was written by a five-member committee headed by former US senate majority leader George Mitchell. The stated goal of the report is to answer ‘what happened’, ‘why it happened’, and how the ‘recurrence of violence [could] be prevented.’

The report called on the Palestinians to fight terrorism, resume security cooperation with Israel and end incitement. It called on Israel to cease settlement building to re-establish confidence.

View the Mitchell Commission Report

2003 – Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution

On 30 April 2003, the US State Department released the text of the Performance-based Roadmap peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was issued under the auspices of the Quartet – comprised of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. The Roadmap specified three phases, with timelines, target dates and benchmarks, aimed at bringing Israelis and Palestinians towards the ultimate goal of a comprehensive and permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first phase included a halt to violence on both sides, Palestinian political reform, and a halt to Israeli settlement construction. The second phase referred to the option of a Palestinian state within interim borders. The third phase was for a final status agreement to end the conflict. The Roadmap also called for progress towards regional peace, with normal relations between Israel and Arab states. Though both sides accepted the Roadmap in principle, it was not successfully implemented.

View the Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution

2005 – Sharm el-Sheikh meeting

On 8 February 2005, prime minister Ariel Sharon, PA president Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan convened in Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit intended to produce an official declaration of ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, and an end to the violence since September 2000.

Click here to view statements by prime minister Sharon and president Abbas

2005 – Disengagement from the Gaza Strip and four northern West Bank communities

In late 2003 Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon announced his intention to withdraw all Israeli settlements and military forces from the Gaza Strip and evacuate four settlements in the northern West Bank. The disengagement from the Gaza Strip was completed on 22 August 2005, and from the northern West Bank on 23 August. On 12 September 2005, IDF forces completed their exit from Gaza. The Head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, signed a declaration stating the end of military rule in Gaza after 38 years.

View the Disengagement Plan

2005 – Agreement on Movement and Access

On 15 November 2005, Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached the Agreement on Movement and Access, which is intended to govern the flow of people and goods from and into Gaza. The agreement divides responsibility between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in controlling the crossing between Gaza and Egypt, with the EU as a third party monitor.

View the Agreement on Movement and Access

2007 – Annapolis Conference

The Annapolis Conference was held on 27 November 2007 at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement in which Israel and the Palestinians agreed to try and conclude a peace agreement by the end of 2008. During the course of 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was forced to announce his resignation due to corruption allegations. Before his term ended, at the end of August 2008, he made a substantial, outline package proposal for a final status agreement to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas never formally responded to the proposal.

Read the Olmert proposal

Read about the Annapolis Conference





2011 – President Obama's 19 May Parameters

US President Barack Obama delivered a major speech on the region in which he presented an outline proposal on various aspects of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Obama called for peace based on the principle of, ‘Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.’ He added that, ‘the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.’

View President Obama’s 19 May Parameters

Wave of Terror

BICOM Poll of Polls

The BICOM Poll of Polls is produced for BICOM by Arieh Kovler based on a selected basket of opinion polls published in Israel each week.