Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

The Failure of the Road Map to Peace

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The failure of the Roadmap to Peace has become an object of substantial debate. This essay examines the conflict utilizing the concept of ripeness and third party intervention in order to determine the impact. The evidence presented illustrates the lack of details produced a lack of direction which led to strategy failure. This study will be of value to any person studying conflict resolution.

1 Introduction

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The Roadmap to peace was created to bring quiet and balance to the Middle East. This essay examines the failure of the Roadmap process through the perspective of ripeness and third party intervention. With each process, this essay identifies the strengths and weaknesses associated with the method in order to create better understanding. Beginning with a base overview of the Roadmap to peace this essay sets out a fundamental building point. Following this with an assessment of the ripeness of the peace process will allows for an illustration of potential, adding to the narrative. Next, will be an examination of third party intervention and the opportunities that this created in the Roadmap process. A combination of these sections will enable the creation of reasonable conclusions based on evidence.

In the end this essay considers initial policy, modern practice and future potential with the clear and stated goal of demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of international conflict resolution.

2 Roadmap to Peace

2.1 Overview

With the failure of the American President Bill Clinton to forge a lasting peace in the Middle East before leaving office, the second intifada broke out hampering peace efforts and increasing regional violence between Palestine and Israel. This sudden onslaught rapidly deteriorated any building goodwill between the states and made any form of resolution very hard to create. The Roadmap was an effort constructed by the major powers Russia, the United Nations, the United States and the European Union in an effort to create peace between Palestine and Israel. With a real need to implement a form of resolution and partnership in order to promote international concerns, the Middle East plan was built to resolve many long standing issues. Citing the rising tensions in the region, the world powers, led by the United States President George W. Bush, adopted the Roadmap, a concept taken from a 2002 speech created the foundation for the Road Map to Peace. With a clear political impact to be felt by the failure or success of the program, the Western Powers and Russia felt that the time had come to answer the violence with a bold initiative directly aimed at changing the status quo.

The strategy itself was enacted with three distinct segments in mind, which in turn would provide markers illustrating the progress . The first phase envisioned a form of acceptance between the antagonists which would lead to an end to the on-going violence in the region . As part and parcel of the reform needed, the Palestinian state would undergo elections and fundamental development, thus enabling a better informed and therefore less violent population. Israel in turn would pull their military assets back as well as allowing normalization of operations in Eastern Jerusalem. This process would allow for a general rising of health conditions alongside the improvement in the aid situation that was being experienced by the general population. A final component of the first phase of the Roadmap dictated a total freeze on expansion settlements, and the further exploration of alternatives . Each of these first steps was designed with a broad intent, but few details. However, the intent was to deescalate the tension and creates a perception of partnership that would allow for both Israel and Palestine to find common ground, thereby inherently reducing the underlying violence and hardship.

The second segment of the Roadmap was to take place over the course of the 2003 year. Building on the projections of the first portion, the second phase begins the real work of creating an independent state. This process of development for Palestine required a substantial economic recovery as well as a considerable increase in the quality of social services available . With increased funding, and environmental assistance this segment encompassed the physical rehabilitation of the Palestinian state in order to establish a viable national presence. Once again, the critics of this segment cite the lack of detail compared to the overarching goals. Yet, with the accomplishment of these goals, Israel would restore communication and cooperation with the Palestinians, thereby increasing the communication and opportunity for partnership in the region.

The third and final section of the Roadmap consisted of a second international conference that would herald the passage of the Palestinian state into international recognition. As a consequence of the success of the first and second sections, it was judged that the Palestinians would have a permanent status as an independent state which would in turn effectively end the conflict . During this third segment many of the most vexing issues surrounding the conflict including the borders of the city Jerusalem would be addressed in order to cement a lasting peace. Further, this final effort would encompass the refugee and settlement issues with a final decree thereby settling each of the commonly held elements of the conflict.

Described as a performance driven strategy, there was no real method of enforcement, compelling the states involved to meet the standards of the Roadmap. With a great deal of mistrust resting between the Palestinians and the Israeli’a the expectation of trust and good faith on the part of every player was a significant assumption. With an initial directive of immediate ceasefire on the part of Palestine alongside the immediate cessation of building by Israel was meant to convey in a very direct manner, that the peace process was moving forward and would impact the most sensitive elements of the conflict.

This fundamental endorsement of the two state solutions to the regional conflict by world powers signalled the beginning of a political push to solve the long running crises. Both players did not agree to abide by the agreement, Israel nor did Palestine truly meet the guidelines, making the effort to keep the Roadmap on track both frustrating and pointless.

2.1 Failure of the Roadmap

2.1.1 Ripeness

Many elements are at the core of the failure of the Roadmap policy, including clarity, ripeness of goals and the overall intervention efforts by the larger world powers. With spiralling rates of violence taking their toll on each side, it was deemed time for intervention by the world powers prior to the creation of the Roadmap. However, not each party involved in the conflict agreed with that assessment. Wallensteen (2002) identifies the concept of ripeness as the moment of defining readiness for change. With the onset of dialogue and the uptick in desire for a regional solution to the conflict, both the Palestinians and the Israeli’s seemed ripe for a compromise. With very little ahead of either party without a form of conflict resolution, the long term outlook was dim and growing dimmer.

The ripeness of the opportunity led the four major world powers to create and implement the Roadmap to peace even with the lack of clarity . With a clear moment for seizing the reins and changing the narrative, the players in the negotiations sought to accomplish a long held goal in a relatively short period. Further, the foundation goals of the endeavour coordinated with the needs of the population in the moment, yet, the overall lack of clarity and details only led to confusion and skewing of purpose throughout the implementation process. This same concept of timing was conceived as an integral component of the conciliation resolution effort envisioned in the end goal. However, the lack of any real method of compelling motivation on the part of either Palestine or Israel both states quickly reneged on the agreement and failed to live up to the expected standards.

Another central element of the motivation behind the peace plan was the coveted alliance of the moderate states in region that the American president sought. In a very real way, every step of the peace process in the Middle East was conceived as a result of the need to ensure adequate oil supply from the region. This added many layers of complexity to the already complicated regional environment. As Tristan (2014) notes in his detailed evaluation, despite the lofty goals of the Roadmap, there was not a noticeable advance in the agenda between the beginning of the peace process in 2002 and the scheduled cessation of the conflict in 2005. This wasted opportunity led to a disengagement that resulted in a re-emergence of violence that soon destroyed any good the preceding efforts had achieved.

Taking away an opportune moment and drastically stoking the anti-Western resentment in the region was the invasion of Iraq only a year after the creation of the Roadmap. This contradiction in goals only served to further divide the local area as well as weaken any real oversight that the agreement on. Central to this argument is the need for continual communication and commitment in order to progress, which with the lack of monitoring failed to serve the intended purpose of driving the process forward. With the timing of the American invasion coinciding with the peace effort there was a clear opportunity to view the real views that the West espoused. As the war deteriorated and became a perceived vendetta pursued by the American President any lasting credibility that the Roadmap had was soon lost.

Despite the need for resolution and the continuing commitment for solutions from the neighbours, Israel initially declined the offer of the Roadmap, instead supplying a long list of conditions that would serve to offset any initial losses a compromise may entail. No matter the funding and benefits offered, the elements of the situation allowed Israel the leverage to institute a series of demands. This recognition of ripeness allowed the Israeli’s to accomplish much of the dismantling of the Palestinian infrastructure immediately, making these elements critical to any lasting accord. Lacking any clear detail or direction, the Roadmap was unable to address many of the issues at the regional level, making any form of progress hard. There was a real perception of rudderless direction with no real commitment by the creating powers.

Tocci (2013) argues that the outbreak of the second intifada was the signal of the ripeness of moment in the Israeli and Palestine peace process. With a clear indication by the United States that it would accept the assistance of others to promote peace in the region, the international components all seemed ripe for working and finding a long term solution . Yet, the complex nature of the conflict negated any possible progress, frustrating every party involved.

In summation:
There was a clear perception of opportune timing to be had in the intifada and the desire to de-escalate the conflict by every party involved. This benefit was bolstered by the American Presidents wish to provide a path to a moderate alliance in the region that would ensure oil production in the West . Taking away momentum from the proffered Roadmap, thus letting the moment slip past, was the lack of clarity in the fundamental plan, which was large on goals and slight on how to accomplish them. This was further complicated by a lack of understanding of the outside parties that only resulted in creating or exasperating current conditions. Coupled with the outbreak of the American and Iraqi conflict that illustrated a negative aspect of the Western power, the moment for change was soon lost among the need to serve one owns interest . With the outside powers having to concrete on the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan there was scant time or funding to provide any meaningful support for the Roadmap, which in turn consistently diminished the efforts of each person involved.

2.1.2 Third Party Intervention

There are three reasons for outside parties to become involved in an international conflict. With elements including traditional alliance compulsions, ethnic or population ties or the presence of humanitarian emergencies are at the centre of these interventions. Many studies contend that the multi-faceted partnership is more effective than the United Nations at implementing an effective assistance effort. Others argue that these situations often present outside entities with opportunities for profit that have nothing to do with the local region. This particular factor makes it very hard for nations such as Palestine and Israel to view the assistance offered by the third party nations with trust. As with any infrastructure built on apprehension, there will be a wide margin of error that will work towards the failure of the overall goal. Most third party efforts are centred on finding a method of compromise that each side can appreciate. By finding factors that appeal to each of the local concerns there is a real opportunity for find common ground that can lead the way to compromise. However, in some cases both sides refuse to yield, making any form of progress slight. Others favour the contingency method of third party intervention which entails the identification, initiation and seq8uencing of the primary elements in order to create a workable solution. In each case, it is necessary for the third parties to find common ground in order to formulate beneficial policy.

Third Party intervention in the Middle East was deemed a plausible conflict resolution process by the outside powers that were concerned about the region and its resources . In a very real way, the Roadmap was a product of the need of the larger nations to ensure their line of oil supply and production, which in turn dictated that an alliance of the moderate states in the region come together to accomplish this goal. The four nations outside of the region that were intimately involved with the Roadmap were the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United nations. Each of these entities had their own priorities when dealing with the Middle East, yet, the need for them to come together was made evident the continuing violence and unrest in the region.

This conciliatory approach to resolution in the region was obstructed from the outset by the Israeli demands that shifted the tone of the negotiations from the beginning. President Bush involved the very prestige of his office in the attempt to reconcile the nations and this initial balking on the part of Israel immediately dampened the prospects for progress in the region. In this case, the American regime was forced to reverse course and allow these changes before even the first step of the Roadmap could be realized. This created a very clear perception of Israel holding the upper hand in the negotiations. A similar reaction to the third party solution was experienced in Palestine with a dramatic upswing in violence. With no real details in the initial offering each side of the conflict felt oppressed the outside powers played a direct role in the population’s discontent. From the very beginning there was the perception by those involved in the process that the parties were going to do what they would despite any opinion held by the outside powers. This realization of this fact fuelled the growing frustration that surrounded the entire Roadmap implementation method.

The quartet of powers deemed the primary obstacle of peace to be the inability of both Israel and Palestine to reign in their most extreme components. This perception of lawlessness on the part of the extremists made the cessation of violence only attainable after both sides agreed to tone down the violence. This initial step was agreed upon by the quartet yet; both Israel and Palestine were hard pressed to truly diminish the rate of violence espoused by their population. The only real point of agreement to be found between the states of Israel and Palestine is that another protracted war will very likely destroy both entities. With this element serving to bring the parties back to the table despite the setbacks, there has been a consistent, if not weak, effort to find peace in the region for generations. Turner (2011) argues that the very attempt at building statehood in this manner has first polarized and then paralysed the effort, making the goal unattainable. This fact is enhanced by the lack of regional understanding that the third parties had in regards to local matters.

The third party resolution efforts recognized that the areas of settlements and refugees were delicate topics for both the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. Utilizing summits to attempt to coordinate efforts between the powers, the very direct intervention of the United States President, actively working through Russian and the European Union to build support for the Roadmap, there was an initial sense of accomplishment. This first cessation of hostilities brokered by the outside parties resumed quickly after President Bush left the region, making much of the efforts of the previous months negligible. With facets including the release of political prisoners directed at directly building trust between the states, the third party negotiators found a common goal in the realized reduction in violence. Van Der Maat (2011) contends that the difficulty in the realization of conflict resolution by third parties is the lack of true economic or military vulnerability. With nothing to lose, there is the perception by the local population that the world powers are there only to suit their own ends, which in turn undermines the entire process.

Levine, Taylor and Best (2011) illustrate the concept that the third party negotiators during any form of conflict resolution are more likely to take the consolatory approach. While this approach can serve to bring disparate groups to the table, a base lack of understanding will only serve to drive the factors further apart. This very train of events seems to have occurred in the Middle East with the fundamental failure and abandonment of the Roadmap. However, this same study highlights the factor the coming together of multiple third parties was likely to increase the rate of success by dividing the load.

In summation

There was a real perception that the third parties involved in the Roadmap process had their own agendas, which in turn diminished their integrity. With each outside nation offering incentives for compliance, it was in the best interest for both Palestine and Israel to agree to the broad outline proposed. Yet, despite the points agreed upon during various summits there was real lack of progress as the situation would soon devolved to the prior state. Even though there were some economic repercussions, the lack of any direct military or economic damage in the Middle East created the perception of continued arrogance on the part of the Western powers by the local populations. This continued to increase the tension no matter the financial or economic incentive that the third parties were able to offer. Despite the studies attributing higher rates of success to partnership in third party conflict resolution efforts, the combined lack of details, time and resources contributed to the final failure of the concept.

3 Conclusion

This essay has focused on the failure of the Roadmap to peace in the Middle East utilizing the concepts of ripeness and third-party intervention. The evidence provided has created a compelling narrative that illustrates many of the shortcomings of the peace strategy as well as many of the mistakes made by the outside players in the conflict. Driving the lack progress on nearly every level was a base lack of understanding and detail. Despite the American effort to lay out a broad outline that could in turn become a detailed plan, there was no real motivation for Palestine or Israel to comply. Not only was there a perception of political and economic motivation on the part of the outside entities there was continued perception of poor planning and lack of details.

The elements for resolution were in place at the beginning of the process making the initial portion of the Roadmap seem ripe for implementation. Yet, allowing for only a broad design diminished the effectiveness of the program as well as reducing the faith in the third party negotiators. With the onset of the Afghanistan and Iraq affair, the perception of the outside powers continued to deteriorate, making the Roadmap ever more difficult to achieve.

Despite the conciliatory approach taken by the third parties during the peace process, the refusal by the Palestinians and Israeli’s to abide by the basic agreements fuelled further dissent. No matter the timing and the desire to find common ground, the complex nature of the disputes between the populations were not be remedied with the shallow solutions provided by the American and Western nations. Further, the self-interest of the outside nations only built on the distrust that the local population continued to evince. Not even the public relations efforts that the President Bush attempted, there was not a method of appeal that lasted for any length of time. This basic fact kept the Roadmap from every truly developing, making each progressive goal nearly impossible to achieve.

In the end, despite the timely intervention and the multiple partnerships provided by the third parties, the deeply complex nature of the regional disputes found in the Middle East demanded details in the Roadmap that were not present. This lack of direction was the true failure of the strategy, as there was no means to build or produce meaningful change.

3 Bibliography

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