Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has sought peace with its neighbors through direct negotiations. However, its efforts to reach out for peace and to open direct channels of dialogue were not met by similar efforts on the Arab side. Until the 1991 Madrid Conference, only Egypt had accepted Israel's offer to negotiate face-to-face. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat accepted Prime Minister Begin's invitation for dialogue, and the two countries embarked on historic bilateral negotiations, which led to the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty. Since then, peace has prevailed on our mutual border and cooperation between the two states is growing.
In May 1989, Israel presented a new peace initiative.The breakup of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War produced a change in the basic political order of the Middle East, prompting the Arab world to reassess its attitude toward Israel and to enter into negotiations to build a new future for the Middle East.
In October 1991, a conference was convened in Madrid to inaugurate direct peace talks. Subsequently, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians, as well as multilateral talks on key regional issues. These talks culminated in the signing of a Treaty of Peace between Israel and Jordan on October 26, 1994, and a series of interim agreements with the Palestinians.
The failure of the Camp David Summit in July 2000 virtually brought an end to bilateral peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians for seven years. In 2007, talks were resumed under the framework of the Roadmap for a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict put forward by US President George Bush. An international conference convened in Annapolis on November 27, 2007 to relaunch the negotiating process, towards the realization of the two-state vision.
In June 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his vision of peace with the Palestinians based on the principles of recognition and demilitarization. While Israel remains dedicated to direct negotiations as the only method of resolving the conflict, the Palestinian leadership has embarked on the path of unilateral action, preferring to attempt to force their will on Israel through international pressure.
Read more about ongoing developments in the Middle East peace process since the Madrid Conference, on both the bilateral and the multilateral tracks, and find diagrams describing the structure of the early negotiations.