Despite the chaos, the summit adopted a peace plan that included a historic decision: the Arab countries pledged to recognize the state of Israel, but on the terms that it withdrew behind the 1967 borders, allowed the 3 million Palestinian refugees to return home and accepted the formation of a Palestinian state with parts of Jerusalem as its capital. Israel characterized the peace plan as “unacceptable” and instead launched its most comprehensive military offensive against Palestine for 10 years, re-occupying the entire West Bank until the end of April.
In April, for the first time, Al Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and DFLP entered into a joint battle agreement “any Israeli attack”.
About 1,000 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli military offensive and 5,000 captured. The most talked about attack was the Israeli military massacre at Jenin refugee camp in northern Palestine, where somewhere between 80 and 500 were killed. Israel later denied that there had been a massacre, but it was Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’ own designation for Ha’aretz newspaper on April 9. UN envoy Terje Rød-Larsen called the massacre a “humanitarian disaster and morally reprehensible”. Sharon responded again by declaring Larsen as “persona non grata” in Israel and Palestine. Subsequently, the United States and Israel succeeded in preventing the UN from conducting an impartial investigation into what exactly happened in Jenin.
After 40 days of confinement in Bethlehem’s Nativity Church, 126 Palestinians were allowed under international pressure to leave the Israeli military surrounded by the Israeli military. The first 13 to leave the church were designated by Israel as terrorists, and in a British transport aircraft they were flown to Cyprus, from where they proceeded as refugees to various EU countries. The subsequent 26 were accused by Israel of minor wrongdoing and were transported by bus to Gaza while the rest were allowed to leave. The peace activists who had stayed in the church with the Palestinians were expelled by Israel.
In June, the United States joined Sharon’s rejection of Arafat as a negotiating partner, and Bush urged the Palestinians to find a leader “unrelated to terrorism.” At the same time, Israel initiated the construction of a wall to complete the occupation’s isolation of Palestinian cities and the destruction of the Palestinian economy. In advance, almost all religious activity between the Palestinian cities has ceased because of Israeli military road controls, which arbitrarily impede the Palestinians from traveling. In December, the planned Palestinian elections had to be canceled because the Israeli occupation of the West Bank made it impossible to carry them out.
According to itypejob, as a result of the US and Israel refusing to negotiate with Palestine’s elected president, Arafat in March 2003 appointed Mahmoud Abbas as prime minister. The following month, Bush presented Sharon and Abbas with the so-called “Roadmap for Peace,” which included a timetable for the formation of a Palestinian state and the solution of all problems until 2005. While the Palestinian government accepted the peace plan, it was rejected by Sharon. In July, Abbas resigned after being met by widespread opposition from the Palestinian people for indulgence towards Israel.
In March 2004, Israel killed Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as he left a mosque in Gaza. The murder was almost unanimously condemned internationally, but the United Nations Security Council vetoed a resolution criticizing Israel for the murder. Israel claimed with the assassination of 67-year-old blind Yassin to have killed a terrorist, but the plan was rather to remove the moderate Hamas leader to promote a radicalization of Hamas, thereby preventing the organization from entering into a political agreement with Palestinian autonomy following a possible Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Hamas then swore immediate revenge, but before it launched a new terrorist campaign against Israel in August, Israel had already killed in April Yassin’s successor as leader of Hamas, Abdel Aziz Rantisi.
In April 2004, the EU and the United States sought to prevent the International Court of Justice in The Hague from considering the complaint against Israel’s construction of the West Bank. But the obstruction failed, and in June the court handed down its order, which recognized Israel’s construction illegally and in violation of international law. The order was ignored by Israel, the United States refused to allow the UN Security Council to pass a resolution, but instead a few weeks later, the UN General Assembly agreed with 150 countries against 3 condemning Israel’s construction, calling on the occupying power to halt construction and remove the already built wall.
In April, Sharon presented a plan for the closure of Israeli settlements in Gaza and six smaller settlements in the West Bank. In return, the US accepts the rest of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank – which are illegal. international law – and denies that the 3 million Palestinians in exile have the right to return home.
In late September, Israel invaded northern Gaza in the largest military action for 20 years. The pretext was to remove Palestinians who fired at Israel with rockets, and in the following days Israel allowed over a hundred times more rockets to rain down over the area than was sent from there into southern Israel. On the bloodiest day of October 1, 54 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces – most women and children. At the same time, Israel launched a propaganda campaign against the UN in Gaza (UNWRA) accused of allowing militant Palestinians to use UN ambulances to carry weapons. In support of its claim, Israel’s UN ambassador presented video clips produced by the Israeli military. However, several TV stations, including CNN, could, after analyzing the clips, that the Israeli claims were false. The Israeli propaganda authorities are well aware of this, but they also know that when they can get their propaganda in the Western media “prime time”, it is this impression that remains, and not the dementia that follows several days later. Israel wants to get rid of its propaganda offensive UNWRA all the way from Gaza because the organization is the last cushion between the Palestinian civilian population and the Israeli armed forces.