The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process has continued over the years in spite of the continuous hostilities which have dominated the process since the beginning of the dispute. Since the 1970s there have been corresponding efforts carried out to find conditions upon which peace can be agreed to in both the Arab–Israeli conflict and in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. Some Arab countries have signed separate peace treaties, like the Egypt–Israel (1979) and Jordan–Israel(1994) treaties, but the Israelis and Palestinians some have not yet found a common starting point to do so. During the mid-1970s the term peace process became popular to describe the American-led efforts to bring about a negotiated peace between Israel and its neighbors.
The expression caught on and since that time it has been associated with the slow but sure step-by-step manner for resolving one of the world’s most complicated conflicts. In the years since1967 the stress in America has shifted from the forming of the terms of the ‘process’ to getting the process accepted and implemented, A large part of US constitutional theory is concentrated on how issues should be decided. The United States has provided both a sense of direction and a mechanism. That, at its best, is what the peace process has been about. At worst, it has been little more than a slogan used as a pretense for the passage of time
Since the peace process started, the plan for a Palestinian–Israeli peace agreement has been a two-state solution. Both Israelis and Palestinians have different opinions and impressions of the peace process. An important starting point for understanding these views is an awareness of the differing objectives sought by proponents of the Palestinian cause. Israeli intellectuals say the cause of the conflict from a Palestinian point of view dates back as far as 1948 when Israel came into being and not then Israel’s views of 1967 being the most important point with the return of occupied territories being essential to peace negotiations and that the argument has been a fight to bring home refugees to a Palestinian state.
This was and the ultimate objective of the peace process, and for groups such as Hamas, it still is. However, this ‘maximalist’ views of the total destruction of Israel in order to regain Palestinian lands, has steadily moderated into to a preparedness to negotiate and instead seek a two-state solution. The Oslo Accords demonstrated the recognition of this acceptance by the then Palestinian leadership of the state of Israel’s right to exist in return for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. However, the demand for the “Right of Return” by descendants of Palestinian refugees to Israel has remained a cornerstone of the Palestinian view and has been repeated by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas who is leading the Palestinian peace effort.