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3. The Middle East peace process




Despite 4 years of peacemaking, resolution
of the Arab-Israeli conflict remained elusive in 1996. The new
Israeli Government seemed intent on reviewing what many regarded
as the basic understandings of the process on both the Palestinian
and Syrian tracks. This caused many Arab states to review their
participation in the process and to halt the normalization of
relations with Israel. Meanwhile, Israel accused its interlocutors
of failing to live up to their commitments, notably to restrain
terrorist attacks against it.

Violent incidents occurred throughout 1996
on both sides, with tragic consequences for hundreds of people.
As 1996 ended there was concern that the fragile process might
not be able to take many more of the stresses and strains of the
kind imposed on it in 1996. Although the process has been accompanied
by bloodshed, increased violence is likely should it collapse