Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Barak persuaded US President Bill Clinton to devote his last 18 months in office to helping make peace with Yasser Arafat. But after tense negotiations the deal was never made. Then Ariel Sharon made a controversial visit to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, a site which is also holy to Jews.
The former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell attempted to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, his efforts were derailed by his own hard-line colleagues. And the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat himself.
President Bush was determined to stay out of Middle East peace-making. But the war in Iraq forced him to court Arab allies. He needed to push Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon back towards peace. But Ariel Sharon moved the goal posts.