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Oslo Accords

The Oslo Accords were a series of agreements negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO, acting as representatives of the Palestinian people) in 1993 as part of a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles (DOP). Despite the high hopes expressed in the Accords and in the subsequent agreements, which also promised the normalization of Israel's relations with the Arab world, the problem has not been resolved.

Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat during the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993.

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Background

The talks leading to the agreement were initiated by the Norwegian government, who were at reasonably good terms with both parties. Main architects behind the plan was Johan Jørgen Holst (the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Terje Rød-Larsen and Mona Juul. The negotiations were undertaken in total secrecy in and around Oslo, with breakthrough meetings taking place in the home of Minister Holst, and was signed on August 20, 1993. There was a subsequent public ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993 with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

Principles of the Accords

In essence, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the Palestinian right to self-government within those areas through the creation of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian rule would last for a five year interim period during which permanent status would be negotiated (beginning not later than May 1996). Permanent issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, Israeli settlements in the area, security and borders were deliberately excluded from the Accords and determined as not prejudged. The interim self-government was to be granted in phases. Until a final status accord was made, West Bank and Gaza would be divided into three zones:

  • Area A – full control of the Palestinian Authority.
  • Area B – Palestinian civil control, Israeli military control.
  • Area C – full Israeli control.

Together with the principles the two groups signed Letters of Mutual Recognition – The Israeli government recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people while the PLO recognized the right of the state of Israel to exist and renounced terrorism, violence and its desire for the destruction of Israel.

In addition to the first accord, namely the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government, other more specific accords are often informally known as Oslo:

Additional Israeli-Palestinian documents related to the Oslo Accords are:

  • Protocol on Economic Relations, signed in Paris on April 29, 1994
  • 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area (May 4, 1994),
  • 1994 Washington Declaration (July 25, 1994),
  • Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities Between Israel and the PLO (August 29, 1994),
  • Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities signed at Cairo on August 27, 1995
  • 1997 Protocol on Redeployment in Hebron (January 15, 1997)
  • 1998 Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998).

History of the accords

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d through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than Israel." [1]

Loss of credibility

Since the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the Oslo Accords are viewed with increasing disfavor by the Israeli public. In May 2000, seven years after the Oslo Accords and five months before the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a survey by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at the University of Tel Aviv found that: 39% of all Israelis support the Accords and that 32% believe that the Accords will result on peace in the next few years. [2]. By contrast, the May 2004 survey found that 26% of all Israelis support the Accords and 18% believe that the Accords will result in peace in the next few years.

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties

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