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Oslo Accords

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The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles (DOP), finalized in Oslo, Norway by August 20, 1993, and subsequently officially signed at a public ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993 with Mahmoud Abbas signing for the Palestine Liberation Organization and Shimon Peres signing for the State of Israel witnessed by Warren Christopher for the United States and Andrei Kozyrev for Russia, in the presence of US President Bill Clinton and Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with the PLO's Chairman Yasser Arafat.

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

The Oslo Accords were a culmination of a series of secret and public agreements, dating particularly from the Madrid Conference of 1991 onwards, and negotiated between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (acting as representatives of the Palestinian people) in 1993 as part of a peace process trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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 conflict has not been resolved.

Contents

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 Jrgen Holst (the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs), Terje Rd-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 until they were signed on August 20, 1993 and at the subsequent public ceremony on September 13, 1993.

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.

Articles of the accords

The accords contained 17 articles, 4 annexes, and agreed minutes. The following is a brief summary based on the actual accords:

Article 1: Aim of negotiations

The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the Middle East peace process is to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, an elected Council, for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on UN Security Council Resolution 242 and UN Security Council Resolution 338, an integral part of the whole peace process.

Article 2: Framework for interim period

The agreed framework for the interim period was set forth in the Declaration of Principles.

Article 3: Palestinian elections

In order that the Palestinians should govern themselves according to democratic principles, direct, free and general political elections would be held for the Council under agreed supervision and international observation, while the Palestinian police would ensure public order.

Article 4: Palestinian council's jurisdiction

Jurisdiction of the Palestinian Council would cover the West Bank and Gaza Strip, except for issues that would be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. The two sides viewed the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.

Article 5: Transition and permanent status

The five-year transitional period would begin with the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. Permanent status negotiations would commence as soon as possible between Israel and the Palestinian representatives. It was understood that the negotiations should cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.

Article 6: Transfer of powers

Upon the entry into force of the Declaration of Principles and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, a transfer of authority from the Israeli military government and its civil administration to the authorised Palestinians will commence in the following spheres: education and culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, and tourism.

Article 7: Future interim agreement

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations will negotiate an agreement on the interim period (known as the Interim Agreement) which would specify the structure of the Council, the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the Israeli military government and its civil administration to the Council which will establish, among other things, a Palestinian Electricity Authority, a Gaza Sea Port Authority, a Palestinian Development Bank, a Palestinian Export Promotion Board, a Palestinian Environmental Authority, a Palestinian Land Authority and a Palestinian Water Administration Authority, and any other Authorities agreed upon, in accordance with the Interim Agreement that will specify their powers and responsibilities.

After the inauguration of the Council, the Civil Administration will be dissolved, and the Israeli military government will be withdrawn.

Article 8: Public order

The Council would establish a strong police force, while Israel will continue to carry the responsibility for defending against external threats, as well as the responsibility for overall security of Israelis for the purpose of safeguarding their internal security and public order.

Article 9: Laws and military orders

The Council would be empowered to legislate, in accordance with the Interim Agreement, within all authorities transferred to it. Both parties would review jointly laws and military orders presently in force in remaining spheres.

Article 10: Liaison committee

A Joint Israeli-Palestinian liaison committee would be established in order to deal with issues requiring coordination, other issues of common interest, and disputes.

Article 11: Economic cooperation

An Israeli-Palestinian Economic Cooperation Committee will be established in order to develop and implement in a cooperative manner the programs identified in the protocols.

Article 12: Jordan and Egypt

The governments of Jordan and Egypt would be invited to participate in establishing further liaison and cooperation arrangements between Israel and the Palestinian representatives, on the one hand, and the Governments of Jordan and Egypt, on the other hand, to promote cooperation between them.

Article 13: Israeli redeployment

A redeployment of Israeli military forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would take place.

Article 14: Israeli withdrawal

Israel would withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

Article 15: Dispute resolution

Disputes shall be resolved by negotiations through the Joint Liaison Committee to be established. Disputes which cannot be settled by negotiations may be resolved by a mechanism of conciliation to be agreed upon by the parties.

Article 16: Regional programs

Both Israelis and Palestinians view the multilateral working groups as an appropriate instrument for promoting a "Marshall Plan", the regional programs and other programs, including special programs for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Article 17: Other provisisions

The Declaration of Principles would enter into force one month after its signing. All protocols annexed to the Declaration of Principles and the Agreed Minutes pertaining to it, should be regarded as par of it.

Annexes of the accords

Annex 1: Conditions of elections

Election agreements, system of elections, rules and regulations regarding election campaign, including agreed arrangements for the organizing of mass media, and the possibility of licensing a broadcasting and TV station.

Annex 2: Israeli forces withdrawal

An agreement on the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. This agreement will include comprehensive arrangements to apply in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area subsequent to the Israeli withdrawal.

The above agreement will include, among other things:

  • Arrangements for a smooth and peaceful transfer of authority from the Israeli military government and its civil administration to the Palestinian representatives.
  • Structure, powers and responsibilities of the Palestinian authority in these areas, except: external security, settlements, Israelis, foreign relations, and other mutually agreed matters.
  • Arrangements for the assumption of internal security and public order by the Palestinian police force consisting of police officers recruited locally and from abroad holding Jordanian passports and Palestinian documents issued by Egypt). Those who will participate in the Palestinian police force coming from abroad should be trained as police and police officers.
  • A temporary international or foreign presence, as agreed upon.
  • Establishment of a joint Palestinian-Israeli Coordination and Cooperation Committee for mutual security purposes.
  • Arrangements for a safe passage for persons and transportation between the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.
  • Arrangements for coordination between both parties regarding passages: Gaza - Egypt; and Jericho - Jordan.

Annex 3: Economic cooperation

The two sides agree to establish an Israeli-Palestinian continuing Committee for economic cooperation, focusing, among other things, on the following:

  • Cooperation in the field of water.
  • Cooperation in the field of electricity.
  • Cooperation in the field of energy.
  • Cooperation in the field of finance.
  • Cooperation in the field of transport and communications.
  • Cooperation in the field of trade and commerce.
  • Cooperation in the field of industry.
  • Cooperation in, and regulation of, labor relations and
  • Cooperation in social welfare issues.
  • An environmental protection plan.
  • Cooperation in the field of communication and media.

Annex 4: Regional development

The two sides will cooperate in the context of the multilateral peace efforts in promoting a Development Program for the region, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to be initiated by the G-7.

Agreed minutes of the accords

Minute A: General understandings

Any powers and responsibilities transferred to the Palestinians through the Declaration of Principles prior to the inauguration of the Council will be subject to the same principles pertaining to Article IV, as set out in the agreed minutes below.

Minute B: Specific understandings

Article IV: Council's jurisdiction

It was to be understood that: Jurisdiction of the Council would cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that would be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, military locations, and Israelis. The Council's jurisdiction would apply with regard to the agreed powers, responsibilities, spheres and authorities transferred to it.

Article VI (2): Transferring authority

It was agreed that the transfer of authority would be as follows: The Palestinians would inform the Israelis s of the names of the authorised Palestinians who would assume the powers, authorities and responsibilities that would be transferred to the Palestinians according to the Declaration of Principles in the following fields: education and culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, tourism, and any other authorities agreed upon.

Article VII (2): Cooperation

The Interim Agreement would also include arrangements for coordination and cooperation.

Article VII (5): Israel's powers

The withdrawal of the military government would not prevent Israel from exercising the powers and responsibilities not transferred to the Council.

Article VIII: Police

It was understood that the Interim Agreement would include arrangements for cooperation and coordination. It was also agreed that the transfer of powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian police would be accomplished in a phased manner.

Article X: Designating officials

It was agreed that the Israeli and Palestinian delegations would exchange the names of the individuals designated by them as members of the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Liaison Committee which would reach decisions by agreement.

Annex II: Israel's continuing responsibilities

It was understood that, subsequent to the Israeli withdrawal, Israel would continue to be responsible for external security, and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Israeli military forces and civilians would be allowed to continue using roads freely within the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area.

Subsequent negotiations

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

Oslo 2

Additional agreements

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

Fate of the accords

Template:Israelis

In 2000 United States President Bill Clinton sought to keep the "Oslo Peace Process" moving forward by convening a summit between PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This Camp David 2000 Summit ended in failure, with no resolution to the conflict. The al-Aqsa Intifada that started in 2000 following the collapse of the summit added to the crumbling of the credibility of the Oslo Accords, to the point that by 2003 the right wing in Israel, and Palestinian Islamic groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah considered the accords to be dead for all practical purposes, and Israel unequivocally refused to deal with Yassir Arafat, considered a terrorist by the government of Ariel Sharon. In this climate, much of 2001, 2002, and early 2003 saw an escalation of violence by Palestinian suicide bombers and the military re-occupation of the West Bank by the Israel Defence Force that made further discussions unlikely.

In an attempt to break this "cycle of violence", the Mideast Quartet (the United States, European Union, Russia, and United Nations), devised what they called a "road map for peace" intended to lead to a cease-fire and restart the negotiations and the stalled peace process. Long-delayed, it was finally released by United States President George W. Bush on April 30, 2003. See the road map for peace article for further details and analysis of its reception. After nearly a year with no progress, on April 15, 2004, President George W. Bush stated: "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities..." and "It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than Israel." [1] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/politics/15MTEX.html?ex=1083211200&en=0bbb19713b14bdf4&ei=5070)

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] (http://spirit.tau.ac.il/socant/peace/peaceindex/2000/data/may2000d.pdf). 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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External links

bg:Договори от Осло de:Oslo-Abkommen es:Acuerdos de Oslo fr:Accords d'Oslo he:הסכמי אוסלו pl:Porozumienia z Oslo

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