What were the Oslo Accords?

November 01, 2005 IMEU

The Oslo Accords were a series of agreements concluded between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) between 1993 and 1998, only the first of which was actually negotiated in Oslo. They include the original "Declaration of Principles," signed on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993; the "Gaza-Jericho Self-Rule Accord" of May 4, 1994; the "Palestinian-Israeli Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip" of September 28, 1995; the "Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron" of January 15, 1997; and the "Wye River Memorandum" of October 23, 1998.

In broad terms, the agreements provided for a five-year period, during which Israel would gradually cede control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, while the two parties negotiated a final peace. "Final status" issues - such as borders, Palestinian sovereignty, Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, security, and others - were left unresolved. The series of measures and negotiations undertaken by the two parties were commonly referred to as "the peace process." 

The "peace process" was plagued by delays and violations by both sides. Israel repeatedly refused to withdraw its troops at a rate and to the extent contemplated under the agreements, and continued its settlement of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians, meanwhile, violated restrictions on the number of persons under arms. Israel also charged that the Palestinian Authority failed to take adequate steps to halt attacks on Israeli civilians by armed Palestinian groups, or to stem "incitement" to violence against Israel.

Final status negotiations, which were supposed to be concluded no later than 1999, were not even commenced until July 2000, with the summit meeting of Israeli, Palestinian, and American leaders at Camp David.