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.
In July 2000, at the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Israeli and Palestinian leaders met at Camp David to negotiate final status issues for a hoped-for final peace agreement between the parties. The summit took place nearly seven years after the signing of the first of the Oslo Accords, which were supposed to lead to a final deal within five years.
The last major round of fighting has been called the "second Intifada" or "al-Aqsa Intifada," and was sparked by Ariel Sharon's visit to the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City (including the al-Aqsa Mosque) on Sept. 28, 2000. Sharon, then campaigning to become prime minister, was accompanied by a thousand armed security personnel.
The Gaza disengagement was part of a unilateral plan adopted by the Israeli government without consultation with the Palestinians, although with the approval of the U.S. government. According to the plan, Israel would continue to assert sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and large Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, while withdrawing its settlers from Gaza and isolated settlements deep inside the West Bank.
In October 2003, Israel began construction on a "separation barrier" in the occupied West Bank, justifying it on security grounds. The barrier consists, in places, of a wall twenty-five feet high, razor wire, trenches, sniper towers, electrified fences, military roads, electronic surveillance, and buffer zones that sometimes reach 100 meters in width.
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid since World War II. Since 1985, it has received an average of $3 billion in grants annually, about two-thirds of it for military aid. In recent years, a plan to reduce Israel's economic dependence on foreign aid has led to gradual reductions in the proportion of economic to military aid.