Oslo Accords

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(Aug. – Sept. 1993)

After months of secret negotiations sponsored by the Norwegian government, between representatives of the PLO and Israel, this was the breakthrough in the quest for a comprehensive peace settlement which had eluded the Middle East for almost five decades. Israel now recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, while the PLO recognized the sovereignty of Israel and renounced violence in the pursuit of a lasting peace. This was signed at a conference in Washington on 13 September 1993, which also determined a series of principles for Palestinian autonomy, whose details were to be negotiated. This became known as the Gaza–Jericho Agreement.

On 24 September 1995 an agreement was signed between Israeli and PLO representatives at the Egyptian resort of Taba, which followed up the original Oslo Accords and is thus referred to as ‘Oslo B’. It provided in detail for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank in different stages over six months, with the Palestinian police forces simultaneously extending their authority over the area. While a number of issues remained unresolved, such as the disputed status of the city of Hebron, it provided a crucial step towards Palestinian self‐rule, which was complemented by the establishment of an elected Palestinian National Authority. Although initially the agreement was scrupulously followed, the subsequent assassination of Rabin and the election of the conservative Netanyahu led to a standstill in its implementation. The Wye Agreement attempted to salvage the Oslo accords, but its ultimate failure to prevent the growing confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, and the Israeli invasion of the self‐governed territories in 2002, rendered the Oslo Accords all but redundant.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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