Oslo Accords - History

Oslo Accords - History

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The Government of the State of Israel and the P.L.O. team (in the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference) (the "Palestinian Delegation"), representing the Palestinian people, agree that it is time to put an end to decades of confrontation and conflict, recognize their mutual legitimate and political rights, and strive to live in peaceful coexistence and mutual dignity and security and achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process. Accordingly, the, two sides agree to the following principles:


The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the "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 Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

It is understood that the interim arrangements are an integral part of the whole peace process and that the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.



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



1. In order that the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may govern themselves according to democratic principles, direct, free and general political elections will be held for the Council under agreed supervision and international observation, while the Palestinian police will ensure public order.

2. An agreement will be concluded on the exact mode and conditions of the elections in accordance with the protocol attached as Annex I, with the goal of holding the elections not later than nine months after the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles.

3. These elections will constitute a significant interim preparatory step toward the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their just requirements.



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



1. The five-year transitional period will begin upon the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

2. Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian people representatives.

3. It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.

4. The two parties agree that the outcome of the permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or preempted by agreements reached for the interim period.



1. Upon the entry into force of this 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 for this task, as detailed herein, will commence. This transfer of authority will be of a preparatory nature until the inauguration of the Council.

2. Immediately after the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, with the view to promoting economic development in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, authority will be transferred to the Palestinians on the following spheres: education and culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, and tourism. The Palestinian side will commence in building the Palestinian police force, as agreed upon. Pending the inauguration of the Council, the two parties may negotiate the transfer of additional powers and responsibilities, as agreed upon.



1. The Israeli and Palestinian delegations will negotiate an agreement on the interim period (the "Interim Agreement"

2. The Interim Agreement shall specify, among other things, the structure of the Council, the number of its members, and the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the Israeli military government and its Civil Administration to the Council. The Interim Agreement shall also specify the Council's executive authority, legislative authority in accordance with Article IX below, and the independent Palestinian judicial organs.

3. The Interim Agreement shall include arrangements, to be implemented upon the inauguration of the Council, for the assumption by the Council of all of the powers and responsibilities transferred previously in accordance with Article VI above.

4. In order to enable the Council to promote economic growth, upon its inauguration, the Council 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.

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



In order to guarantee public order and internal security for the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Council will 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.



1. The Council will be empowered to legislate, in accordance with the Interim Agreement, within all authorities transferred to it.

2. Both parties will review jointly laws and military orders presently in force in remaining spheres.



In order to provide for a smooth implementation of this Declaration of Principles and any subsequent agreements pertaining to the interim period, upon the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles, a Joint Israeli-Palestinian Liaison Committee will be established in order to deal with issues requiring coordination, other issues of common interest, and disputes.



Recognizing the mutual benefit of cooperation in promoting the development of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel, upon the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles, 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 attached as Annex III and Annex IV .



The two parties will invite the Governments of Jordan and Egypt to participate in establishing further liaison and cooperation arrangements between the Government of 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. These arrangements will include the constitution of a Continuing Committee that will decide by agreement on the modalities of admission of persons displaced from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, together with necessary measures to prevent disruption and disorder. Other matters of common concern will be dealt with by this Committee.



1. After the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles, and not later than the eve of elections for the Council, a redeployment of Israeli military forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will take place, in addition to withdrawal of Israeli forces carried out in accordance with Article XIV.

2. In redeploying its military forces, Israel will be guided by the principle that its military forces should be redeployed outside populated areas.

3. Further redeployments to specified locations will be gradually implemented commensurate with the assumption of responsibility for public order and internal security by the Palestinian police force pursuant to Article VIII above.



Israel will withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, as detailed in the protocol attached as Annex II.



1. Disputes arising out of the application or interpretation of this Declaration of Principles. or any subsequent agreements pertaining to the interim period, shall be resolved by negotiations through the Joint Liaison Committee to be established pursuant to Article X above.

2. Disputes which cannot be settled by negotiations may be resolved by a mechanism of conciliation to be agreed upon by the parties.

3. The parties may agree to submit to arbitration disputes relating to the interim period, which cannot be settled through conciliation. To this end, upon the agreement of both parties, the parties will establish an Arbitration Committee.



Both parties 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, as indicated in the protocol attached as Annex IV .



1. This Declaration of Principles will enter into force one month after its signing.

2. All protocols annexed to this Declaration of Principles and Agreed Minutes pertaining thereto shall be regarded as an integral part hereof.

Done at Washington, D.C., this thirteenth day of September, 1993.

For the Government of Israel For the P.L.O.

Witnessed By:
The United States of America The Russian Federation



1. Palestinians of Jerusalem who live there will have the right to participate in the election process, according to an agreement between the two sides.

2. In addition, the election agreement should cover, among other things, the following issues:
a. the system of elections;

b. the mode of the agreed supervision and international observation and their personal composition; and

c. 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.

3. The future status of displaced Palestinians who were registered on 4th June 1967 will not be prejudiced because they are unable to participate in the election process due to practical reasons.



1. The two sides will conclude and sign within two months from the date of entry into force of this Declaration of Principles, 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.

2. Israel will implement an accelerated and scheduled withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, beginning immediately with the signing of the agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho area and to be completed within a period not exceeding four months after the signing of this agreement.

3. The above agreement will include, among other things:
a. Arrangements for a smooth and peaceful transfer of authority from the Israeli military government and its Civil Administration to the Palestinian representatives.

b. Structure, powers and responsibilities of the Palestinian authority in these areas, except: external security, settlements, Israelis, foreign relations, and other mutually agreed matters.

c. 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.

d. A temporary international or foreign presence, as agreed upon.

e. Establishment of a joint Palestinian-Israeli Coordination and Cooperation Committee for mutual security purposes.

f. An economic development and stabilization program, including the establishment of an Emergency Fund, to encourage foreign investment, and financial and economic support. Both sides will coordinate and cooperate jointly and unilaterally with regional and international parties to support these aims.

g. Arrangements for a safe passage for persons and transportation between the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

4. The above agreement will include arrangements for coordination between both parties regarding passages:
a. Gaza - Egypt; and

b. Jericho - Jordan.

5. The offices responsible for carrying out the powers and responsibilities of the Palestinian authority under this Annex II and Article VI of the Declaration of Principles will be located in the Gaza Strip and in the Jericho area pending the inauguration of the Council.

6. Other than these agreed arrangements, the status of the Gaza Strip and Jericho area will continue to be an integral part of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and will not be changed in the interim period.



The two sides agree to establish an Israeli-Palestinian continuing Committee for Economic Cooperation, focusing, among other things, on the following:
1. Cooperation in the field of water, including a Water Development Program prepared by experts from both sides, which will also specify the mode of cooperation in the management of water resources in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and will include proposals for studies and plans on water rights of each party, as well as on the equitable utilization of joint water resources for implementation in and beyond the interim period.

2. Cooperation in the field of electricity, including an Electricity Development Program, which will also specify the mode of cooperation for the production, maintenance, purchase and sale of electricity resources.

3. Cooperation in the field of energy, including an Energy Development Program, which will provide for the exploitation of oil and gas for industrial purposes, particularly in the Gaza Strip and in the Negev, and will encourage further joint exploitation of other energy resources. This Program may also provide for the construction of a Petrochemical industrial complex in the Gaza Strip and the construction of oil and gas pipelines.

4. Cooperation in the field of finance, including a Financial Development and Action Program for the encouragement of international investment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and in Israel, as well as the establishment of a Palestinian Development Bank.

5. Cooperation in the field of transport and communications, including a Program, which will define guidelines for the establishment of a Gaza Sea Port Area, and will provide for the establishing of transport and communications lines to and from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to Israel and to other countries. In addition, this Program will provide for carrying out the necessary construction of roads, railways, communications lines, etc.

6. Cooperation in the field of trade, including studies, and Trade Promotion Programs, which will encourage local, regional and inter-regional trade, as well as a feasibility study of creating free trade zones in the Gaza Strip and in Israel, mutual access to these zones, and cooperation in other areas related to trade and commerce.

7. Cooperation in the field of industry, including Industrial Development Programs, which will provide for the establishment of joint Israeli- Palestinian Industrial Research and Development Centers, will promote Palestinian-Israeli joint ventures, and provide guidelines for cooperation in the textile, food, pharmaceutical, electronics, diamonds, computer and science-based industries.

8. A program for cooperation in, and regulation of, labor relations and cooperation in social welfare issues.

9. A Human Resources Development and Cooperation Plan, providing for joint Israeli-Palestinian workshops and seminars, and for the establishment of joint vocational training centers, research institutes and data banks.

10. An Environmental Protection Plan, providing for joint and/or coordinated measures in this sphere.

11. A program for developing coordination and cooperation in the field of communication and media.

12. Any other programs of mutual interest.



1. 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. The parties will request the G-7 to seek the participation in this program of other interested states, such as members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, regional Arab states and institutions, as well as members of the private sector.

2. The Development Program will consist of two elements:
a. an Economic Development Program for the 'West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

b. a Regional Economic Development Program.

A. The Economic Development Program for the West Bank and the Gaza strip will consist of the following elements:
1. A Social Rehabilitation Program, including a Housing and Construction Program.

2. A Small and Medium Business Development Plan.

3. An Infrastructure Development Program (water, electricity, transportation and communications, etc.

4. A Human Resources Plan.

5. Other programs.

B. The Regional Economic Development Program may consist of the following elements:
1. The establishment of a Middle East Development Fund, as a first step, and a Middle East Development Bank, as a second step.

2. The development of a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian Plan for coordinated exploitation of the Dead Sea area.

3. The Mediterranean Sea (Gaza) - Dead Sea Canal.

4. Regional Desalinization and other water development projects.

5. A regional plan for agricultural development, including a coordinated regional effort for the prevention of desertification.

6. Interconnection of electricity grids.

7. Regional cooperation for the transfer, distribution and industrial exploitation of gas, oil and other energy resources.

8. A Regional Tourism, Transportation and Telecommunications Development Plan.

9. Regional cooperation in other spheres.

3. The two sides will encourage the multilateral working groups, and will coordinate towards their success. The two parties will encourage intersessional activities, as well as pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, within the various multilateral working groups.



Any powers and responsibilities transferred to the Palestinians pursuant to 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 these Agreed Minutes below.


Article IV

It is understood that:
1. Jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, military locations, and Israelis.

2. The Council's jurisdiction will apply with regard to the agreed powers, responsibilities, spheres and authorities transferred to it.

Article VI (2)

It is agreed that the transfer of authority will be as follows:
1. The Palestinian side will inform the Israeli side of the names of the authorised Palestinians who will assume the powers, authorities and responsibilities that will 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.

2. It is understood that the rights and obligations of these offices will not be affected.

3. Each of the spheres described above will continue to enjoy existing budgetary allocations in accordance with arrangements to be mutually agreed upon. These arrangements also will provide for the necessary adjustments required in order to take into account the taxes collected by the direct taxation office.

4. Upon the execution of the Declaration of Principles, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately commence negotiations on a detailed plan for the transfer of authority on the above offices in accordance with the above understandings.

Article VII (2)

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

Article VII (5)

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

Article VIII

It is understood that the Interim Agreement will include arrangements for cooperation and coordination between the two parties in this regard. It is also agreed that the transfer of powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian police will be accomplished in a phased manner, as agreed in the Interim Agreement.

Article X

It is agreed that, upon the entry into force of the Declaration of Principles, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will exchange the names of the individuals designated by them as members of the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Liaison Committee.

It is further agreed that each side will have an equal number of members in the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee will reach decisions by agreement. The Joint Committee may add other technicians and experts, as necessary. The Joint Committee will decide on the frequency and place or places of its meetings.

Annex II

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

Done at Washington, D.C., this thirteenth day of September, 1993.

For the Government of Israel For the P.L.O.

Witnessed By:
The United States of America The Russian Federation

The agreement resulted from a convergence of events and trends that created an optimal opportunity for peace between the two parties. The first Intifada (uprising) by the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza against Israel's occupation, which began in December 1987, empowered the PLO, as the Palestinians' representative, to seek a diplomatic settlement with Israel. In 1988 PLO chairman Yasir Arafat recognized Israel, accepted United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and renounced terrorism. The PLO could not immediately capitalize on these concessions, however, because Israel did not reciprocate. The PLO's position deteriorated due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which left the PLO without superpower support. Furthermore, the Israeli government of Yitzhak Shamir adamantly refused to deal with the PLO or to make territorial concessions for peace. Believing that Iraq could help the Palestinian cause, Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf Crisis (1990 – 1991), and thereby lost the financial support of the Gulf states.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, mass Jewish immigration to Israel, and the destruction of Iraq's army in 1991 enhanced Israel's security, but the Intifada convinced the Israeli Labor and left-of-center parties that continued occupation and repression were deemed costly in terms of international isolation and domestic discord, whereas granting self-government to the Palestinians was gradually viewed as less objectionable.

Moreover, more and more Palestinians and Israelis and their leaders concluded that there was no military solution to their conflict. The PLO had galvanized Palestinians and gained international recognition, but its armed struggle against Israel failed to liberate an inch of Palestine. Even though Israel was considered to be the fourth strongest military power in the world, it could not destroy the PLO or subdue a civilian population of two million in the occupied territories. Both sides concluded that mutual recognition and sharing historic Palestine was the only viable option.

U.S. president George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker III thus had an unprecedented opportunity to broker peace in the Middle East by arranging the Madrid Peace Conference (1991) between Israel and the Arabs, including the Palestinians. When Prime Minister Shamir appeared to be stalling, Bush and Baker withheld a guarantee for a $10 billion loan for Israel. In the next elections in Israel, the public brought to power a moderate coalition, headed by Yitzhak Rabin, with a "territory for peace" policy. But eleven sessions and twenty-two months after Madrid, the negotiations proved unproductive. The PLO regarded the framework for talks as unfair, and did not consider the United States or its middle-range officials to be "honest brokers." Israel realized that Palestinian negotiators from the occupied territories were unwilling or unable to negotiate independently from the PLO.

Norway's foreign ministry arranged for a private, secret channel in Oslo for two Israeli scholars, Yair Hirshfeld and Ron Pundak, who were in touch with Yossi Beilin, Israel's dovish deputy foreign minister, and a PLO economist and aide to Chairman Arafat, Ahmad Sulayman Qurai (Abu Ala). Negotiations began in the winter and spring of 1993. When they progressed, Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres, took charge, and convinced security-conscious Prime Minister Rabin to support the agreement. Israel and the PLO initialed two sets of documents in Oslo in late August: an exchange of letters of mutual recognition and the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP).

The Declaration of Principles and Cairo Agreement

In September 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Declaration of Principles on Palestinian Self-Rule, the first agreement between the two sides and the initial document in what became generally known as the Oslo Accords. While the United States had not been aware of the seriousness of the discussions in Oslo, both Rabin and Arafat were happy to embrace U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton on the White House lawn in September 1993, in support of their deal. A visibly reluctant Rabin consented to shake Arafat’s hand.

The Oslo Accords, in fact, comprised a series of agreements, the second of which, the Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho, was signed in May 1994. This pact enacted the provisions set forth in the original declaration, which had endorsed a five-year interim self-rule for a Palestinian authority to be executed in two stages: first in Gaza and the city of Jericho and then, after an election, throughout the remaining areas under Israeli military rule. Talks on final status were to begin after three years, with a two-year deadline for an agreement to be reached. Issues such as borders, the return of refugees, the status of Jerusalem, and Jewish settlements in the occupied territories were reserved for final status talks. The PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist, renounced terrorism, and agreed to change the portions of its charter that called for Israel’s destruction. Israel recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

The accords embodied two basic sets of exchanges. First, Israel would shed responsibility for the Palestinian population while retaining strategic control of the territory. The Palestinians would be rid of Israeli military rule and gain self-government, potentially leading to statehood. Second, Arafat’s disavowal of violence and his pledge to fight terrorism—through the use of a domestic Palestinian police force—would improve Israel’s security. The Palestinians would benefit from the large amount of foreign aid it would receive from the United States and other countries and from economic agreements made with Israel that were designed to foster employment and trade.

Political Misgivings

As outlined previously, the Oslo Accords were not the deciding factor in ending the Middle Eastern conflicts, although the film tries its best to present itself as if it had. The result of the Accords was actually only the removal of Israeli insurgency within Gaza. This was a very short-lived ceasefire as the promises Oslo negotiated went unfulfilled and the Israeli forces retook their hold over the Palestinian region.

Through the negotiations, the Israeli conceived to stop the infringement upon Palestinian land and the dismantling of Palestinian settlements, and Palestinians would halt any action against, and denounce any terrorist attacks directed towards the Israelis. These concessions were agreed upon under the supervision and promise of Terje Rød-Larsen at the Oslo Accords only for them to fall apart, devolving into genocide less than a year later. “And yet to profess to understand my region and my people, where in fact, there is very little that you understand”, as per Ahmed Qurie, the protagonist in the film ‘Oslo.’

Terje Rød-Larsen also has recently come under scrutiny for his involvement with Jefferey Epstein. In November of 2020, reports that Rød-Larsen accepted donations for the International Peace Institute from now-deceased financier and rapist Jeffery Epstein forced the diplomat to resign from his position as President of the IPI. The source of these loans and donations unraveled into a convoluted story of diplomacy and perversion with a rather uncanny ring similar to that of what’s described in ‘Oslo’.

After accepting a role in the Mongolian development of democracy, Terje Rød-Larsen, through IPI, was allowed to serve as a delegate of democracy directly under the Mongolian President. This role would grant himself and one contemporary of his choosing multiple private meetings and influence over the President of an unstable country. The constituents of this board would be compensated $100,000 annually for their roles. This money was then traced back to Epstein.

12 Brilliant Cartoons That Will Help You Understand the History of Israel and Palestine

The world's eyes are on Israel and Palestine, as the current crisis in Gaza has now led to the deaths of more than 600 Palestinians and 30 Israelis.

While the latest round of violence has made headlines, it is not an isolated incident. On the contrary, today's fighting is yet another page in a years-long, bitter conflict. Israel's creation in 1948 sparked one of history's largest refugee crisis, wars, terror attacks and a harsh military occupation.

To fully understand what's happening today, you need to appreciate the long history of the conflict. Here are 12 political cartoons that capture the full history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

1. War on the horizon

In many ways, Israel's creation in 1948 was an affair of desperation and panic.

In this cartoon, we see the British washing their hands of Palestine, shortly before the formal establishment of the state of Israel, sparking a war between neighboring Arab countries and the newly formed state.

The British controlled the region from 1920, until handing it over to the United Nations in 1947. The British left the country at a time when tensions between Jews and Arabs were rising. They only continued to mount as more Jews fled Europe, in need of safety after the Holocaust.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan, dividing the region between Jews and Arabs. The Jewish Agency accepted it, but Palestinians and Arab League members rejected it.

The departure of British troops unleashed a struggle for territory, leading to the violent expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homes, an act that some consider to be ethnic cleansing.

2. The creation of the state of Israel

Created in 1956 by the Israeli cartoonist and Holocaust survivor Kariel Gardosh, the character Srulik embodies much of the spirit of the years following the creation of the state of Israel.

Srulik is depicted wearing a tembel hat, khaki shorts and sandals, and is an ardent Zionist who farms the land and, at times, puts on a military uniform to defend Israel.

His chipper persona and hardworking ethic not only defied many of the damaging Jewish stereotypes that permeated cartoons at the time, it encapsulated the hope and possibility that Israel represented to the Jewish people after centuries of oppression and Holocaust.

3. Refugees longing to return

But there's another side to the Israeli victory, as Handala, who might be seen as the Palestinian counterpart to Srulik, shows.

Palestinians refer to the events of 1948 as the Nakba, or catastrophe, when they were expelled from the land that was once their home. Prevented from being able to return to what is now Israel, those refugees are still scattered across the West Bank and Gaza, refugee camps in Arab states, or internationally.

Many remained — and their descendants still remain — stateless, with few rights and a longing to return to Palestine. Drawn by Palestinian artist Naji al-Ali, who was a child when he and his family fled to Lebanon, Handala is always depicted with his face hidden and with ragged clothes.

The cartoon character was 10 years old when he left Palestine and will remain the same age until he and his family return to their homes. Only then would life resume for the boy.

4. The Six-Day War

The Six Day War in 1967 was an enormous military achievement for Israel and a disaster for the Arab world. In a stunning sweep to victory, Israel seized control of the Sinai and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan heights from Syria.

As this cartoon of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser shows, the defeat was intensely humiliating for the Arab world for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, it meant the beginning of decades of military occupation.

5. The First Intifada

Intifada is an Arabic word that means to "shake off," and the term now refers to two periods where Palestinians attempted to end Israeli control through both peaceful and violent means.

The first largely unarmed uprising erupted relatively spontaneously in 1987, in response to Israeli repression in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The uprising came from the grassroots, with heavy involvement from trade unions and women's groups. Tactics included trade strikes, protests, Molotov cocktails and stones.

A year later, following his declaration of an independent Palestinian state in November 1988, Yasser Arafat announced that he accepted the state of Israel and rejected terrorism — a game changer in the future of relations.

The outbreak, however, was violent: According to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, 1,409 Palestinians and 271 Israelis were killed.

6. The Oslo Accords

Israeli and Palestinian leadership finally came to the negotiating table after the first Intifada, in 1993.

At the time, both sides viewed the Oslo Accords with both hope and pessimism. The talks were a chance for a peace, but one negotiated on a foundation of profound distrust and hurt.

In this 1994 cartoon, Steve Bell alludes to a central Palestinian objection that talks, between a heavily militarized state and a occupied people, couldn't be fair with such a fundamental power imbalance.

The Oslo agreements set a timeline for negotiating key issues. However, 20 years later, we're still not any closer to a two-state solution.

7. The Second Intifada

Sparked by Ariel Sharon’s infamous visit to the sacred mosque in Jerusalem, the Al Aqsa Intifada left deep scars on both the Israeli and Palestinian collective psyche.

Palestinian violence claimed the lives of 950 Israelis by 2005. The uprising involved a campaign of suicide bombings that targeted buses, restaurants and nightclubs. The accompanying Israeli crackdown killed 3,223 Palestinians in the same period.

As the cartoon shows, the specter of violence hung darkly over the lives of Israelis and that the trauma of terrorism still remains today.

Once Israel announced its disengagement from Gaza in 2004, violence decreased. Eventually, all Israeli settlements were evacuated and dismantled in the Gaza Strip.

8. The Construction of the Wall

Standing eight meters tall at its highest points, the Wall has become a potent symbol of the Israeli occupation.

From an Israeli perspective, the barrier is all about security: It was built as a measure to protect citizens from suicide bombings and attacks emanating from the Palestinian territories in the Second Intifada.

After the barrier was built, the number of bombings declined — but the cost for Palestinians was steep. The wall split neighborhoods in two, tore through the land of Palestinians villages and trapped Palestinians in the West Bank. What's more, most of it is built on Palestinian land — leading the International Court of Justice to deem it illegal under international law.

9. 2006 Palestinians Elections

With the encouragement of American authorities, the residents of Gaza and the West Bank voted in elections in 2006.

They did not go as planned: Hamas swept to victory. Some view the group as a terrorist organization, avowedly committed to the destruction of Israel.

What followed was a bitter conflict between Hamas — condemned by the European Union and the U.S. despite being democratically elected — and the more moderate Fatah. The former now controls the Gaza Strip, and the latter is now dominant in the Palestinian Authority, which runs areas of the West Bank.

The rift still hasn't been healed — and Gaza, and the Hamas government with it, has remained under a tough blockade.

10. Operation Cast Lead

This brutal image, from the Guardian's Martin Rowson, takes on both the cruelty of war and media treatment of the dead.

According to B'Tselem, 1,387 Palestinians were killed when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, which began in December 2008 and lasted into the start of 2009.

Much like today's crisis, Israel justified the operation based on rockets fired from Gaza. It is estimated that some 773 of the dead were not involved in hostilities. Comparatively few Israelis died in the violence: Three civilians were killed by rockets, six members of the security forces died and four were killed by Israeli fire.

11. Hamas rockets fall on Tel Aviv

Air raid signals are now an everyday part of life for many residents of Israel, thanks to the recent escalation in Gaza. Some are using humor to cope with the pressure.

Tomi Zandstein created the cartoon in 2012 as a light-hearted take on the experience of rocket attacks in Tel Aviv. The cosmopolitan, coastal city is less impacted by missiles than areas of southern Israel, which borders Gaza. That means that residents of Tel Aviv are more sheltered, making humor a great way to ease fears of bombardment.

12. The cycle of violence continues

Tragically, it looks like an end to the bloodshed and oppression is nowhere in sight.

Horrifying escalations like the invasion now unfolding in Gaza, erupt with frightening regularity. A 6-year-old in Gaza today has now lived through three wars.

It doesn't look like a solution will come any time soon: Negotiations toward a two state solution are on life support, at best.

Commentators criticized this cartoon, published in the Independent, for using anti-Semitic tropes and misrepresenting the conflict.

But it captures the sense of despair that many Palestinians feel, especially as the brutal and unbalanced battle kills more and more civilians.

As long as that cycle of violence and oppression continues, the suffering will only continue.


In both the Israeli and the Palestinian public spheres the accords provoked fierce disagreement. In Israel the left-wing supported the accord while the right opposed them.

Fatah, the more moderate Palestinian faction leading the negotiations, supported it while Islamist groups, chiefly Hamas, rejected the settlement.

The murder of Rabin by a right-wing Jewish extremist opposed to the Oslo Accords aided the unravelling of the negotiations.

Rabin’s successor Benjamin Netanyahu took a more aggressive stance toward Palestine and opposing the Oslo Accords.


The Israeli Civil Administration was established by the government of Israel in 1981, in order to carry out practical bureaucratic functions within the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. While formally separate, it was subordinate to the Israeli military and the Shin Bet. [17] : 133 [18] : 108

The Civil Administration is a part of a larger entity known as Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is a unit in the Defense Ministry of Israel. Its functions have largely been taken over by the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, however it still continues a limited operation to manage Palestinian population in the Area C of the West Bank and coordination with the Palestinian government. [ citation needed ]

The Oslo II Accord divided the West Bank into three administrative divisions: the Areas A, B and C. The distinct areas were given a different status, according to the amount of self-government the local Palestinians would have over it through the Palestinian Authority, until a final status accord would be established.

The Areas A and B were chosen in such a way as to just contain Palestinians, by drawing lines around Palestinian population centers at the time the Agreement was signed Area C was defined as "areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B, which, except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, will be gradually transferred to Palestinian jurisdiction in accordance with this Agreement." [1] : 8 [19] Area A comprises approximately 18% of the West Bank and Area B about 22%, together home to some 2.8 million Palestinians. [20]

Area C was initially around 72–74% (first phase, 1995) of the West Bank. [21] [22] Under the 1998 Wye River Memorandum, Israel would further withdraw from some additional 13% from Area C to Area B, which officially reduced Area C to circa 61% of the West Bank. [23] [24] Israel, however, withdrew from only 2%, [25] and during Operation Defensive Shield, it reoccupied all territory. As of 2013, Area C formally comprised about 63% of the West Bank, including settlements, outposts and declared "state land". [19] Including or excluding East Jerusalem, no-man's land and the Palestinian part of the Dead Sea also determines the percentage.

Area C is richly endowed with natural resources, including most of Palestinian agricultural and grazing land. It is the only contiguous part of the West Bank, thus all large scale projects involve work in Area C. [1] : vii

Area C, excluding East Jerusalem, is home to 385,900 Israeli settlers [2] and approximately 300,000 Palestinians. [3] According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, Israeli planning and zoning regimes in Area C all but prohibit Palestinian construction in almost 70 percent this zone, and render the obtaining of permits in the remaining 30 percent nearly impossible. [26]

Israel strictly controls Palestinian settlement, construction and development in Area C. [19] : 5 in the 12 years from 2000 to 2012, only 211 Palestinian submissions for Israeli permits, out of 3,750 applications (5.6%) – were approved. The figure tails off for the last 4 years, 2009 through 2012 with 37 permits given from among 1,640 applications (2.3%). [27] By contrast, the same Civil Administration figures indicate that in approximately 75% of Israeli settlements, construction was undertaken without regard for the appropriate permits. [27]

According to a UNOCHA report, "The planning and zoning regime applied by the Israeli authorities, including the ways in which public land is allocated, makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in most of Area C. Even basic residential and livelihood structures, such as a tent or a fence, require a building permit." [16] : 3 According to B'tselem:

Israel strictly limits Palestinian settlement, construction and development in Area C,while ignoring the needs of the Palestinian population. This policy means Palestinian residents must subsist in very rudimentary living conditions. They are denied any legal avenue to build homes or develop their communities, so they face the constant fear that their homes might be demolished, and that they be expelled and lose their livelihood. [27]

Israel routinely issued demolition orders on Palestinian structures built without permits. Between 1988 and 2014, Israel issued 14,087 demolition orders, of which only a minority (20%) have been executed. The remaining orders do not expire, leaving the structures in a continuous state of uncertainty. [16] : 3–5

Positions on demolitions

According to the Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions:

Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.

Israeli demolitions are based on British mandate planning rules, which are evoked to justify demolitions, but at the same time Israel does not employ the Mandatory provisions for the granting of construction permits, according to B'tselem. [27]

Israel defends its policy on three grounds. Firstly, it states that the demolitions satisfy Jordanian law, which was operative at the time Israel occupied the territories. Secondly, it states that its actions satisfy Article 43 of the Hague conventions. Thirdly, it states that under the 1995 Oslo Accords, it was agreed that planning and zoning in Area C would fall under the appropriate planning committees. [16] : 3–4 Israel also defends demolitions in terms of the safety of the inhabitants of homes it demolishes because they have been built in closed military zones or firing zones. Israel has defined roughly 20% of the entire West Bank as "closed military areas" and 60% of the demolitions in 2010 took place in the latter. [28]

Critics respond that the declaration of areas as Israeli closed military zones is a legal device adopted by the military authorities to deny Palestinians access to their land. [28] B'tselem claims that the refusal of the military-run Civil Administration to set down development plans for Palestinian villages are based variously on arguments that such sites are either situated near archaeological areas, that communities can relocate to nearby Palestinian land reserves, and that what it defines as “collections of illegal structures”, though villages, were not planned. These arguments are applied when issuing demolition orders for villages that are built on village land, and have existed for decades. [27]

The Oslo Accords 25 years on

On Sep. 13, 1993, President Bill Clinton presided over one of the most dramatic handshakes in modern history. On the White House lawn, the handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat was hailed as a political breakthrough that would constitute the dawn of a new era for the Middle East. Now, 25 years after the announcement of the Declaration of Principles––also known as the Oslo Accords––the prospect of peace appears more elusive than ever. The current administration has the ability to use the diplomatic means accorded to a powerful, third-party state to relaunch the peace process. To do that, however, President Donald Trump ought to take more heed of the accords’ key takeaways.

The Oslo Accords, a series of interim agreements reached between 1993 and 1999, are the product of secret Israeli-Palestinian negotiations facilitated by Norway and recognized by the PLO and Israel. With the 1993 announcement of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP), the Israeli government and PLO officials committed to a five-year timetable for instating limited Palestinian self-governance in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Although the Oslo Accords did provide partial self-rule for the Palestinian Authority in some areas of the West Bank and Gaza, the accords did not end the Israeli occupation. Neither did they halt Israeli settlement construction in the Palestinian state-to-be: the number of settlers has grown from about 250,000 in 1993 to 600,000 today.

Critics of the accords point to the agreements’ “interim” status to explain their failure. Through its legal structure, the DOP emphasized confidence-building and good faith measures between the two parties, ultimately intended to yield a final status agreement. Known as “constructive ambiguity,” this process deferred many of the most contentious issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, future borders, and security arrangements. Fundamentally, however, it was an asymmetry of power between the Israelis and the Palestinians that determined the accords’ nonfulfillment. Playing the role of a small, third-party mediator, Norway not only failed to counteract the imbalance of power in favor of Israel, but further preserved and reproduced it. This came at the expense of the Palestinians, who were willing to make significant concessions to avoid further marginalization of the PLO and the Palestinian cause.

While the U.S. has both the carrots and sticks to impose a heightened symmetry, Trump has failed to adequately challenge the ongoing imbalance of power. In fact, under Trump’s direction, the U.S. has consistently put forward Israeli-centric foreign policy initiatives that effectively alienate the PA and trivialize the core issues identified in the 1993 accords. With the intent to satisfy his domestic evangelical base and the agenda of Ambassador David Friedman, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in early December 2017, undoing nearly seven decades of U.S. foreign policy. The recent closure of the PLO’s mission, which acts as the PA’s unofficial embassy in Washington, is another administration move that will not serve any purpose beyond further alienating the PA.

Trump’s Middle East policy also appears bent on demanding political compromises from the Palestinians prior to the announcement of the U.S. peace plan, termed “the deal of the century.” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a member of the designated Middle East peace team, has effectively advocated for a “sincere effort to disrupt” the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In early September, the U.S. cut all funding to the agency, which provides assistance to 5 million Palestinian refugees. Internal emails also indicate Kushner’s intention to strip millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees of their rights and status, a plan that reflects Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s description of the UNRWA as “the refugee perpetuation agency.”

Trump seems to be using aid as leverage to return the Palestinians to the negotiating table. The Israelis, on the other hand, have merely faced the threat of a quid pro quo in return for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem. Speaking at a rally in August, Trump informed the crowd that the Palestinians would soon reap the benefits from the move and get “something very good because it’s their turn next.” This uneven application of diplomatic reward and punishment reproduces the same asymmetries that ultimately led to the failure of the Oslo Accords. As history shows, this need not be the case. Prior to the announcement of the accords in 1992, U.S.-Israeli relations were at their lowest point in decades. The Bush administration’s conditioning of loans on a temporary freeze of settlement construction led Rabin to prioritize domestic concerns over ideologically motivated policies in the 1992 elections. America successfully dangled the carrot, enabling the first major shift of power since the right-wing Likud party had come to power 15 years earlier and paving the way for future peace negotiations.

Trump has thus far failed to utilize the capabilities of a strong, third-party mediator. Rather than enact unilateral decisions in favor of Israel, the president ought to provide a more measured and constructive diplomacy to gain a seat at the negotiating table.

The Second Intifada

Upon his return, Arafat — as Senator George Mitchell reported later — was quite passive and did not plan any drastic move such as an uprising. Israel’s security services reported to their political bosses that Arafat was doing all he could to pacify the more militant members of Fatah, and still hoped to find a new diplomatic solution.

Those around Arafat felt betrayed. There was an atmosphere of helplessness until the provocative visit to Haram al-Sharif by the Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon. Sharon’s exercise in coat-trailing triggered a wave of demonstrations to which the Israeli army responded with particular brutality. They had suffered a recent humiliation at the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which forced the Israeli Defense Forces to withdraw from southern Lebanon, and thus allegedly eroded Israel’s power of deterrence.

Palestinian policemen decided that they could not stand by, and the uprising became more militarized. It spilled over into Israel, where trigger-happy, racist police were only too pleased to show with what ease they could kill Palestinian demonstrators who were citizens of the Israeli state.

The attempt by some Palestinian groups such as Fatah and Hamas to respond with suicide bomb attacks backfired as Israeli retaliatory operations — culminating in 2002’s infamous “Defensive Shield” operation — led to the destruction of towns and villages, and further expropriation of land by Israel. Another response was the construction of the apartheid wall that separated Palestinians from their business, fields, and centers of life.

Israel effectively reoccupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2007, the A, B and C map of the West Bank was restored. After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas took over, and the territory was subjected to a siege that continues to this day.


The Oslo II Accord was first signed in Taba (in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt) by Israel and the PLO on 24 September 1995 and then four days later on 28 September 1995 by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and witnessed by US President Bill Clinton as well as by representatives of Russia, Egypt, Jordan, Norway, and the European Union in Washington, D.C.

The agreement is built on the foundations of the initial Oslo I Accord, formally called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, which had been formally signed on 13 September 1993 by Israel and the PLO, with Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat in Washington, D.C. shaking hands, and officially witnessed by the United States and Russia.

It supersedes three earlier agreements:

  • the Gaza–Jericho Agreement or Cairo Agreement of 4 May 1994
  • the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities Between Israel and the PLO of 29 August 1994
  • the Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities of 27 August 1995

The Oslo II Accord is called an interim agreement because it was supposed to be the basis for subsequent negotiations and the preliminary of an eventual comprehensive peace agreement. Several additional agreements were concluded following Oslo II, but negotiations did not produce a final peace agreement. The 2002 Road map for peace abandoned the Oslo Accords and envisioned a rather loose scheme of withdrawal.

The preamble of the agreement speaks of peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity, and security, while recognizing the mutual legitimate and political rights of the parties. The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority 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 Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

As soon as possible but not later than 4 May 1996, negotiations on the permanent status would be started, leading to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and settling all the main issues. [1]

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the main object of the Interim Agreement

to broaden Palestinian self-government in the West Bank by means of an elected self-governing authority [to] allow the Palestinians to conduct their own internal affairs, reduce points of friction between Israelis and Palestinians, and open a new era of cooperation and co-existence based on common interest, dignity and mutual respect. At the same time it protects Israel's vital interests, and in particular its security interests, both with regard to external security as well as the personal security of its citizens in the West Bank. [2]

The Interim Agreement comprises over 300 pages containing 5 "chapters" with 31 "articles", plus 7 "annexes" and 9 attached "maps". The agreement has a "preamble" acknowledging its roots in earlier diplomatic efforts of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) and UN Security Council Resolution 338 (1973) the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the other prior agreements that came before it. Most significantly the agreement recognizes the establishment of a "Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority," that is an elected Council, called "the Council" or "the Palestinian Council".

Chapter 1: The Palestinian Council

Consisting of Articles I–IX: The role and powers of a governing Palestinian "council" and committee dealing with civil affairs and the transfer of power from Israel to the Palestinian Council. The holding of elections, the structure of the Palestinian Council, and that it should contain 82 representatives, the executive authority of the Council, various other committees, that meetings of the council should be open to the public, and outlining the powers and responsibilities of the Council.

Chapter 2: Redeployment and security arrangements

Consisting of Articles X–XVI: Phases of the redeployment of the Israel Defense Forces, roles of the Israeli Security Forces and the Israeli police, perspectives on the land of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, definition of the Areas A, B and C dividing the West Bank, arrangements for security and public order, prevention of hostile acts, confidence-building measures, and the role of the Palestinian police:

The Palestinian police force established under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement will be fully integrated into the Palestinian Police and will be subject to the provisions of this Agreement. Except for the Palestinian Police and the Israeli military forces, no other armed forces shall be established or operate in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Chapter 3: Legal affairs

Consisting of Articles XVII–XXI: The scope of the Palestinian Council's authority and jurisdiction and the resolution of conflicts, the legislative powers of the Council, that "Israel and the Council shall exercise their powers and responsibilities . with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law", the various rights, liabilities and obligations with the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the Israeli military government and its civil administration to the Palestinian Council, dealing with financial claims, and the settlement of differences and disputes.

Chapter 4: Cooperation

Consisting of Articles XXII–XXVIII: Relations between Israel and the Council:

. shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other . that their respective educational systems contribute to the peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and to peace in the entire region, and will refrain from the introduction of any motifs that could adversely affect the process of reconciliation . cooperate in combating criminal activity which may affect both sides, including offenses related to trafficking in illegal drugs and psychotropic substances, smuggling, and offenses against property .

The rules for economic relations as set out in the Protocol on Economic Relations, signed in Paris on April 29, 1994, cooperation programs that will hopefully be developed, the role and functioning of the Joint Israeli-Palestinian Liaison Committee set up as part of the Declaration of Principles (Oslo Accords 1993 and the setting up of a Monitoring and Steering Committee, liaison and cooperation with Jordan and Egypt, and locating and returning missing persons and soldiers missing in action.

Chapter 5: Miscellaneous provisions

Consisting of Articles XXIX–XXXI: Arrangements for safe passage of persons and transportation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, coordination between Israel and the Council regarding passage to and from Egypt and Jordan as well as any other agreed international crossings, and then the final clauses dealing with the signing of the agreement, its implementation, that the Gaza–Jericho Agreement (May 1994), the Preparatory Transfer Agreement (August 1994), and the Further Transfer Protocol (August 1995) will be superseded by this agreement, the need and timing of permanent status negotiations, and that:

The PLO undertakes that, within two months of the date of the inauguration of the Council, the Palestinian National Council will convene and formally approve the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant, as undertaken in the letters signed by the Chairman of the PLO and addressed to the Prime Minister of Israel, dated September 9, 1993 and May 4, 1994.

Discussion about the release of Palestinian prisoners, agreement about the attached annexes and maps, and commencement of Israel's redeployment.

Watch the video: How The Oslo Accords Almost Ended The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. History