X. The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority

X. The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority

Period
X. The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority
19 January 1993 to 28 September 2000

The period 1993–99 was of historic importance for the Palestinian people. The 1993 Oslo accords and the subsequent establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in part of the West Bank and Gaza marked the first time that Palestinians had exercised a measure of autonomous national rule anywhere in Palestine. However, Israeli violence, settlement expansion, and a lack of progress in negotiations on key “final status” issues seriously hindered a process that was supposed to lead to a final peace settlement.

After the Madrid Conference ended, official Israeli-Palestinian talks that had begun in December 1991 dragged on inconclusively in Washington. Israel, under Labor Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, repealed the law banning contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on 19 January 1993. The following day, academics, authorized by the Israeli foreign ministry, began informal secret talks in Oslo, Norway with Ahmad Qurai‘ (Abu Ala’), director-general of the PLO Economic and Planning Department and coordinator of the Palestinian delegations to the Multilateral Talks (that were launched in Moscow in January 1992). Talks became official later in May, with the participation of Uri Savir from the Israeli foreign ministry. In accordance with the Madrid terms of reference, the talks focused on establishing interim self-government arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza, but in comparison with the Washington negotiations, they quickly involved pragmatic give-and-take and the drafting of a mutually acceptable text. In addition to a Declaration of Principles, the two sides agreed that the first step will be an Israeli redeployment from most of Gaza and the area around Jericho, to be followed by the establishment of an elected council and the broadening of its jurisdiction in the West Bank, except for Jerusalem, settlements, and military locations. Israel and the PLO would recognize one another formally and then continue with talks leading to a final peace treaty within five years.

The agreement was finalized on 20 August 1993 and signed in Washington on 13 September 1993 at the White House. On the eve of the signing, Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin exchanged letters of mutual recognition: the PLO recognized “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security,” and the Israeli government recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. In May 1994, the two sides signed the Cairo agreement that opened the way for the redeployment of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip and Jericho, the entry of PLO forces as the basis of the new police force, Arafat’s entry in Gaza, and the establishment of the PA. Less than five months later, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty that contained Israel’s acknowledgement of Jordan’s special role in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem.

In September 1995, the PLO and the Israeli government signed the Taba or Oslo II agreement that included the following provisions: election of the council; division of the West Bank into three areas (Area A to be under PA civil and security control; Area B where the PA would share security control with the Israelis; and Area C consisting of land not transferred to the PA and remaining under Israeli control); a first phase of Israeli redeployment from land to be transferred to Area A (main towns) or Area B (surrounding villages); and Israel’s commitment to further redeployment to “specified military locations” to be implemented in three phases within eighteen months of the inauguration of the elected Council.

Violence accompanied the Oslo process almost from its start. In February 1994, an Israeli settler shot and killed twenty-nine worshippers in Hebron’s al-Ibrahimi Mosque. Forty days later, Hamas (which opposed the negotiations) carried out its first suicide bombing inside Israeli territory in reprisal. On 4 November 1995, an Israeli Jew assassinated Rabin. Shimon Peres of the Labor Party assumed the position of prime minister, but in June 1996, he was replaced by the Likud Party’s Benjamin Netanyahu, an opponent of Oslo. In January 1996, while in office, Peres ordered the assassination of Yahya Ayyash, which provoked more Hamas bombings in Israel in February and March. Peres also ordered in April the Operation Grapes of Wrath in South Lebanon, which in particular led to the killing of more than a hundred Lebanese civilians in the village of Qana at a UN compound.

If the Oslo accords had had any chance of leading eventually to a final Palestinian-Israeli agreement, Netanyahu’s victory destroyed it from the start. All attempts were made toward this objective: intensifying construction of settlements (for instance, at Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym), opening a tunnel in the old city of Jerusalem (and provoking armed clashes between the Palestinian police and Israeli army), closing Palestinian institutions in the city, making new political demands (such as requesting that the Palestine National Council meet again to remove from the National Charter provisions contrary to mutual recognition), making security demands, renegotiating Oslo II terms, and delaying their implementation. Netanyahu, with the active participation of President Clinton, signed two agreements with Arafat (Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, 16 January 1997; Wye River Memorandum, 23 October 1998), but he only partially implemented the latter. Labor’s Ehud Barak replaced Netanyahu in July 1999 and signed with Arafat the Sharm al-Shaykh Memorandum on 4 September 1999; the Palestinians ended up controlling only 17 percent of the West Bank as Area A and 25 percent as Area B, leaving under direct Israeli control 58 percent of the land, i.e. several times more than the surface area allowed by Oslo I and Oslo II interim agreements for settlements and military locations.

As for the final status talks, which were supposed to start not later than 5 May 1996,  they were postponed time and again, and no final peace deal was concluded by 4 May 1999, as stated in the original agreements. In any case, with the PA controlling only fragmented parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and Israel keeping overall control and access of people and goods to the PA territories, with settlement construction continuing unabated, and with sustained U.S. support of Israel, the Palestinians did not have the assets that would permit fruitful negotiations. By 2000, such imbalance in the permanent status talks led both to their failure and to the outbreak of the second intifada.

Meanwhile, the PA had been creating its self-government institutions. Public administration departments were established, drawing from civil servants who had worked under the Israeli military government, and from PLO Tunis bureaucrats. In January 1996, elections were held for the PA Presidency and a Legislative Council (PLC). Though the PLC was very active in drafting laws and a Basic Law and in debating issues of public interest, such as human rights and corruption, the PA also became increasingly authoritarian. It cracked down on opponents, especially from Hamas, and often ignored court rulings or resorted to special military courts. In addition, with Arafat and Fatah focused on running the PA and continuing the process of negotiations with Israel, and with the Damascus-based groups seemingly permanently alienated, the PLO as representing also the diaspora Palestinians virtually ceased functioning. Many Palestinians, even refugees in Syria and Lebanon, who had initially supported the Oslo accords and welcomed the establishment of the PA as a step toward Palestinian independence saw little hope in the whole Oslo process.

MF

 

Selected Bibliography

Abbas, Mahmoud. Through Secret Channels: The Road to Oslo. Reading, UK: Garnet, 1995.

Brown, Nathan J. Palestinian Politics after the Oslo Accords: Resuming Arab Palestine. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Enderlin, Charles. Shattered Dreams: The Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995–2002. Translated by Susan Fairfield. New York: Other Press, 2002.

Halevi, Ilan. "Self-Government, Democracy, and Mismanagement under the Palestinian Authority.Journal of Palestine Studies 27, no.3 (Spring 1998): 35–48.

Hroub, Khaled. Hamas: Political Thought and Practice. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2000.

Lia, Brynjar. A Police Force without a State: A History of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank and Gaza. Reading, UK: Ithaca Press, 2006.

The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Agreement: A Documentary Record. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1993.

Parsons, Nigel Craig. From Oslo to al-Aqsa: The Politics of the Palestinian Authority. London: Routledge, 2003.

Said, Edward. The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After. New York: Vintage Books, 2000.

X. The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority
E.g., 2018/12/14
E.g., 2018/12/14

The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

The Aqsa Intifada and the End of an Era in Palestinian Politics

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

A Palestinian Authority Divided, Israeli Assaults on Gaza, and Peace Process Setbacks

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Legal

Knesset Repeals Law Banning Contact with the PLO
19 January 1993

Diplomatic

Norwegian Secret Channel, Exploratory Stage
20 January 1993 - 9 May 1993

Diplomatic

Palestinians Agree to Return to Washington Negotiations
20 April 1993

Diplomatic

9th Negotiation Round, Washington
27 April 1993 - 13 May 1993

Diplomatic Policy/program

Norwegian Secret Channel, Official Stage
20 May 1993 - 20 August 1993

Diplomatic

10th Negotiation Round, Washington
15 June 1993 - 1 July 1993

Diplomatic

Palestinian-Israeli Declaration of Principles Initialed and Approved
20 August 1993 - 30 August 1993

Popular action Policy/program

The Coalition of 10 Palestinian Organizations Reject the Palestinian-Israeli Accord, Damascus
2 September 1993

Diplomatic

Mutual Recognition Between Israel and the PLO
9 September 1993 - 10 September 1993

Legal Diplomatic

Palestinian-Israeli Declaration of Principles Signed in Washington
13 September 1993

Institutional

PLO Central Council Meeting is Held in Tunis
10 October 1993 - 12 October 1993

Diplomatic

Start of Gaza-Jericho Negotiations, Taba
13 October 1993 - 8 December 1993

Diplomatic Socio-Economic

Start of Israel-PLO Economic Talks in Paris
November 1993

Diplomatic

Multilevel Gaza-Jericho Negotiations
12 December 1993 - 23 February 1994

Diplomatic

Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel
30 December 1993

Violence

Hebron Massacre
25 February 1994 - 18 March 1994

Diplomatic Violence

Security Council Resolution S/RES/904
18 March 1994

Diplomatic

Talks on Security for Palestinians in Hebron
20 March 1994 - 30 March 1994

Diplomatic Legal

Final Chapter of Gaza-Jericho Negotiations
31 March 1994 - 1 May 1994

Violence

Wave of Hamas and Islamic Jihad Attacks
6 April 1994 - 30 April 1994

Diplomatic Socio-Economic

PLO-Israel Protocol on Economic Relations Is Signed in Paris
29 April 1994

Legal Diplomatic

Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area Is Signed in Cairo
4 May 1994

Legal

Palestinian Decree N° 1 Reinstating Pre-1967 Laws in West Bank and Gaza
20 May 1994

Institutional

Palestine National Authority (PNA) Holds First Official Meeting in Tunis
26 May 1994

Diplomatic

Status of Orient House in Jerusalem
29 May 1994 - 7 June 1994

Institutional

Arafat arrives in Gaza and Jericho.
1 July 1994 - 5 July 1994

Legal Diplomatic

Early Empowerment Accord Is Signed
29 August 1994

Violence

Suicide Bombing in Tel Aviv
19 October 1994

Legal Diplomatic

Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty Signed near Aqaba
26 October 1994

Violence

Palestinian Police Shoot on Demonstrators in Gaza
18 November 1994 - 23 November 1994

Contextual

Rabin, Peres, and Arafat Are Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
9 December 1994

Colonization

Settlement Activity Around Jerusalem
19 January 1995 - 1 February 1995

Violence

Islamic Jihad Suicide Bombing
22 January 1995 - 24 January 1995

Violence

Anti-Israeli Attacks and Inter-Palestinian Tension
2 April 1995 - 19 April 1995

Sanctions

Separation Fence
11 April 1995

Colonization

Land Expropriation in Jerusalem
27 April 1995 - 3 May 1995

Diplomatic Colonization

Draft Security Council Resolution S/1995/394
17 May 1995

Sanctions

Land Expropriation in Jerusalem Suspended
18 May 1995 - 22 May 1995

Sanctions

Israeli Restrictions on the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem
17 August 1995 - 31 August 1995

Diplomatic

Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities
27 August 1995

Legal Diplomatic

Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Oslo II)
28 September 1995

Violence

Assassination of Fathi Shiqaqi, Islamic Jihad Leader, in Malta.
26 October 1995

Diplomatic

The Beilin - Abu Mazen Document
31 October 1995

Legal

Israeli Army Redeploys from Areas in the West Bank
November 1995 - December 1995

Violence

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin Is Assassinated; Replaced by Shimon Peres.
4 November 1995 - 22 November 1995

Violence

Assassination of Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas Leader
5 January 1996

Institutional

Palestinian Presidential and Legislative Elections
20 January 1996

Violence

Suicide Bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
25 February 1996 - 4 March 1996

Institutional

Inauguration of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza
7 March 1996

Legal

Start of the Countdown for the Three-Phase Further Redeployment in the West Bank
7 March 1996

Legal Sanctions

Redeployment from Hebron Delayed
28 March 1996

Violence Diplomatic

Israel Launches Operation Grapes of Wrath Against Lebanon
11 April 1996 - 26 April 1996

Institutional Policy/program

21st Palestine National Council Is Held in Gaza
22 April 1996 - 24 April 1996

Diplomatic

Official Start of Permanent Status Negotiations, Taba
5 May 1996 - 7 May 1996

Biographical

Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu Is Elected Prime Minister
29 May 1996 - 18 June 1996

Diplomatic Sanctions

First Netanyahu - Arafat Meeting
4 September 1996

Sanctions Violence

Tunnel Opened by Israel in Old City, Jerusalem; Palestinian-Israeli Clashes
24 September 1996 - 28 September 1996

Diplomatic Violence

Security Council Resolution S/RES/1073
28 September 1996

Diplomatic

Clinton - Netanyahu - Arafat - Hussein Meeting in Washington
1 October 1996 - 2 October 1996

Legal Diplomatic

Protocol on Redeployment in Hebron Signed
6 October 1996 - 16 January 1997

Diplomatic Legal

Ambiguous and Weakened Assurances on Further Redeployment
16 January 1997

Colonization

Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym Settlement to Be Constructed
26 February 1997

Popular action Violence

Palestinian Response to Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghunaym Settlement Project
27 February 1997 - 10 April 1997

Diplomatic Colonization

Draft Security Council Resolutions S/1997/199 and S/1997/241
7 March 1997 - 21 March 1997

Legal

First Phase of Further Redeployment Not Implemented
9 March 1997 - 12 March 1997

Legal Violence

Palestinian-Israeli Talks Deadlocked
10 March 1997 - 30 July 1997

Diplomatic Legal

General Assembly Resolutions A/RES/ES-10/2 and A/RES/ES-10/3
25 April 1997 - 15 July 1997

Violence

Suicide Bombings in West Jerusalem: Israeli Reactions and Palestinian Measures
30 July 1997 - 25 September 1997

Colonization

Israeli Settlement Activities Amid Attempts to Resume Talks
10 September 1997 - 6 November 1997

Violence

Attempted Assassination of Khalid Mishal in Amman; Ahmad Yasin Released
25 September 1997 - 1 October 1997

Policy/program

Israel's Position on Further Redeployment and on Palestinian Obligations
23 November 1997 - 14 January 1998

Diplomatic Policy/program

US Position on Further Redeployment and Palestinian Obligations
5 December 1997 - 3 September 1998

Institutional Policy/program

33rd Zionist Congress is Held in Jerusalem
23 December 1997 - 26 December 1997

Popular action Violence

Commemoration of the Nakba 50th Anniversary
14 May 1998 - 15 May 1998

Colonization Legal

Renewed Israeli Settlement Activities and Plans in East Jerusalem
25 May 1998 - 21 June 1998

Institutional Diplomatic

General Assembly Resolution A/RES/52/250
7 July 1998

Diplomatic

Statement of the President of the Security Council S/PRST/1998/21
13 July 1998

Diplomatic

Further Redeployment Talks Intensify
3 September 1998 - 28 September 1998

Legal Diplomatic

Wye River Plantation Meeting; Memorandum Signed
15 October 1998 - 23 October 1998

Popular action Policy/program

Several Palestinian Organizations Publicly Oppose Wye Memorandum
26 October 1998

Colonization

Feverish Settlement Activities After Wye Memorandum
26 October 1998 - 15 November 1998

Legal Sanctions

Israeli Obstacles to Wye River Implementation; First Stage Redeployment Only
30 October 1998 - 17 May 1999

Legal

Israel Releases the First Group of Prisoners Pursuant to Oral Understandings at Wye River
19 November 1998 - 20 November 1998

Institutional

Inauguration of LVGR, the Gaza International Airport
20 November 1998 - 24 November 1998

Institutional Policy/program

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Gaza
10 December 1998

Diplomatic Policy/program

President Clinton's Visit to Gaza
14 December 1998

Policy/program

Palestinian Popular Congress to Confirm Nullification Articles of National Charter, Gaza
14 December 1998

Policy/program

To Declare a Palestinian State at the End of the Transitional Period?
28 December 1998 - 25 April 1999

Diplomatic Institutional

General Assembly Resolution A/RES/ES-10/6
9 February 1999

Biographical

King Hussein Dies; Eldest Son Is Crowned King Abdallah II.
17 February 1999

Diplomatic Sanctions

Orient House, Jerusalem and PLO Foreign Relations
1 March 1999 - 11 May 1999

Policy/program Diplomatic

European Union Declaration "Compensating" the PLO for Not Declaring a State
25 March 1999

Policy/program Diplomatic

Clinton's Letter of Assurance to Arafat as a "Compensation" for Not Declaring a State
26 April 1999

Institutional Policy/program

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Gaza
27 April 1999 - 29 April 1999

Diplomatic

End of the Oslo Five-Year Interim Period
4 May 1999

Biographical

Ehud Barak Defeats Netanyahu to Become Prime Minister
17 May 1999

Diplomatic

With Barak as Prime Minister, Negotiations on Wye Implementation Resume
11 July 1999 - 3 September 1999

Diplomatic Legal

Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention
15 July 1999

Sanctions Violence

Palestinian Authority Crackdown Against Hamas
3 August 1999 - 26 August 1999

Legal Diplomatic

Sharm al-Shaykh Memorandum (Wye II Accord)
4 September 1999

Legal

Implementation of Sharm al-Shaykh Memorandum (Wye II)
10 September 1999 - 20 March 2000

Diplomatic

Official Resumption of Final Status Talks
13 September 1999 - 6 December 1999

Diplomatic

Abu Ali Mustafa, PFLP Deputy Secretary-General Returns to Palestine
30 September 1999

Colonization

Official Colonization Activity and (Very) Partial Removal of Settler Outposts
10 October 1999 - 10 November 1999

Popular action Sanctions

Petition of the Twenty Denouncing the Palestinian Authority
27 November 1999 - 29 November 1999

Diplomatic

Setting Up Israeli-Palestinian Back Channel
1 December 1999 - 5 May 2000

Diplomatic

Revival and Failure of Syrian-Israeli Talks
7 December 1999 - 26 March 2000

Diplomatic

Failure to Reach a FAPS by 13 February 2000 Target Date
8 December 1999 - 6 February 2000

Policy/program

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Gaza
2 February 2000 - 3 February 2000

Legal Diplomatic

Commitments Not Implemented by Israel During the Transitional Period
9 February 2000

Legal Diplomatic

Vatican - PLO Agreement
15 February 2000

Popular action Sanctions

Mounting Malaise in the Palestinian Territories
17 February 2000 - 18 May 2000

Diplomatic

FAPS Target Date Extended to 13 May: The Bolling Rounds
7 March 2000 - 20 April 2000

Biographical

George Habash Retires as S-G of PFLP
27 April 2000 - 28 April 2000

Diplomatic

Failure to Reach the FAPS by 13 May 2000 Target Date: Eilat Round
30 April 2000 - 8 May 2000

Popular action

Mounting Anti-Israeli Mobilization
10 May 2000 - 20 May 2000

Diplomatic Biographical

The Stockholm Back Channel - 1st Session
12 May 2000 - 15 May 2000

Diplomatic

The Stockholm Back Channel - 2nd Session
18 May 2000 - 22 May 2000

Diplomatic

Israeli-Palestinian (Post-Stockholm) Back Channel
1 June 2000 - 3 June 2000

Biographical

Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad Dies
10 June 2000 - 11 June 2000

Diplomatic

Andrews and Bolling Rounds of Negotiation
13 June 2000 - 17 June 2000

Policy/program

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Gaza
2 July 2000 - 3 July 2000

Popular action Diplomatic

Clinton Invites Arafat and Barak to a Summit in Camp David
3 July 2000 - 11 July 2000

Diplomatic

Failure of Final Status Talks at Camp David Summit
11 July 2000 - 25 July 2000

Violence

Undermining the Talks and Preparing for their Failure: The Settlers and the Israeli Army
15 July 2000 - 8 August 2000

Diplomatic

Attempts to Revive Final Status Talks
16 August 2000 - 28 September 2000

Cultural Policy/program

The PA Releases First Batch of New Textbooks
2 September 2000

Diplomatic Legal

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Gaza
9 September 2000 - 10 September 2000