The Oslo Accords, which were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1993 to 1995, designated Jerusalem as a permanent-status issue for later negotiation (which never took place). The Accords grant Israel complete and sole control of the city that falls under Israeli sovereignty and bar the Palestinian Authority (PA) from having any jurisdiction there.
The Accords did not define or specify a boundary for Jerusalem. Nor did they detail the boundaries of a territory that the PA (established by the Accords) would eventually govern. Nor did they address the future status of Jerusalem.
The Accords did, however, divide the rest of the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) into three areas of governance: A, B, and C:
- A: Areas administered by the PA (around 3 percent of the West Bank)
- B: Areas that fall under joint administration, with the PA handling civil affairs and Israel handling security affairs (around 23 percent)
- C: Areas solely administered by Israel (around 72 percent)1
The Oslo-imposed division of the larger Jerusalem region into Areas A, B, and C fragmented the region that had historically been a coherent unit into different legal-political zones. The absolute majority of the Jerusalem region that is not under Israeli municipal control is Area C (89 percent), which means that it is under complete Israeli rule. Only some of the areas like Abu Dis and al-‘Izariyya are considered Area B (10.6 percent), and only a very small amount of that area is A (less than 1 percent).2
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For a detailed analysis of the many boundary changes the city has undergone, see Where Is Jerusalem? The Uncertain and Unfixed Boundaries of the City.