Terminology in the Jerusalem context can be complex and also controversial. Words and their meanings shape narratives. Our Lexicon goes beyond standard definitions and also offers, where applicable, nuanced shades of meanings that matter to Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Objective test

One of two main tests that the Israeli Interior Ministry uses to determine whether a Palestinian permanent resident’s “center of life” is in Jerusalem and hence, if he or she is qualified to retain legal status as a permanent resident. The “objective test” is based on a person’s provided documented evidence that they live and work in the country and have financial assets there. Residents must provide copious documentation to pass this test, and this can be required any time they interact with the Ministry of Interior for any reason. See also Subjective test

Open Spaces Project

A series of green or open spaces in and around Jerusalem’s Old City that are set aside and precluded from development by the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, with the effect of restricting Palestinian population growth.

Orthodox Jewish

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Oslo Accords

Negotiations based on the principle of land for peace, first formalized in 1993 after secret talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Direct talks between Palestinians and Israel first began on October 30, 1991, with the three-day Madrid peace conference. Representatives from Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon participated; the Palestinian negotiators were part of the Jordanian delegation. In these talks, and the later Washington, DC, talks, Israel refused to speak directly to the PLO. It was only in early 1993 during secret discussions in Oslo, Norway, that the two sides met and finally came to an agreement.

The Oslo I Agreement, or Declaration of Principles, followed mutual letters of recognition signed in September 1993 by the parties. Oslo I established the Palestinian Authority and allowed for a limited Palestinian security force to operate in parts of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. It also stipulated that final status negotiations were to produce an agreement on borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and other outstanding issues in five years.

The subsequent 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement (or Cairo Agreement) detailed the execution of the redeployment and the PLO’s return from exile in Tunis. The Paris Protocol was part of the Cairo Agreement, establishing the basis for economic relations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Oslo II Agreement signed in 1995 superseded Cairo, laying out the contours of Palestinian Authority control in Areas A and B, while Israel maintained complete control of Area C.

In January 1997, Palestinians and Israelis signed the Hebron Protocol, which set in motion Israel’s redeployment from 80 percent of the city, dividing it into zones of Palestinian and Israeli control. When further redeployments stalled, the two sides signed the Wye River Memorandum in October 1998, but Israel only withdrew from a portion of the land stipulated. Another attempt was made to move forward with Israeli withdrawals, a release of Palestinian prisoners, safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Gaza seaport through the Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum signed in September, 1999.

Oslo’s five-year interim period expired in May, 1999.

Oslo I Agreement

An agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that initiated the Oslo Accords based on the land for peace formula. Secret negotiations begun in Oslo, Norway, between the PLO and Israel led to the signing of recognition letters between the two parties. It was the first time that a direct agreement was reached, and it was signed in Washington, DC, in September 1993 in the presence of US President Bill Clinton, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The agreement was called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (or DOP). Article 1 states the aim of the agreement as “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.” Its executing agreement was the Gaza-Jericho Agreement signed in 1994.

See also Oslo Accords, Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Oslo II Agreement, Hebron ProtocolWye River Memorandum, Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum, Palestinian Authority, Palestine Liberation Organization.

Oslo II Agreement

Agreement that established the second phase of Israel’s redeployment from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Formally called the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or colloquially the Taba Agreement, Oslo II was signed in the Egyptian city of Taba between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on September 28, 1995. Israel was to withdraw from 6 Palestinian cities and some 400 villages in 1996, putting Areas A and B under Palestinian Authority autonomy, and Area C under complete Israeli control. Further redeployments in 3 stages were to take place every 6 months, to be finalized 18 months after the inauguration of a Palestinian council. The agreement detailed the holding of elections and the creation of the Palestinian police. It also stipulated that a safe passageway would be created between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and described the handling of international crossings. Several joint committees were created for coordination, effectively ensuring that decisions on key issues such as water resources, economic relations, and security were subject to Israeli veto. Finally, it required the PLO’s Palestinian National Council (PNC) to meet and revise the PLO covenant in order to recognize Israel. The agreement was over 300 pages with attached annexes and maps.

See also Oslo Accords, Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Oslo I Agreement, Hebron Protocol, Wye River Memorandum, Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum, Palestinian Authority, Area A, Area B, Area C, Second Intifada, Palestine Liberation Organization, Palestinian National Council (PNC).

Outer Ring

Settlement belt around Jerusalem within the occupied West Bank and outside the Inner Ring, which falls within the expanded Israeli municipal boundaries. It is composed of state-authorized settlements and unauthorized settlement outposts, both built on confiscated Palestinian land. There are three settlement blocs in this area: Gush Etzion to the south, Ma‘ale Adumim to the east, and the northern settlement bloc of Giv’at Ze‘ev, each with its own infrastructure of roads and checkpoints that are connected to each other and to the center of Jerusalem through a network of bypass roads.