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 The Oslo II Agreement signed in 1995 superseded Cairo, laying out the contours of Palestinian Authority control in Areas A and B, while Israel maintained complete control of Area C.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.