History & Overview
In September 1993, following intense behind-the-scenes
contacts between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Oslo, an agreement
achieved between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser
On September 9, 1993, Arafat sent a letter to Prime
Minister Rabin, in which he stated
unequivocally that the PLO:
- Recognizes the right of Israel to exist in peace and security;
- Accepts UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338;
- Commits itself to a peaceful resolution of the conflict;
- Renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence;
- Assumes responsibility over all PLO elements o ensure their
prevent violations, and
- Affirms that those articles of the PLO
Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist are now
inoperative and no longer valid;
- Undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal
approval the necessary changes to
In reply, Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the
in the peace negotiations.
On September 13, 1993, a joint Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles (DOP), based on the
agreement worked out in Oslo, was signed by the two parties in Washington,
outlining the proposed
interim self-government arrangements, as envisioned and agreed by both
The arrangements contained in the
DOP include immediate Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and Jericho, early
empowerment for the Palestinians
in West Bank, and an agreement on self-government and the election of a
Additionally, extensive economic cooperation between Israel and the
Palestinians plays an important role
in the DOP.
The Interim Agreement
Shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Principles, negotiations
commenced between Israeli and PLO delegations on the
implementation of the interim agreement, which was accomplished in three
1. The Gaza-Jericho Agreement was signed in Cairo on May 4, 1994, and
applies to the Gaza Strip and to a defined area of about 65 square
including Jericho and its
environs. While the Declaration of Principles is a short document,
of approximately 20 pages,
the Gaza-Jericho Agreement is a document containing almost 300 pages (the
agreement itself and four
annexes) with six maps attached. The Gaza-Jericho agreement addresses four
main issues -- security
arrangements, civil affairs, legal matters, and economic relations.
The document includes agreement to a withdrawal of Israeli military forces
from Gaza and
Jericho, a transfer of authority from the Israeli Civil Administration to
Palestinian Authority, the
structure and composition of the Palestinian Authority, its jurisdiction
legislative powers, a
Palestinian police force, and relations between Israel and the Palestinian
2. On August 29, 1994, the Agreement
on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities was signed by Israel and the Palestinians. The
puts into effect the next
phase (early empowerment) of the Declaration of Principles.
In accordance with the DOP, the Agreement provides for the transfer of
to the Palestinian
Authority within five specified spheres:
- Education & Culture (carried out on August 29, 1994);
- Social Welfare;
- Tourism (both carried out on November 13-14, 1994);
- Taxation (both carried out on December 1, 1994).
On August 27, 1995, an protocol
transferring additional spheres to the Palestinian Authority: labor, trade
gas and gasoline, insurance, postal services, statistics, agriculture, and
3. On September 28, 1995, the Israeli-Palestinian
Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was signed in
Washington, D.C. This agreement, which marks the conclusion of the first
between Israel and the PLO, incorporates and supersedes the Gaza-Jericho
Early Empowerment agreements.
The main object of the Interim Agreement is to broaden Palestinian
self-government in the West Bank by means of an elected self-governing
authority -- the Palestinian Council -- for an interim period not to
five years from the signing of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (i.e. no later
May 1999). This will allow the Palestinians to conduct their own internal
affairs, reduce points of friction between Israelis and Palestinians, and
a new era of cooperation and co-existence based on common interest,
mutual respect. At the same time it protects Israel's vital interests, and
particular its security interests, both with regard to external security
well as the personal security of its citizens in the West Bank.
The Interim Agreement sets forth the future relations between Israel and
Palestinians. To the main body of the agreement are appended seven annexes
dealing with: security arrangements, elections, civil affairs (transfer of
powers), legal matters, economic relations, Israeli-Palestinian
and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Milestones in the Implementation of the Interim Agreement
On January 20, 1996, following completion of the first stage of IDF redeployment (with the exception of Hebron), elections were held to the
Palestinian Council and for the Head of the Palestinian Authority.
Yasser Arafat was elected Ra'ees (head) of the Authority.
On April 24, 1996, the Palestinian National Council, convening in Gaza,
voted 504 to 54, with 14 abstentions, as follows:
- "The Palestinian National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the
articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the
P.L.O. and the Government of Israel 9-10 September 1993.
- Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the
Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first
session of the Palestinian central council." (24/04/96)
On December 14, 1998, the Palestinian National Council, in accordance with the Wye River Memorandum, convened in Gaza in the presence of U.S. President Clinton and voted to reaffirm this decision.
An agreement on a Temporary International Presence in Hebron was signed on May 9, 1996.
The Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron was signed on January 17, 1997. The Protocol was accompanied by a Note for the Record prepared by the US Special Middle East Coordinator, confirming a series of agreements between the sides on non-Hebron issues and reaffirming their commitment to implement the Interim Agreement on the basis of reciprocity.
On October 23, 1998, The Wye River Memorandum was signed at the White House, Washington D.C., between Israel and the PLO, following a nine-day summit hosted by U.S. President Mr. Bill Clinton in Wye Plantation, Maryland.
On September 4, 1999, the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum was signed by representatives of Israel and the PLO. Restating the commitment of the two sides to full
implementation of all agreements reached since September
1993, the Memorandum sets out to resolve the
outstanding issues of the present interim status, in particular those
set out in the Wye River Memorandum of October 23, 1998.
The sides also restated their commitment to the Interim Agreement's
prohibition regarding initiating or taking any step that will change
the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prior to the
conclusion of the permanent status agreement.
Stages of Sharm el-Sheikh implementation:
Release of prisoners: Sep 9, 1999; Oct 15, 1999.
Additional prisoners released for Ramadan: Dec 1999; Jan 2000.
Further redeployments: Sep 10, 1999 (7%); Jan 5-7, 2000 (5%); Mar 21, 2000 (6.1%)
Safe passage: southern route Oct 25, 1999; Shuhada Street Oct 31, 1999
Displaced persons committee convenes: February 6, 2000
Permanent Status Negotiations
The negotiations on the permanent status arrangements commenced in Taba on May 5, 1996. These negotiations will deal with the remaining issues to be
resolved, including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security
arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with neighboring
In a joint communique issued on May 6 at the close of the first session of
talks, the two sides reaffirmed the principles guiding these negotiations.
In the Wye Memorandum of October 23, 1998 both sides agreed to immediately
resume permanent status negotiations on an accelerated basis and to make a
determined effort to reach agreement by May 4, 1999. A first meeting between Foreign Minister Sharon and Abu Mazen took place on November 18, 1998.
Following the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, the permanent status negotiations were formally resumed on September 13, 1999, at the Erez checkpoint. Foreign Minister David Levy was appointed to head the Israeli negotiating team with the
Palestinians, and Abu-Mazen heads the
In his speech at the opening of the talks, Foreign Minister Levy summarized the basic principles by which Israel will be guided up in negotiating a permanent
status agreement: we will not return to the 1967 lines; united Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel; settlement blocs in the territories will
remain under Israeli sovereignty; there will be no foreign army west
of the Jordan River.
Talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, headed by Oded Eran and Yasser Abed Rabbo, were resumed at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2000.
Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry