OSLO AGREEMENT, 1993
The Oslo negotiations tried to tackle the missing element of all previous talks – a direct agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, represented by the PLO. Its importance was that there was finally mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO. The talks took place in secret under Norwegian auspices and the agreement was signed on the White House lawn on 13 September 1993, witnessed by President Bill Clinton. The PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands. The agreement was that Israeli troops would withdraw in stages from the West Bank and Gaza, that a “Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority” would be set up for a five-year transitional period, leading to a permanent settlement based on resolutions 242 and 338. The agreement spoke of putting “an end to decades of confrontation and conflict” and of each side recognising “their mutual legitimate and political rights”. Therefore, though not stated explicitly in the text, the implication was that a state of Palestine would one day be set up alongside Israel. There was an exchange of letters in which Yasser Arafat stated: “The PLO recognises the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” Yitzhak Rabin said: “The Government of Israel has decided to recognise the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.” Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionist groups did not accept Oslo and launched suicide bomb attacks on Israelis. There was opposition within Israel from settler-led groups. Oslo was only partially implemented.
[from Global Policy Forum, 21 May 2007]