Oslo Process

The term refers to the Israeli-Palestinian political process that took place during the 1990s aimed at ending the conflict. It examines the principal milestones of the process.

Definition

The term Oslo Process refers to the Israeli-Palestinian political process that started in 9/93 and which was designed to reach a Permanent Status Agreement and end the conflict.

Background

The Oslo Process started as a track-two non-governmental channel in Oslo, Norway in January 1993. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin turned it into a back-channel and sent governmental representatives to join the talks. The channel led to the Declaration of Principles, which was signed at the White House on 9/13/93.

The Declaration of Principles, which outlined the Oslo Process, is based on the principles of the Framework Agreement for Future Negotiations with the Palestinians. This agreement was signed by Israel and Egypt (without Palestinian participation) as part of the 1978 Camp David Accords.

The sequence of the Oslo Process was based on an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and a gradual transfer of powers and authorities to a Palestinian Self Governing Authority. This authority was to exist during an Interim Period of up to five years, after which a Permanent Agreement would reached.

Principal Milestones of the Oslo Process:

  • Declaration of Principles (9/13/93) – An agreement signed by Israel and the PLO regarding principles for reaching the permanent status. The exchange of letters between Prime Minister Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, which included mutual recognition and Palestinian denouncement of terror, was annexed to the Declaration.

  • Gaza-Jericho Agreement[1] (5/4/94) - An agreement signed at Cairo, under the patronage of the United States, Russia and Egypt, and dealt with the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. This agreement marked the beginning of the Interim Period, determined the arrangements for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho, and the establishment of a Palestinian Self-Governing Authority (the Palestinian Authority) bearing legislative and executive powers and authorities.

  • Interim Agreement[2] (9/28/95)- The second interim agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinians aimed at regulating the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority following its establishment (5/94). This agreement also regulated the transfer of Israeli Civil Administration's powers to the Palestinian Authority (Summer 94) during the interim period.

  • Wye Plantation Memorandum (10/98)[3] - This document was signed in order to renew the implementation of the Interim Agreement. The essence of the memorandum is a timeline for Israeli redeployment and for the implementation of other provisions of the Interim Agreement.

  • Sharm A-Sheikh Memorandum (9/99)[4] This document was signed by Israel and the Palestinians after the interim period had expired without the conclusion of a Permanent Status Agreement. The memorandum changed the outline of the political process determined by the Declaration of Principles, and required the conclusion of a "Framework Agreement on the Permanent Agreement" (by 2/00) prior to a Comprehensive Permanent Status Agreement (by 9/00).

  • 2000 Camp David Summit (7/00) – An Israeli-Palestinian conference sponsored by US President Bill Clinton to discuss the Permanent Agreement. No agreement was concluded at the conference.

  • Clinton Ideas (12/00) – Principles for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that were presented to the parties by President Clinton. The Israeli government accepted these principles, while the Palestinian side rejected them.

  • Taba Talks (1/01) – Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that took place on the eve of Israeli elections as a last attempt by the Government of Israel under Prime Minister Barak to achieve a Permanent Status Agreement.

Opinions differ regarding whether the Oslo Process is still relevant. Some maintain that the Oslo Process is still valid, mainly because no party has officially rejected the existing agreements. Others argue that the Palestinian uprising (10/00), or the Roadmap (4/03) signify the dissipation of the Oslo Process. According to a third view, certain principles of the Oslo Process have lost their validity, while others have not.



1 Also known as the Cairo Agreement or Gaza and Jericho First.
2 Also known as Oslo 2 or Taba Agreement.
3 See the Wye Plantation Memorandum at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
4 See the memorandum's main points at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.,