Declaration of Principles

This term relates to the basic document of the Oslo process that was signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993 and contains the underlying principles for reaching permanent status.

Definition

The term "Declaration of Principles"1 (9/93) relates to:

  • An agreement signed between Israel and the PLO, including principles to reaching a permanent status agreement.

  • An Exchange of Letters Between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat, which included mutual recognition and Palestinian abandonment of violence as a method of achieving their political objectives. These letters were annexed to the declaration.

Background

The Declaration of Principles (Oslo A) was considered a historical milestone in Israeli-Palestinian relations. The process outset, which led to the Declaration of Principles, was initiated in "Track-Two", a non-governmental channel which began in Oslo, Norway in January 1993. Following, Prime Minister Rabin turned the channel into a back-channel, which led to an agreement on the principles for a permanent status. The process ended with an Exchange of Letters Between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat, in which the Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist, and renounced the use of terror as a method of achieving political goals; whereas Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This process led to a ratification ceremony at the White House lawn in Washington DC (9/13/93).

The Declaration of Principles delineated the principles of the Oslo agreement and is based on the framework agreement to an Israeli-Palestinian political process, signed between Israel and Egypt (excluding Palestinian participation) in the context of the 1978 Camp David Accords.

Content of the agreement

  • A Palestinian Self-Governing Authority will be established for an Interim Period of about five years;2

  • The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will elect in direct political elections a representative council;3

  • The elected council area of jurisdiction will include the Gaza strip and the West Bank, which will form a Single Territorial Unit;4

  • During the interim period, and no later than the end of the third year, negotiations on the Permanent Status will be initiated, which will include the "Outstanding Issues," deriving from the historical conflict;5

  • Israel's military rule and civil administration will pass their authorities to the Palestinians in the following areas: culture and education, health, social welfare, direct taxing and tourism;6

  • A Palestinian police force will be established to preserve order and domestic security. However, Israel will remain responsible for external security issues, also after the first stage of redeployment of Israeli forces;7

  • A joint committee for Israel, the Palestinians, Egypt and Jordan, will discuss the criteria of permitting entry of people who left the West Bank and Gaza strip in 1967;8 (See "displaced people" and "Palestinian refugees").

  • The Declaration of Principles formed the sequence of the Israeli-Palestinian political process from 1993. There are differences of opinion as to the question whether the Declaration of Principles is still valid. Some argue the Declaration of Principles is still valid, others argue that the Palestinian uprising (10/00) or, at the latest, the Roadmap (4/03) mark its expiry. A third opinion holds that the validity of certain clauses in the Declaration of Principles has expired, while others are still firm and valid.

1 Full title of the agreement: "Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements".

2 See article 1 "Aim of the negotiations".

3 See article 3 "Elections".

4 See article 4 "Jurisdiction".

5 See article 5 "Transitional period and permanent status negotiations". See also "Historical issues".

6 See article 8 "Public order and Security".

7 See article 9 "Laws and Military Orders" and article 13 "Redeployment of Israeli Forces".

8 See article 12 "Liaison and Cooperation with Jordan and Egypt".