Last updated on: 5/19/2008 2:07:00 PM PST

What Was the Outcome of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Dilip Hiro, MA, author and journalist, in his 2003 book The Essential Middle East / A Comprehensive Guide, wrote:

"Full IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] evacuation of the Area A cities, exept Hebron, was scheduled for the end of 1995, followed by a partial withdrawal from Hebron by 28 March 1996.The IDF's evacuation, starting with Jenin on 13 November, reached a climax with its withdrawal from Bethlehem on 21 December, leading to a four-day party there, combining the celebration of Palestinian nationalism with Christmas.

Map created using information from B'Tselem, FMEP and IRIS

But due to the impending Israeli elections, Arafat allowed the partial evacuation of Hebron to be postponed in order to help Peres beat his Likud rival Benjamin Netanyahu in the prime ministerial contest in May 1996. But Peres lost. Netanyahu forestalled further implementation of the Accord. It was not until October 1998 that, under the Wye River Memorandum brokered personally by Clinton, he agreed to make some concessions to the Palestinians."

2003 - Dilip Hiro, MA 

Ghassan Khatib, MA, Palestinian Authority Minister of Planning, in a 1995 essay titled "The Inadequacy of an Interim Agreement," from the Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture, wrote:

"[A]lmost a year after the implementation of the interim agreement, reality indicates that it has achieved quite the opposite of what was intended. For one thing, Israeli security conditions have deteriorated and Palestinian economic conditions have not improved. Instead of a growing feeling of mutual confidence, there is a spate of mutual recriminations, with an increasing number of people on both sides calling, for one reason or another, for suspension of the negotiations."

1995 - Ghassan Khatib, MA 

Michael Rubner, PhD, former Professor of International Relations at James Madison College, Michigan State University, in an Oct. 1998 book review featured in the Middle East Policy Council Journal titled "Review Essay: The Oslo Peace Process through Three Lenses," wrote:

"After the signing of the Oslo II accord in late September 1995, the IDF withdrew from the six largest cities in the West Bank, enabling the newly elected Palestinian Authority (PA) to exercise sole jurisdiction over an area (designated as 'A' in the Agreement) comprising 3 percent of the West Bank's territory and encompassing approximately one-third of the Palestinian population. As part of this accord, it was further agreed that the parties would share control over the 450 villages in the West Bank, comprising 23 percent of the territory (designated as 'B' in the Agreement) and containing 67 percent of the population, with the PA exercising authority over civic matters (education and culture, health, social welfare, taxation and tourism, among others), and Israel retaining jurisdiction over security matters. In January 1997, 80 percent of the city of Hebron came under Palestinian jurisdiction, leaving only a small enclave of some 500 Jewish settlers to be guarded exclusively by the IDF. Moreover, several thousand Palestinian prisoners and detainees were released by Israel over the past five years, and the ground was laid for more intensive economic cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and the Jewish state.

As impressive as these accomplishments are, they have been overshadowed by severe setbacks that shattered the immediate post-Oslo euphoria. Since 1993, well over 100 Israeli civilians were killed and more than 500 injured in terrorist attacks perpetrated by Palestinian opponents of the peace process. During the same period, scores of Palestinian civilians lost their lives in bloody clashes with the IDF and militant Jewish settlers. Contrary to initial expectations, economic conditions for most of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza have deteriorated as well. According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund's Middle Eastern Department, the unemployment rate by the beginning of 1997 was 15 percent higher than it was in 1993, and the per capita income had dropped by 20 percent. It has been estimated that one-fifth of all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live in poverty and that the current unemployment rate among Palestinians is approximately 30 percent.

There is mounting evidence that neither the Palestinian Authority nor Israel has lived up to its obligations under the Oslo accords. In addition to its failure to curb terrorism, the PA unilaterally increased the number of its armed security personnel from 9,000 to 16,000. Although Israel committed itself in the 1995 Oslo II accord to implement a total of three redeployments from the West Bank by mid-1997, the second and third withdrawals have yet to take place a full year after the mutually agreed deadline. Likewise, the so-called 'final-status' negotiations covering Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, and relations between the Palestinian entity and other neighbors that were slated to begin no later than May 4, 1996, have yet to take place.

Equally distressing, since its ascent to power in May 1996, the Likud-led Israeli government under the leadership of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently taken unilateral actions designed to predetermine the outcome of at least two issues that were specifically reserved for the final-status phase: settlements and Jerusalem. Specifically, in December 1996, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza were designated as 'national priority areas,' making their present and future inhabitants eligible for significant financial advantages. Furthermore, the Netanyahu cabinet has approved and initiated the expansion of existing settlements in order accommodate the 'natural' growth rate of the Jewish population in the West Bank. Likewise, Mr. Netanyahu has implemented several policies intended to cement Israel's control over an ever- growing Jerusalem metropolitan area. Specifically, these policies include the opening in September 1996 of an exit to the northern end of an ancient tunnel under the Old City, close to the Temple Mount; the approval in March 1997 of the Har Homa project envisioning the construction of housing for some 32,000 Jews on a disputed hillside (known in Arabic as Jebel Abu-Ghneim) in an area south of the city; the razing to the ground of Arab houses in East Jerusalem. In addition, on June 21, 1998, the cabinet approved of a two-pronged plan to expand the city's municipal borders: annexation of suburbs in Israel proper to ensure a Jewish majority of 70 percent in Jerusalem, and the inclusion of two Jewish settlements east and north of the city, and the West Bank land between them, under a new 'umbrella' planning authority with regional power previously exercised by the military."

Oct. 1998 - Michael Rubner, PhD