(photo credit: Reuters)
Twenty-five years ago today, on September 13, 1993, the final agreement of the First Oslo Accords was signed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, a historic moment in Israeli-Palestinian relations. A second round of agreements was signed in 1995 in Taba, Egypt.
One of the major achievements of the accords was the creation of the Palestinian Authority and acknowledging the role of the PLO as Israel's partner in further negotiations over difficult "final status" issues borders, settlements, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian right of return.
Before Oslo, there was neither a government nor a parliament for Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The accords, facilitated by US President Bill Clinton, represented the last long-term attempt at achieving a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Many regard the accords as a pivotal point in the history of the region and Rabin, Arafat, and then-foreign minister Shimon Peres were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a result.
Many significant events of the following years were direct results of the accords, including their eventual disintegration–from the assassination of Rabin in 1995
to the start of the Second Intifada in 2000.
The accords had dramatic geopolitical consequences, which included Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and Israel’s recognition of the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
The partition of the West Bank into areas A, B, and C, each with a different level of autonomy, and the declaration of Israel’s intention to eventually withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, were unprecedented developments that caused controversy within the Israeli public.
The Oslo accords were followed by many cycles of further negotiations, suspensions, meditations and restarts—only to be suspended again.
After seven years of attempts to bring the accords to fruition, they ultimately fell apart after the failure of the Camp David Summit in 2000 and the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
The failure of the Oslo Accords in many ways left a void in the peace process that to this day has not been filled, despite continued efforts to resolve the conflict.Tamar Ben Ozer contributed to this report.
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