CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
On August 27, 1993, Israel and the Palestinians announced that Israeli Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official Mahmoud
Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) had initialed a landmark agreement on August 19 in
Oslo, Norway on a Declaration of Principles on interim self-government for the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. On September 9, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin exchanged letters of unprecedented mutual recognition. On
September 10, President Clinton welcomed the agreement, thanked Congress for its
support, and announced that the United States would resume its dialog with the PLO.
The Declaration was signed at the White House on September 13. The following are
summaries of the Declaration and the letters.
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
!The Declaration will enter into force 1 month after it is signed.
!Within 2 months after the Declaration enters into force, the two sides will
conclude an agreement on withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the
Gaza Strip and Jericho area.
!The withdrawal will be completed within 6 months after the Declaration
enters into force.
!Immediately after the withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho, authority over
education and culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, and tourism
in the West Bank and Gaza will be transferred to the Palestinians.
!A Palestinian Interim Self Government Authority in the form of a Council
will be elected within 9 months after the Declaration enters into force for
a transitional period not exceeding 5 years.
!The two sides will negotiate an interim agreement specifying the Council's
structure, size, and powers.
!Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem will vote in the election.
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!Not later than the eve of Council elections, a redeployment of Israeli
military forces in the West Bank and Gaza to sites outside of populated
area will take place.
!Further redeployments will occur as a Palestinian police force to be
established by the Council assumes responsibility for public order and
!After inauguration of the Council, the Israeli civil and military
administrations for the territories will be dissolved.
!The Council will establish bodies to deal with utilities, economy, the
environment, water, and other areas.
!Joint Israeli-Palestinian committees will deal with common issues, such
as economic cooperation and dispute resolution.
!The parties will invite Jordan and Egypt to establish cooperation
arrangements that will decide modalities of admission of persons
displaced from the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, among other matters.
!During the interim period, Israel will retain responsibility for external
security, settlements, Israelis, and foreign relations.
!Permanent status negotiations will commence not later than the third year
of the interim period, and may include Jerusalem.
!The peace process and negotiations on the permanent status of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip will lead to implementation of U.N. Security Council
Resolutions 242 and 338, or the land for peace formula.
Chairman Yasser Arafat affirmed that the PLO recognized the right of the State of
Israel to exist in peace and security, accepted U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and
338, the Middle East peace process and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and renounced
terrorism and other acts of violence and assumed responsibility to prevent them. He stated
that articles of the Palestinian Covenant that contradict the foregoing commitments are no
longer valid; he undertook to submit necessary changes in the Covenant to the Palestinian
National Council. Arafat called upon the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza to
reject violence. Prime Minister Rabin recognized the PLO as the representative of the
Palestinian people and agreed to negotiate with the PLO in the peace process.
Many Palestinians hope that the accord will lead to statehood, a possibility that
alarms many Israelis. Nonetheless, despite opposition from critics on both sides, the
agreement has been broadly welcomed as a major step forward in easing Middle East
tensions. In a related development, Israel and Jordan signed a draft agenda delineating
specific components of their bilateral peace negotiations on September 14, 1993.
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