The Oslo Accords of 1993 and the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin

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The Oslo Accords (1993 & 1995) and the Assassination of Itsak Rabin

  1. Introduction
  2. Background

III. Mutual recognition of Sides (Israeli & Palestine)

  1.  Principal participants
  2. Palestinians
  3. Israel
  4. Norway (facilitating)
  5. Outline of the Peace Plan
  6. Palestinian Authority and Legislative Council

VII. Transitional Period

VIII. End of the Interim Period

  1. Implementation of the Israeli Withdrawal
  2. Key Agreements
  3. Additional Agreements

XII. Criticisms

  1. Continued Settlement Expansion
  2. Norway’s Role
  3. Undermining Israeli Security

XIII. Alternatives to the Oslo Accords

XIV. The Assassination of Itsak Rabin

  1. References
  2. Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements(DOP), 13 September 1993. From the Knesset website
  3. Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 28 September 1995. From the Knesset website
  4. Mideast accord: the overview; Rabin and Arafat sign accord ending Israel’s 27-year hold on Jericho and the Gaza Strip. Chris Hedges, New York Times, 5 May 1994.
    Quote of Yitzhak Rabin: “We do not accept the Palestinian goal of an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan. We believe there is a separate Palestinian entity short of a state.”
  5. Just Vision, Oslo ProcessArchived 24 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 2013
  6. MEDEA, Oslo peace process. Retrieved December 2013
  7. By Hook and by Crook—Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank, p. 90. B’Tselem, July 2010
  8. Israeli Settlements in Occupied Arab Lands: Conquest to Colony[permanent dead link], p. 29. Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter, 1982), pp. 16-54. Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine Studies
  9. Israel-PLO Recognition: Exchange of Letters between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat Archived 4 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, 9 September 1993
  10. Tom Lansford, Political Handbook of the World 2014, pp. 1627, 1630-1631. CQ Press, March 2014. pp.1629-1630: “, and 18 months after the election of the Palestinian Council, which was designated to succeed the PNA as the primary Palestinian governmental body.”
  11. 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement, 28 September 1995. On ProCon website.
  12. Annex I: Protocol Concerning Redeployment and Security Arrangements, Article I Redeployment of Israeli Military Forces and Transfer of Responsibility. Annex I to the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Oslo II)
  13. What is Area C?. B’Tselem, 9 October 2013
  14. 4 May 1999 and Palestinian Statehood: To Declare or Not to Declare?. Azmi Bishara, Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. 28, No. 2 (Winter, 1999), pp. 5-16
  15. “West Bank and Gaza – Area C and the future of the Palestinian economy”. World Bank. 2 October 2013. p. 4. Less than 1 percent of Area C, which is already built up, is designated by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian use; the remainder is heavily restricted or off-limits to Palestinians, 13 with 68 percent reserved for Israeli settlements, 14 c. 21 percent for closed military zones, 15 and c. 9 percent for nature reserves (approximately 10 percent of the West Bank, 86 percent of which lies in Area C). These areas are not mutually exclusive, and overlap in some cases. In practice it is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain construction permits for residential or economic purposes, even within existing Palestinian villages in Area C: the application process has been described by an earlier World Bank report (2008) as fraught with “ambiguity, complexity and high cost”.
  16. The Discourse of Palestinian-Israeli Relations: Persistent Analytics and Practices, p. 5. Sean F. McMahon, Routledge, 2009
  17. Will we always have Paris?Archived 25 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Gaza Gateway, 13 September 2012
  18. “Text on Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website”.
  20. Palestinians in the West Bank chafe under `early empowerment′.
  21. Arnon, Arie, The Palestinian economy: between imposed integration and voluntary separation, p. 216
  22. Aruri, Naseer Hasan, Dishonest broker: the U.S. role in Israel and Palestine, p. 98
  23. “Text on Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website”.
  24. Serge Schmemann(5 December 1997). “In West Bank, ‘Time’ for Settlements Is Clearly Not ‘Out'”The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2007.
  25. “Extraordinary Increase in Settlement Construction as Diplomacy Falters”. Settlement Report. Foundation for Middle East Peace8(2). March–April 1998. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013.
  26. “Housing Starts in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip Settlements*, 1990-2003”Foundation for Middle East Peace. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  27. Postscript to Oslo: The Mystery of Norway’s Missing Files. Hilde Henriksen Waage, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1 (Autumn 2008), pp. 54–65; ISSN 1533-8614
    “Had the missing documents … been accessible at the time of writing, there seems no doubt that the findings of my report would have shown even more starkly the extent to which the Oslo process was conducted on Israel’s premises, with Norway acting as Israel’s helpful errand boy …. Given the overwhelming imbalance of power between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Norway probably could not have acted otherwise if it wanted to reach a deal—or even if it wanted to play a role in the process at all. Israel’s red lines were the ones that counted, and if the Palestinians wanted a deal, they would have to accept them, too …. The missing documents would almost certainly show why the Oslo process probably never could have resulted in a sustainable peace. To a great extent, full documentation of the back channel would explain the disaster that followed Oslo.”
  28. Karsh, Efraim (Fall 2016). “Why the Oslo Process Doomed Peace”Middle East Quarterly23 (4): 1–17.
  29. Truth and reconciliation Al-Ahram Weekly, 14–20 January 1999, Issue 412
  30. David Remnick (17 November 2014). “The One-State Reality”. The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 August 2015.













The Oslo Accords of 1993 and the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin


The Oslo Accords, I, and II, respectively,  are a set of provisional agreed upon pacts by the  Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israeli Government. Oslo I Accord was promulgated in the U.S. in 1993; (Knesset Website, 1993), while Oslo II Accord was launched in 1995 within the premises of Taba, Egypt  (Knesset Website, 1995). The Oslo Accords spearheaded the Middle East peace process, a peacebuilding pathway anchored on  fulfilling the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” The Middle East peace process started after the backchannel negotiations in Norway,  culminating in Israeli acknowledgment of the PLO as a duly elected organization to represent the will of the people and the simultaneous Palestine concession of Israel as an associate in the peace negotiations.

With time the Oslo Accords established limited self-governance in parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.  The Accords also accepted Palestine as a legitimate state to take part in the permanent-status negotiations about remaining governance and territorial considerations. There were major concerns about power jurisdiction in the borders,  refugee settlement, and the overall Israeli Civil  Administration in Palestine, following the legitimization of Palestine and the release of Palestine prisoners from Israel. Since Israel did not confederate Palestine as a state nor declare its sovereign borders  (Chris, 1994).

The Oslo peace process was rolled out in 1993, with backchannel talks between the PLO and Israel. The process was coupled with mediation, negotiations suspensions and a restart of the talks and suspensions. The peace process achieved several agreements before its termination after forfeited efforts by Camp David Summit in 2000, caused by the Second Intifada (MEDEA, 2013).

During this time, political tensions and disagreements between Israel’s various party factions became paramount. Those opposed to the Oslo process vocalized disagreements publicly, and the rhetoric became extremely polarizing.  As an unfortunate consequence, then Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated.  The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin accentuated the depth of cultural discord between religious right-wing and secular left-wing influences within Israel and the profound ideological divisions within Israel’s body politic that were intimately connected with the peacebuilding process.  Regrettably, many of these divisions still exist today and are exemplified by Israel’s turbulent election cycle and the unreconciled issues in Gaza and the West Bank.


The Oslo Accords contains several elements of the 1978Camp David agreements, therefore there exist considerable similarities between the two accords. However, Camp David’s Accords envisioned self-governance for only the residents of Gaza and West Bank. During this peace treaty agreement, Gaza housed 500 settlers, while West banks accumulated more than 7,400 settlements (B’Tselem, 2010). However, a massive influx of immigrants arrived in the Gaza strip, causing rapid population growth in the region. Israeli dismissed the Palestine Liberation Organization on the grounds of and terrorism affiliations. It opted out of the treaty and sought allegiance with Jordan and Egypt and appointed new officials to represent the Israeli people’s interest in the newly formed partnership.

The Camp David Summit held in 1978  barely discussed the proceedings of an interim agreement as a measure to facilitate the peace process, which was to be superseded by negotiations of permanent settlement status in 5 years. Despite the forfeited efforts of both States, Israel and Jordan signed the peace treaty excluding the Palestinians. Coincidentally both accords did not have a backup plan for the relegation if the final agreement did not evolve and take root within the set period.


In the wake of 1993, Israel and Palestine came to a consensus.  Serious peace negotiations started with the mutual acknowledgment from both sides.  Through a series of interim letters between to then, prime minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, both parties showcased the desire to comply with the Security National Council.


Palestinians. The inhabitants of Palestinian elected Yasser Arafat to oversee and fight for their interests in the Palestinian Liberation Organization. During his tenure, he appointed Ahmed Qurei as the chief negotiator in the peace process.

Israel. Given Israel’s control and power in the Arab East, Israel’s Administration was pertinent in the process of legitimizing Palestine. The Israel team comprised of Yossi Beilin and Yair Hirschfeld were the principal negotiators.  Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres provided political insights. Ron Pundak, one of the founders of the secret meeting with PLO, maintained a strong presence throughout the proceedings of the negotiations. Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister, was a valuable asset in the peace process. The sixth member of the team was Uri Savir, a retired General of Israeli Foreign Ministry. He served as the lead negotiator for the Israeli camp.

Norway. Terje Rd Larsen, head of the Norwegian research institute, played an integral role in the secret talks between Palestine and Israel that allowed the first steps of the peace process. He facilitated the initial interim arrangements with help from his wife Mona Juul, an expert in handling Muslim-Arabic troubles. Next is Jan Egeland, a result-oriented political scientist driven by his hypothesis on the myriad ways small states can influence global politics.  (Hilde, 2008). To maintain objectivity and steer the peace treaty in the right direction, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Johan Jorgen Holst was appointed as the fourth member of the team.


The aim of the Oslo agreement was, among others, to create a legislative Council in Palestine. Initially, Oslo 1 was a provisional arrangement embedded in the Oslo peace process culminating in the permanent settlement in Gaza and West Bank within five years as stipulated in the Security  Council Resolution. However, the Oslo Accords did not guarantee Palestine independence as a sovereign state after the completion of the five-year term. The agreed-upon treaty highlights limited responsibilities and duties pertinent to the running and operation of self-government Authority. It does not define post-Oslo authority on border control and local legislation.

The launch of Oslo 11 in 1995 was to commence the permanent removal of the Israeli troops in Palestine in phases to ensure the smooth transition of the Palestinian authorities. The first section of the agreement stipulated that the redeployment would start in the less densely populated areas with exemptions to issues scheduled for discussions in the final status negotiations. According to a laid out plan, the project was to run for approximately 18 months.

Following Israel’s continuous dominance over public land,   border control, airspace engineering, and high-risk Gaza waters., Article XII gave the Palestine council solemn authority to establish a strong military and police base to protect its inhabitants. However, the external security docket will remain within the powers of the Israel Government. It will be in charge of all external threats emanating from the sea, air, and regional conflicts with Israelis in the settlements.

Also, the Israeli troops were to refrain from conducting military action within megacities and towns in Palestine to create a conducive environment to develop the Council. The election date was set in nine months after the Declaration of Principles’ launch to facilitate the abolishment of the Israeli civil government on Palestinian territory.  (Chris, 1994).


Two decades later, the Israeli military still controls the most populated regions in Palestine. A significant portion of the West bank region is under Israel’s military control. The permanent settlement negotiations scheduled for May 1996 to be signed in May 1999 did not take place; thus, Palestine did not become a sovereign state, not did Israel declare its borders.


After the promulgation of the Oslo agreement, the Palestinian Authority established a parliament and a government. However, it did not have full authority as it was not a sovereign state. In January 1996, the Council was elected through a general election, and it retained Palestinian authority as the government.


Based on the peace process, the transitional period is marked by Interim Self – Government Authority, while Oslo 11 signifies the Interim agreement. The interim period is significant because it marks a new era in the history as it bridges the period between legitimacy and the eventual establishment of the Council and symbolizes the first step in the negotiations of permanent status. Although the Oslo Accords merely defines the permanent settlement was it signified a historic event in the roadmap of the accords culminating the interim period.


In May 1999, the interim period elapsed without any discussions on the permanent settlement. However, the Oslo agreements established a solid Parliament Authority that is still in power up to date.  Palestinian occupy a relatively small portion and with limited infrastructure due to stringent building policies imposed by the local Israeli legislation in area C, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a fully functional department in the Israeli military. (World Bank, 2013). After the 2000 Camp David Summit, the U.S. tried to revive the accords, but the plans were disrupted when the second Intifada broke and destabilized the peace process.


Following the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, the Israel government withdrew military troops in Gaza, followed by the simultaneous removal of civil Administration from Hebron.  In the initial phases, the agreement went according to plan but later on stalled, and the Israeli government redeployed the troops back into the states. Despite signing the Wye Rivet Memorandum to resume the withdrawal of troops, Israel did not fulfill the agreement. The redeployment rate escalated during a heightened cabinet opposition against Netanyahu, which culminated in the Second Intifada and ended up disrupting the peace process as the Israeli military regained control of Palestine.


 Major agreements surface from the continuous mediation, negotiation processes,

  • The provisional letters of recognition issued by Palestine, Israel, and Norway lead to the establishment of mutual understanding from both parties.
  • The signing of the  Declaration of Principles symbolized a new era for the provisional Oslo agreements. It laid down the guidelines for the interim period and the abolishment of the Israel Civil administration upon the formation of the Legislative Council.
  • Israel’s agreement to partially withdraw from Jericho and Gaza Strip marked the beginning of the five years to final status. Palestine became a legitimate state with limited powers and responsibilities.
  • Division and distribution of the West Banks under Oslo 11 Accord (1995) by restricting Palestinians from accessing 60% of the West Banks. Redeployment of Israeli soldiers from Areas A and B. First election to establish PLC, which retained the Parliament Authority. Formation of a robust Palestinian force. Scheduling of final settlement negotiations.


Some of the supplementary agreements  within the Oslo Accords include:

Signed  at the Erez Crossing on August 29, 1994, it became invalid after the launch of Oslo 11.  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1994)

Signed and Launched within the premises of   Cairo on August 27, 1995, the deal  was  declared invalid after the launch of  Oslo 11 w (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1995)

Signed by  Prime Minister Netanyahu and the PLO in January 1997. Under this agreement, Israel vowed to withdraw troops from Hebron per the Interim Agreement of 1995.







Continued Settlement Expansion. Before the Oslo agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ordered Peres to slow and Netanyahu to stop construction in the West Banks. In contrast, Peres slowed down; however, the Netanyahu administration capitalized on the opportunity and continued to set up buildings in the settlement areas to dispossess the Palestinian land. In 1992, the Netanyahu halted construction indefinitely after the inception of the Oslo peace process, although the Oslo agreement did not have any restrictions against building the building.

Norway’s Role. In her article, Hilde focuses on the flawed nature of Norway’s participation in the peace process.  Public records of the backchannel talks with the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs during the early stages of the Oslo negotiations are not available for preview (Hilde, 2008).  There are limited information and sources about the backchannel negotiations commenced by Norway’s leading authorities. Given the strong influence of Norway on two relatively unstable and politically divided countries, there is no doubt that Norway’s role was biased and favored the more robust regime. Therefore Academics conclude that the backchannel documents would have revealed the true nature of the Middle East peace process as well the magnitude and extent to which it would afflict the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

Undermining Israeli Security. Oslo accords played a central role in ravaging wars between Israel-Palestine. The Accords bore bearing to the current turbulent times exemplified by murderous rivalries, and savagery acts taking place in the region. The ramifications of the Oslo agreement are still evident up to date; even with the new generation, there is so much hatred for Jews under the Palestinians National Authority. Throughout the life cycle of Oslo accords, Israelis have witnessed the most significant number of mass murders in the history of the Arab East (Efraim, 2016).

Alternatives to the Oslo Accords. One of the proposed alternatives to the Oslo accords is the formulation of a one-state agreement whereby Israel and Palestinians would merge to form one nation. There will be equal division and balance of power. However, this approach would oppress the Jews minority in Israel.


Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, after participating in a rally supporting the Oslo agreement. His assassin was a radicalized ultranationalist who was against the peace process. After his death, there was massive opposition from the conservatives who viewed the process as engineered attempt to relinquish power to Israeli enemies. The Jewish were adamant that the Oslo Accords would defame and oppress them. They consistently held vigorous rallies to oppose Rabin’s peace initiative. But Rabin did not back down, and he vehemently pledged his support for the Oslo accords up until his assassination.

Works Cited

B’Tselem, 2010. By Hook and by Crook-Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank. By Hook and by Crook-Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank, July, p. 90.

Chris, H., 1994. MidEast Accord: The Overview; Rabin and Arafat sign Accord ending Israel’s 27-year hold on Jericho and the Gaza Strip. MidEast Accord: The Overview; Rabin and Arafat sign Accord ending Israel’s 27-year hold on Jericho and the Gaza Strip, May.

Efraim, K., 2016. Why the Oslo Process Doomed Peace. Middle East Quarterly, Fall, p. 4.

Hilde, W. H., 2008. Postscript to Oslo: The Mystery of Norway’s Missing Files. Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn.pp. 54-65.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1994. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed June 2020].

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1995. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [Online]
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[Accessed June 2020].

Knesset Website, 1993. Declaration of Principles of Interim Self-Government. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed June 2020].

Knesset Website, 1995. Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed June 2020].

MEDEA, 2013. Oslo Peace Process. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed June 2020].

Available at:
[Accessed June 2020].

Wayback Machine, 1993. Israel Recognition: Exchange of Letters between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat. Israel Recognition: Exchange of Letters between PM Rabin and Chairman Arafat, September.

World Bank, 2013. West Bank and Gaza – Area C and the future of the Palestinian economy (English). West Bank and Gaza – Area C and the future of the Palestinian economy (English), October, p. 4.



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