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Key documents

Updated: 2004-03-22 15:40

Oslo accords

The Oslo accords are the foundation on which current peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are based.

Officially called the "Declaration of Principles," the accords were negotiated secretly by Israeli and Palestinian delegations in 1993 in Oslo, Norway, guided by Norwegian Foreign Minister Johan Jorgen Holst.

They were signed at a Washington ceremony hosted by U.S. President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1993, during which Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands, ending decades as sworn enemies.

The accords laid out the long-term goals to be achieved, including the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the Palestinians' right to self-rule in those territories.

On September 28, 1995, at another White House ceremony, Israelis and Palestinians signed another deal known as the "Interim Agreement" or "Oslo 2." The 400-page pact allowed for a second stage of autonomy for the Palestinians, giving them self-rule in the cities of Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Tulkarm, parts of Hebron and 450 villages, while allowing Israeli-guarded Jewish settlements to remain.

Wye accords

In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton hosted Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a nine-day summit at Wye Mills, Maryland, that ended with an October 23 signing ceremony in Washington of a land-for-security peace deal.

Key elements of "The Wye River Memorandum," or the Wye accords, included:

A security plan to crack down on violence by terrorists.
Israeli troop redeployment from an additional 13.1 percent of West Bank land, to take place over a 90-day period.
A 14.2 percent transfer of West Bank land from joint Israeli-Palestinian control to Palestinian control.
The revocation of clauses in the Palestinian National Charter that are hostile toward Israel.
The guarantee of two corridors of safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank.
Israeli commitment for third-phase troop redeployment from the West Bank.
The release of 750 Palestinian prisoners in three phases.
The opening of a Palestinian airport in Gaza.
Netanyahu froze the deal two months after signing it, saying that the Palestinians failed to meet their security commitments.

On September 13, 1999, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak -- who defeated Netanyahu on a promise to move ahead with peace talks -- signed a deal with Arafat to implement a modified version of the Wye accords. The agreement set a September 13, 2000, deadline for a final peace treaty.

U.N. resolutions 242 and 338

After the 1967 and 1973 wars between Israel and the Arabs, the United Nations passed two measures: Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967) and Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973) . The resolutions called for Israel to withdraw its troops from territories it had occupied during those wars. In turn, the Arabs were to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Israel agreed to the resolutions, along with Egypt and Jordan, but the Palestinians refused until November 15, 1988, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat made the dramatic announcement that he accepted the resolutions as the basis for a political process.

By recognizing Israel's right to exist, the Palestinians hoped that the United States would lift its ban on talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization. But the United States added another stipulation for lifting the ban -- that the PLO renounce terrorism. In December 1988, Arafat issued a statement dictated to him by the U.S. State Department that the PLO "condemns individual, group and state terrorism in all its forms, and will not resort to it."

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