On September 13, 1993 representatives of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the "Declaration of Principles On Interim Self-Government Arrangements", a document also known as the "Oslo Accords". They were signed at a Washington ceremony hosted by US President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1993, during which Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ended decades as sworn enemies with an uneasy handshake. This agreement was the fruit of secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, represented by the PLO, following the Madrid Conference in 1991.
The Oslo Accords contain a set of mutually agreed-upon general principles regarding a five year interim period of Palestinian self-rule. So-called "permanent status issues" are deferred to later negotiations, to begin no later than the third year of the interim period. The permanent status negotiations were intended to lead to an agreement that would be implemented to take effect at the end of the interim period.
The main points of the Oslo Accords (or Declaration of Principles = DOP):
Transfer of Powers to the Palestinians:
The DOP features an agreement in principle regarding a transfer of power and responsibilities to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, so they may have control over their own affairs.
The DOP does not prejudge the Permanent Status:
The DOP specifically states that permanent status issues, such as Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements and borders are to be excluded from the interim arrangements and that the outcome of the permanent status talks should not be prejudged or preempted by the interim arrangements. During this period, the Israeli government retains sole responsibility for foreign affairs, defense and borders. Israel's position on Jerusalem remains unchanged. When the DOP was signed, Prime Minister Rabin stated that "Jerusalem is the ancient and eternal capital of the...