What is significant about the Oslo Accords? When did they take place? Who represented whom? What were the issues?
On September 13, 1993 the Oslo Accords were signed at a ceremony in Washington by: Yasser Arafat (representing the Palestinian Authority) and Yitzhak Rabin (representing Israel). The significance of this agreement is that is it established a basic framework for creating a lasting peace between the two sides. As, the Israelis agreed to the creation of an entity that would represent the Palestinian people called the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). They would have the power for the administration of territories under their control. While the Israelis agreed to withdraw Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. At the same time, the agreement called for a five-year plan that would be negotiated no later than 1996. As, a host of various issues would be resolved during these discussions including: the control of the City of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, security, borders and settlements. This is important, because it is illustrating how the Oslo Accords were designed as a permanent foundation to create a lasting peace agreement in the future. Where, this was the first step in helping to bring the two sides together that had been so bitterly divided. (Lieberfeld, 2008, pp. 133 -- 146) (Tessler, 2002, pp. 260 -265)
The reason why this took place was that there was an international effort in the aftermath of the Cold War to: settle this long running issue for good. As, this was the first time that the Israeli government became involved in direct negotiations with the Palestinian people represented by: the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The major issues from these discussions were that the Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist. While the Israeli's acknowledged, that the PLO was the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, versus a rouge terrorist group bent on their destruction. At the same time, the Palestinians agreed to democratic principles and the establishment of free elections. This was to be accomplished by: having regular elections for a council that would govern the areas under Palestinian control. These different elements are significant, because they are highlighting the issues of both sides and how the Oslo Accords were the first step in resolving them. While at the same time, they were agreeing to continue working together to discuss a number of the more complicated issues over the next five years (most notably: control of the City of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, security, borders and settlements). (Lieberfeld, 2008, pp. 133 -- 146) (Tessler, 2002, pp. 260 -265)
During the negotiation between the Israelis and the Palestinians for the Oslo Accords there were several different practices that were utilized. The most notable include: alternatives, understanding the other party's reserve position and finding areas for potential agreement. Alternatives are when you are looking at possible solutions that can be introduced to help address the concerns of both sides. In the Oslo negotiations, this meant that mediators had to know how the importance of each issue to both parties. For the Palestinians: they acknowledged their position on refugees who wanted to return home. Yet, they were unable to do so because of the territorial gains that Israel had made in the various wars with the Arabs since their independence. While at the same time, there were concerns about settlement building from the viewpoint of the Israelis. As they wanted, clearly defined boarders that are safe from constant mortar and rocket attacks. In the case of negotiators, their job was to create a consensus among both sides about the importance of these issues to each party. Where, they understood the impact of this to: the other side and how having some kind of flexibility on the issue would help to form the foundation for establishing a basic background of understanding. This is significant, because it is illustrating how negotiators were able to use these different ideas to create a sense of understanding between the Israelis and Palestinians. At which point, they would be able to introduce an accord that will address these issues in the future. This is creating the basis for a long-term peace agreement between both nations. (Patterson, 2008, pp. 8 -- 15) (Jones, 1999, pp. 58 -- 85) (Isseroff, 2003)
Understanding the other sides reserve position is when you are focused on what each party is willing to give up during the negotiation. As, this can serve as starting point for having both parties give up something in order to create a solution that is acceptable to them. In the case of the Oslo Accords, this meant that negotiators knew that Israel wanted some kind of acknowledgement from the Palestinians about their right to exist. While, the Palestinians wanted some kind of guarantee of the legitimacy of their situation and that they are in fact a legitimate nation state. As, opposed to being seen and treated as if they were a rouge terrorist organization. When negotiators were able to clearly understand both positions, is the point that they were able to build off an area of strategic concerns for both sides. As, they were able to use: these two areas as a way of creating some sort of basic agreement. Where, the Israelis acknowledged and accepted the fact that the Palestinians were a legitimate nation state, versus a conquered people that were represented by terrorist organizations. While the Palestinians acknowledged that Israel has a right to exist. These two elements are important, because they would form the basic foundation of the Oslo Accords with: the two sides addressing the reserve position of the other. Once this took place, it meant that they created a basic framework for building a lasting peace to address some of the most emotionally charged issues that were tied to the conflict. (Patterson, 2008, pp. 8 -- 15) (Jones, 1999, pp. 58 -- 85) (Isseroff, 2003)
Finding areas of potential agreement, is when you have a basic understanding on several different concepts and then are building upon them to create a new accord for addressing the challenges that are leading to the impasse. In the case of the Oslo Accords, there was the belief that the Palestinians should be allowed to have some form of self-determination. As a peaceful solution, would help to improve the security situation inside Israel itself. While the Israelis were having, to spend tremendous amounts of time and energy to control areas that were gained during the Six Day War (mainly the West Bank along with Gaza Strip). This created increased amounts of tensions and problems for the IDF in these areas, as they were subject to constant amounts of riots from the Palestinians and they were seen as occupiers. When negotiators were able find potential areas of agreement, is the point that the Palestinians acknowledged that they would take steps to curtail the constant mortar attacks on various settlements. While the Israelis agreed to withdraw their forces from various parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is important, because it helped to improve the security situation inside the Israel and it gave the Palestinians the power to be able to control many areas that were occupied by the IDF since 1967. Once this took place, it meant that the two sides could move closer in creating a basic framework of understanding that could be utilized in future peace negotiations. (Patterson, 2008, pp. 8 -- 15) (Jones, 1999, pp. 58 -- 85) (Isseroff, 2003)
Did anything that was going on there look like anything that was going on in the Oslo accords?
In early 1991, there was inclination that the some kind of change needed to take place. The reason why, is because the Intifada in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip made the situation for the IDF strategically worse. As, they were forced to defend themselves and engage in actions were considered to be brutal in the minds of many human rights organizations. This increased the overall amounts of criticism that they were facing and it help to support the views of the Palestinians. As, they were entitled to: some of form of self-determination, versus being occupied by the IDF for endless amounts of time. While simultaneously, the ending of the Cold War meant that there was the opportunity to be able to improve relations between the two sides. These different elements led to a shift in thinking about how the world was looking at the Palestinian -- Israeli conflict. Where, they felt that some kind of change needed to take place, yet the two sides were having trouble sitting down and working out an agreeable solution to deal with these issues. As a result, this led to change in the mind set of both sides, based on the underlying amounts of pressure that they were feeling to deal with the challenges. These different elements are important, because they are illustrating how there was a common dilemma that both sides…