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Oslo Accord I Signed Between Israel and PLO, 1993

On This Day in Jewish History: September 13, 1993

On this day, 1993, Oslo Accord I was signed on the White House lawn by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) - prompting a controversial handshake between Israeli PM, Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat.

Initially accepted with high hopes, the plan never fully materialized and in fact further complicated the situation on the ground. The signing was a culmination of secret talks between Israel and the PLO in Oslo, Norway and was supposed to set up the framework to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

This initial Accord created an interim self-government entity for the Palestinians (Palestinian National Authority), would see the PLO recognize Israel (and "pledge to reject violence"), and ensure significant withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza & the West Bank. The plan stated that after no later than 5 years (1996) a permanent agreement would be in place.

Issues not discussed were Jerusalem, final borders, status of settlements and Palestinian refugees. On the ground, little actually improved after today's signing. Areas were fully divided (such as Hebron) creating more friction between Israelis and Palestinians.

Hamas did not feel bound by Oslo - unleashing what would soon become the groundwork for the Second Intifada where . Arafat would soon walk back his dovish rhetoric and incite violence himself. Meanwhile, the Israeli opposition (led by Likud) was vehemently against the plan - labeling Rabin and Peres as traitors. Then, an already fragile plan was shattered following the assassination of Rabin in November of '95. Palestinian violence in the form of suicide attacks on Israeli civilians in public areas only intensified, the IDF doubled down on security measures - creating checkpoints, security barriers, and deploying more soldiers into urban Palestinian areas across the West Bank & Gaza. To this day, Oslo is generally seen on all sides as a failure. The consequences of Oslo dominate the way we perceive and live the situation today.

At the same time, Oslo remains a telling example for future and current diplomats to consider when discussing any new political "solution" for the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

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