why did oslo fail

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  • 7/28/2019 Why Did Oslo Fail


    300635036 29/11/2012

    Why did Oslo fail?

    Ever since the 1967 war, nearly every single US President has had a plan to resolve the conflict between the

    Palestinians and the Israelis. But the sequels to a war which only lasted 6 days, had yet to finish. The

    Palestinian-Israeli conflict originated in 1948, when the Israeli state was founded, and as such, the peace plans

    are still in full throttle. The consequences of the 6 day war, when Israel occupied Gaza, the Sinai, east

    Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, have resulted in an on-going peace process in which the Oslo accords onlyform one part. (Jones, D (1999). p 52.) However this is not to say that some facets of the conflict in all of its

    senses (whether the Arab-Israeli conflict or notably the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) have not been resolved, for

    example the Jordanian-Israeli Peace agreement at a diplomatic levels has fostered warm relations. (Golan, G

    (2007) p1.)

    This paper will, after describing the elements to the lengthy Oslo accords, pin down the different facets

    which exacerbated mistrust and ultimately brought the peace process to a standstill. It will also explain what

    brought Oslo to its supposed dead end. Many people have adhered to one of two different frameworks to

    analyse the failure of the Oslo process, Jonathan Rynhold states that there is a Liberalist framework and a

    Realist framework. The Accords in themselves according to the liberalist point of view promoted a great

    opportunity for mature political relations. The liberals believe that what really failed was the negotiatorsbehaviour and their failure to implement the accords properly. The realist approach however, believes that there

    were intrinsic constraints in the process and that the two parties ideologies were not compatible. (Rynhold, J.

    (2008 March). The Failure of the Oslo Process: Inherently Flawed or Flawed Implementation?. Mideast Security

    and Policy Studies. I (No. 76), p5-26.) However both these views fail to consider the fact that the wording, actors

    and length of these accords each exacerbated difficulties in the negotiations. Even if each political party had

    their own agendas, Jews and Palestinians had been living alongside each other not long before and peace was

    the ultimate solution for the everyday citizen.

    The interim periods of the accords 5 years; during this 5 year period the Oslo accords were drawn up

    which in its-self defines the long drawn out framework of these accords1. Even though this period was meant for

    gradual integration of the communities, it allowed for deadlines that might not be met, constant amendments tothe accords and in some cases, failure to implement them.The 1992 elections which brought Yitzhak Rabin and

    the Labour party back to power in the 1992 election, paving the way to Oslo - he used the term window of

    opportunity for peace . (Golan, G (2007). p1.) The idea behind the interim period was the concept that the two

    conflicting sides were not yet ready for a full peace agreement, and that there was a need for an interim report. If

    these two mediating sides had agreed to come to a peaceful solution- in actual fact there would have been no

    need for an interim period because the economic integration and land settlements could have been done in a

    shorter amount of time.

    Rabins Labour party government was advocating a land for peace and - the first Intifada arose at the

    same time aided by the support of the public and global sympathy, which led the Israelis to view the crisis as

    ever dynamic and in search for a conclusion. This shows that the Israeli government at the time was keen tobring the process to a conclusion just as much as the Palestinians were. The occupation by the Israelis in Gaza

    could not be expected to continue without a cry for freedom on the Palestinian side. It seems that the ideology

    was flawed and that some Jews view of Zionism was of an Israeli (Jewish State) without Palestinians having the

    right to return. This Jewish ideology is flawed because it contemplates no change despite an understanding of

    the deep rooted view of the Palestinians. However this did not mean that the Israeli Labour party did not want to

    see peace but this does show that there were inherent conflicting ideologies on both sides (Golan, G (2007) .


    11. The letters of mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO 9, 10 and September 1993. 2.

    Declaration of Principles on interim Self-Government Arrangement (Oslo I) -13 September 1993. 3.{Paris} Protocol on Economic Relations -29 April 1994. 4. Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powersand Responsibilities- 29 August 1994 (additional agreement 28 august 1995). 5. Israeli-PalestinianInterim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II)-28

    thSeptember 1995. 6. Protocol

    concerning the Redeployment in Hebron- 15 January 1996. 7. Wye River Memorandum- 23 October 1998.Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum-4

    thSeptember 1999.

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    300635036 29/11/2012

    The ambiguity of expressions used in the this 5 year interim period did not aid with the negation of these

    accords either, words like just and mutual legitimate and political rights instead of national rights were used

    all aiding in perverting the peace process. This meant that more often than not the interpretation of these

    agreements was more of an issue than implementation. And although these DOPs (declaration of principles)

    were set to last 5 years because the Israelis in the past had been known to drag out peace negotiations, there

    was no absolute guarantee that there would be a final agreement reached by both parties, and the already

    established Israeli state was certainly in more of a regionally secure position. The process of Palestinian self-

    Government was to be set in stages - first the delegations of governing powers would be transferred to the

    Palestinians; secondly the transfer of some sort of civil authority e.g. taxes etc. Thirdly the gradual

    implementation of election procedures. And finally fourthly the most important factor which should have been

    resolved more promptly was the issue of refugees, settlements, security and borders.

    Examples of how the wording of each accord meant different things to different parties can be seen in

    (Article IV) which stipulated that all the territories of Gaza and the West Bank were to be governed by the same

    governing body. It was aimed to prevent annexations by the Israelis through road buildings and settlements. But

    the Israeli foreign minister at the time interpreted the West Bank as disputed territory and this did not

    necessarily mean withdrawal from all the West Bank. (Golan, G (2007) p18.)

    Out of all the parts of these accords the most important one was quite appropriately the first, theestablishment of mutual recognition between the Israelis and Palestinians. These are of historical significance

    because it was the first time the modern Israeli State had even accepted the existence of such a state. Arafat

    had accepted that Israel had the right to exist and have its own security. Territory lost in 1967, in signing these

    agreements only secured the right to have the lands lost in 1967 returned and not the whole of Israel. Israel only

    recognised the PLO as representing a people and not merely a refugee population and no longer denied that

    they didnt have a right to their own state.

    Dan Rabinowitz who follows the views of Edward Said, believes that despite the accords the West had a

    different view on the Middle East, that democratization was not going to sweep across the east, and that the

    Accords were inherently flawed as these conflicting narratives and premium of peace were set first, (Dan

    Rabinowitz you feel However if it was only because of the communicators inabilities to reach a conclusion tothese accords, it does not mean that the accords were inherently flawed, because by nature the accords had

    good intentions and if they had been implemented either more quickly or with greater willingness on both sides,

    perhaps these accords would not have reached such a bleak deadlock. (Dan Rabinowitz. (2005). Belated

    Occupation, Advanced Militarization: Edward Said's Critique of the Oslo Process Revisited. Chicago Journals.

    31 (No 2), p. 505-511.)

    Five years ago, Yitzhak Rabin brought peace to Israel." This statement was issued by the organisers of

    the Pace Now campaign which took place September 12th

    1997 in the Israeli capital. Peace had existed to a

    greater extent before the Oslo accords, which lies in the simple fact that since 1993, more Israelis had suffered

    at the hands of terror than a decade prior. (2007). Oslo, The Oslo Accords. Available:

    http://www.peacefaq.com/oslo.html. Last accessed 12/11/2012.)

    The Paris Protocol was a good initiative of economic integration; whose theory was to foster over time

    more healthy relations between the two groups. It established connections of taxes. However the following

    agreements, Gaza Strip-Jericho Area Agreement 4 May 1994. The Preparatory Transfer of Powers and

    Responsibilities 29 August 1994 did not constitute as a part of the DOP and were primarily the result of delays,

    disagreements and haggling over the implementation process. The Gaza Jericho agreement for example was

    probably in retaliation against the Hamas Jihad attacks after the signing of the DOP.( Shomali Qustandi. L'accord

    et le dsaccord dans les textes d'Oslo. In: Mots, mars 1997, N50. pp.


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