Jewish Journal

Oslo Timeline

Posted on Sep. 11, 2003 at 8:00 pm

The following is a timeline of the most significant developments since the Oslo accords were signed 10 years ago this month.

  • On Sept. 13, 1993 -- After 18 months of secret meetings between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Oslo, Norway, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat shake hands on the White House lawn as the two sides sign the Declaration of Principles, a timetable for launching Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

  • May 4, 1994 -- Israel and the PLO sign the Cairo Agreement for establishing self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Jericho. Jericho comes under Palestinian rule on May 13. Israel completes its withdrawal from Gaza on May 18. By the end of the year, Israel will have withdrawn from six cities, including Ramallah.

  • Nov. 4, 1995 -- Rabin is assassinated at a Tel Aviv peace rally by Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old extremist Jew. Shimon Peres becomes prime minister.

  • Jan. 20, 1996 -- Palestinians vote for the first time to elect an 88-member legislative body. Yasser Arafat, who returned from exile in Tunis in July, is elected leader of the Palestinian Council with 90 percent of the vote.

  • Feb. 25-March 4, 1996 -- Israel is shaken by a series of bus bombings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon that kill 59 people and wound more than 220.

  • Sept. 4, 1996 -- Newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Arafat hold their first meeting. The sides agree to discuss an Israeli redeployment from most of Hebron, the last major West Bank city to be turned over to Palestinian Authority control.

  • Sept. 25, 1996 -- Palestinian rioting erupts in response to the opening of a new entrance to an ancient tunnel alongside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. In three days of violence, 15 Israelis and 61 Palestinians are killed, most of them during exchanges of gunfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian Authority police, and hundreds are wounded.

  • Oct. 23, 1998 -- After nine days of talks at the Wye Plantation in Maryland, Netanyahu and Arafat join President Clinton at the White House to sign a memorandum for an Israeli redeployment from 13 percent more of the West Bank in exchange for specific Palestinian steps against terrorism. On Nov. 20, 1998, Israel makes the first of three redeployments called for under the Wye accord.

  • May 17, 1999 -- Israelis elect Labor Party leader Ehud Barak over Netanyahu as the nation's new prime minister by a sweeping margin. On his first visit to the United States as prime minister on July 14, Barak vows to reach comprehensive agreements with the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Lebanon within 15 months. On Sept. 4 Barak and Arafat sign a revised Wye accord in Sharm el-Sheik.

  • Sept. 13, 1999 -- Final-status talks begin at the Erez Crossing, six years to the day after the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn. Talks are supposed to result in a framework agreement by February 2000 and a final agreement by September 2000.

  • July 11 2000 -- Clinton, Barak and Arafat begin a summit at Camp David aimed at reaching a final peace accord. After two weeks of discussions, Clinton declares the Camp David summit a failure. Jerusalem was the "most difficult problem" blocking an agreement, Clinton says. Clinton praises Barak and essentially blames Arafat for the summit's failure.

  • Sept. 28, 2000 -- Palestinians use the occasion of a visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon to launch widespread violence that becomes known as the Second Intifada. Palestinian rioters attack Sharon's entourage with stones, wounding some 30 Israeli policemen. Hours later, violent clashes erupt in Ramallah, in the West Bank. In the ensuing days, several Palestinians are killed in riots at the Temple Mount.

  • Sept. 30, 2000 -- A 12-year-old-boy, Mohammed al-Dura, is killed in his father's arms when they are caught in the middle of an Israeli-Palestinian gunbattle in the Gaza Strip. Though there are conflicting claims over whether Israeli or Palestinian bullets killed the boy, television footage of the incident is broadcast around the world. The incident inflames rioting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and riots spread to Arabs inside Israel.

  • Oct. 2, 2000 -- Rioting by Israeli Arabs leads to violent clashes with police. Twelve Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian are killed by police during the riots, prompting Barak to appoint a special investigative commission.

  • Oct. 12, 2000 -- Two Israeli reservists are killed and their bodies ripped apart by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah. For the first time, Israel retaliates with helicopter strikes on Palestinian Authority command posts in Ramallah and Gaza City.

  • Oct. 22, 2000 -- Barak calls for a "timeout" from the peace process. Arafat says his people will continue to seek a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, adding that Barak can "go to hell" if he does not like it. On Dec. 10, 2000, Barak formally resigns, and on Feb. 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon is elected prime minister by a landslide over Barak.

  • May 21, 2001 -- The U.S.-led Mitchell Commission, a panel probing the causes of the intifada, issues its report, calling for an immediate cease-fire followed by a cooling-off period and confidence-building steps. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announces that the United States will use the Mitchell report as the basis for a new initiative aimed at ending the violence. Sharon declares a unilateral Israeli cease-fire.

  • June 1, 2001 -- A bombing at Tel Aviv's Dolphinarium discotheque kills 21 young Israelis. Sharon calls off Israel's unilateral cease-fire.

  • Sept. 18, 2001 -- Following intense international pressure after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington, Arafat declares a cease-fire. Israel responds by pulling its tanks from Palestinian cities in the West Bank. Sharon calls off the cease-fire two days later when an Israeli woman is killed by Palestinian gunmen in a drive-by shooting.

  • Oct. 17, 2001 -- Gunmen lurking in a Jerusalem hotel hallway assassinate Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, a PLO faction, claims responsibility. Israel responds by sending troops into six Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

  • Jan. 3, 2002 -- Israel seizes a ship with $50 million in weapons bound for the Palestinian Authority. The weapons aboard the ship, the Karine A, were on the way from Iran.

  • March 29, 2002 -- A series of terrorist attacks, including a massive bombing at a Passover seder in a Netanya hotel, kills 136 Israelis in the space of a month. Sharon declares Arafat an "enemy" of Israel and invades his presidential compound in Ramallah, cutting off electricity and phone lines. Israeli troops move into several West Bank cities to carry out anti-terrorist moves in Operation Protective Wall.

  • May 10, 2002 -- Israeli troops begin pulling out of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, ending a five-week standoff. Thirteen Palestinian terrorist suspects are flown to Cyprus en route to other countries, while 26 others are sent to Gaza. Israel says the Palestinians, who holed up in the church for 38 days, are complicit in numerous terrorist attacks.

  • June 16, 2002 -- Israel begins construction of a new security fence roughly along the contours of the West Bank to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating Israel.

  • June 24, 2002 -- In a much-anticipated speech, Bush calls for a "new and different Palestinian leadership so a new Palestinian state can be born." Bush says the United States will back Palestinian statehood after the Palestinians "have new leaders and institutions" and abandon violence against Israel.

  • March 10, 2003 -- Under heavy international pressure and U.S. refusal to deal with him, Arafat appoints Mahmoud Abbas prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

  • June 4, 2003 -- Abbas, Sharon and Bush formally inaugurate the "road map" peace plan at a summit in Aqaba, Jordan. Palestinian terrorist attacks follow. By the end of the month Hamas and Islamic Jihad unilaterally declare a three-month "cease-fire" in attacks on Israelis; Fatah declares a six-month truce. In response, Israeli troops withdraw from part of the Gaza Strip and, later, Bethlehem, transferring security control to the Palestinian Authority.

  • Aug. 19, 2003 -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad take responsibility for a suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem that kills 21, including several children. The bombing follows a pair of suicide bombings by Hamas and the Al-Aksa Brigade a week earlier. Israel responds by renewing its strategy of targeted killings, first assassinating Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab. The Palestinian terrorist groups say their "cease-fire" is over.

  • Sept. 7, 2003 -- Ahmed Karia is named the new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister after Abbas resigns following a power struggle with Arafat.

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