Egypt maintained a state of war with Israel since Israel's founding in 1948, a strategy that did not bring any benefit to Egypt. After losing in the six day war, Egypt finally saw that it could not eliminate Israel through outright war. Egypt's President Anwar Sadat turned to diplomacy, unlike other Arab states that continued their state of war with Israel.
From September 5 through September 17, 1978, twelve days of secret negotiations were conducted at Camp David between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Merachen Begin, mediated by US President Jimmy Carter. The Israeli-Egyptian negotiations were concluded by the signing of two accords at the White House. The agreements were based on UN resolutions 242 and 338, and were meant to constitute a basis for peace between Egypt and Israel, as well as to reach "a just, comprehensive, and durable settlement of the Middle East conflict" for all neighbors willing to negotiate with Israel.
The first dealt with the future of the Sinai and peace between Israel and Egypt, to be concluded within three months. Israel agreed to withdraw from all of the Sinai, within three years, and to dismantle its air bases near the Gulf of Aqaba and the town of Yamit. Egypt promised full diplomatic relations with Israel, and to allow Israel passage through the Suez Canal, the Strait of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba.
The second agreement was a framework establishing a format for the conduct of negotiations for the establishment of an autonomy regime in the West Bank and Gaza to settle the question of the Palestinians.
The Israel-Egypt agreement clearly defined the future relations between the two countries, all aspects of withdrawal from the Sinai, military arrangements in the peninsula such as demilitarization and limitations, as well as the supervision mechanism. The framework agreement regarding the future of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was less clear and was later interpreted differently by Israel, Egypt, and the US.
The two agreements between Israel and Egypt led to a negotiated peace between those two nations in 1979, the first between Israel and any of its Arab neighbors. Sadat and Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their historic agreements.
1982 Lebanon War:
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, Lebanon became home to more than 110,000 Palestinian refugees from their homes in present day Israel. Most of the Plestinian refugees have settled in South Lebanon, in which the the PLO became a powerful force and played an important role in the Lebanese Civil War.
On 10 July 1981, after a period of peace, violence erupted in South Lebanon. According to U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, the Israeli air force bombarded Palestinian targets in south Lebanon, and later that day Palestinian elements fired artillery and rockets into northern Israel. However, according to the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, "Israel responded to PLO rocket attacks on northern Israeli settlements by bombing PLO encampments in southern Lebanon.
The Palestinian forces continued to grow in Lebanon with full-time military personnel numbering around 15,000, although only 6,000 of these, including 4,500 regulars, were deployed in the south.
On 21 April 1982, after a landmine killed an Israeli officer in Lebanon, the Israeli Air Force attacked the Palestinian-controlled coastal town of Damour, killing 23 people. Despite this and numerous other attacks launched since 24 July 1981 the PLO continued to observe the cease-fire agreement.
The war on Lebanon, also known as the invasion of Lebanon and dubbed Operation Peace for the Galilee by Israel, began June 6, 1982, when the Israel Defence Force invaded southern Lebanon in response to the Abu Nidal organization's assassination attempt against Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, but mainly to halt Katyusha rocket attacks on Israeli population in the northern Galilee region launched from Southern Lebanon.
After attacking PLO, Syrian, and Lebanese forces, Israel occupied southern Lebanon. Surrounded in West Beirut and subject to heavy bombardment, the PLO and the Syrian forces negotiated passage from Lebanon with the aid of international peacekeepers.
First Intifada: 1987-1993, ending with the Oslo Accords:
Reasons for the First Intifada: The uprising of the Palestinians in the First Intifada is generally understood to have been a spontaneous phenomenon. The PLO later claimed that it had organized it, but most historians view this as an attempt to create an appearance of having more control. On October 1, 1987 Israeli military ambushed and killed seven men from Gaza believed to be members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Several days later an Israeli settler shot a Palestinian schoolgirl in the back. On December 4, 1987 Shlomo Sakal, an Israeli plastics salesman, was stabbed to death in Gaza. Two days after that, there was a traffic accident in which an Israel Defense Force truck crashed into a van, killing 4 Palestinians from Jabalya.
The intifada lasted until 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 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 Jewish people." An undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, with religious freedom for all, is and remains a fundamental Israeli position.
Security remains an Israeli responsibility:
In the DOP, Israel and the PLO agree that during the interim period, Israel will remain responsible for security along the international borders and the crossing points to Egypt and Jordan. Israel will also retain responsibility for and the overall security of Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli settlements in those areas, and freedom of movement on roads.
Implementation of the DOP was specified to involve the following phases:
Gaza-Jericho: Self-rule in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, including a withdrawal of Israeli forces from those areas (the "first redeployment"), is to serve as a first step in the implementation of the DOP. The details of the Gaza-Jericho aspect of the DOP were negotiated and concluded in an agreement signed in Cairo between Israel and the PLO on May 4, 1994.
Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities: In the rest of the West Bank, five specific spheres -- education and culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation and tourism -- are to be transferred to Palestinian representatives through early empowerment. Additional spheres may be transferred as agreed by the sides. The DOP proposed that this transfer of powers take place immediately following the implementation of the Gaza-Jericho agreement.
The Interim Agreement and Elections: A modalities agreement regarding the election of a Palestinian Council and a comprehensive Interim Agreement specifying the structure and powers of the Council will be negotiated. The Interim Agreement will detail the self-government arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza. Concurrent with the elections, Israeli forces are to be redeployed outside populated areas to specified locations. The Palestinian Council will have a strong police force in order to guarantee public order and internal security. Central to the DOP are two economic annexes which outline economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians, both bilaterally and in the multilateral context.
The Permanent Status: Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on the permanent status will commence as soon as possible but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period (May 1996). These talks will determine the nature of the final settlement between the two sides. It is understood that these negotiations will cover remaining issues including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest. Under the DOP, the permanent status will take effect 5 years after the implementation of the Gaza-Jericho agreement, namely May 1999
A letter on key issues of the PLO and Israel, addressed to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was signed by Yasser Arafat on September 9, 1993. The letter says specifically that:
The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.
The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338
The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process... all outstanding issues ... will be resolved through negotiations
... the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators
... those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel's right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid
... the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.
Rabin gave a letter in exchange to Arafat, also dated September 9, saying:
... Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and commence negotiations with the PLO within the Middle East peace process"
NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3B
New York, NY 10017
Comments or Questions: email@example.com
Tel. 212.687.5340 | Fax 212.687.1643