Towards Final Status
Final Status Negotiations
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1 - Final Status in the Oslo Accords
2 - Rationale for Two-Phased Plan
3 - The Situation Today
4 - Proposals

1 - Final Status in the Oslo Accords

The Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasir Arafat on September 13, 1993, consisted of a carefully structured two-phase timetable. First was a five-year "interim" or "transitional" period during which time Israel would incrementally withdraw from Palestinian centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, transferring administrative powers to a soon-to-be elected Palestinian Authority. Second was the "permanent" or "final status" negotiations, to begin at the start of the third year of the interim period. As written in the text of the DOP:

Permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian people representatives.

It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and cooperation with other neighbors, and other issues of common interest.

The two parties agree that the outcome of the permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or preempted by agreements reached for the interim period.(Article V [1-3])

This last clause is expanded upon in the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or so-called "Oslo II" agreement of September 28, 1995, which states:

Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or preempt the outcome of the negotiations on the permanent status to be conducted pursuant to the DOP. Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims or positions. (Article XXXI [6])

According to this timetable, negotiations over final status issues were to begin no later than the start of the third year of the interim period, or May 1996, and conclude by the end of the interim period, or May 1999. In May 1996, just weeks before the Israeli elections, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to initiate final status negotiations; however, it was understood at that time that concrete discussions could not begin until after the elections. With the election of a Likud government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there has been regular reference to final status negotiations, but public talks on these issues have not resumed.

[ NEXT: Rationale for Two-Phased Plan ]

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