Four years after the historic signing of the DOP, numerous "confidence-building
measures" have been enacted and the Oslo process has moved forward. The Palestinian
Authority (PA) currently governs 97 percent of the Palestinian population of Gaza and the
West Bank. Israel has redeployed from Gaza and major Palestinian population centers in the
West Bank. Three further redeployments are scheduled according to the Oslo timetable,
which will leave the Palestinian Authority responsible for areas of the West Bank, except
for Israeli settlements and Israeli-designated military areas.
Yet despite this progress, Israeli and Palestinian officials privately say the level of
trust between the two negotiating partners is at its lowest ebb since September 1993. The
promise of greater security and quality of life for Israelis has fallen short,
particularly with the killing of well over a hundred Israelis by Palestinian terrorists
and the renewed threat of Palestinian street violence. Among Palestinians, there is a
growing cynicism about whether or not the peace process will improve their quality of life
or eventually bring about a Palestinian state. The gradual building of an atmosphere of
confidence and cooperation -- the fundamental expectation of the Oslo framework -- has
thus far not come about.