Abbas Proposes Canceling Oslo Accords

First time PLO Leadership Considered Treaty Since 1993

by Jason Ditz, September 18, 2012

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is considering the cancellation of the Oslo Accords, a long-standing deal with Israel, including the associated economic and security pacts, after a proposal by PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The accords were an attempt to lay out an initial framework for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but left a number of important details about the end of the occupation and the status of settlements built on Palestinian land to “future” negotiations.

The deal was initially presented as a stop-gap to give time for the Israelis and Palestinians to come to a final settlement, but almost 20 years later with no real sign of progress the deal is falling out of favor, with Palestinian protesters recently calling for Abbas’ resignation and also demanding the withdrawal from the Oslo Accords. The issue is particularly important because the economic terms of the deal are seen as strangling the struggling economy of Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has openly bragged in the past about having “stopped the Oslo Accords” and how the lack of specifics in the deal were allowing him to prevent any steps toward Palestinian independence. Peace talks between Israel and Palestinians effectively stopped two years ago when Israel resumed the construction of settlements, and there is no sign of new talks on the horizon.

According to PLO officials familiar with the latest proposal, the leadership was split on the idea of scrapping the accords, concerned with what would happen afterwards, and Abbas agreed to defer a vote on the matter until their next meeting.

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