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Timeline of Post-oslo Developments

June 26, 2002
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In the nine years since the official start of the Oslo peace process, there have been many ups and downs.Some observers say that Monday’s speech by President Bush, which included a call for a new Palestinian leadership untainted by terrorism, represented the death blow to the Oslo process.

The following is a timeline of the diplomatic breakthroughs and breakdowns since Oslo began: Winter 1992-Summer 1993 — Israeli and Palestinian negotiators hold a series of secret meetings in Oslo, Norway, to draw a road map to peace.

Sept. 13, 1993 — Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat exchange a historic handshake 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 self-rule on May 13. Israel completes its withdrawal from Gaza on May 18.

Sept. 28, 1995 — Rabin and Arafat sign the Interim Agreement, which sets the stage for an Israeli withdrawal from six West Bank cities.

Nov. 4, 1995 — Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old religious Jewish law student, after a Tel Aviv peace rally. Shimon Peres steps in as prime minister.

Jan. 20, 1996 — Palestinians in the territories vote for the first time to elect an 88-member legislative body. Arafat is elected leader of the Palestinian Council with 90 percent of the vote.

Feb. 25-March 4, 1996 — Israel is left reeling by a series of bus bombings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Ashkelon in which 59 people are killed and some 220 wounded.

March 13, 1996 — Leaders of 29 nations, including the United States, Israel and the Muslim world, meet at an anti-terror summit in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheik.

May 29, 1996 — Israelis narrowly elect Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister over Peres, the Labor Party leader.

June 22-23, 1996 — Egypt hosts the first Arab League summit in six years to develop a united front against the Netanyahu government’s expected approach to the peace process.

Sept. 4, 1996 — Netanyahu and Arafat hold their first meeting. Both sides agree to discussions on an Israeli redeployment from most of Hebron, the last West Bank city to be turned over to the Palestinians.

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 police. Hundreds are wounded.

Oct. 1-2, 1996 — Netanyahu, Arafat and Jordan’s King Hussein attend an emergency summit in Washington. The summit ends with an agreement to launch intensive discussions toward an agreement on Israeli withdrawal from most of Hebron.

Jan. 14-15, 1997 — Netanyahu and Arafat reach Hebron agreement during a late-night summit meeting at the Erez Crossing into the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops redeploy from 80 percent of Hebron on Jan. 17.

March 22, 1997 — Violent demonstrations break out in Hebron and Bethlehem to protest construction of a Jewish neighborhood at Har Homa in southern Jerusalem.

Jan. 13-14, 1998 — Israel’s Cabinet issues a 12-page list of conditions that the Palestinian Authority must fulfill before Israel authorizes a redeployment in the West Bank.

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 to improve security.

Nov. 20, 1998 — Israel makes the first of three redeployments called for under the Wye accord. Israel transfers 2 percent of the West Bank, or some 44 square miles, from sole Israeli control to joint control with the Palestinian Authority. Israel also hands over 7.1 percent of land in the region to sole Palestinian control.

Dec. 14, 1998 — Clinton becomes the first American leader to visit areas under Palestinian control, and addresses the Palestinian legislature in Gaza.

May 17, 1999 — Israelis elect Labor Party leader Ehud Barak over Netanyahu as the nation’s new prime minister by a sweeping margin.

July 14-20, 1999 — On his first visit to the United States as prime minister, Barak vows to reach comprehensive agreements with the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Lebanon within 15 months.

Sept. 4, 1999 — Barak and Arafat sign a revised Wye accord in Sharm el-Sheik.

Sept. 9, 1999 — Israel provides Arafat with maps for a transfer of 7 percent of West Bank lands from full Israeli control to joint Israeli-Palestinian control.

Sept. 13, 1999 — Final status talks begin at the Erez Crossing, six years to the day after the historic 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.

Oct. 25, 1999 — Israel opens a safe-passage route for Palestinians traveling between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Jan. 5-6, 2000 — Israel withdraws from an additional 5 percent of the West Bank.

May 15, 2000 — Gunfights erupt between Israeli troops and Palestinian policemen, the worst violence in the territories in two years.

July 11, 2000 — Clinton, Barak and Arafat begin Camp David summit aimed at reaching a final peace accord.

July 25, 2000 — 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 failure of the summit.

Sept. 28, 2000 — Some 30 Israeli policemen are wounded on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount when Palestinian rioters attack them with stones. The confrontation follows a controversial visit to the site by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon and a group of Likud legislators. Hours later, similar clashes erupt in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Sept. 30, 2000 — A 12-year-old-boy, Mohammad al-Darrah, is killed in his father’s arms when they are caught in the middle of an Israeli-Palestinian gunbattle in the Gaza Strip. Television footage of the incident is broadcast around the world. The incident inflames rioting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and prompts similar riots in October by Israeli Arabs. Thirteen Israeli Arabs are killed by police during the riots.

Oct. 4, 2000 — Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to a limited cease-fire during talks in Paris that bring together Barak, Arafat and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The cease-fire holds only for a few hours.

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

Oct. 17, 2000 — Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to a cease-fire after two days of talks in Sharm el-Sheik but the cease-fire doesn’t hold.

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.

Dec. 10, 2000 — Barak formally resigns, following his surprise announcement the previous night that he would seek a new popular mandate to pursue his peace policies. The letter of resignation sets in motion a 60-day countdown to elections for prime minister.

Dec. 11, 2000 — A U.S.-led panel probing the causes of the intifada begins its work, meeting with Barak in Jerusalem. The panel’s head, former Sen. George Mitchell, says the commission wants to bring an end to violence and restart peace negotiations.

Jan. 21-27, 2001 — Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are held at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Taba. Barak calls off the talks when Arafat gives a vitriolic speech at an international forum, calling Israel “fascist.” Negotiators speak of substantial progress, and say they want to continue the talks after Israel’s elections.

Feb. 6, 2001 — Sharon is elected prime minister by a landslide over Barak.

May 21, 2001 — The U.S.-led Mitchell Commission 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 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.

June 28, 2001– During a trip to the Middle East, Powell meets with Israeli and Palestinian officials and announces an agreement on a timeline for moving toward peace talks. He endorses the idea of outside observers to monitor a cease-fire, but later appears to backtrack from the idea.

July 15, 2001– Peres meets Arafat in Cairo. Peres tells the Palestinian leader that Israel is waiting for seven terror-free days before starting peace moves.

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.

Nov. 10, 2001 — President Bush speaks of “Palestine” as a future state during an address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Dec. 12, 2001 — After several suicide attacks, Israel’s Cabinet cuts off all contact with Arafat, saying his failure to take action to stop Palestinian terror renders him “no longer relevant” to Israel.

Jan. 6, 2002 — Israel displays a $50 million weapons cache it captured three days earlier aboard a ship, the Karine A, bound for the Palestinian Authority from Iran.

Feb. 8, 2002 — During a meeting at the White House, Sharon and Bush say they envision a Palestinian state as the outcome of any Middle East peace process. During his stay in Washington, Sharon calls on U.S. officials to seek an “alternative leadership” to Arafat among the Palestinians.

Feb. 28, 2002 — Israeli troops enter Palestinian refugee camps near the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus in search of terrorists. An Israeli soldier and at least 10 armed Palestinians are killed in ensuing clashes.

March 29, 2002 — Following a series of unanswered terror attacks, including a massive bombing at a Passover seder in a Netanya hotel, Sharon declares Arafat an “enemy” of Israel. Israel invades Arafat’s presidential compound in Ramallah, cutting off electricity and phone lines.

April 12, 2002 — Powell meets with Sharon in Jerusalem but fails to obtain a timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian-controlled areas. Powell’s visit is punctuated by a suicide attack in Jerusalem that kills six people and injures 75. He leaves the region without achieving an Israeli- Palestinian cease-fire.

May 10, 2002 — Israeli troops begin pulling out of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, ending a five- week standoff. Thirteen Palestinian terror suspects are flown into 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 11, 2002 — Bush speaks out in defense of Israel and reiterates his criticism of Arafat. “Israel has a right to defend herself,” Bush tells reporters as he meet with Sharon at the White House. Bush also speaks of his disappointment in Arafat’s leadership.

June 19, 2002 — Israel announces it will seize Palestinian-ruled territory in response to terror attacks. The announcement comes after Sharon consults with government coalition parties and top security officials following a Jerusalem bus bombing that kills 19 Israelis and wounds more than 50. According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Israel will hold the seized areas as long as terror attacks continue, and will take more land if there are more attacks.

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 would back Palestinian statehood after the Palestinians “have new leaders and institutions.”

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