Quarterly Updates for (16 Aug 1995 — 15 Nov 1995)

Following the approval of the draft ("Oslo II") interim agreement by the Israeli cabinet (8/13) and the PA cabinet (8/ 16), negotiatorsettled into a process of five-day rounds of talks to resolve the remaining areas of disagreement (e.g., Hebron, water, joint security arrangements and settler protection, control of electricity grids, prisoners, agriculture, rural land use, taxes). Teams were headed by Uri Savir (Israel) and Ahmad Qurai' (PA), with the frequent participation of Chmn. Yasir Arafat and FM Shimon Peres, and mediation by U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross and Egyptian Pres. Husni Mubarak.

While Oslo II was still under negotiation, Israel and the PA tested each other's will on three issues: Jerusalem, Hebron, and extradition.

In mid-August, Israeli police began a series of raids on Palestinian offices in East Jerusalem, searching for links with the PA that would make operating in the city illegal. As a result, Israeli Police M Moshe Shahal ordered (8/27) the Palestinian Broadcasting Authority, Palestinian Health Council, and the Central Bureau of Statistics to close within 96 hours. The health council and statistics bureau were allowed to remain open after they agreed (8/31, 9/3) not to accept PA funds; the broadcasting corporation closed its offices 9/1.

Similarly on 9/6 and 9/17, during the negotiations over security arrangements for Hebron, Arafat ordered all municipal and PA offices and the shari'a court on the outskirts of Hebron to move into the city. Although Israel officially conceded that Hebron was an Arab city from which it would partially redeploy, the Civil Administration (CA) forced (10/13) the closure of PA information, cultural, and education offices on grounds that their operation in the city violated of Oslo II.

Finally, beginning 8/27, Israeli Justice M David Liba'i pressed the PA on its failure to act on 14 extradition requests, claiming it was violating the spirit of Oslo. The PA reacted by arresting, trying, and convicting the wanted men itself. Under Peres's direction, the Knesset concluded (9/20) that it did not matter whose jail housed the alleged felons, as long as they were sentenced.

Despite these tensions, talks were suspended only twice: by Israel on 8/21, following a suicide bombing in Jerusalem; and by the PA on 8/28, in protest over Israel's sealing of Jericho (8/22-30) during a search for wanted Hamas men.

Oslo II was initialled by both parties in Taba, Egypt 9/24; approved by the PA cabinet 9/25 (with 2 abstentions), nine members of PLO Executive Committee 9/26 (11 others did not attend the meeting and, on 10/4, submitted aletter to Arafat denouncing the accord), and the Israeli cabinet 9/27 (16-0, with 2 abstentions); and finally signed in Washington 9/28 (see "Special Documents" for text and "Settlement Monitor" for analysis). At the time of the signing, three outstanding issues remained: size of the expanded Jericho enclave, the date to begin redeployment, and number of prisoners to be released. On 10/17, the Palestinian-Israeli Steering and Monitoring Committee charged with overseeing Oslo II implementation held its first meeting and set up subcommittees for each major area of the accord.

Some major aspects of the interim agreement are outlined in specific sections below.

Expanded Self-rule

On 8/20, Israel and the PA signed an agreement for Israel's transfer of control (effected 8/27) over eight spheres it agreed to cede last quarter: agriculture, census and statistics, energy, insurance, labor, local government, postal services, and trade and industry. (Israel handed over education 8/28/94; tourism 11/15/94; and health, social welfare, and taxation 12/1/94.) The transfer of the 32 remaining spheres was agreed to and outlined in Annex III of the Oslo II accord.

As part of the transfer of authority under Oslo II, Israel agreed to a staged phaseout of the West Bank CA, including the evacuation of all 14 CA installations in various villages. Offices in two of the villages will become IDF-PA district coordination offices (DCOs), while the remainder will be PA only. To this end, the IDF evacuated Salfit on 10/10, followed by Qabatiyya, Yatta, and Kharbata on 10/11.

On 11/8, the PA assumed control of the post and telecommunications sphere for the West Bank. It also took over the transportation, communications, and meteorological spheres for Nablus and Tulkarm (11/13) and for Bethlehem and Hebron (11/14).

After the PA took over the local government sphere 9/10, Fatah and Fida issued a joint statement (9/20) calling on all West Bank municipal council heads appointed by Israel to resign and allow the PA to reorganize the municipal government structure. On 10/11, Israel permitted the return from Jordan of Fatah cadres Mustafa Liftawi, Mahmud Aloul, and Izz al-Din al-Sharif to assume posts as PA district governors for Ramallah, Nablus, and Tulkarm, respectively

As for the spheres transferred earlier: On 9/21, PA Education M Yasir 'Amr announced his ministry was beginning to develop a "Palestinian national curriculum" for the next school year. The Israeli Education Ministry warned, however, that it would examine the curriculum to make sure the PA will not be "violating the peace agreement by teaching hostile material.

On 9/19, the PA Tourism Ministry began training its first 30 tourist policemen to provide security for visitors and prevent thefts from archaeological sites. Fifty openings remain to be filled.

On 9/22, the PA Health Ministry received seven ambulances from Japan. And on 10/17, the PA police received 45 armored vehicles from Russia.


Under Oslo II (and in keeping with a compromise reached 8/24), Israel for the firstime officially recognized Palestinian rights to water in the West Bank, but delayed the definition of those rights until the final status negotiations. To alleviate current water shortages, Israel was immediately to make available an additional 28.6 mcm/year of fresh water for domestic use based on Palestinians' estimated future water needs of 70-80 mcm/year, with the understanding that this provision would not prejudice final status arrangements. A Joint Water Committee will also be formed to oversee water cooperation efforts during the interim period.

After further decisions on water were deferred to final status talks 5/96, sides began discussing quotas, drilling inspection, and funding for development of new water sources in late 8/95. And on 9/8, Peres agreed to increase the amount of water given to West Bank Palestinians by 100 percent over five years.


Oslo II delineated the zones and stages of redeployment broadly outlined in the 8/11 joint statement (see Doc. A2 in JPS 97). Israel agreed to pull out from seven cities (zone A) and 450 villages plus refugee camps (zone B)-an area totalling less than 30 percent of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem.

The PA negotiating teams saw maps outlining the zones for the firstime on 9/ 4 and immediately demanded that parts of zone B be redrawn. On 9/18, Peres presented the new maps to Arafat, who stormed out of the meeting, saying they depicted a "fig leaf" for occupation. The PA team noted 45 specific problems, and Israel submitted revisions 9/20. 26 maps were initialled behind closed doors at the Oslo II signing. On 10/30, the IDF announced the maps were topographically inaccurate and would have to be redrawn, approved by the PA, and added as amendments to Oslo II.

Pullouts were to begin with Janin on 10/8 and be completed by 3/96. When redeployment from janin had not begun by 10/15, a new schedule for withdrawal was issued: Janin (beginning 10/25, ending 11/19); Tulkarm (b. 10/25, e. 12/10); Nablus (b. 11/26, e. 12/17); Qalqiliyya (b. 11/26, e. 12/17); Ramallah (b. 12/10, e. 12/31); Bethlehem (b. 12/3, e. 12/21); and Hebron (b. 12/10, e. by 3/30).

Redeployment from Janin and 60 surrounding villages began on 10/25, was halted for two days (11/5-6) to mark Rabin's death, but was completed six days early on 11/13. On 11/11, Arafat named a committee to take control of the city, comprising PA Gen. Secy. Tayib 'Abd al-Rahim, Civil Affairs M Jamil Tarifi, and the West Bank heads of the Preventive Security Force, General Intelligence Service, and police.

On 10/13, the IDF issued revised cost figures for redeployment based on Oslo II, showing expected outlays to be NIS 3 b.- twice the allocated amount. On 10/17, the IDF began moving troops into the West Bank to provide added security for settlers during the withdrawal process.


Oslo II cemented a 9/18 agreement for the formation of an 82-member "Palestinian Council," with separate legislative and executive components, to be elected by 16 constituencies (incl. Jerusalem and Gaza). The head of the executive authority will be elected directly during the same voting process, while the head of the legislative council will be elected by the 82 members. According to Annex II, Palestinians in Jerusalem may vote "through" city post offices, though Israel will consider this "absentee balloting" as agreed 8/31. On 10/15, Israel said it wanted elections to occur before Ramadan (1/22); 1/20 was later selected as the target date, meaning elections would be held before withdrawal from Hebron is completed (see above).

On 11/5, the EU election team began helping the PA staff compile lists of eligible voters, print voter registration forms, and set up polling places. On 11/12, 7,000 Palestinian teachers trained by the EU and PA began the three-week voter registration campaign in the West Bank and Gaza.

On 11/12, the PLO Executive Committee held two days of preliminary discussions on the draft electoral law.

In anticipation of elections, Hamas and the PA revealed in late 8/95 they were holding ongoing negotiations on a national unity agreement. Drafts leaked to the press suggested Hamas would be allowed to take part in elections in exchange for formally ending attacks on Israeli targets. The rumors sparked debate between Hamas leaders inside and outside the territories, a meeting between the two factions in the Sudan 10/7, and threats of the diaspora members' secession from the movement. The PA attempted to counter these pressures by releasing dozens of Hamas cadres, including Mahmud Zahhar (10/8) and Shaykh Ahmad Bahr (10/16), but also added pressure of its own (in the form of mass arrests 8/29-9/3, 10/5) to keep Hamas at the table.

Prisoner Release

A two-stage prisoner release was agreed to 9/10, but was expanded to three stages under Oslo II. The first stage was to take place on the signing of the accord and include all women and minors, those over age 50, and the infirm, provided that they had not killed Israelis and agreed to sign pledges to refrain from violence.

The Israeli Supreme Court refused (10/2) to implement the release agreement until the Knesset approved the accord, which it did on 10/6. The refusals of Pres. Ezer Weizman (10/6) and Central Cmdr. Ilan Biran (10/7) to sign releases of four women triggered a protest by the other 23 women, prompting Arafat (10/12) in turn to threaten to boycotthe Amman summit (see below). Under a formulated compromise, the four women denied pardons will be included in the second batch of prisoners, to be released before Palestinian elections. Future releases will be handled by the new Klugman Committee, which will not require the president's or central commander's approval.

On 10/10, 600 political prisoners and 220 civil prisoners (of 1,100 males to be released) were freed; 89 criminal prisoners were permitted transfer to PA jails. The remaining 280 men were released later that week.

Security Arrangements

On 10/25, the first of seven new West Bank district liaison and coordinating offices (DCOs) began operating in Janin. (1 DCO was already in place in Jericho, 2 in Gaza.) The West Bank DCOs will command joint (IDF-PA) ground patrols and report on ongoing security matters to the Regional Security Committee (RSC-headed by Israeli Brig. Gen. Moshe El'ad, PA Brig. Gen. Rabhi Arafat). The RSC reports to the Joint Security Liaison Committee USC-headed by Israeli Brig. Gen. Herzl Getz, PA Brig. Gen. Ziyad al-Atrash). Each DCO will also have a separate section for coordination on civilian affairs. Civilian affairs departments will be supervised by the joint Committee for Coordination and Liaison on Civilian Issues (JCAC).

IDF and PA military commanders met 11/8 to plan joint patrol routes for Janin; patrols began 11/14. With the joint patrols in mind, the IDF issued stricter rules of engagement for the West Bank, recognizing the right of some Palestinians to carry arms in certain areas.

On 10/24, PA and Fatah security heads met in Jericho to discuss forming joint command committees to assure coordination among Palestinian West Bank security groups in areas taken over from the IDF.

Economic Matters

On 9/29, the new U.S.-Israel-PA economic development panel (formed under the 8/11 joint statement; see Doc. A2 inJPS 97) convened for the firstime in Washington. On 10/9, the U.S. announced it would set up reciprocal duty-free zones in the West Bank and Gaza, extending free trade and tariff benefits to developers in the self-rule areas and allowing Palestinian companies to export directly to the U.S., without going through Israeli companies. The U.S. termed the decision "unilateral" and not an agreement with the PA-which would require Israeli approval under the Israeli-PLO Protocol on Economic Relations (see Special Doc. B in JPS 92). On 10/28, the PA and U.S. signed a joint trade agreement on water purification.

Among the Israeli-Palestinian economic meetings held this quarter:

* Arafat, PA Planning M Nabil Shaath, Israeli Economics M Yossi Beilin discussed port and airport issues 8/24.

* Israeli Tourism M Uzi Bar'am and Arafat discussed joint projects, including a Dead Sea hotel, on 8/29.

* On 10/10, PA Planning M Shaath and Israeli Economics M Yossi Beilin exchanged long-term development plans and discussed methods of economic cooperation.

* Palestinian trade unionists met with Histadrut members 9/3.

On 10/19, Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) Govemor Fu'ad Bisaysu noted that deposits in banks operating in the self-rule areas totalled nearly $1 b.

Diplomatic Matters

PA passports were accepted as valid travel documents by Austria (11/5), Brazil (9/1), Bulgaria (9/20), Canada (10/5), Finland (9/21), Khazakhstan (10/10), Oman (10/10), Poland (11/ 95), Sweden (10/26), Turkmenistan (11/ 5), the UAE (9/95), and Zimbabwe (11/2). In mid-August, Qatar became the first Gulf state to open a representative office in the self-rule areas. South Africa followed suit 8/21.