• Editing and introduction:
    Louise Fischer
  • Published:
    December 2022
  • Photograph:
    Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, President Bill Clinton and PLO chairmanYasser Arafat with members of the "Seeds of Peace" youth movement, 13 September 1993, GPO

At first the talks between Israelis and representatives of the PLO which led to the Oslo Agreement were unofficial. Even after official representatives joined them in May 1993, they remained secret and no record of them has been found in the government files at the Israel State Archives. However, the Archives recently received an important collection of documents on the “Oslo Process” from Dr. Yair Hirschfeld, one of the negotiators. Here we present for the first time a first-hand picture of the negotiations in Norway and the road to the Declaration of Principles on an Interim Agreement and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO in September 1993.

The collection includes about 200 files, of which 31 have been declassified and can be seen on the ISA website. From these files, 22 documents (11 of them in English) were selected for publication, and are presented here together with a historical introduction – minutes of meetings, drafts of the agreement, internal discussions, letters from Yasser Arafat and the Norwegian foreign minister, and more.

The collection also includes many other files documenting unofficial contacts between Israelis and  Palestinians before 1993, the activities of the Economic Cooperation Fund, a body to encourage research on local and regional development and to influence public policy established by Hirschfeld and Yossi Beilin, and the complex relations with the Palestinians s after the Oslo Accords.

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