James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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History Lessons: The Oslo Accords

by James M. Lindsay
September 12, 2012

A new installment of “History Lessons” is now out. This time I examine the signing of the Oslo Accords on September 13, 1993. In the video, I discuss the secret negotiations that produced the agreement, what its terms stipulated, and how it failed to produce the lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians that many hoped for when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House nearly two decades ago.

Watch the video on YouTube here.

Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, the Oslo Accords are still worth remembering as we consider peace-building efforts around the world today. Treaties, accords, and truces frequently promise more than they deliver. But even when they disappoint, they can still change the facts on the ground and create opportunities for subsequent generations to lessen, if not resolve, their differences.

So here’s a question to consider when thinking about American foreign policy: What does the future hold for a negotiated peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and what role should the United States play in bringing it about?

If you are interested in learning more about the Oslo Accords or the Middle East Peace Process more generally, here are some books worth reading:

Brown, Nathan J. Palestinian Politics after the Oslo Accords: Resuming Arab Palestine (2003).

Indyk, Martin. Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East (2009).

Miller, Aaron David. The Too Much Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (2008).

Quandt, William B. Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967 (2001).

Qurie, Ahmed. From Oslo to Jerusalem: The Palestinian Story of the Secret Negotiations (2006).

Rabinovich, Itamar. Waging Peace: Israel and the Arabs 1948-2003 (2004).

Ross, Dennis. The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (2005).

Savir, Uri. The Process: 1,100 Days that Changed the Middle East (1999).

Watson, Geoffrey R. The Oslo Accords: International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements (2000).

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