RAMALLAH – On September 13, 1993, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas met on the South Lawn of the White House to sign the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles, or the Oslo Accords. PLO leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin then sealed the agreement with a historic handshake.
The Oslo Accords – the result of secret talks that had been encouraged by the Norwegian government and conducted in the country’s capital – called for a five-year transitional period during which Israeli forces would withdraw from the Gaza Strip and unspecified areas of the West Bank, and a Palestinian Authority would be established. Letters of recognition between the PLO and Israel accompanied the agreement. The ultimate aim, though never explicitly stated, was to create a Palestinian state roughly within the 1967 borders.