Unilateral Measures Taken by the Palestinian Authority in Violation of Oslo
Provided by the Government Press Office
The Oslo Accords contain specific obligations which include prior coordination and consultation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), many of which relate to security issues.
Despite these provisions, the PA has repeatedly taken unilateral steps in key spheres, ignoring its commitment to coordinate with Israel.
Following are examples of such steps. The list is not comprehensive, but it identifies instances of glaring violations of the agreement.
1) Unilaterally Halting Security Cooperation with Israel
The agreement: According to Article II (2) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords, “Both sides will, in accordance with this Agreement, act to ensure the immediate, efficient and effective handling of any incident involving a threat or act of terrorism, violence or incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis. To this end, they will cooperate in the exchange of information and coordinate policies and activities.”
In the Note for the Record attached to the January 15, 1997 Hebron Protocol, the Palestinians reaffirmed their commitment to “strengthening security cooperation.”
The violation: Contrary to their obligation, PA security officials broke off security cooperation with Israel in recent weeks, despite clear warnings of impending terrorist activity. Palestinian security officials refused to meet with their Israeli counterparts and refrained from exchanging intelligence or security-related information. One noteworthy exception was the PA’s cooperation in the search for the body of abducted Israeli soldier Sharon Edri.
2) Exceeding the Overall Limit on the Number of Palestinian police
The agreement: Under Article IV (3) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords, the PA is currently permitted to deploy no more than 24,000 policemen in the West Bank and Gaza. Eventually, an additional 6,000 policemen may be deployed in the West Bank “according to the phases of the further redeployments or as needed, as agreed upon by the parties.” In the Note for the Record attached to the Hebron Protocol of January 15, 1997, the PA reaffirmed its commitment that the “size of the Palestinian Police will be pursuant to the Interim Agreement.”
The violation: The PA has unilaterally deployed more than 30,000 policemen in the West Bank and Gaza, exceeding the agreed upon limit by over 6,000. This step was taken without Israeli consent.
3) Exceeding the Limit on the Number of Palestinian police in Hebron
The agreement: The Hebron Protocol of January 15, 1997 states (par. 5a) that the Palestinians may have “a total of up to 400 policemen, equipped with 20 vehicles and armed with 200 pistols, and 100 rifles for the protection of the police stations.”
The violation: Without Israeli consent, the PA has deployed over 1,500 policemen in Hebron, which is nearly four times the number permitted under the agreement. The number of long-range weapons in their possession also exceeds that allowed under the accord.
4) Failure to Notify Israel Concerning Palestinian Police Recruits
The agreement: Under Annex I, Article IV (4) of Oslo 2, the PA is required to submit a list of all potential police recruits to Israel for approval to prevent known terrorists from joining the PA security services. The agreement states that, “Should Israel object to the recruitment of any such candidate, that person shall not be recruited.”
The violation: The PA has consistently failed to provide comprehensive listings of potential recruits to Israel and has proceeded to unilaterally recruit policemen without prior Israeli consent. The PA has submitted for Israeli approval only 18,000 of the 30,000 names of Palestinian policemen currently on active duty. As a result, at least 19 wanted terrorists are known to be serving in the Palestinian security forces or are in the process of joining its ranks.
5) Failure to coordinate movement of Palestinian police
The agreement: Under Article V (6) of Annex I to Oslo 2, the movement of Palestinian policemen between Area A and Area B, or in Area C, must be coordinated in advance with Israeli security officials and receive their approval.
The violation: Palestinian policemen frequently move from area to area without coordinating in advance with Israel. In the first three months of 1997, there were over 100 instances of unauthorized police activity and movement outside of Area A.
6) Detention of Israeli Citizens
The agreement: According to Article XI (4d) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accord, “Israelis shall under no circumstances be apprehended or placed in custody or prison by Palestinian authorities.” In a case where an Israeli is suspected of having committed an offense, the Palestinian police may detain him on the spot “until the arrival of a Joint Patrol, called immediately by the Palestinian police, or of other Israeli representatives dispatched by the relevant DCO.”
The violation: The Palestinian police frequently arrest and interrogate Israelis without notifying Israeli authorities. In 1996, over 100 Israeli citizens were arrested improperly by the Palestinian police.
7) Failure to Enforce Restrictions on Visitors’ Permits
The agreement: Under Article 28 (13b) of Annex III to the Oslo 2 Accords, visitors to PA-controlled areas are permitted to stay for a period of up to 3 months, and the PA may grant them an extension of an additional four months. The agreement requires that, “The Palestinian side will notify Israel of this extension. Any further extensions require the approval of Israel.”
This clause is intended to prevent an uncontrolled influx of masses of people.
The violation: The PA has unilaterally allowed some 31,000 individuals to remain in the territories beyond their permitted stay, and has refrained from taking measures to expel them.
8) Unauthorized construction of Gaza strip sea port
The agreement: Under Article XIV (4) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords, all matters relating to the establishment of the Gaza Strip sea port “will be discussed and agreed upon between Israel and the Council”, thereby ensuring that Israelâs security is not compromised.
The violation: Without prior notice, the PA proceeded with construction work on an old wharf in the Gaza Strip with the declared intention of transforming it into an active sea port. Only after Israel barred the entry of the requisite construction materials to the area did the work stop.
9) Unauthorized construction of Dahaniye airport
The agreement: Under Article XIII(3) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords, the PA may establish provisional airstrips in the West Bank and Gaza “in accordance with arrangements and modalities to be discussed and agreed upon” by the two sides. This is intended to ensure that the airport meets Israel’s security requirements.
The violation: The PA ignored the accord’s requirement for mutually agreed upon modalities and proceeded to construct an airport at Dahaniye which can accommodate the largest aircraft in use.
10) Failure to notify Israel concerning passage of legislation
The agreement: Under Article XVIII of Oslo 2, any legislation passed by the elected Palestinian council “shall be communicated to the Israeli side of the Legal Committee” so that Israel may raise issues of concern should the legislation conflict with existing laws or the terms of the agreement.
The violation: The PA has failed to notify Israel regarding the passage of legislation or its contents, thereby impeding Israel’s ability to express its potential concerns.
11) Circumventing Mechanisms for Resolution of Disputes
The agreement: Under the Oslo 2 Accords, Israel and the Palestinians undertook to resolve their disputes directly and, failing to do so, may resort to other frameworks only via a mutually agreed upon mechanism. Article XXI of Oslo 2, entitled “Settlement of Differences and Disputes”, states, “Any difference relating to the application of this Agreement shall be referred to the appropriate coordination and cooperation mechanism established under this Agreement.”
The violation: The PA has repeatedly sought to circumvent the mechanisms spelled out in the agreement when issues of dispute have arisen between the two sides. On March 15, 1997, the PA unilaterally convened an international conference in Gaza, and it has turned to the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly on several occasions regarding matters relating to the peace process.