It is within this context of competing narratives and intractable conflict that the Oslo peace process was born. Guided by the hope of arriving at a just and lasting peace, Israeli and Palestinian leaders designed, composed, and signed seven interim agreements, known as the Oslo peace process. These agreements were intended to resolve their differences on issues such as borders and security, Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees. They were also meant to mark a time of relative tranquillity in the region, particularly as compared to the violence that has been witnessed throughout Israel- Palestine’s troubled history.
Agreements were reached through various means, such as public, back-channel, official, and non-official efforts. Throughout this process, the United States was involved as a mediator, though less so during the initial stages, which included the composition and signing of the Declaration of Principles, Oslo I, and Oslo II. However, following the 1997 election into the office of the Likud party’s Benyamin Netanyahu, the U.S. became more involved through subsequent agreements, including the Hebron Agreement, the Wye River Memorandum, and the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum.
While conceding to the fact that Oslo ultimately failed, it significantly contributed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. First, Oslo succeeded in transforming the conflict from a struggle over identity (which is an existential and intractable one) to a struggle over concrete and potentially tractable issues.