Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Blog

18 years ago today, the Palestinians signed the Oslo agreement, which launched a "peace process" that was supposed to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories to allow for the creation of a viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. But rather than being closer to an end to Israel's illegal occupation after 18 years of the initiation of that process, what we are witnessing today is a more recalcitrant occupation, wider settlement expansion, ongoing land theft and home demolitions, as well as the indignity and violence that predictably accompany that situation. On that backdrop, the PLO released the following must-read press release with extensive comments from Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh:


Press Release | September 13, 2011 | Palestine Liberation Organization | Negotiations Office

Dr. Shtayyeh: “18 years after the Oslo Accords, Israel’s occupation has turned into annexation

Senior Palestinian official Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people, reiterating the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and freedom. He made these comments marking the 18th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Principles (“Oslo I”) between the PLO and Israel.

“Today we commemorate 18 years since the launch of a process that was supposed to lead us to freedom and independence. It was meant to last only for a transitional period of five years. Unfortunately, almost two decades later, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is entrenched and Israel’s occupation has turned into de facto annexation,” said the Palestinian leader.

Dr. Shtayyeh noted that from 1993 until 2011, Israel’s settler population more than doubled to over 505,000 in the occupied West Bank. Furthermore, Israel’s illegal settlement regime, including the Wall and the Israeli-only bypass roads, now effectively control almost half of the occupied West Bank.

“Together with the colonization of Palestinian land, other unilateral Israeli policies, including home demolitions, evictions, ID revocations, killings, the illegal exploitation of natural resources, and closure of Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem have threatened the prospect of a two-state solution,” he stated.

“Over the past 18 years, Israel has violated all articles of the interim agreements in addition to its responsibilities as an occupying power, responsibilities that remained incumbent upon throughout the Oslo years,” said Dr. Shtayyeh who has been involved in peace negotiations with Israel since the Madrid talks.

Dr. Shtayyeh pointed out that Israel’s unilateralism has reduced the Palestinian National Authority’s scope of authority while falsely claiming to be committed to peace: “The population registry, water, economic relations, border crossings, air and sea space, and the electromagnetic sphere are all fully controlled by the Israeli occupation.”

“Eighteen years ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he was going to kill the Oslo Accords. Today, we can say that Mr. Netanyahu has all but succeeded in his aim. He can claim credit for threatening the viability of peace”, said the senior official, adding, “Successive Israeli governments have enacted policies with the aim of maintaining Israeli occupation of Palestine indefinitely. They believed that in so doing, Israel could permanently obstruct the realization of Palestinian rights.”

Dr. Shtayyeh reminded the international community of its standing moral and legal obligations towards the Question of Palestine, including ending the 44 year-old Israeli occupation. “We are approaching the moment of truth. After years of Israeli unilateralism and illegal policies aimed at sabotaging a bilateral peace agreement, Palestinians will take their struggle back to where it all began—to the assembly hall of the United Nations.”

For more information on Israeli violations of Israeli - Palestinian agreements we are releasing our last fact sheet called "Israeli Unilateralism - Undermining Peace" available at

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