Major PLO Violations of the Oslo Accords

(Updated Through June 6, 1996)

The following list represents principal PLO violations of the agreements signed by Israel and the PLO. The focus is on the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of May 4, 1994 ("Gaza-Jericho") and the Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of September 28, 1995 ("Interim Agreement"). This compilation limits itself to systemic violations, which stem from PLO or Palestinian Authority (PA) decisions or from the actions of the top leadership, and does not include cases of local failures or mistakes, such as misbehavior of individual Palestinian policemen. The citations are from the Interim Agreement, but all the obligations cited, except where noted, were part of the earlier Gaza-Jericho accords as well and have therefore been in effect since the PA came into being in May of 1994.

1. Failure to Confiscate Arms and Disarm Militias: The PA police obligated to disarm all militias acting in areas under its jurisdiction, to confiscate all weapons other than pistols, and to license pistols in accord with regulations to be established by the two sides (Annex I, Art. II, 1 and art. XI). In fact, all five of the militias which were operating when the PA took over Gaza and Jericho - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Fatah - remain armed. Despite periodic announcements of a crackdown, not more than a few hundred weapons have been confiscated from among the thousands in circulation, and during this period far more weapons have been smuggled in.

2. Refusal to Present Israel with Lists of Palestinian Policemen: In order to enable Israel to prevent terrorist from joining the Palestinian police force, the PA is obligated to submit the list of all potential recruits for Israeli approval (Annex I, Art. IV, 4). This requirement is particularly important regarding those Palestinians recruited from the territories, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad influence is strong (as opposed to PLO troops from abroad, who have been insulated from competing loyalties). Nonetheless, the PA did not submit any of the names of the locally recruited troops when it was recruiting its forces for Gaza and Jericho, of whom more that 10,000 were local recruits. The PA repeated its commitment regarding the recruitment for the additional areas given to it under the Interim Agreement, but has continued its policy of systematically not complying with it.

3. Exceeding the Permissible Number of Policemen: The Gaza-Jericho accords of May 1994 limited the number of Palestinian policemen to 9,000 (Annex I, Art. III, 3), but during the period when the PA controlled these two areas they enrolled approximately 20,000 people in their security forces. The Interim Agreement expanded the PA's jurisdiction to additional parts of the West Bank and increased the number of policemen to 24,000 in Areas A and B, including Gaza (Annex I, Art. IV, 3). Already, however, the PA police have enlisted more than 30,000 men and perhaps as many as 40,000.

4. Refusal to Extradite Suspected Terrorists: The PA is obligated to turn over to Israel for trial all individuals concerning whom Israel provides an arrest warrant and proof of involvement in terrorism (Annex IV, Art. II, 7). To date, Israel has requested 18 suspects in mass murder, murder or attempted murder of Israelis, none of whom have been handed over. Leading PA officials have stated that the PA has no intention of honoring the extradition provisions of the agreements.

5. Failure to Punish Using the PA Court System: The PA police are obligated to "arrest and prosecute individuals who are suspected of perpetrating acts of terror and violence" (Annex I, Art. II, 1). Over the past two years, none of the top leaders of the military wings of Hamas or Islamic Jihad have been sentenced, however, a policy which has continued even after the February-March 1996 wave of bombings. The PA court system has instead meted out sentences to three dozen lesser activists who were involved in terror against Israelis. The few individuals actually involved in killing Israelis who were sentenced were only tried under Israeli pressure, and almost all of them were released within a few weeks to a few months of receiving their multi-year sentences. In fact, of the 26 convicts sentenced to terms of two years or more, 11 were released early, including 8 of 14 Hamas activists who were convicted of being involved in anti-Israel terror.

6. Incitement to Terror by Top PA Leadership: The leadership of the PLO and the PA are obligated to refrain from incitement to terrorism, as part of the obligation to promote mutual understanding and to fight against terrorism (Art. XXII). Nonetheless, there have been numerous statements made by Yasser Arafat, Nabil Shaath, Faisal Husseini, and other top leaders, which have called for jihad and praised those who have engaged in terrorism against Israelis, including Hamas terrorists who continued carrying out mass murders after the Oslo accords.

7. Failure to Prevent Incitement: In addition to refraining from incitement to terror, the PA leadership must prevent incitement by others acting in areas under its control (Annex 1, Art. II, 3b). The most-publicized incident in which incitement was allowed in the presence of senior Palestinian police officers was the reenactment of the Dizengoff bus bombing in Kalkilya a few days before the wave of suicide bus bombings began in late February of 1996. Even recently, however, the PA continues to allow inflammatory speeches to be made, especially in mosques.

8. Harassment of Suspected Former Collaborators with Israel: The PLO committed itself to refraining from inflicting any form of punishment against Palestinians who had previously collaborated with Israel, as part of a package of confidence-building measures which included Israel's releasing thousands of Palestinian prisoners and granting clemency to hundreds of PLO activists from outside of the country who had been involved in terrorism against Israelis (Article XVI). From May of 1994 through the present, however, there has been a consistent pattern of harassing, threatening, jailing, and in some cases torturing such individuals, and this campaign has been coordinated by Palestinian security forces, with Colonel Jibril Rajoub taking a particularly active role.

9. Failure to Provide Information on MIA's: The Gaza-Jericho Agreement required the PA to assist Israel in locating missing Israelis (Art. XIX), and this obligation was strengthened in the Interim Agreement and applied to the PLO as well (Art. XXVIII). To date, however, although it is widely known that the PLO has information regarding Israeli MIA's, the organization has not provided any concrete assistance.

10. Failure to Change the PLO Covenant: The PLO was obligated to amend those clauses in its covenant calling for the destruction of Israel via the armed struggle no later than May 7, 1996 (Art. XXXII, 9). On April 24, the Palestinian National Council met and approved in principal making such an amendment. To date, however, neither the PNC nor the Legal Committee it empowered to make the actual changes has done so, nor has it been specified which articles will be changed, in what manner, or by what date.

11. Abuse of Human Rights and the Rule of Law: The Palestinian Authority is obligated to fulfill all of its commitments in the agreement "with due regard to internationally-accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law" (Art. XIX). As noted by numerous human rights groups, including international organizations such as Amnesty International and Middle East Watch, and Palestinian organizations such as the Gaza Center for Rights and Law, the PA's rule has been marked by arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture. Freedom of the press has been virtually eliminated, and the right to criticize the regime strictly curtailed in practice. The PA's crackdowns have been particularly severe against journalists and human rights activists, one of whom was recently jailed for telling a foreign journalist that the PA's human rights record was abysmal.

12. Failure to Hold Democratic Elections and Establish a Democratic Regime: One of the central commitments in the Declaration of Principles was the holding of democratic elections (Art. 3 of the DOP), for the purposes of establishing a democratic regime for Palestinians living in the autonomous areas. This obligation was important because the establishment of a democratic regime would have the effect of putting the relationship between Israel and the PA on a more solid footing for the long-term. The elections were not democratic, however, in that the election rules were crafted by Yasser Arafat in a manner which favored his loyalists in Fatah, and this edge was accentuated by a systematic campaign to shape press coverage, coupled with threats made against opponents. Despite numerous allegations of election irregularities, the elections appeals courts refused to hear any of the cases. The result was an overwhelming victory by Arafat in the Presidential race, and results in the Council race that virtually guarantee that Arafat will rule without a real opposition. In the four and a half months since the elections, Arafat has continued ruling in a dictatorial style, has not allowed the Council to make any important decisions, and has steadily won all the votes on the issues on which he has allowed it to vote.

13. PLO Police Activity in eastern Jerusalem: The Gaza-Jericho Accords and the Interim Agreement carefully delineate the areas in which Palestinian security forces are allowed to operate. Completely excluded from their domain are areas under Israeli jurisdiction, such as eastern Jerusalem (Annex I of both agreements). Nonetheless, during the past two years there has been a consistent pattern of Palestinian police activity in eastern Jerusalem, which has included kidnapping and arrests of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, suspected collaborators, perpetrators or "moral crimes", and others. Israeli police have periodically arrested or expelled some of the Palestinian police officials operating the forces, but throughout this period anywhere between dozens and hundreds of Palestinian security agents have continued to operate in eastern Jerusalem.

14. Palestinian Authority Offices in eastern Jerusalem: All PA government offices were to be located in areas under the PA's jurisdiction, a provision meant specifically to exclude Jerusalem (Article I, 7). Since May of 1994, however, the PA has been operating at any given time between half a dozen and a dozen of its government ministries and other important offices within Jerusalem. At present, three of the clearest offenders, all of which have been open continuously in the same place and with no effort to hide their connections are the Orient House, the Ministry of Religions, and theOffice of the Mufti.

15. Conduct of Foreign Relations: The Palestinian Authority is explicitly forbidden from conducting foreign relations, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization is permitted to conduct foreign relations on the PA's behalf for a strictly limited set of purposes, such as the concluding of economic and cultural agreements (Article IX). In numerous places in the major agreements signed by the two sides, it was agreed that the issue of the PA's foreign relations would be dealt with only as part of the final status talks. Both the PLO and the PA have violated these restrictions wholesale, and have initiated and engaged in extensive diplomacy, bilateral, multinational (i.e. Arab League), and international (i.e. United Nations).
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