"It's not just the dark night of the soul when you have the resurgence of hostilities and a loss of faith in the 'peace process'." - Hanan Ashrawi







The First Intifada

Understandably, there had been constant tension in Palestine for years, but in 1987 something new happened: the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank revolted against the occupation. Which groups orchestrated it or whether it was orchestrated at all is very much in dispute: some say it was the PLO, while others suggest the involvement of Hamas.


The scale and nature of the violence is also controversial. Some sources claim that killings were frequent and in the thousands, far underreported by the mainstream media. Meanwhile other sources maintain that protest was peaceful and any violence consisted only of thrown rocks. However, it seems likely that the death toll was heavy on both sides: some Palestinians attacked Israeli officials, but the Israeli military went over the line in retaliating against civilians, as violent as those civilians were. The intifada ended in 1992 with the restart of negotiations.[1992 Israel settlements in Gaza and Golan]

The Oslo Declaration of Principles

After many failed attempts at peace talks, on September 13, 1993 a relatively successful effort was consummated. The conclusion of secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO—a famous handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin—seemed a step toward peace. The main achievements of the Oslo Accords were mutual recognition and transfer of power to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Also, more specific talks were to take place within three years. They did: in 1995, an agreement was signed specifying that Israel would pull out of six Arab cities and many villages by 1996.

Shortly after the signing of the agreements in 1995, Rabin was assassinated. The third stage of the peace process that started in Oslo was never completed, and the the required concessions were not made by either side.