28 September 1995, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Oslo II Accord)
13 September 1993, Israel Ministry of Affairs: Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Oslo I Accord)
SEPT. 30, 2015
Mahmoud Abbas, at U.N., Says Palestinians Are No Longer Bound by Oslo Accords
By RICK GLADSTONE and JODI RUDOREN
UNITED NATIONS -- Demonstrating a new level of tension with Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority declared on Wednesday that his people were no longer bound by mutual agreements with Israel, including the Oslo Peace Accords, which created the foundation for the Middle East peace process.
In his annual General Assembly speech, Mr. Abbas accused Israel of having systematically violated these pacts, which date back two decades and outline security, economic and other arrangements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel during and after the 1967 war.
The agreements formed the basis for governing much of daily life in the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based.
Mr. Abbas said that there was no reason that the Palestinians should remain faithful to these accords as long as the Israelis were not. Therefore, he said, "we cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel and Israel must assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power."
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Mr. Abbas's speech was "deceitful," issuing a brief statement that did not address the Palestinian leader's main announcement. Dore Gold, the director of Israel's Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that "Israel does uphold its agreements."
Mr. Abbas delivered the speech -- punctuated later by the ceremonial raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations for the first time -- against a backdrop of growing frustration among many Palestinians over the paralysis in peace negotiations with Israel.
Compounded by new strife over contested religious sites in Jerusalem and other festering issues, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most protracted dispute vexing the United Nations since the organization's founding 70 years ago.
There was much buildup to Mr. Abbas's speech, fed by his aides and his own promise of a "bombshell." But he couched his declaration in what Mr. Gold described as "very tortured language," contingent on continued Israeli violations of the agreements. That makes the practical effects of Mr. Abbas's declaration unclear.
Khalil Shikaki, a leading Palestinian political analyst, said the declaration would mean "absolutely nothing" on the ground "until he starts taking the steps he mentioned" to curtail security, economic, and civil coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He said Mr. Abbas would be under tremendous pressure from Palestinians to cut these ties but would probably take weeks or months to follow through, if at all.
Others expressed skepticism that Mr. Abbas's announcement would change anything.
Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, said that what sounded like a bold declaration was "a years-old talking point."
Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert and scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington, said that as long as Mr. Abbas stopped short of dismantling the Palestinian Authority and ending security coordination with Israel, "this is an expression of frustration and an effort to create a new point of political departure for his international drive for recognition."
Mr. Abbas, 80, who is in the 11th year of a four-year term, because Palestinian disunity has prevented elections, has seen his popularity plummet over the past year. A recent poll  showed two-thirds of Palestinians wanted him to resign.
For years, he has been threatening to resign, dissolve the Palestinian Authority or end security coordination with Israel, any of which might have constituted the "bombshell" he had promised. Instead, his declaration fell short of the concrete action called for by many of his colleagues. While he seems genuinely frustrated by the stalemate with Israel, Mr. Abbas has been unwilling to cede power or change tactics. One way he has demonstrated his frustration is by moving to seek international recognition of Palestinian statehood to pressure Israel. At the United Nations, he won upgraded status to a nonmember observer state in 2012.
Since then the Palestinians have used that status to attain voting rights in other United Nations agencies, join the International Criminal Court, and threaten to seek war-crimes prosecutions against Israel.
A few weeks ago the General Assembly voted to allow the Palestinians to fly their national flag at the United Nations headquarters -- a symbolic step that nonetheless angered the Israelis.
After his speech, attending the official flag-raising ceremony at the United Nations Rose Garden, Mr. Abbas declared: "In this historical moment I say to my people everywhere: Raise the flag of Palestinians very high because it is the symbol of our identity."
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations, was more measured in his remarks and urged a return to peace talks.
"We can be under no illusion that this ceremony represents the end goal," Mr. Ban said.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank, several thousand people gathered in a square to watch a broadcast of Mr. Abbas's speech, wildly cheering. A few dozen youths waved Palestinian flags in the square, named after Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian revolutionary leader who signed the first of the Oslo accords in 1993.
Yet the mood in Ramallah was far from exuberant. Some Palestinians said they believed that little would change.
"It was expected that the president would say he isn't going to abide by the agreements," said Mohammad Jamil, a 23-year-old librarian, who watched the speech in a Ramallah cafe.
"We've reached a blocked path with Israel," Mr. Jamil said. "But I doubt this will be a solution."
Mr. Abbas's speech came on the same day that representatives of the Quartet group on the Middle East -- the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union -- met on the sidelines of the General Assembly. Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top foreign policy official, told reporters that she believed Mr. Abbas's language was not definitive. "I have interpreted these words as a scenario that is going to happen 'if,' " she said. But, she added, "it's an alarm and it's a serious one."
Rick Gladstone reported from the United Nations, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem. Diaa Hadid contributed reporting from Ramallah, West Bank, and Somini Sengupta from the United Nations.